As an anger management specialist, I’ve witnessed the powerful impact that shame can have in fueling anger arousal as an adult. Some direct their anger outward, while others focus it inward. Each moment of anger directed in this manner can provide a powerful distraction from experiencing shame or the feelings that may accompany it. Shame, like guilt and embarrassment, involves negatively judging ourselves when we believe we’ve failed to live up to either our own standards or the standards of other people (H. Lewis, 1971).
Recall a time when you experienced shame, whether it was a reaction to judgment by others or your own. You most likely experienced intense discomfort, feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness and the desire to hide (M. Lewis, 1995). And you most likely felt anger toward others or with yourself.