Understanding Embarrassment

Embarrassment is a painful but important emotion. It makes us feel bad about our mistakes so that we don't repeat them, and one of its side effects—blushing—signals to others that we recognize our error and are not cold-hearted or oblivious. Shame, a related emotion, can be felt even when no one knows about a slip-up. Guilt tends to focus on what one has done, rather than who one is.

Recent Posts on Embarrassment

How Children Develop Toxic Shame

If we aren't aware of our own tendencies to shame, we won't notice when they get triggered. We'll just act them out onto our children, passing shame down to the next generation.

HB2 as Cultural Narrative

What must it be like to have 'dread'—and perhaps even 'shame' and 'inadequacy'—coded into brain circuitry linked to the urge to use a bathroom?

Hinda the Hypocrite

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on April 23, 2016 How To Do Life
We're often made to feel guilt and shame by people who don't walk their talk.

How to Begin Healing Your Body Shame

When did your body shame start?

The Secret of Steven Blush’s Success

It starts with deconstructing the definition of 'rock star.'

Peter Breggin on the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Complex

The future of mental health interview series continues with Peter Breggin on the psycho-pharmaceutical complex.

Alcoholism and Shame

Throughout my personal and professional experiences working with active and sober alcoholics I have noted a theme: shame.

Do You Love Your Body?

Poor relationships with food, our bodies, and ourselves tend to develop from a perfect storm of events and feelings.

If Donald Trump Is a Narcissist…

Finally, like other pundits making silly if not stupid pronouncements of how things will play out, I plead, "No contest."

Shame and the Pendulum of Blame

Often, our targets of blame are determined primarily by our states of mind rather than any objective reality.

Have You Been Falsely Accused?

Being falsely accused is a painful emotional experience. The pain and shame of not being seen as we really are creates deep heartache and frustration. How can we deal with this?

Why Novels About Infertility's Darkness Are Hitting a Nerve

By Monica N. Starkman M.D. on April 01, 2016 On Call
Even if infertility is not currently a presence in one’s life, the fear of it often is. No wonder novels like The Girl On The Train resonate so strongly.

What Children of Narcissists Sometimes Do

As counterintuitive as it may feel in the narcissistic dynamic (especially with a parent), focus on the self is key to healing.

Can You Accept a Compliment?

The wish for a compliment may result in discomfort when you receive one.

Adult Justification of Child Humiliation and Mistreatment

Ignoring feelings and needs, derision, contempt: Should parents be excused if they treat their children this way? Psychotherapist Alice Miller used to think so, but changed.

Shame On You for Getting a Divorce!

“Imagine a world where empathy and support trump our old-fashioned concepts.”

7 Things People With Social Anxiety Do

If you or someone you know does these things, it could be a sign of social anxiety.

Sharing the News of Divorce

By Wendy Paris on March 15, 2016 Splitopia
You might be reluctant to talk about your divorce, but doing so can help you feel connected and supported, and remind you that you are not alone in this awkward state.

Why Our Partners Embarrass Us

Have you ever felt embarrassed by your romantic partner? If so, it turns out you’re not alone. New studies have uncovered what researchers call the “vicarious spotlight effect."

Talc and Ovarian Cancer

Women's genitals are their own ecosystem. They form a transitional zone between the outside and inside of the body. Dusting them with talc is an attempt to smother them.

How Not to Worry About What Others Think of You

Most of us worry a little too much about what others think of us. Here are three practices that can help us overcome this tendency.

#Oscarssowhite: Antidote for Anti-Asian Racism is CAAMFest

Diversity has become an important issue for the Oscars. Yet tonight featured racist anti-Asian jokes. These jokes can perpetuate bullying and worse. The antidote - CAAMFest!

Fear of Embarrassment, and Other Nested Emotions

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on February 26, 2016 Hot Thought
People experience nested emotions such as hope for forgiveness, love of honor, longing for love, fear of fear itself, lust for glory, and dread of shame.

My Up and Down Life

By Joan Ullman M.A. on February 21, 2016 Uncharted Customs
I didn't start falling down, like most people do, as I aged. I've spent my life falling down, and seen doctors to find out why. Too late, I found the medical profession failed me.

Financial Fighting

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on February 14, 2016 Minority Report
What better time to talk about financial issues than on Valentine's Day weekend especially if your wife makes more than you? For scores of men this is their reality.

Why Are Painful Emotions So Hard to Handle?

By Leon Hoffman M.D. on February 10, 2016 Beyond Freud
Throughout development, maturity lessons need to be learned and re-learned in order to best master the inevitable disappointments of life.

Blake Griffin's Mea Culpa

How Blake Griffin could earn back the trust of fans and supporters after being a bully

No More Sex Until...

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on January 27, 2016 Fighting Fear
A common, although largely ignored, problem for some couples is how to have sex with the children still awake. I offer a solution.

What About Shaming People Into Recovery?

By Stanton Peele on January 26, 2016 Addiction in Society
Mindfulness and Loving Kindness are Buddhist practices with compelling psychological bases. They argue for the legalization of drugs, harm reduction, and self-empowering treatment.

How Has Shame Influenced Your Life?

Do you recall someone telling you "you should be ashamed of yourself." Have you continued to "shame on yourself?" How will you let go of your false notions of shame?