Source: (2004) Paper presented at the "5th International Conference on Conferencing & Circles", organized by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, August 5-7, Vancouver, Canada. Downloaded 3 December 2004In this paper Jane Pennington reflects on the influence of shame in human relationships and with respect to one’s self. In that she believes the experience of shame and the act of apology are intimately linked, she also considers the ways shame and apology are connected in relationships with others and in relation to self. Her reflections stem from social sciences and psychological theory and research into emotions, relationships, and sense of self. They also arise out of her experience of running anger management programs for prison inmates. In this criminal justice context in particular she noticed two primary attitudes that inmates brought to the programs. One was an attitude of willingness for self-discovery; the other was an emotional stance of self-protection. On the basis of all of this, she explores the nature of shame and apology, the social and personal dynamics of acknowledging or avoiding shame, and the connections between apology and acknowledging or avoiding shame.