Shame: A Crippling Entity

Blog , Shame

by Laura Deneen, Refuge Center Intern

-The difference between shame and guilt

Shame shows up in many different forms, across a variety of circumstances. A husband who returns home to tell his wife that he lost his job, an adolescent who frequently abuses substances, or a mother who tells her child she is unsure of the father’s identity are examples of situations that may be shame inducing. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, shame is defined as “a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong.” Welch (2012) discusses the crippling nature of shame, how it can dictate decisions, views of oneself, and potentially lead to anxiety or depression.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown indicates: “shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.” Despite the distressing emotions induced by shame, there is hope in realizing that we are all human beings who make mistakes, fall down, and need the comfort, grace, and encouragement from a loving Savior. At The Refuge Center for Counseling, we believe in the Redemptive ability of Jesus Christ, in terms of His Power to renew, restore, and make holy what was once shameful. We welcome the opportunity, and consider it a privilege, to walk alongside clients in their journey towards understanding shame, and forgiveness of self and others. The Refuge Center for Counseling aims to provide an environment in which feelings of shame can be expressed honestly and openly, along with hope for clients struggling with shame.


Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden Publishing.

Shame [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Merriam Webster Online, Retrieved November 5, 2014 from

Welch, E. Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2012. Print.

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