Skip to content

The 5 Ingredients of Shame

Ingredients of Shame

4. Disgust

While shame is said to have evolved in order to maintain social hierarchies, disgust is said to have evolved to help humans avoid disease. But disgust focused on oneself is shame — the kind that drives eating disorders and self-harm.

5. Fear

Ashamed, we fear exposure, accusation, and punishment. Afraid that we cannot erase those deeds or thoughts or qualities that shame us, we exist on quicksand, dreading the one ticking time-bomb we cannot escape: ourselves.

Whenever shame strikes, let us try to stand fast in its blast and trace its source. In whose voices do we hear “Shame on you”? Are they the voices of society or deities or individuals real or imagined — or our own? Might those voices be bigoted, abusive, arbitrary, antiquated, cruel?

Related: What Is Toxic Shame? How It Alters Our Self-Image

Might they not be voices at all but history, collective trauma shouting what we should and should not be?

Want to know more about the causes of shame? Check this video out below!

What causes shame and embarrassment

Check out S. Rufus’s personal website to know more about her and her work.


Written By S.Rufus
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
Ingredients of Shame pin
The 5 Ingredients of Shame
Pages: 1 2

S. Rufus

S. Rufus, M.A., is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared at Elle, Salon, The Daily Beast, and other venues, and — under the byline Anneli Rufus — the author of twelve books including Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself; Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto; Weird Europe; and Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On. Translated into five languages and now in its fourteenth printing, Party of One has been cited as a landmark work on (and for) introverts.View Author posts