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What is Borrowed Shame? 

Shame is an emotion that comes from feelings of guilt or not feeling good enough. This emotion also comes from a feeling of having done something wrong. When some are caught doing something they shouldn’t, they feel embarrassed. People are often victims of shame from abuse and tragic pasts. Borrowed shame is when an abuser does not accept blame and places it on others. The abuser will blame the child, the rapist will blame the victim, or people with addiction might blame others for their troubles. Learn more about how this works and how to promote healing from this challenging phenomenon.

Why Borrowed Shame is Bad

Borrowed shame heaps blame and shame upon someone by making the other person they harmed feel ashamed. The result is often:

  • Broken trust
  • Isolated feelings
  • Rage
  • Self-harm
  • Lack of boundaries in relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Other mental health issues
  • Substance use disorder

People who are ashamed are often victims of trauma and need support. They may rely on substances to numb their pain or past trauma. It is not their fault but it takes time to cultivate a healthy mindset and focus on healing. People who improve a person’s sense of self-worth and agency are important to be around as they will build that person’s level of trust back up so they feel worthy again.

Healing from the Effects

To grow and experience healing from borrowed shame, the person will never be able to undo or unhear the words the people in their past spoke over them. They cannot undo the trauma or harm caused. They also cannot undo what they have done to others. In order to heal, they have to be willing to overcome denial of times they heaped shame on others, hurt others, or experienced the same for themselves. From there, they can receive treatment and therapy to work through the issues they face. To face it with gratitude and offer themselves grace is an important inner work. Inner healing means working from the inside out to find hope and a future in recovery. 

The Guest House Ocala supports people who are struggling in recovery. We help you navigate healing from addiction and substance use disorder with our programs and services individualized for your recovery. We support your healing from shame and asking forgiveness of others. If you are ready to travel this journey, call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800