People mostly use these two words interchange in psychological perspective. They actually refer to different experience. Guilt and shame go sometimes hands in hands in the same action both rise to the feeling shame and guilt, where the formers reflects that how we feel about ourselves. Later involved the awareness that our actions have injured someone else.in other word shame relates to self, guilt to others.it is useful to preserve the distinction
I will clearly define the concept of guilt and shame.
It is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offence, crime, wrong etc. Whether real or imagined.
The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something of dishonorable ,improper ,ridiculous etc,done by oneself or another.
Parents of children with special needs often have complicated feelings, thoughts, and responses about caring for their child, including love, anger, sadness, disappointment, and guilt. These are all part of the grieving process, which is a normal response to any significant change (not just a death). When you learn that your child has special needs, you can experience profound shifts in your hopes, dreams, and expectations. You may also face tremendous challenges navigating your child’s care from diagnosis and intervention to advocacy and long-term planning.
The early stage of this process is grief from changed expectations.
For example, you may be coming to terms with the loss of your child’s health, your child’s loss of functioning related to a specific condition, or the loss of the relationship you expected to have with your child.
Even though grief is addressed in self-help books for parents of children with special needs, sometimes parents don’t believe it’s acceptable to have these feelings and thoughts. Many feel intense shame and guilt about these complex emotions and find it hard to discuss them with family and friends without feeling like a “bad parent.” There can be subtle (and not-so-subtle) pressure from family and friends to make the best of the situation and “move on,” so parents often keep negative emotions hidden.
But having conflicted feelings is a normal part of adapting to having a child with special needs. And not addressing these feelings can distance you from loved ones and make you feel isolated and alone. In the world of grief counseling, this is called disenfranchised grief. That term describes grief and emotional responses to change and loss that aren’t considered legitimate or acceptable by society, or even by the person experiencing them.
When you and those around you don’t acknowledge your emotions, you may end up feeling isolated and overwhelmed, which can lead to rumination (feeling stuck in worrisome thoughts), anxiety, and loneliness.
Rumination, in turn, is a known risk factor for depression. So although parents of children with special needs do not automatically become depressed, rumination has the potential to diminish your ability to cope and take action. Eventually, it can diminish your quality of life.
There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. But it can be helpful to know that it’s a process of evolving that enables you to make ongoing, progressive adjustments to life as it is now and ultimately create a new normal.
Now let’s discuss about shame factor in special needs parents:
When something heartbreaking happens in our life we may start to experience some shame. Especially if we thought we could have done something to prevent it from happening. Whether you are a new special needs parent or you’ve been on the journey a while shame always loves to come knocking. The enemy loves to build a wall of shame and put our pictures on it. Every time we see that wall, he wants to remind us of what we did wrong or what’s wrong with our life. It’s the shame game. If you play this game with anyone, there are never winners but always losers. We endeavor to have a perfect life but we can’t live up to it. No matter what you go through in life, there is one thing that is true, and that is life isn’t perfect and everyone has failed sometime.
The parent of an impaired child separates from dreams that were shattered by impairment through grieving. Denial, anxiety, fear. Depression, guilt. And anger all emerges. If they are shared with other people, these feelings help parents grow and benefit from what might be the worst tragedy of their lives. Grief must be shared deeply and fully until the underlying issues are revealed. The reopening of these issues changes the parent’s world view. New perceptions of themselves and their world serve as a solid foundation for coping with the disability and for personal growth. Yielding to the grieving process helps parents find the inner strength and external support needed to face profound loss’, lo mobilize and focus the energies needed to change their lives; to reattach to new dreams and loves in spite of feeling abandoned and vulnerable; to redefine their criteria for competence, capability, value, and potency; to reassess their sense of significance. Responsibility, and impact upon the world around them; and to develop new beliefs about the universal justice system that makes the world a tolerable place to live. Even though terrible losses can occur. The culturally rejected feeling states of denial, anxiety, fear. Depression, guilt, and anger may be used in surprisingly positive ways when the feelings are fully shared.
These factors arises shame in special needs parents.
“But the key to any success in life is not giving up. There’s another door of hope if you will keep knocking. Open every door with confidence, even if you don’t know if it’s going to work out. You only have grace for today so make each day count. Take down those pictures of pain and shame. Put up new ones of hope and destiny. You don’t have to deny where you’ve been, recover and grow where you are. Don’t you stop believing for your breakthrough even if you are broken? It may be closer than you think.”