Rage and Shame – two ‘happy’ bedfellows

Trauma manifests itself in many ways. Two signals or symptoms of trauma that often go hand in hand are rage and shame – phenomena’s that create enormous feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Pierre Janet’s simple definition of trauma is ‘there was nobody there.’ meaning there was literally no-one there, or there was no-one there who wasn’t themselves traumatised and therefore unable to help or no-one was there because the other person was an abuser.

Experiencing feelings of rage and shame can often occur when an individual hasn’t been able to come to terms with the hostile and attacking environment of the traumatic experience. Put another way it’s as though the thoughts and feelings are trapped on a spin cycle and from time to time the washing machine door flies open and they come tumbling out. This can lead to distressing bursts of aggressive rage followed or accompanied by deep bubbling feelings of shame – both of which can have the result of making an individual want to withdraw inside themselves or run away from a situation or encourage others to step back away from the person in pain.

Individuals may turn these feelings inwards or fire them off at other people – or both. Counselling can’t take away trauma but it can help you to face it and manage it, releasing it’s grip on your life. By allowing the washing machine door to be opened slowly in a safe and controlled way the items inside can be looked at, not as one jumbled mass but as manageable pieces. Feelings can at last begin to be processed and understood, releasing the tension, stress and distress that may have been spinning around for weeks, months or years – and this time you will not alone to try and deal with it.


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