Of all the archetypal affects in us, shame is the most toxic and the most human of all the emotions. Lewis Stewart, who reassessed Jung’s thoughts about affects, believes that contempt and shame are two sides of the same bipolar emotional dynamic whether one is on the giving or receiving end. Both are the response to alienation and rejection. Extreme contempt exudes a deprecating superiority. Extreme shame obliterates a sense of self-worth and authenticity. Clinical examples will illustrate how this bipolar dynamic operates in all of us.
Anita Greene, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst (IAAP) and Rubenfeld Synergist, is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute of New York and teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute of Boston. She has a private practice in Amherst.