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Column: Shame has fallen out of fashion, but it can be a force for good


According to this widely accepted view, shame shuts us down and isolates us from other people through the feelings of defect and unworthiness it inspires. But shame may also serve as a force for good when we direct it at behavior damaging to the social fabric.

Joseph Burgo, Washington (DC) Post / Tampa Bay (FL) Times 

11/17/17 | Public shaming represents an ironic kind of justice, for it is shame that keeps many victims silent for years. Shame has increasingly come to be viewed as a repressive force whose shackles must be thrown off.

Every day it seems someone is proclaiming that he or she has no reason to feel ashamed of one thing or another — being gay or transgender or overweight; having had an abortion; having survived rape or childhood sexual abuse; or struggling with mental illness or addiction. Bestselling self-help author Brené Brown has devoted many books to helping people resist shame, which, Brown says, "corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change."

Joseph Burgo is the author, most recently, of "The Narcissist You Know" and the forthcoming "Shame."

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