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Shame, in some sense the quintessential human emotion, received little attention during the years in which the central forces believed to be motivating us were identified as primitive instincts like sex and aggression. Now redressing the balance, there is an explosion of interest in the self-conscious emotion. Much of our psychic lives involves the negotiation of shame, asserts Michael Lewis, internationally known developmental and clinical psychologist. Shame is normal, not pathological, though opposite reactions to shame underlie many conflicts among individuals and groups, and some styles of handling shame are clearly maladaptive.
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