Sunday, August 3, 2008
Shame and Guilt when Quitting Smoking
It takes most smokers several quit attempts before they are finally successful at becoming smoke free. The first time, quitters usually get cocky and can't believe how easy it was to quit and they believe that they can smoke when they want, they think they can control their smoking but the changes in the structures of the brain are so strong that a momentary slip can lead to a full relapse. Often when the attempts doesn't work, the relapser can feel a range of emotions from guilt, shame or embarrassment. When we are in embarrassed, we try to not commit the same mistake again or at least not when someone else is watching which can lead to becoming a closet smoker. Both guilt and shame imply failure but for different reasons. Guilt will often prod an individual into taking action because the belief is that we have done something wrong and we naturally want to do what is right but it is our behavior that we judge not ourselves. However, many smokers get caught up in Shame--believing that there is something wrong with them and that is why they can't quit. Shame causes a person to judge themselves as "bad" "defective" or some other terms that condemns the person instead of the behavior. Non-smokers will also invoke shaming by the comments that they make to a smoker. We need to stop judging the person and look at the behavior--that is what we don't like--love the smoker, hate the smoking. Make sure that your smoker realizes the different. Shaming, blaming, and nagging jsut keep the smoker wrapped up with their cigarettes and inhibits the progress eneded to move forward to quit.