What is the difference between shame and guilt and resentment and aggression

In my psychological practice, I noticed that most of all other feelings, clients talk about shame, resentment, guilt and aggression. Usually, these are the emotional states that create discomfort in life, affect psychological stability, reduce the quality of life and productivity. If there is a problem, it must be solved! But as soon as we begin to immerse ourselves in the situation, an interesting thing becomes clear – far from every person can competently differentiate their emotions, understand their meaning and, accordingly, select solutions. And if this happens at the reception of a psychologist, then there is nothing to worry about, the error of definitions is eliminated and the work is directed in the right direction.

But since in Russia the culture of personal contact with psychologists has not yet been developed, and less than 30% of the inhabitants had experience of interacting with specialists in this field (including work with a school psychologist, which can be very different from the format of an individual consultation), then for the purpose of self-help it is worth dealing with these feelings in order to understand your condition and, most importantly, what to do with it. I assure you that these few minutes of reading will help you save much more time, effort and mental resources in the future.

Disclaimer: Due to the approach to work, it so happened that I usually advise people of intellectual labor. In the last year, these are mainly managers and employees of the IT sector. These are people who have been solving any problems “over their heads” all their lives. Such an approach inevitably leaves an imprint on the personality and non-professional life. I am engaged in minimizing the negative consequences of such features. And within the framework of the articles on this resource, I try to summarize my professional experience and provide useful information.

You need to start with a feeling that is most common in people with a clear focus on society – those for whom the rules, public morality and laws have a high personal significance.

Who doesn't know this feeling

Who doesn’t know this feeling

Shame – the feeling that arises when a person violates social norms and the framework of morality. Shame arises in front of witnesses, because the same action alone does not cause this feeling.

Let’s take a look at example: each of us in moments of solitude sometimes likes to defile naked around the apartment (no one? just me? okay, let’s go…) and it does not cause negative emotions or self-criticism. We consider it normal, natural and acceptable. But if you transfer the same action to a crowded street, you will probably experience discomfort due to violation of social norms.

That is, shame is a feeling that arises when your behavior does not correspond to a particular moral system. In such a situation, the problem is that each person lives simultaneously in many moral systems. The simplest illustration is when a person needs to stay late at work to complete urgent or important tasks. In this case, in the “I as an employee” coordinate system, he receives a positive assessment in his eyes and in the eyes of the manager, but in the “I as a spouse” coordinate system, he receives a negative one, because he did not come to dinner or the promised meeting.

It is the impossibility to determine the priority system of values ​​in a given life period that creates an excessive sense of shame. It is also important to note here that shame, mainly, is about moral standards, and not damage to a particular person. This is important because what follows is a concept that is often considered synonymous:

Probably Batman knows the feeling of guilt

Probably Batman knows the feeling of guilt

Guilt – the feeling that occurs when you delivered negative emotions to another person. A particular case of guilt is when you experience negative feelings because did not live up to expectations another person (even without the direct infliction of negative emotions).

For this feeling example the easiest way to pick up: let’s say you stepped on a person’s foot on the bus. He gasped and winced. You realized that you caused the person inconvenience and began to feel guilty.

Guilt usually arises at the moment of realizing harm to another person. The important point is that you may not even be aware of the direct connection between your actions and the damage to a person, but still feel guilty, since it largely relies not on a rational, but on an emotional assessment of the situation. In this regard, unfortunately, guilt often becomes a manipulative tool that is used for an unenvironmental and even destructive way to achieve one’s goals.

To minimize the feeling of guilt, you need to take a few simple steps:

  • Rationalize the situation. That is, to separate your influence on the state of a person from his general emotional background. Now I will explain. Let’s say that Hypothetical Gennady didn’t have a good day in the morning: he spilled coffee on himself, his boss scolded him at work, he stood in a traffic jam for two hours on his way home, and just before the entrance he also managed to slip right into a puddle. Frustrated, angry and wet, he goes home with the hope that clean clothes and a hot dinner await him there. He enters the apartment already on the remnants of strong-willed efforts, holding all the dissatisfaction with today. But then it turns out that his wife did not wash the clothes and did not cook dinner for some reason. This becomes the last straw for Gennady, who breaks out at his wife, Imaginary Vera, that she ruined his whole day and, possibly, his whole life, that she deliberately decided to piss him off and finally finish him off. Vera takes on the whole flurry of Gennady’s frustration and, not knowing the whole background, thinks that she really shook her husband’s nerves, feeling guilty;

  • Compensate for objective damage. As with the example on the bus, you can offer the person a wet wipe to wipe their boot. The simplest and most understandable point;

  • Compensate for subjective damage. This is about emotions. The easiest way is to apologize. At this moment, mindful of the situation with Gennady, many say: “Well, I didn’t do anything, he himself was inadequately outraged and upset.” And, yes, it’s all true. But you can apologize not only for a real misconduct, but also for the fact that you delivered negative emotions to a person. If you are triggered by the process of apologizing (for example, for you it is tantamount to admitting guilt), then you can simply express sympathy or regret to the person, for example, in the format: “I’m really sorry that you had a lousy day.”

