Shame vs guilt is tricky. Some say the differences are obvious – that one is good and the other is bad. Many institutions, cults, organizations, parental figures from your childhood, teachers, coaches, friends, family, romantic partners, and even some religions use these two powerful emotions to your disadvantage without you even knowing it.
Once they can ignite guilt and shame within you, they then get to justifiably ask for the keys to the car of your life – after getting you to voluntarily admit that you are not qualified to drive (which you are ashamed about having to acknowledge and which absolves them of the empathetic guilt that they are incapable of feeling/acknowledging).
This is done in a short-cut attempt to sever the ties from the anchors of their own shame and guilt. It can also be done to affirm power. To them, the fact that you are now handing over your keys gives them immunity (even though it’s rooted in delusion).
There are so many things today that I feel ashamed of myself – for doing, for not doing, for feeling, for not letting go of, for saying, for not saying, for struggling with, etc. And the intertwined guilt that comes with each of these things made it hard for a really long time…
Until I was able to use these normal, human emotions of guilt, shame, and guilt vs shame to my dignified advantage.