FA 064 Shame

Introduction topic


The Origins of Shame

  • Shame: the painful feeling arising from the belief that you are broken, damaged, flawed, inadequate, evil, bad, defective, etc.

    • Guilt: A similar emotion experienced when you know you’ve done something wrong

        • Guilt is about what you have done, and represents pain at having hurt someone

          • Dependent on empathy

        • shame is about what you are, and is a form of weaponized self-pity

          • Does not depend on empathy

    • Self-consciousness: involves a pervasive preoccupation with how you are perceived, but does not carry the same connotation of being fundamentally broken on the inside

  • For most queer/LGBT individuals, this feeling of shame arises when we begin on our path of self-discovery after feeling that something about us was “off” or different

    • In order to fit in, we kept these feelings to ourselves (in the closet)

    • The longer we stay in the closet, the more different we feel from those around us and the more we work to fit in

  • The longer that we conceal who we are:

    • The easier it is to lie

    • The less genuine as a person we feel

    • The harder it is to find genuine validation from others

  • Shame is disguised self-hatred, the utter dislike of who you are in comparison with what you see others as

    • This is what people refer to as internalized hatred (homophobia, transphobia, etc…) when you yourself might belong to said group.

The Burden of Shame

  • Self-hatred causes you to wall yourself off, becoming a prisoner of your own prison

    • You are your own worst saboteur

  • With shame, genuine happiness becomes difficult, if not impossible, to attain

  • When you view yourself as being intrinsically and unfixably flawed, there is little to no incentive for you to build connections with other people and that isolation drives you further into a feeling of shame and feeling flawed

  • “An emotional wound caused by toxic shame is a very serious and persistent disability that has the potential to literally destroy your life.”

  • Viro: Compounded Shame

    • Shame as a primary emotion can be followed by a secondary emotion, like anger, fear, or regret

      • Someone “outs” your secret, and you become furious with them, or afraid that you might lose friends, or regret not being the one to tell them

    • When shame is followed by further shame, it is called compounded shame

    • Compounded shame frequently produces rage, a form of intense, explosive, uncontrollable anger

The Price of Shame

  • The loss of integrity

    • How can we love ourselves when we believe there are parts of us that make us unloveable

    • Splitting / Decompartmentalization

    • “Acting as if”

  • Being a moth to the flame of false validation

  • Trading “humane innocence for dry cynicism”

  • An inability to maintain a stable relationship

    • The devaluation of honesty and trust

  • Masking shame

    • Substance Abuse

    • Self-harm

    • Risky sexual behaviors

    • Splitting (multiplication of integrities)

    • The further that you mask shame, or don’t acknowledge or allow yourself to feel shame, the more your life becomes centered around shame itself

  • Once you reveal your secret/it is no longer a secret from others, your life might lack direction or seeming purpose

    • From there, it begins a new cycle where you continue not being yourself and, instead, try to prove to the world that you are as shameless as possible

      • As such, you are still burdened by shame itself and have moved on to a next stage, one we will discuss next week


  • Subject: I have an odd one for you. I have a sexual dysfunction that has manifested itself for the last decade, and have not found any resolution. In short, I can't climax with a partner.

      • Since my first sexual experience at 17, I have not been able to climax without doing it myself. I can't get off being pawed by someone else; I can't get off with oral; I can't get off with full intercourse. I'm 27 now and my sexual experience is extremely limited. Even during the three occasions I have actually had intercourse, and simply given up for lack of progress (not that I tried, but I was concerned that I was wearing my partner out), I had trouble with getting myself off by my own hand! I would call it inexperience but at some point one would think that even lack of experience would be overcome by a primal sexual response.

      • I don't think I have a physical problem since getting hard is easy for me and I'm in general good health. I'm actually quite sensitive and often times it is actually so overstimulating when someone paws me (even with lube) that I have to ask them to stop. Yet despite this as soon as I'm being blown or I'm balls-deep its as if I am wearing a triple-thick condom - the sensitivity is almost non-existent.

      • I have heard of stage fright but I can't say that I feel exceptionally nervous during intimacy. The limited research I have done seems to suggest theories suggesting chronic masturbation / "death grips" / porn habits are all to blame. I can say honestly that my frequency is less than once daily; I don't "choke it like it owes me money", and though I used to watch porn daily in college I might view it once a week these days. I have noticed that my general libido has dropped off quite a bit in the past year but I can't say why.

      • Please let me know if you have experienced this before or know of someone who has. To date I have never had good sex, or even mediocre sex. Its something I crave but when it happens it becomes a chore and ends with a stifled explanation. I can't run with the whisky dick excuse forever. I dread the humiliation of having to lay all of this out to my doctor, just so I can get a referral to a urologist, or a psychologist, or both. Even then, based on what I have read, the only treatment is "practice sex" which basically requires a willing partner and a lot of repeated attempts. I don't have any willing partners in my life and moving a relationship into the romantic realm has been nearly impossible for me (different problem/different time).

      • What can I do? What would you do? I feel rotten about this and I can't reconcile how something that is so simple for the vast majority of people can go so wrong for me.


  • Next week’s topic: Shame II: Electric Boogaloo

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Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.