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Traces of Shame

Traces of Shame

In Patrick Susskind’s novel Perfume, the protagonist, Grenouille, is able to concoct fragrances that overwhelm those inhaling them with a sense of the fragile beauty of lost innocence. Liberally using perfume in this way he brings to control even a crowd who, seconds before, would have killed him: they halt their attack and revere him.
Machiavellians do not inhabit the realm of emotion or morality in the same way as others, yet they use these realms to manipulate others.
This paper suggests that part of what makes a Machiavellian personality style is the attempt to deal with shame, once and for all, by bypassing it. Internalized unconscious shame can rob us of a willingness to trust. It makes us unwilling to risk transparency to others about our aims and ideals, to risk an unrequited smile and the hope for kind treatment.
Using Machiavellians as a case study, I explore how shame can alienate us from others and from parts of ourselves, Gollum-like, diminishing the integrity of our personality. I describe psychoanalytic features of developmental environments, which promote shame-proneness and highlight ways of working with people who have drawn dark conclusions about self and others.
Conference: Demo
Areas of Interest / Categories: Shame


Community Outreach to Young People Experiencing Homelessness.

Self-hatred in Psychotherapy: one of the most difficult things to treat

Shame and Belonging

One of the greatest strengths of the Gestalt model is its relational, intersubjective understanding of people and their development.  In this video, Robert Lee explores three aspects that are central to the Gestalt way of understanding/diagnosing, interacting with/treating clients and being with people in general .

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Shame and complex traumatisation: attitudes to therapeutic interventions for shame in those with dissociative identity disorder

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