Response to the Holocaust: Unit 6.docx

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Shame and Guilt
Thursday, February 28, 2013
6:07 PM
The experience of the grandparents have had a significant affect on the next generations
(children, grandchildren)
o Their family have not been spared
o Children of survivors have grown up with psychological issues and even severe mental issues
o Does it ever stop??
Does it dilute over time?
What is shame??
o Feelings of unworthiness; inferiority; a feeling of profound inadequate and is usually
accompanies by a belief of unworthiness which is also self destructive
o Shame can be useful; it is a bad thing to have.. But it isnt a bad thing to use
Can be used as a vehicle for obedience or complying
e.g. Amish: if someone does something against the rules, they are called out and
shamed therefore stopping others from not complying
o Not just a human reaction but it can actually have some value when applied in society
o An abiding shame could lead to destructive self hatred
What is guilt??
o Anger directed inward; rather than being angry at people around you, you turn it on
yourself
o Unlike shame, guilt can be corrected
o Sometimes guilt can evolve into shame
Survivor Guilt
Address the question not of "why me" BUT of "why not me"
o Everyone is dead.. Why not me; my family got torcherd... Why not me
o e.g. War veteran: why did everyone die but me?
Why do they do this??
o In the same situations, there are different outcomes; the survival of one is construed at the
expense of another
o Telling someone not to feel guilty is like telling someone not to be hot or cold because guilt
is a FEELING
The fact that people feel guilty CAN a good thing
o Address hopelessness and powerlessness
o Strengthens the connection with the dead
o Motives the fact that they have to do something about it... Could be kindness
o The sense of powerlessness can empower you to do something else
o "Im here for a reason"
Their life was spared for something greater; I survived because I have something
important to accomplish
Guilt has a downside...
o A perpetual need to think you are a coward; regretting doing something that could have
saved someone else etc
o These feelings idolizes the dead
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Document Summary

What is shame: feelings of unworthiness; inferiority; a feeling of profound inadequate and is usually accompanies by a belief of unworthiness which is also self destructive, shame can be useful; it is a bad thing to have But it isnt a bad thing to use. Can be used as a vehicle for obedience or complying. What is guilt: anger directed inward; rather than being angry at people around you, you turn it on yourself, unlike shame, guilt can be corrected, sometimes guilt can evolve into shame. Their life was spared for something greater; i survived because i have something important to accomplish. Guilt has a downside: a perpetual need to think you are a coward; regretting doing something that could have saved someone else etc, these feelings idolizes the dead. If they concede they love the living, it means they are denying the love of the dead: terrible feelings of inadequacy come with guilt.

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