Toxic Shame

Good Morning Friends

This morning we will be starting Lesson 7...TOXIC SHAME of our series on unhealthy life patterns. thank you for joining me this morning and I hope it will be a blessing to you. We don't hear a lot teaching on the subject of shame, but shame in our lives plays a huge role in how we 'view ourselves and others', 'relate to others', 'act around others' and even most importantly how we view God and relate to Him in our lives.

We will be focusing on 2 different types of Shame....there is "Toxic Shame", and "Healthy Shame". It is important for us to be able to recognize the difference between the two and to be able to identify which one is operating in our life at any given moment. So lets get started:

                                                   The Root Causes of Toxic Shame

    The Definition of Shame: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

           Shame is variously, an affect, emotion, cognition, state, or condition. The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning to cover; as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame.

           According to Nelson’ three-in-one Bible Reference Companion (1982), shame is a negative emotion caused by an awareness of wrongdoing, hurt ego, or guilt.

A “sense of shame”..... is the consciousness or awareness of shame as a state or condition. Such shame occurs as a result of the experience of shame such as in situations of embarrassment, dishonor, disgrace, inadequacy, and humiliation.

   To have shame” ......means to maintain a sense of restraint against offending others (healthy shame), while to “have shame” is to behave without such restraint.

   "False shame"... is associated with condemnation.

▪         tells us we will never reach our personal goals in life. This shame produces more toxic shame creating symptoms of withdrawal, people-pleasing and putting up masks.

 ▪         is mostly ‘driven’ and ‘passed on’  from one generation to the next.

 ▪         Excessive toxic shame not only causes chronic emotional, mental and relational problems, but it is a major cause of relapse to women in particular.

 ▪         Tells us “we’re going to fail to reach our goals in life.” It begets more shame, causing paralysis, faltering energy, escapism, withdrawal, including people-pleasing and hiding behind a mask, perfectionism, criticism and rage.

 ▪         Originates from shameful or traumatic experiences that leave us with “snapshots” or “scenes” that effect how we relate to future situations that unconsciously bring back the experience of being shamed.

Quote: “Guilt”, writes Potter-Effron, “lets you know when you’ve violated your own values”. While shame is about one’s shortcomings as a total being”. Guilt is about a “transgression, a reaction to what is deemed an inappropriate action.”

 Quote:  {Potter-Effron Writes, “while shamed persons fear abandonment, guilty people fear punishment.”   

                               The difference between “shame” and “embarrassment

▪         Shame.. does not necessarily involve public humiliation;

▪         Embarrassment.. does

▪         Shame.. can be felt as the result of an act known only to yourself;

▪         Embarrassment.. is felt as the result of one’s own actions as it is revealed to others;

▪         Shame…is also personal in that it has implication when there is something morally wrong;

▪         Embarrassment…is the response to something that is morally neutral but socially unacceptable.

Quote:  Shame is a violation of cultural or social values while guilt feelings arise from violations of one’s internal values. Ruth Benedict

                                                                Healthy Shame

 ▪           Healthy shame can serve as a constant reminder to not bring “harm to anyone”!

 ▪         Points us to our own personal wrongdoing (sin against God and others) and leads us away from a hopeless condition to one of hope. Shame was never intended to drive us away from God, but rather, toward Him.

Healthy Shame


▪           Healthy shame can serve as a constant reminder to not bring “harm to anyone”!


▪         Points us to our own personal wrongdoing (sin against God and others) and leads us away from a hopeless condition to one of hope. Shame was never intended to drive us away from God, but rather, toward Him.

 See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  Romans 9:33

 ▪           Associates with real guilt as a result of real sin and always leads us back to God.  

 ▪           Never devalues or degrades us in front of others.

                                                           The Effects of Shame

 ▪        Creates a Sense of feeling naked, exposed, uneasy, vulnerable and unsafe.

 ▪         Gives us the sense of being different from everyone else. Shame causes us to view ourselves in a negative way, which in turn, causes us to feel different.

 ▪         Impacts our need for attention and acceptance. A shamed person has a great need for attention and acceptance.

 ▪         Increases fear and feelings of insecurity.         Fear and insecurity compels us to perform for love. Insecurity drives us to hang on to others too tightly.

 ▪         Distorts our need to be loved.

 ▪         Creates a distorted view of our sexuality. Shame has a tremendous effect on our personal relationships in how we respond to others, relate to others, and love others.

                                                          Recovery from Shame

 ▪           Expose the lies that hide beneath shameful experiences.  Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalm 112:4

▪         Bring shameful experiences into the light.

▪         Break the pattern of toxic shame replacing it with normal guilt and healthy shame.

 ▪         Develop an awareness of when you are feeling shamed and begin to replace those negative thought patterns with positive ones.

 ▪         Allow walls of protection to come down

 ▪         Forgive others who have sinned against you

 ▪         Release painful experiences to God and ask Him to heal you.

 ▪         Accept who God says you are and NOT who you think you are.

             “Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘it is not in me;’ it is not with me,’ it cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its priced be weighed in silver.”  Job 28:13-15

 Questions to Ponder

1.   Are you aware of any shame that may be in your life?

 2.   Can you identify and tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy shame?

 3.   What do you do with shameful feelings when you feel them?

 4.   Do you try to ignore any shameful feelings /or experiences you may have?                  


I Hope you enjoy this, if so pass it on. if you have questions you can email me at Thanks for reading these blogs and may the good Lord bless you richly. have a great day, until next week.