Shame & Blame.

shame and blame definition red flag professional behaviour

Scroll down or click to read: 1️⃣ Definition 2️⃣ What is shame? 3️⃣ How Blame can stop the discomfort of shame. 4️⃣ Blame and shame makes you feel 5️⃣ How to deflect shame and blame. 6️⃣ NHS Complaint standards Legislation

1️⃣ Definition

The embarrassment, anger and humiliation you feel when a professional or Organisation questions your integrity. To protect their reputation and/or to support their decision not to uphold your complaint. Is the emotion of shame.

2️⃣ What is shame?

Shame is triggered when someone does something that goes against their moral code. They think that unless they cover up this behaviour, their reputation will be harmed. To protect themselves from the comfortable emotions associated from being ashamed.

They twist the facts to invent plausible reasons why is was your behaviour that forced them to react in this way. Successfully allowing them to transform and deflect their feelings of shame about themselves onto you. This ability to find fault with your behaviour is known as blame.

2️⃣.1️⃣ Shame and Blame Cycle Info-graph.

shame and blame infograph red flag professional behaviour
click on image to enlarge

Shame is a survival tool and evolved to ensure the survival of the human race, as shame works:

▶️ to stop people harming anyone they hold near and dear.

▶️ By making a person feel uncomfortable and/or fearful that they will be rejected by the group if they continue to behaviour like this. Ie. Theft, murder, fraud. As the threat of being left to face danger alone and without backup, makes most people behave better in the future.

3️⃣ How Blame can stop the discomfort of shame.

If they blame you for the events, mistakes etc, it helps them to avoid dealing with any uncomfortable feelings that make them feel ashamed and inadequate. Whilst still allowing them to justify their actions and avoid coming face to face with their flaws.

⏯ Professional Blame and Shame at work

When the NHS, Regulators or Commissioners suggest that you are in some way responsible for your ‘misery and pain’ because you ignored the advice of a professional. This is Blame and Shame at work. 

⏯ Why do they use blame?

It is usually used to make you doubt yourself or your body of facts into accepting their advice, treatment decisions etc. They hope by the time the guilt and embarrassment of blame and shame had got through with you,

▶️ you will withdraw your complaint.

▶️ Or agree with their treatment decision.

4️⃣ Blame and shame makes you feel:

blame and shame funny red flag professional behaviour



▶️ anxious

⏯ To make yourself feel better and to stop the:

▶️ embarrassment

▶️ humiliated and

▶️ to regain a sense of safety.

⏯The next time you are placed in a healthcare situation. You may display behaviour traits that are unusual for you.

▶️ keep others at a distance by being hostile or rejecting them.

▶️ become withdrawn

▶️ manipulate the situation to maintain a sense of control.

5️⃣ How to deflect shame and blame.

shame and blame funny1 red flag professional behaviour from the pen of

▶️ Try to keep as much contact via online meetings and emails.

▶️ If this is not possible, only attend face to face with an advocate or trusted family members and friends present. I would encourage you to firmly ask permission (in writing and before the meeting) to record all meetings and consultations.

▶️ If they refuse permission to record, use the meeting minute template and email it to the meeting chair, complaint handler or clinician, at your earliest opportunity.

▶️ The fact that they are shaming and blaming you, does not mean that you re a bad person. Or that you have done anything to deserve this bad behaviour.

You have the right to safe and dignified treatment. 

▶️ It also does not mean you cannot feel hurt and angry. But it may be better to bring to their attention that their bad behaviour has upset you and you need a break or even a postponement of the meeting. Don’t go into detail at this stage. Put off making a decision how to tackle this behaviour until you are feeling calmer and are in a safe space.

▶️ Remember, that trying to make you feel ashamed of your ‘alleged’ inadequacies is just another way to control you because of an imbalance of power.

▶️ In the presence of ‘safe’ witnesses, or the recorded or written word, tell them that you are not available to being blamed or shamed.

▶️ Alway limit their ammunition to shame and/or blame you by checking the accuracy of your healthcare records. Via a Subject Access Request.

▶️ Then, if necessary, Amend the Medical Records. As the more factual your healthcare information. The less Shame&Blame ‘ammunition’ they will be able to fire.

6️⃣ NHS Complaint Standard Legislation.

That is why it is so important, to have a working knowledge of the Parliamentary Legislation designed to make this behaviour unlawful.