And since we started talking about guilt, then this is the same feeling of only one participant in the situation. But do not forget about the second side, which experiences the opposite of guilt – a feeling of resentment:

Loki and Thor are a classic example of unfulfilled expectations.

Loki and Thor are a classic example of unfulfilled expectations.

Resentment – this is our reaction to the fact that a person / society / weather / who or whatever did not live up to our expectations. Such a dissonance of expectations and reality causes aggression towards the object and self-pity.

An important point – often this aggression is not expressed openly, but is broadcast in the format of “passive aggression”, removal or change in the format of relationships

Here I would like to bring example from the professional sphere: a vacancy has opened at your work for which you are applying. You consider yourself a worthy candidate and are sure that the boss should choose you. But in the end, the place goes to your colleague. Thoughts “The chief is a bastard! I plowed day and night without a break, but he, the infection, did not appreciate it!” – these are manifestations of resentment: unfulfilled expectations, aggression towards the opponent and self-pity.

The most important step here is working with expectations. Since expectations are most often of our internal irrational origin, we do not often express them outwardly. Therefore, it is not always possible to get feedback from the people to whom the expectation is directed, and, accordingly, we cannot correct them. Sometimes this results in a completely subjective construction that has nothing to do with reality. Therefore, your primary task is to answer the questions:

  • Why did I decide that my actions should lead to exactly this result?

  • Did the people who didn’t live up to my expectations even know about them?

  • If they were aware of the expectations, were there specific agreements with them or did it all remain in my head?

Most likely, on many issues, you will come to the conclusion that your expectations were not adequately correlated with reality. And if you keep track of your thoughts and feelings, you can work with your expectations before they come true.

And now it’s worth talking about the most vivid feeling from today’s selection, I would even say that the most burning and most inciting to action is the feeling of aggression.

Aggression in its purest form

Aggression in its purest form

Aggression – this is a behavior aimed at the allocation or redistribution of resources. Aggression is motivated by scarcity or fear of scarcity of resources.

That is, aggression is a feeling / aspiration / action, behind which there is a need to fill the balance of resources: both objective (water, food, money, shelter) and social (status, respect, position, honor).

Most Literary example of this article: Mikhail Yuryevich made inappropriate jokes about the fact that Martynov had a “dagger, not a saber”, causing the latter to desire to restore the desecrated honor (read, return the social resource) – the consequences are known to everyone.

In order to deal with the idea of ​​aggression, but not to go into conflictology, we will go over the edge and try to isolate the most important points. To cope with this feeling, we need to dot the i’s at the following points:

  • Scarcity or fear of scarcity of what resource pushes me to take action?

  • What real, not hypothetical, consequences will the loss of this resource lead to?

  • What is the cost of conflict? What will I lose in the struggle for the resource and will it outweigh the benefits of obtaining the resource?

As part of import substitution, it is necessary to say about the domestic manufacturer

As part of import substitution, it is necessary to say about the domestic manufacturer

Returning to the example of Mr. Lermontov (yes, it was a brief biography of the causes of his death), let’s try to answer these questions from his position. More precisely, from the position of a modern person, if he gets into a similar situation today:

  • I accused Martynov of the small size of edged weapons, he challenged me to a duel. What do I lose if I apologize and refuse to duel? Probably, I will be considered a yap and a coward;

  • Where it leads? Probably, I will be less appreciated in this company and this will create problems with the ladies. But, globally, this will not affect my life;

  • What am I risking? Well, I could be killed or badly hurt. Do I want to die or get injured for the respect of a couple of dozen people? Probably not.

Thus, you can sort out the causes of these feelings, as well as slightly cool the ardor and restore clarity of thought so as not to do thoughtless acts that you will later regret (if you can do anything at all).

These feelings are the inevitable companions of our lives, from which we cannot avoid or hide. We are all human, and feelings are very human. But at the same time, we have the opportunity to live with them so that they do not determine our condition for a long time. Approach consciously to yourself and your feelings – then your life will become a little easier.

Sergei Maksimov.

P.S. If you are suddenly interested in other articles on psychology, they are in my TG channel. Articles only, no memes or spam. https://t.me/maximov_psy

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *