Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shame - Your Achilles Heel

As you may recall, the Achilles Heel is that one vulnerability that you have that can, if triggered, or exploited, bring you to your knees, emotionally.  For some, it is shame.  For a person for which their Achilles Heel is shame, one must only self-inflict shame, or someone else can inflict the shame, and the person is brought to their knees.  The problem is that shame is a relatively useless feeling...it weakens a person much more than it possibly motivates them, and it lowers self-esteem every time it is used.  It is a powerful weapon in the 'right' hands, in that someone who knows how to use another's shame can keep that individual under tight control, and can keep the upper hand in the relationship. It is also sadistic to use shame to control someone, and demonstrates a lack of compassion or grace.  People who have been reared on shame both have this as their Achilles Heel, and inadvertently use the technique of delivering shame on others.  Two people in a relationship who are skilled in using this technique will 'grind each other down,' over time, until the relationship implodes.  A person who has had this technique used against them will suffer from low self-esteem, self-doubts, and perhaps depression and anxiety.  And, they will be resentful or angry, and will hold in them a desire to retaliate against the person who has used the shame technique.  Shame does not produce anything positive, and is not constructive.  For most people, it is unwittingly used; for a select few, it is a weapon of choice.  While shame can be a powerful method of retaliation against misdeeds or improper behavior, it comes at the cost of the relationship, and of the mental health of both the deliverer, and of the receiver.  It is akin to using a nuclear weapon to clean out the bugs in your house...it will work, but at a terrible price.

If you are a deliverer of this technique, and wish to reform yourself, consider the situation, and the reason you wish to use this technique.  Then, re-check whether this is indeed what you wish to do, and think of other possible methods of addressing the situation.  Resist the urge to resort to shame, and challenge yourself to find another way.  Consider the possibility that the relationship is broken, if it seems that using shame is a good idea.  Try to learn how to avoid being in such situations, in the future, either by avoiding relationships where this comes up as a solution, or by avoiding frustrations that generate the desire to utilize this technique.  If the relationship is an important one to you, give yourself a rule that you will not use shame, and do your best not to deviate from this.  Consider the emotional cost of shame, both to yourself, and to the other person.   Delivering shame can be a form of abuse, and doing so costs you, in that you must allow dark feelings into your psyche, and must allow intense negativity to reside in your soul.   If you are the recipient of shame, turn it away, without considering its' merit, and ask the person delivering the shame to use a different way to communicate what they wish to communicate.  Protect yourself from those who seem to resort to this technique on a chronic basis; it can be a form of abuse.  Recognize the signs that you are being shamed.