× Close
Take the Assessment Give

Shame Unveiled: How Shame Affects You and Your Loved Ones

The affects of shame on ourselves and our loved ones can feels impossible to overcome sometimes, don't give up just yet.

The effects of shame on you and your loved ones can be incredibly damaging, life-altering even.

Shame is defined as ‘a painful emotion characterized by a deep sense of embarrassment, guilt, or disgrace about one’s actions, thoughts, or identity, often stemming from a perception of falling short of societal or personal standards, and may result in feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, or self-blame, significantly impacting self-esteem, relationships, and mental well-being.’

Certain moments replay in your head. 

A song on the radio sends you back. 

Seeing a post on Facebook crushes your soul. 

From what you were to what you are now. 

You want to be hidden. 

You want nobody to notice you. 

You want to be forgotten. 

The affects of shame on you and your loved ones can make you want to avoid memories and feelings that are filled with regret and embarrassment.

There are times in your life you wish you could go back. A time you replay not by choice, but because anytime you hear that song, see that social media post, or even turn down that street it’s like throwing salt in an open wound. 

You don’t want anyone on the planet to see you. Purposefully looking for ways to stay away from anyone who will ask you “How have you been?” or “What are you up to now?” People closest to you become ghosts of a haunted past. You even forget who you once were and doubt you could ever be that person again. 

Avoidance becomes your survival strategy.

You dodge mirrors.

You plan out the specific time to go out somewhere to avoid others. 

You get out of social events. 

You fixate on the past. 

You obsess over the past.

You isolate yourself.

You don’t dare go on social media because everyone you see feels as though you’ve let them down. 

And since you’ve already isolated yourself, nobody can pull you out of that mind frame. 

Shame sucks.

People don't often realize how the affects of shame can consume an entire household of people.


Shame doesn’t just affect you but your loved ones too. When parents feel ashamed, they might find it hard to be there for their kids. They might feel too overwhelmed by their feelings to give their children the love and support they need. When kids see their parents struggling, they might also start feeling unsure of themselves. It’s like a chain reaction—everyone feels bad because one person is hurting.

And even though you might feel alone in your pain, there’s always a part of you that wishes someone could understand and help you feel better. Shame is like a big dark cloud that sucks all the happiness out of life, leaving you feeling empty. But remember, you’re not alone. There’s hope and healing, even in the toughest times.

Now what? 

So if you’ve made it this far, congrats, and I appreciate you taking the time to read this, but that may just mean you related to something I said above and never have identified it before.

Unaddressed shame can result in habitual self-monitoring and self-condemnation leading to depression, anxiety, resentment, anger issues, and even suicidal thoughts. A shame cycle can begin and we can repeat destructive behaviors to black out the overwhelming feelings of shame.

How do we fight the affects of shame? It's possible...

So, how do we fight shame?

Here are the two ways that have helped me the most. 

Empathy is the shame killer.

If you know someone struggling with feelings of shame right now—whether it’s for something they did or something that happened to them—your empathy towards them can make a bigger difference than you realize. And if you’re the one battling shame, remember to have empathy for yourself. Don’t let those negative thoughts take over completely. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to overcome them.

Shine a light on your shame

You might be wondering why you should share the effects of shame and the toll its taken on you and your loved ones with the world. It does seem like a private matter, and you may have a valid point. But we can’t keep hiding from it or avoiding it any longer. We need to stop feeling alone and stop isolating ourselves. It’s time to bring it out into the open. It might feel strange at first, but even as you type it out, you might feel your mood starting to lift.

Now, go make a huge social media post about your personal life. Just kidding!

On a serious note, find your crew, your people. If you feel like you have nobody to reach out to, you can talk to me! Tell people about what’s going on in your life, and share what has you feeling down. I promise that at the end of it, you’ll feel so much better because you aren’t in it alone.

Okay, I lied about there being only two points. There are actually three. I didn’t mention God this whole time, and there’s a reason for that. If you don’t believe in what I believe, I respect that and wouldn’t want to push my beliefs on you. However, if you do believe in God or are on the fence, I want you to check out these next few sentences.

Don't go on the journey of self-discovery on your own.

Whether you believe it or not, God says you are… 

Blessed – Ephesians 1:3

Loved – John 3:16

Courageous – Deuteronomy 31:6

Redeemed – Romans 3:24

Free – Romans 6:6-14

Beautiful – Psalm 139: 13-14

Victorious – Romans 8:37

Chosen – Ephesians 1:4

Forgiven – Ephesians 1:7

Gifted – James 1:17

Valuable – Job 33:4

With Purpose – Jeremiah 29:11

Strong – Psalms 18:35

Important – 1 Peter 2:9

Mine – Isaiah 43:1

Beloved – Jeremiah 31:3

His Child – 1 John 3:1

Bold – 2 Corinthians 3:12

Masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10

Which of these verses or words stood out to you? Go to those verses, read them, and memorize them! They will become a weapon against all of the feelings of shame.

In conclusion, this is an ongoing battle. Equip yourself with the weapons to fight shame. You are too valuable, too important, and too loved to let shame beat you. 

Don’t ever be convinced that you’re alone in this.

You are loved.

Thank you for reading.


Author: Jon Thies, Director of Business Operations at Family ID

For additional resources, visit www.family-id.com.