Psychology of Men/ Shame


In your own words describe Shame in men as a destructive emotion

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Many attempts have been made to try and understand shame in men. The fact that shame is more associated to women rather than men makes it a destructive emotion in men. This kind of reasoning is reinforced by the fact that shame is associated with guilt. As Lewi, 1971 puts it; the shame experience is very much about the self. In other words, the self is the object of evaluation all the time. This form of evaluation is always negative.

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            Shame is considered by many societies as a primitive emotion that is self centered. It is also associated with aggression, anger, substance abuse, family violence, eating disorders and substance abuse. Many empirical researches indicate that modern societies are more tolerant of shame among women than men. When men show signs of shame, something very undesirable is presumed to have taken place in their lives and they seem solely responsible for it.

            A man who is suffering from this emotion may easily direct his feelings of anger towards other people around him. Men who return home in the evening to beat their wives, according to a research conducted by Tangney and Dearing, 1995, are sufferers of shame. The same case can be said of those people who show up in schools carrying a gun, start shooting people, before finally shooting themselves.

            Sometimes, a shamed person tends to direct his aggression towards the inner self. In this case, psychopathology can easily result. Again, this happens more in men than in women. This is the reason majority of depression cases in men are directly associated with shame.


Lewis, H. 1971. Shame and Guilt in Neurosis. London: Intl Universities Pr Inc

Tangney, J. and R. Dearing 2002.  Shame And Guilt. New York: Guilford Publications

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