Internal Shame And Shame

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According to researchers Hedman et al. (2013), there are two classifications of shame; internal and external. Internal shame is inwardly focussed and refers to how the individual judges and perceives him/herself, while external shame is characterised by an individual’s apprehension and also expectation of the negative judgement of others (Hedman et al., 2013). Internal and external shame are often experienced simultaneously. For example, if an individual perceives him/herself as defective or insufficient, they are inclined to believe that they are viewed this way by others (Shepard & Rabinowitz, 2013). External shame is highly correlated with depressive symptoms (Kim et al., 2011) while internal shame is correlated with eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa (Gee & Troop, 2003, as cited by Troop & Redshaw, 2012). Shame is central to social identity (Kaufman, 1996) and is strongly related to the sense of self, as the crux of shame is an individual’s assessment of self and fixations about the perception of others (Gilbert, 2001).
Shame is a complex psychological phenomenon and Ayers (2003) highlights this by indicating that it is common among individuals to experience shame as a result of being ashamed. The construct of shame is becoming a popular topic of research in areas of social, clinical and developmental
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Due to the magnitude of these negative emotions, shame and guilt play an important role in increasing self-consciousness and self-evaluative process. Shame motivates social behaviors and leads to conformance to social norms. When it emerges as guilt, shame becomes a useful emotion that reminds people of social norms and therefore implies adaptive behaviours, because it motivates people to respect their internal ideals and conform to social
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