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Negative emotions. Characteristics


Being a victim of injustice in the past can make a client negative, insecure, antagonistic, distrustful, and pessimistic. Later, they tend to carp and criticize everyone around them. This fear originated in an environment where the closest people were indifferent, cold and authoritarian.

Following are the expressions of being a victim of injustice:

  • blaming others for every mistake or failure
  • shirking responsibilities
  • being cynical or pessimistic
  • seeing others as intruders and predators
  • feeling of being treated unjustly all the time
  • keep on reliving the past negative and painful memories
  • seeing even constructive criticism as an attack


Betrayal is probably the most devastating loss a client can experience.

Betrayal happens when the client trusted someone fully and then gets deceived, abused or hurt.

Following are the expressions of feeling of being betrayed:

  • shock
  • denial
  • anger, rage, revenge fantasies
  • feelings of depression, or anxiety
  • obsessing with betrayal
  • sleep disturbance and having nightmares
  • substance abuse


Shame is the internal frame that makes a person feel dirty, sinful, unworthy, cast-out, bad, filthy and so on.

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Whereas, guilt makes one feel that they have done something wrong and impels them to amend their ways. Shame, on the other hand, makes them feel unworthy and unworthy of being loved.

Characteristics of Shame

  • slouching
  • avoiding eye contact
  • looking down
  • looking away
  • dry mouth
  • racing heart
  • hearing negative inner voices
  • dysfunctions
  • attracting abuses and blames from others
  • inability to live fully and vibrantly
  • feeling unworthy
  • lacking confidence
  • acute awareness of past mistake and defects
  • self-blaming
  • self-accusing
  • tunnel vision
  • regrets
  • anxiety
  • unhealthy relationships
  • incessant conflicts
  • relational difficulties
  • being in denial, defensive, angry
  • making wrong choices

Causes of Shame

Shame is mostly caused by past distress and wounds like:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • A controlling Family of origin
  • An enmeshed Family
  • A disengaged Family


In this stage the counselor invites the client to get in touch with their inner pain and bring shame into the light.

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This creates enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it. Acknowledging shame and sharing shame-experiences with the counsellor helps the client go beyond shame. The client is led into their core beliefs that come from shame and dispute or question these irrational core beliefs.

Explore the Irrational Thoughts and Beliefs (REBT)

The client is welcome to become aware of their self-destructive thoughts. Exploring of core beliefs and cognitive distortions will enable the client to dispel them easily. Some of the irrational beliefs that a client might be having are:

  • I am worthless and unlovable.
  • I am bad, filthy or dirty.
  • I am a failure.
  • I don’t deserve love.
  • Shame on me.
  • I am stupid.
  • I am filthy, dirty, defective, and selfish.
  • I’m a phony.
  • I don’t matter.
  • I shouldn’t have been born.
  • I am ashamed of my body, my family, my background, caste, religion.
  • I do not deserve love from others.
  • I am a burden to others.
  • I am garbage, junk.
  • I am too stupid and cannot solve any of my problems.
  • I am uncreative, useless, ineffective, and dunce.
  • I am not capable of solving my issues and problems.
  • I have too many problems, so I give up on life.
  • I am ugly duckling, unattractive.

Irrational beliefs about others:

  • Everybody is selfish.
  • No one cares for others.
  • All are dishonest and cannot be trusted.
  • Relationships cause only suffering.
  • People are out to make use of me and dump me.
  • Nobody wants to love me and accept me.
  • Others’ opinion of me is what really matters.
  • Any difference of opinion is harmful. Agree with others at all costs.

The Three Needs according to Self-psychology

Self-psychology, the brainchild of Heinz Kohut (1913-1981), maintains that everyone is intimately connected to others and is dependent on others to provide the emotional nourishment needed for healthy development. These self-object needs come to existence in childhood and they remain till death. In childhood these needs are met by our primary caregivers. Later, one turns to other family members, siblings, neighbours, friends, guides, teachers, counselors, mentors, spouses, children, in-laws and others, for their fulfilment. These needs remain throughout the life span. During counseling, when the counselor understands the client from within their own emotional world, they get healed. Employing empathy and introspection, the counsellor invites the client to re-experience the past distress. This promotes the self-development of the client and they are able to lead a happy, productive, satisfying life. There are three specific self-object needs of every person:

Mirroring Need: The counselor serves as a mirror reflecting back a sense of self-worth and value to the client. Mirror is used to check one’s appearance. The same way, mirroring in counseling involves use of affirming and positive responses by the counselor to bring to light the positive traits within the client.

Idealizing Need: Clients need counselors who will make them feel happy, loved and comfortable. The counselor is idealized as somebody who gives, comfort, love and support when the client is not able to provide these to themselves on their own.

Similar topics:

Essay about Betrayal

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Negative emotions. Characteristics. (2019, Dec 14). Retrieved from

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