Trauma darkens people’s lives—worldwide. Much of that trauma remains hidden, especially in the developing world: unrecognized, undiagnosed, and therefore left untreated.

Shame arises from a negative evaluation of the self (“I did something wrong”) whereas guilt comes from a negative evaluation of one’s behavior (“I did something wrong”). Shame is a general feeling of inadequacy; guilt is a specific sense of transgression.

On the whole, people who experience shame tend to blame others or to deny and try to escape the shame-inducing situation. These people tend to have reduced empathy and exhibit hostility, anger, and aggression. However, those experiencing guilt tend to take responsibility for their actions, strive to repair any damage they have done, have increased empathy, and manage their anger without resorting to aggression. In short, shameful people avoid and attack; guilty people repair and rebuild.

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