Shame is a feeling of self-consciousness one senses in front of another person. It is like a message or an alarm that comes whenever we are about to enter into social contact. It makes us aware of our inadequacy, unworthiness, or disgrace.
For many, the message refers to one constant issue, but there could be more than one reason. For instance, it could refer only to a part of our body (e.g., big/small breasts, old-looking hands, big nose, etc.), with more than one part or to the whole body.
Feeling like you are not fit to fit in?
It is not only referred to the body. We might start thinking about how boring, clumsy or stupid we are. Whatever the message one gets, it constantly reminds us how weak or somehow defective we are. That people won’t like us.
We wish to belong. We want to take part, but our inadequacies make us believe that we are not fit to fit in. Shame experiences can have a profound, long-lasting effect on our life. It can stop us short for decades.
As a result, we may avoid doing something or going places, even when invited. That is called defensive withdrawal behavior. We avoid socializing. We can focus on the fear, wariness, and underlying anxiety that interaction with peers may cause. Shame, as the driving force of shyness, has a different quality.
There is hope
Sometimes, we might be able to go to a social gathering. But our intense concerns push us to be the clowns of the night. There is a narcissistic gain that comes with the cost of becoming the fools of the night.
At times a wave of profound anger may assault us, from temper tantrums to shame rage. We wish to belong, but it seems that we cannot escape feeling like we don’t fit to fit in.
There is help
There is hope. Make your life an enjoyable ride through psychotherapy. Dr. Roth has written a book based on her research in this area. She is here to help you get over your self-conscious fears.