On the publication of the Chilcot Report Tony Blair is not Sorry Blair. If he had his time again he would make exactly the same decision: to take the UK into the war in Iraq. Blair appreciates that people want him to apologise for his decision. But he cannot say sorry because he would do the same again.
If you look at this more carefully it doesn’t make sense. He’s never going to have to make the decision again. Words are cheap. Why Blair can never say sorry is his particular relationship to shame.
Shame unlike embarrassment and guilt has an internal focus. It comes from within. We are all susceptible to shame from an early age. When we have done something wrong, and it initiates a negative reaction from care givers, shame is created. It is a difficult emotion to sit with due the pain it causes us. We feel less. We feel unworthy. We feel we have less value. We go to great lengths to avoid shame. We bury the experiences & memories that cause us shame.
An added factor is the private education boarding school system. Dislocated from home and parents at an early age, the 7 year old self is barely formed. Immediately put into a competitive system pitted against rivals: failure is not an option. The 7 year old self feels inadequate to deal with the pressure. So he creates an armour to protect himself. This armoured self carries the 7 year old through the separation and pain of the private school experience. The armoured self sense the shame of the 7 year old self but must not connect. The connection would open up the pain, trauma of the shame.
This is why Blair cannot apologise. It has nothing to do with the decision he made. Well it is a bit. The shame of the adult having possibly made a mistake is minimal. Compared to the reservoir of deep early shame that has to remain disconnected. Separate. Untouchable. It can never be accessed. It’s too traumatic.
Decisions are made not on their own merit. But to avoid the shame. Blair can never say sorry. Sorry Blair.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique