Characteristics of Adults Shamed in Childhood

  1. They are afraid of vulnerability and fear exposure of self.

  2. They may suffer extreme shyness, embarrassment, and feelings of inferiority to others.

  3. They fear intimacy and tend to avoid real commitment in relationships.

  4. They may appear either grandiose and self-centered, or seem selfless.

  5. They feel that "No matter what I do, it won't make a difference: I am and always will be worthless and unlovable."

  6. They frequently feel defensive when even minor negative feedback is given. They may suffer severe humiliation if forced to look at mistakes or imperfections.

  7. They frequently blame others before they can be blamed.

  8. They may apologize constantly and assume responsibility for the behavior of those around them.

  9. They often feel like outsiders and have a pervasive feeling of loneliness, even when surrounded by those who love and care for them.

  10. They project their beliefs about themselves onto others, frequently engaging in "mind-reading" and constantly feeling judged by others.

  11. They often feel angry and judgmental towards the qualities in others that they feel ashamed of in themselves.

  12. They often feel ugly, flawed and imperfect, and may be overly focused on make-up or clothing as a way of hiding perceived flaws in self.

  13. They often feel controlled from the outside as well as within; normal spontaneous expression is blocked.

  14. They often suffer from performance anxiety and procrastination and depression.

  15. They often lie to themselves and others.

  16. They frequently block feelings of shame through compulsive behaviors like workaholism, eating disorders, shopping, substance abuse, list making or gambling.

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