10 doctors weighed in:
What exactly is toxic shame?
10 doctors weighed in

Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree
In brief: Toxic shame
Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we're flawed and therefore unworthy of love & belonging.
It's "toxic" because it often leads to hiding or withdrawing -- which intensifies it. Other results can be trying to overly please or ingratiate others, or getting aggressive towards others to gain power by shaming them. Guilt = "i did something bad." shame = "i am bad.".

In brief: Toxic shame
Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we're flawed and therefore unworthy of love & belonging.
It's "toxic" because it often leads to hiding or withdrawing -- which intensifies it. Other results can be trying to overly please or ingratiate others, or getting aggressive towards others to gain power by shaming them. Guilt = "i did something bad." shame = "i am bad.".
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Dr. Pamela Pappas
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Dr. Donald Hazlett
Psychiatry
3 doctors agree
In brief: Harmful shame
Shame is a normal human emotion.
It's sometimes confused with guilt and hard to distinguish the difference between them. We do things & suffer things that cause us to be ashamed. Guilt is mostly from our own bad behavior. Shame that we don't deal with successfully can bring depression & hopeless helpless feelings & demoralize us. That's toxic physically and emotionally. Best to talk about it.

In brief: Harmful shame
Shame is a normal human emotion.
It's sometimes confused with guilt and hard to distinguish the difference between them. We do things & suffer things that cause us to be ashamed. Guilt is mostly from our own bad behavior. Shame that we don't deal with successfully can bring depression & hopeless helpless feelings & demoralize us. That's toxic physically and emotionally. Best to talk about it.
Dr. Donald Hazlett
Dr. Donald Hazlett
Thank
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology
In brief: Shame
As I hear the question, I would say shame in general has different levels of toxicity.
By this I mean people often feel shame because of being abused by authority figures or peers who tell the person they should be ashamed, when oftentimes there is no reason whatsoever. A way of thinking about shame for legitimate reasons is to think of everyone having something to be ashamed about as a rule.

In brief: Shame
As I hear the question, I would say shame in general has different levels of toxicity.
By this I mean people often feel shame because of being abused by authority figures or peers who tell the person they should be ashamed, when oftentimes there is no reason whatsoever. A way of thinking about shame for legitimate reasons is to think of everyone having something to be ashamed about as a rule.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Dr. Andrew Berry
Thank
Dr. Brian Lynch
Family Medicine
In brief: Shane
Another view of shame.
I just emphasize that this is not a settled question. Shame can be thought of as a necessary feeling. We then learned to have thoughts about that feeling , our own personal reaction to that feeling. I have learned that it is the feeling that we all get when we can't get what we want. Reaction to that moment , when we feel hurt, is learned and can be unlearned.

In brief: Shane
Another view of shame.
I just emphasize that this is not a settled question. Shame can be thought of as a necessary feeling. We then learned to have thoughts about that feeling , our own personal reaction to that feeling. I have learned that it is the feeling that we all get when we can't get what we want. Reaction to that moment , when we feel hurt, is learned and can be unlearned.
Dr. Brian Lynch
Dr. Brian Lynch
Thank
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