Shame – My Most Disabling Emotion

I often get hit with attacks of shame. I find it devastating.

I’m just starting to understand it with the help of this new book by psychiatrist Stephan B. Poulter, The Father Factor: How Your Father’s Legacy Impacts Your Career.

He writes:

The superachiever fathering style is the emotional foundation for developing a shame-based personality. One of the developmental reasons for your shame was the constant emphasis on the appearance of success and achievement. Large parts of your personality, your self-esteem, and your emotional independence tend to be underdeveloped and ignored by the constant mandate to excel and look good. Now…when you encounter a problem at the office, suddenly you are immobilized with a flood of shameful emotions ranging from feeling worthless, no good, phony, and fraudulent, to believing you are a horrible person, and you should quit your job immediately. These feelings are deeply rooted in trying to live up to the invisible standard set forth by your super achieving father many years ago. It is an impossible hill to conquer until the issue of shame is healed, understood, and actively removed.

Shame is one of the most insidious emotional issues adults will ever deal with in order to heal in their personal lives and careers. There is no quicker way to develop a more productive and functional self in the workplace than by resolving your feelings of shame and inadequacy. Shame is considered by many mental health professionals…the biggest emotional cancer that a person will develop in his childhood, which may last well into his adult life.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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