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Shame and difficult people

For conference "Dealing with difficult people".
by

Bill Hansberry

on 5 February 2014

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Transcript of Shame and difficult people

ATTACK
OTHER
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK SELF
WITHDRAWAL
Strategy 2: The compass of shame
Attack Other Responses to Shame

I feel so shameful that diminishing someone else is my only defense against the information shame wants me to consider. I'll achieve this though any means that will cause distress and shame in others and give me a regained sense of power.

If I can make somebody else feel worse than I do, maybe I’ll feel a bit better about myself – a bit stronger.

When were you last here?

Who do you know struggling with this response to affect shame?
Avoidance of Shame

I feel so bad about myself I have to act as if I’m somebody else so nobody can see the real me (the real me is defective). I might try bravado - like I don’t care, be silly or show off to try to make other people think I am different from who I really am. Or I might brag about something I’m good at – because I think the real me is defective.

Which difficult people do you see using avoidance often?

Have you visited here lately?
Attacking Self

As a defective human I have to be mean to myself and let others demean me. It's the only way I can stay connected to others and it's what I deserve.

I don’t believe I’m good enough so I don’t deserve respect or kindness from others, but hey, at least I'm connected.

Do you know someone at this pole?

What's their story?

How do you 'attack yourself?'
Withdrawing from Shame

I’m defective, so I have to run and hide from others so they don’t have reason to dislike me more. I just want to be somewhere nobody can see me so I don't feel more shame.

Do you know someone who is spending a lot of time here?

What might be the source of their shame?

How might you help them?
Shame &
Difficult People

Affect-Script Theory
Silvan Tomkins
Donald Nathanson MD
9
Positive Affects
Interest - Excitement
Enjoyment - Joy
Neutral Affect
Surprise - Startle
Negative Affects
Shame - Humiliation
Distress - Anguish
Fear - Terror
Anger - Rage
Disgust
Dissmell
Shame is a critical affect, it evolved as an affect to tell us that something has just happened that has interrupted
interest
or
enjoyment.

It tries to get us

to
pay attention
to the impediment - the event that
interrupted

us feeling interest or enjoyment
So what kinds of events trigger shame?

"Shame is usually triggered by the sudden
awareness of something about the self
that we didn't want to know"
(Nathanson)
Something or someone
points out that we are
not quite measuring up
The first moments of this
realisation are devastating.
We can't think straight
When we come out of
cognitive shock
,
memories (scenes) of other times we
felt this way are replayed
An inner search:
we wonder if there's
anything that's good about us,
it's easy to forget that there's anything about us that's lovable
or worthy
We reach a fork in the road....
what we will do with the
information that shame
wants us to pay attention to?
Another Usual Suspect:
The awareness that we've caused harm
or offense or upset to another.
innate affects
We pay attention to what shame wants us to consider. Sure, it stings, but,
we a good, hard look at ourselves and act bravely and honestly to address whatever it was that shame wants is to consider - that thing that got in the way of our interest or enjoyment with other people.
If you are looking for
affect shame, 'x' marks
the spot!
Strategy 1: For the loved and accepted
Questions for a chat – 5 minutes

What does this information make you think about?

Who does this information make you think about?
Shame Management
ATTACK
OTHERS
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK
SELF
WITHDRAWAL
Bradley’s Shame: Scenario
context
Withdrawal
Attack Self
Avoidance
Attack Other
Bradley’s behaviours following him kicking Dana
Bradley’s responses to shame
after kicking Dana


Read “Bradley’s Social History” and then discuss in your group where his behaviours might fit into the Compass of Shame.

Pop your ideas onto the sheet provided
Silent Reading!
context
Withdrawal
Attack Self
Avoidance
Attack Other
Bradley’s social history
Bradley’s Scripted
responses to shame
context
Withdrawal
Attack Self
Avoidance
Attack Other
Bradley’s behaviours following him kicking Dana
Taking himself away to the out of bounds area
Walking away when approached by Dana and teacher
Saying he hates himself
Inviting suspension
Saying “I don’t care”
being sullen and defiant with his teacher
Kicking Dana
Putting Dana down
Calling the school stupid
Bradley’s social history
Sulking
Running and hiding
Escalating himself to suspension
being defiant with his teacher
Negative self talk when friends want to play with other
clowning behaviour
being sullen and defiant with his teacher
deliberate attention seeking
name calling
threatening when he feels he is losing friends
being sullen and defiant with his teacher
What did you have?
5 minutes - Chatfest

So, we all know a Bradley (or four)!

What do we know about these peoples' responses to
affect
shame - which road does shame take them down?

What affect is triggered in us when we find their behaviour difficult?

What prevents them from being able to have a good hard look at themselves?

What might make the difference in how we approach our relationships with them?
Common Shame Trigger...
Shame triggered when something
gets in the way of feeling good
about another person
WITHDRAWAL
ATTACK SELF
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK
OTHER
We see....

a momentary pulling away from social contact
want to be alone
shyness
agoraphobia
avoids human contact
We may see....

self put downs

masochism

self mutilation

suicide
We may see....


toughie - bravado (denial)

workaholism

substance abuse

super macho

addiction
We may see....

'acceptable' banter

blame

teasing

angry put downs

sarcasm

rage

murder
Thank you
www.hansberryec.com.au
www.thorsborne.com.au

WITHDRAWAL
ATTACK SELF
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK
OTHER
These four poles contain scripts that people employ to avoid the
self-scrutiny
demanded by the shame experience. They are our
only defence
against the awful thoughts and feelings that come with the shame experience when we feel insecure and unlovable.
ATTACK
OTHER
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK SELF
WITHDRAWAL
Attack Other Responses to Shame

I feel so shameful that diminishing someone else is my only defense against the information shame wants me to consider. I'll achieve this though any means that will cause distress and shame in others and give me a regained sense of power.

If I can make somebody else feel worse than I do, maybe I’ll feel a bit better about myself – a bit stronger.

When were you last here?

Who do you know struggling with this response to affect shame?
Avoidance of Shame

I feel so bad about myself I have to act as if I’m somebody else so nobody can see the real me (the real me is defective). I might try bravado - like I don’t care, be silly or show off to try to make other people think I am different from who I really am. Or I might brag about something I’m good at – because I think the real me is defective.

Which difficult people do you see using avoidance often?

Have you visited here lately?
We may see....


toughie - bravado (denial)

workaholism

substance abuse

super macho

addiction
We may see....

'acceptable' banter

blame

teasing

angry put downs

sarcasm

rage

murder
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK
OTHER
Human
Affect
Theory

WITHDRAWAL
ATTACK SELF
AVOIDANCE
ATTACK OTHER
www.hansberry.com.au
challenge:
backstabbers and whiteanters
Blamers and whingers
Bullies and Tyrants
Avoiders
Competitors
Controllers
Poor communicators
Full transcript