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Shame The Great Manipulator, The Great Trap Of Unworthness

I was raised on shame.   It was my claim to fame.  I was not recognised for what I did well, but for those things I did not do so well.  I was also convinced over time that I could not do them well and when that happened that people would give up on me.  I thought there were only so many things in life that other people would approve of and that I was not capable of doing them well enough to make other people proud of me.  I was recognised for what or where I could not meet up to other people’s standards and I felt like I was a great disappointment to my family so much so my relatives did not want other people to know that I was related to them.

I was so easily made to feel shameful that I was bullied, I was suicidal, and I was made to feel that I could never meet up to other people’s standards (of which there was only one set) and I would ultimately be rejected and thrown out on the street if that was possible.  There was only one person to blame and that was me and I didn’t know any different.

Appropriate or Inappropriate? Wanted Or Unwanted?

Worse yet I realized that in sexually inappropriate situations the victim (that was me) was always the one who should feel ashamed and had something to hide instead of the reverse.  Getting caught in a sexually compromising situation was something I should cover up, sneak out of, and pretend didn’t happen even though I now know it qualified as sexual abuse.   It was something to be covered up and forgotten if possible.

Brene Brown with her doctorate in Social Work found that we have three shields that we can use as shields against shame.  We can forget or not talk about what we see as a shameful situation.  Men will tell you that they are not comfortable talking about certain things that happened to them as they were growing up or even later in life such as post-traumatic stress syndrome and even had pushed these things so far out of mind that they did not remember them.

Another shield against shame mentioned by Dr. Brown was appeasement.  If someone is dissatisfied with you or something you have done, you try to make it up to them or make them so happy or satisfied in another way that they will forget that you did not or might not make them happy.  Another word for this might be “brown nosing”.

Another possibility would be going towards or against the person or situation that makes you feel shameful and take it out aggressively toward them or it.  This is the third shame shield mentioned by Dr. Brown.  Could the liberal Democrats’ behaviour after the election of President Donald Trump be an example of this?  Are they ashamed that their candidate did not win over such an unlikely candidate?

Sometimes our entire life can be motivated by shame and others can get what they want us to do by shaming us and can feel better about themselves by winning over us in this way.  I have often felt that being a woman, especially a woman professional, made me a target for this sort of thing.  If a woman can do it (what I did) it must be something easy to obtain and therefore not worth much.  The step between someone with a Masters degree and a Ph.D. must be pretty easy if she can do it.  I did not attend the graduation ceremonies when I received my doctorate (because it was not such a big deal)?

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