Shame and the Still Face

Watching the baby in the still face experiment, it is evident how a sense of shame can become so embedded in a person’s experience. The way the baby falls apart, not through overt humiliation or obvious shaming by the other, but through not being responded to. This feeling of distress, expressed so clearly by the baby can seem familiar. Sometimes you may have the experience of falling apart in the way the baby does, particularly if trying to communicate something of  importance and encountering a blank response. If people are too busy or preoccupied to listen, that feeling can come up. We might feel it is better to try and manage alone. If, in the past, we have had too many experiences of being ignored or not attended to sufficiently, for whatever reason, this can lead to a sense of unease and even anxiety about being around people.

It takes courage to face where this feeling originates and to trust enough to try again and share yourself with another.