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The Phenomenology of Shame, Guilt and the Body in Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Depression

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From a phenomenological viewpoint, shame and guilt may be regarded as emotions which have incorporated the gaze and the voice of the other, respectively. The spontaneous and unreflected performance of the primordial bodily self has suffered a rupture: In shame or guilt we are rejected, separated from the others, and thrown back on ourselves. This reflective turn of spontaneous experience is connected with an alienation of primordial bodiliness that may be described as a "corporealization": The lived-body is changed into the objective, corporeal body or "body-for-others." The polarity of "bodiliness" and "corporeality" may further a phenomenological understanding of several mental disorders connected with shame and guilt. This is shown by the examples of body dysmorphic disorder and melancholic depression.

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