What outcomes are commonly important to people? If there is a basic foundation of stability, then one of the most important outcomes that someone may be attracted to is relief from shame. The tricky thing about that is that while people do desperately want that relief from shame (which is a powerful form of anxiety), then they may have a lot of resistance / fear around recognizing that shame is present and so dominant.
They will say they want relief from specific triggers of shame (and that is true). They may want relief from being around a certain person. withdrawing can be very healthy sometimes, right?
But if there is no immediate threat, then maybe they really just want relief from being targeted with shaming. With the woman who raised me, Alison, my intense motivation to withdraw from her (as a teenager plus as an adult) was to interrupt the flood of shaming. However, internalized shame also can drive us to keep going back (out of shame / desperation / a sense of having no other choice / helplessness / inadequacy / guilt).
What is the core interest? It was relief from shame itself. I did not just want relief from communicating with her. I wanted relief from the consequences of years of communicating with her.
I wanted to relax the chronic physical tensions associated with suppressing the display of various emotions that I had learned to identify as shameful (“negative” / unwelcome / deserving a spanking etc). I remember being told a few times “I will give you a reason to cry!” As a child, When I displayed my stress by crying, I would be threatened with pain. Did I ever “overdo” crying “just to get attention?” Yes, according to Alison, and who was it that shamed me for “inappropriately” inviting attention and care? Alison was primary, but not alone.
I was raised with one other child in the household, named Barb. Barb also frequently reminded me how to avoid the aggression and wrath of Alison. Barb reminded me, among other methods, by frequently threatening to tell on me.
Also, many of my childhood complaints (to Alison) were in relation to Barb (and what she was doing or not doing). I whined. I wanted more safety. I wanted more security. I got how much I got.
If a child is “acting out,” do we shame them for acting out? Or, do we take interest in their underlying needs and then explore and address why there are acting out? Or, perhaps we want them to act out so that we can complain to other parents about how hard it is to raise teenagers and how much we deserve a special mug for being the very best parent in the history of parenting. 😉
Further, the shaming that Alison directed at me was just one prominent dynamic, not the only one. Many other people (besides Barb as well) had shamed me at various times (typically in relatively small ways).
Plus there was the interpersonal pattern of shaming. I expected to be shamed by others and I formed a habit of shaming others when I felt threatened / in distress.
when I was a vegetarian, I shamed others for eating meat. When I was a liberal, I shamed others for being insensitive to my “pet” issues, such as “the environment” or “prejudice” or “the evil of the republican imperialists.” When I was a perfectionist, I shamed others for being selfish (etc). And on and on.
Whenever I get exhausted and frustrated, then shaming someone can seem like a reflex. “It is certainly not my fault that my methods are not working for me, right? RIGHT?!?”
So, I value relief from immediate momentums of shaming (from particular people). I value relief from the physical tensions related to past shaming. I value relief from my own tendency to launch in to a distress response of shaming others. Or, if I am communicating with someone in a way that they perceive as shaming them, I want to notice that and then either withdraw from people who are “too tender” or alter my interaction with them so they experience respect and goodwill along with understanding whatever I am saying about certain patterns of behavior (whatever critical observations I wish to offer them without them getting overwhelmed and interpreting the interaction as me shaming them).
Can I learn to reject people without shaming them? Can I learn to more effectively shame people when that is my favored method?
Note that to say “people should never shame others” is a hysterical, shaming comment. To relieve shaming, that involves recognizing what it is and how pervasive it is.
I recognize that others have shamed me, but that was about them, not me. I recognize that I have shamed others, but that was about me, not them.
All of That is part of getting relief from shame. It is about relief from habits of anxiety and hysteria and panic (& hypoxia/ hyperventilation/ etc). Relief from distress can be called “peace of mind.”
Could that be important to someone? It could be very important.
To experience lasting peace of mind, that requires lasting relief from any latent shame as well as being well-organized and effective in regard to other important everyday issues in life. We may also want the people in our immediate presence to be free of shame and distress (to have peace of mind and actual security).
We do not just want them to perceive that they are secure. We want to actually assess risks / needs and handle them.
might we ever say “be calm or seriously at least be quiet… or else I will give you a reason to cry?” On occasion, people say such harsh things. I accept that.
When I experience relief from shame, I have no resentment toward those who shamed me. I do not have a reflexive urge to “get them back” by shaming them for shaming me. I understand that they were in distress and shamed me out of their unmet needs (and neurological hypoxia).
People have shamed me in distress. I have shame others in distress. who does not value relief from habits of shame / distress?
Also, when I am not “ashamed of shame,” then maybe I use social scolding To influence others. For instance, If a teacher “gives a student a warning” in a way that many people can hear, that can be humiliating.
Instead of just reactively shaming others in my distress, I may attempt to humble them (humiliate them) more intentionally and carefully. When I am free of shame and frustration and exhaustion, then I do not accidentally pour shame and distress on others. I do it mindfully or not at all.
I value relief from shame. I expect others to do so as well (even if they are ashamed to admit it).