The Perils of Toxic Shame

Psychology, Social Justice Ideology

In recent years, collective guilt and internalized personal shame have become mainstream, particular among adherents of group identity-based ideologies that use Privilege Theory as a single defining framework for all of social reality.

For some people, the belief that they belong to an inherently bad demographic group fulfills an unconscious psychic function, where their sense of self feels more complete by identifying with a grand narrative that casts them in a role that requires continual self-doubt, self-blame, contemplation of their own flaws, and a never-ending search for a redemption that will never come.

For others, toxic shame is a weapon that can be used to inflict emotional or spiritual suffering onto other people to gain the psychic reward of sadistically hurting people or in the best of circumstances to gain a sense of moral domination and superiority.

Toxic shame, and the never-ending search for “wrongness” inside and outside is becoming the norm in our media, educational institutions, and even the workplace of companies that have taken on the programming of regressive ideologies that purport to be the only way to create a better society.

But, while it’s popularly accepted to inflict accusation, shame, self-hatred and generalized guilt onto ourselves and other people we consider “wrong-doers” or wrong-thinkers, it is a form of spiritual violence that will eventually need to be healed.