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Rizzuto, A. (2003). “Is There Such a Thing as Happy Shame?” He Asked. Am. J. Psychoanal., 63(4):333-343.

(2003). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 63(4):333-343

“Is There Such a Thing as Happy Shame?” He Asked1

Ana-María Rizzuto

A man experienced shame for the first time during the termination phase of a 6-year analysis. He asked: “Is there such a thing as happy shame?” The experience followed the transformation of a negative maternal transference into an affectionate one. However, in a moment of rage, he insulted the analyst and felt greatly ashamed. Yet, it was a “happy shame.” This shame signaled the ability to tolerate painful oedipal failure and to integrate newly acquired self-evaluations into his sense of self in the presence of the analyst as a transferentially respectful and attentive maternal object.

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