3 Reasons Women Harbor Guilt and Shame: Part 1


Yanla Vansant

For many women being all you can be is a struggle and a burden that is too heavy to bear.  In a time when women are wives, mothers, single mothers, working outside of the home and have demands from every corner there are some things that may fall by the wayside.  When this happens it can be so devastating to women that she begins to harbor guilt about not being able to do everything that she believes is expected of her.  The shame of not measuring up can also eat at her sense of self.  There are several reasons why women harbor guilt and shame but today let’s discuss these three:

  • Past Experiences of Abuse or Trauma
    • Many women have been victims of abuse.  Some have been abused from an early age.  The abuse could have even caused long-term trauma, or maybe the trauma was a witnessing of a horrible situation.

In these instances, women usually blame self for what happened.   The person who did the horrific thing has moved on but the individual who experienced it or witnessed it has held on to the guilt and shame of it.

Black Tears

  • Feelings of being all things to all people
    • This is an area that many women also struggle with.  It is in a woman’s nature to be nurturing so she wants to do what she can to help those she cares for.  The problem with that is that everyone who knows her will call on her to fix it, serve on the committee, drive the carpool, chaperone, or whatever it may be.

Busy Woman

Trying to help everyone is unrealistic causing her to feel that she is letting people down.  No one is able to be there for everybody.  That is unless you are Jesus, and I do not believe that you are.

  • Oppression
    • Women have been told for centuries that she is not good enough, pretty enough, educated enough, tough enough and will never measure up to her counterpart.  Women have been let down, stomped on, held back, and giving up on to the point when she feels that she is not worthy of any good thing or happiness.


That is what being oppressed can do.  It can devalue everything that God said was good in you.  When women listen to what the world has to say about them instead of what God says about them then she begins to harbor guilt and shame.

Being able to understand why women harbor guilt and shame can be the first step in rectifying the problem.  For those who need assistance in organizing your thoughts Destination Greatness is available to help you sort them out.

Until next time keep the faith!

By:  Kristen Pettaway, MA LPC Liberty University |

Clinical Case Manager Intern Destination Greatness, PLLC







Anniversary Celebration

Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed.-Booker T. Washington

Happy August 25! I remember the day as if it were yesterday. On February 25, 2013, my dreams and vision of owning a private practice became reality with the opening of Destination Greatness in Durham, NC. Today, I celebrate 4.5 years as a business owner. Destination Greatness now provides psychotherapy, clinical supervision, psychoeducation, and workshops in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

I give the Most High praise for the storms that have elevated me to greater.

This journey has been filled with many adversities and challenges. From the 6-10 hour day trips for meetings with clients to past business dealings with others not committed to my mission, vision, and principles, I am still standing. I give the Most High praise for the storms that have elevated me to greater.

The sacrifices of time, energy, money, and relationships can add up. However, I remind myself that obedience is greater than sacrifice. I will forever remain committed, obedient, and faithful to the revelations of the Most High.

To all whom have taken this journey with me, Thank You! As I approach the 5th year Anniversary on February 25, I am more focused than ever on the next level of Greatness.

Please save the date of February 25 to join me in Atlanta, GA for a celebration of greatness. Details for sponsors, speakers, and guests will be released in the coming months.


With Gratitude,

Shanna A. Jefferson, MSW, CFSW, LCSW, LISW-CP/S

Doctoral Candidate