chapter  3
20 Pages

Shame, Vulnerability, and the Four Spheres of Self

This chapter explores how each of the four spheres of self relates to shame and addiction. It attempts to incorporate these elements of shame into another model of shame, one that focuses upon the vulnerable self interacting with a desperately needed but potentially disapproving and rejecting society. The chapter suggests that many individuals yearn for a relationship with themselves and others in which judgment is simply irrelevant. The emphasis in self psychology is upon the fragile developing self needing affirmation but encountering disinterest or disapproval; affect theory stresses the value of shame for lessening potentially disruptive amounts of excitement and interest; systems theorists look at how shame functions as a social control mechanism. Clients may then choose to return the prohibition and attendant shame to its originator. Alcoholism itself may also profitably be viewed as a defense against shame with some clients.