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Publisher's Summary

An intimate look at the full spectrum of shame - often masked by addiction, promiscuity, perfectionism, self-loathing, or narcissism - that offers a new, positive route forward

Encounters with embarrassment, guilt, self-consciousness, remorse, etc. are an unavoidable part of everyday life, and they sometimes have lessons to teach us - about our goals and values, about the person we expect ourselves to be. In contrast to the prevailing cultural view of shame as a uniformly toxic influence, Shame is a book that approaches the subject of shame as an entire family of emotions which share a “painful awareness of self.”

Challenging widely-accepted views within the self-esteem movement, Shame argues that self-esteem does NOT thrive in the soil of non-stop praise and encouragement, but rather depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and finally sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Along the way, listening to and learning from our encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping us to build authentic self-esteem.

Richly illustrated with clinical stories from the author’s 35 years in private practice, Shame also describes the myriad ways that unacknowledged shame often hides behind a broad spectrum of mental disorders including social anxiety, narcissism, addiction, and masochism.

©2018 Joseph Burgo, PhD. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Published by arrangement with St. Martin's Press.

What listeners say about Shame

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Basically a long overview until chapter 10

The book is incredibly (although intentionally) repetitive and doesn’t get into the meat of shame (relatable client stories) until about chapter 10. Once there, it is helpful hearing the stories.

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A great take on shame

This book is very good for anyone who wants a very informed and educated perspective. Burgo knows his stuff and this book gives great insight to some of his experiences that are intriguing to listen to. I flew through the audio version and am ordering the hard copy as well.

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Excellent Read

Very insightful book - gives great real world examples of how shame can affect our real world day to day lives.

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  • Julie
  • 03-20-19

In depth shame!

If you've not read any books about shame then this one is a one stop book.
It lays out in depth what the different forms of shame are, how we get shamed and how repressed shame affects us in our every day life.
The book also has solutions to come out of shame and into feeling proud of our achievements.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J. A. Unwin-smith
  • 04-02-21

NOT VERY HOPEFUL OR HELPFUL FOR TOXIC SHAME

I am saddened to write the following review. The Author makes Frequent references to John Bradshaw's great work in the field of Core Shame, also known as Toxic shame. The first three-quarters of the book detail very well the effects this shame has on Dr. Burgo's patients. It doesn't actually get to the topic in detail of healing until very near the end. This is where I feel that this book may do actual harm to people dealing with lifelong toxic shame. As his conclusions are basically: you are marked and can not really be healed, but you can learn self-esteem and pride through accomplishment and sharing joy with others. This is where this book absolutely infuriates me. The author reference bradshaws work on shame a lot but crucially leaves out Bradshaws findings for the way to heal toxic shame, namely recovery of an authentic self, through inner child work, or grief work, which he used to great effect in the treatment of addicts and others suffering from this core shame. the author's advice is sadly no more in the end than what any self-help greeting card could tell you. To set goals, and build self-esteem. accept your core shame, listen to it, no matter that if this core shame is not addressed truly this will be an exercise in building your house on the sand. as no accomplishment will truly get to the core of this deep feeling of defectiveness inner isolation and pain. I don't think anything he says as practical advice is wrong or unhelpful, however I find myself in complete disagreement with the message that this is the best you can hope for, and that really there is no way of truly healing this inner wound. the only alternative being a idolised super self that doesnt have toxic shame. I would direct anyone seeking to heal to John Bradshaw's book HOMECOMING, ( the paper book, not the audio which features complimentary meditations ) where he details the process for healing these developmental deficits. having worked with this method for a number of years now I can say that it works. and when you truly engage in this journey that true healing and wholeness are possible, step at a time. It's not easy and it is a process of years but a real shift can happen. To tell anyone with the agony of core shame that is essentially they are stuck with it and they should manage expectations for healing is I think just wrong. it's not easy, or a quick fix but it is a shift in how you relate to yourself, and consiquently everything else. I still relapsein to shame based behavour, and still revisit the bottomless pit that is the toxic shame wound, life can still trip me up and I'm still learning but i can personally attest that a true healing for toxic shame is possible. and from that real shame resilience can be established. where you can experience shame as a passing emotion that doesn't send you crumbling to well of agony and shut your life down for weeks at a time or have you reaching for a bottle, a pill, porn, or whatever it is you use to medicate your pain. and to essentially label toxic shame as a lifelong disability, as does the author, is simply to reinforce the toxic shame assertion that you are in fact defective, no normative, broken, worthless, and empty as WHAT you are. That this wound is the truth of you and can't really be healed, is toxic shames evidence for itself, and if you never challenge this the best you can hope for is to be able to constantly build an authetic pride in accomplishment and share joy with others, but that this shame will never leave you or be truely healed. the author is right that of course our experience can never be erased, but he offers little hope of a core healing, that I personally know exists. not in a agrandised self of an idiosed self, but as establishing a whole stable foundation for a authetic healthy self. out of core shame. this is why i would encourage anyone to seek out John Bradshaw's great work and engage with it. only on a secure sense of self rooted in your BEING, your authentic self can you actually build self-esteem as the author suggests, through accomplishment and develop healthy pride. I am someone that lives these wounds and works to heal. and I know real change is possible.That a secure strong healthy sense of self are recoverable, and that real joy can result. my experience is that these wounded parts of your self live inside you and will be painful for as long as they are not embrased and greived and intergrated with something that can become real self love. thats the only real healing i have ever found and to anyone else looking for it i offer encouragement. This book is not useless, but if you dont challange the premise of core shame, as i feel this author does not, then you accept it as something you have to live with and live in spite of, to me thats saying its not something that can really be healed or changed from the deepest core level. and that i think is wrong. accept that you have core shame but dont believe that it is the truth of you or that there isnt a way to a sense of wholeness and secure peace out of core shame. there is.