“To the person who suffers shame, the world is full of eyes, crowded with things and people that can see. Bewitching eyes watch every movement and moment of self…One is visible and not ready to be seen, looking and not ready to see. There is a constant, excruciating feeling in shame of being looked at while hoping the ground beneath your feet will open and swallow you up.”
The issue of shame has become a central topic for many writers and therapists in recent years, but it is debatable how much real understanding of this powerful and pervasive emotion we have achieved. In The Eyes of Shame, Mary Ayers argues that shame can develop during the first six months of life through an unreflecting look in the mother’s eyes. that this shame is then internalized by the infant and reverberates through its later life.
This book was the winner of the Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (2004)
Review Article: Ayers’ Mother-Infant Attachment and Psychoanalysis: The Eyes of Shame. Powell, Mary // Journal of Religion & Health; Dec 2004, Vol. 43 Issue 4, p379