The Difference Between Guilt and Shame.
Some might be struggling to categorize these two terms, and I certainly had to think about it as I was breaking them down to gain understanding, and help those who might also be struggling. We confuse one with the other and we tend to blame ourselves for what is external to ourselves.
Guilt involves feelings about oneself, and shame depends upon empathy for others or making an individual feel shameful for certain wants or actions. Both of these words relate to different experiences, although one can look at both and feel internal conflict.
Shame relates to Self & Guilt relates to others. That is relevant and important but that statement could be seen on another level where Guilt relates to Self and Shame also relates to self, but the only reason shame relates to self is because our external reality and our projections can make us feel shameful, or due to the actions of others we are made to feel shameful.
Here is my theory; Guilt is felt when we did something that is morally wrong. We feel guilty for an action or deed done that caused harm emotionally or physically to ourselves or another person. We feel guilty when we lie to someone we love. We are hurting them emotionally when they find out and that is when we are shamed for that action. The lie could have been for their own good or to protect ourselves but because the action affected another individual, we might now have both feelings of guilt and shame. This example shows how the external reality through our actions can affect us deeply.
We might do something really positive. We might act on something we love and have passion for, but our relationship outside of ourselves might not see it that way, and they might call it selfish. Putting what you love first is merely looking after yourself and your happiness and is not an act of destruction. This does not make us big headed or egotistic, this is when you need to stop and realise that this is where we give others the power to tell us how we should feel. Make us feel shameful for our actions, making us feel guilty as if we did something wrong. When did it become wrong to ensure the happiness of our wellbeing? Is this why the world is so confused to where their priorities should lie?
I understand when you have empathy towards someone who is in a bad patch you feel sorry for them and the situation they are in, you empathise with them as you can put yourself in their shoes or you have been there before.
I started looking at this when I saw the diagram called the ‘Drama Triangle’
*Rescuer *Victim and *Persecutor
The Rescuer will never be able to be rescue a Victim as the victim needs to heal from within as that will be the only way to come out of this behaviour. The Rescuer might end up harming themselves emotionally being stuck in a Shame or Guilt scenario that is very much part of this triangle.
This is where you will see the Empath and Narcissist behaviour step in.
The Persecutor could take on the Victim and Rescuer role trying to help and also to push blame onto others and visa versa. It is always good to observe such behaviour and notice when it arises because when you become aware of it, you see the totality of what is occurring.
Love and light