Episode 2: The Voice (Shame) is NOT Guilt!

Episode 2: The Voice (Shame) is NOT Guilt!

Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.

Most of the time, we lump shame and guilt into a general idea of “feeling bad about self.”  In fact, shame and guilt are more opposite than they are similar.  In this episode, I talk with two callers about how the two are different, and why shame (The Voice) is so destructive.


 In-Depth Study:

See the following materials for more in-depth study of the topics in this podcast:


1 Comment

  1. Dear Jodi, I very much appreciated listening to this website. I had to go over some parts several times because my mind kept wandering onto spin off subjects. The idea that a baby picks up shame early because of stressful environment is probably true. He is learning to act out his environment by displaying how “horrible” life is going even if loved ones have to absorb the drama. I would like to think that an infant’s conscience would let him know that this is not the preferred way to respond to life’s downs. As an educator in early care, I came upon a very useful word. It is self-efficacy. I have always believed that a person brings with them certain standards that are very important to them. They can also pick up more as life goes on. This word has helped me understand why a family in a ghetto can learn to become content at living in the ghetto, except for one family member. It is because of their self-efficacy. They believe in making changes for the better. They believe in themselves to the point that they will do the best they can to the limit of what they are willing to do. And then they are content with the range they have chosen to the extent that perhaps later they might “dare” do more, but if not, they will be happy for now. They might go through the adolescent self-discontent, a period of envying others’ abilities, but they then realize they are wasting time and get on with their lives one step at a time. A baby can totally accept his upbringing until he, like you say, listens to his own emotions and is able to ferret out the dross. Otherwise he will act out like his parents and only increase his shame. It is the lazy thing to do. It is energy spent on venting instead of being proactive. I believe that deep inside we know that we are to try to problem solve. A baby isn’t going to pick up on that because he loves and trusts his caregivers and anything they do is right from his perspective. I agree that guilt is an ally to guilt and can be used for constructive course correction. I’m certain I’ve been only bringing up stuff that you are aware of. The flip side of all this is that I’ve come to believe that it is very easy for a person to “slip through the cracks” of life, because, from personal experience, there really is something to “picking yourself up by your bootstraps.” I feel it is very easy for a person to accept discouragement and consciously default into accepting the behavior of his upbringing only to have to confess self-deception. I also agree that binary thinking puts people into a trap of too many do’s and don’ts and confusion and shame. The one good thing that I wish the whole world knew is that the family is a living thing and that it can heal from inter-generational negative behavior. Back to the word shame, a person who has acted out in temper tantrums as an adult to punish loved ones, then finding that much trust had been lost, might turn to someone outside the family for sympathy or to start over in a more accepting relationship. The person dug a hole for themselves, then to retrain the family to accept him or her differently, was too much to ask for, or impossible, or they didn’t have the skills to do, or the patience. When someone is punitive with me for something minor, I used to not have the wherewithal to respond to it. I now confront the person mildly and let them know that I recognize that they feel disappointed but that being retaliating to let me know that something is amiss is not going to help things. Thank you for letting us know that if we are shame based we can choose our battles and work with this element in our lives instead of sinking into isolation.


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