Shame is often used  to control and manipulate people. When somebody shames you, you either

1) hate the person who has shamed you and refuse to change
2) believe that the person is speaking the truth and change yourself
3) ignore him/her
4) see if you find anything useful in what that person is saying and move on

Sometimes you opt for a combination of all the four things. But if you decide to do any one of the first two things, you end up becoming miserable because in case of pt.1, you are putting in so much energy towards hating a person, which probably means that you secretly feel that he/she is right. However, you are not going to give into the crap, so you hate him/her and at the same time, you believe he/she is right. So, in this case, that person has power over you. The same thing happens in point 2 as well because in this case too, the other person has so much power over you.

So if you don’t change, you feel like a loser because you can’t get the person out of your mind. But if you win i.e. if you change yourself successfully, you still feel like a loser.. you hate yourself for doing what somebody else has told you to do. Either way, you feel like a loser. But wait..you wanted to change because you didn’t want to feel like a loser!

Society respects women who are submissive and obedient, right? Those who are not obedient are shamed. So, to feel less shameful, you become obedient..but then, you feel ashamed because you are so obedient! So if you ‘win’ this game and become more obedient, you lose it because you hate yourself for being a slave. If you ‘lose’ this game, you feel ashamed because women who march to the beat of their own drum are shamed by the society.

Is it possible to win this game?

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5 thoughts on “The Game of Shame

  1. It’s an ugly vicious cycle. It is essentially “you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. I am currently in a difficult situation, in a couple days, it is going to be my birthday. My boyfriend and I already have it planned out. He wants to surprise me by coming to my house (which is something I always enjoyed) but because of the incident (I posted it on my blog) about Disneyland tickets, my father pretty much hates him. My father only had contact with him twice. Once was last new years at my aunts, the second was this past Christmas when my boyfriend came over to drop off my gifts. The incident unfortunately happened a few weeks before Christmas (the time in-between the two meetings). My father went off on me saying “who the hell does he think he is, just waltzing into my house. Didn’t even say hi. I should have kicked his ass out of here.”
    First off, I told everyone he was coming over to drop them off before we head out. Second, yes he didn’t say much but he waved (meeting the parents is not easy, especially knowing how rude they are). There was nothing inappropriate, he rang the doorbell, we greeted, and went into the family room, where my father was lying on the couch with his phone (he didn’t bother getting up or saying hi either- yes it is his house but at least be a gracious host/person by greeting first). We went to the table, I opened my gifts, and then we left. It was no more than 10 minutes.
    A few months later, I try talking to my parents about my life and of course I talk about my boyfriend because he is a huge part of my life (he is after all my best friend) my father straight-out told me “I dont give a shit how he is. I better not see him at family events. And if he cares about you, as you say, what happened to making a good first impression (nice to meet you sir etc)” I told him it was only the second meeting, and he gets shy, give him a chance. My father said BS. I asked how can I make this better, he said “I dont know, you can make it up to me some how. That’s up to you. I lost my trust in you too”. All I said “Okay, in the end I love you dad” All he said was “yeah yeah”.
    My boyfriend and I talked about this and he feels really bad. He wants to apologize and try to get on better terms. I told him I agree yet disagree. Agree- its the civil thing to do, and its better to try than not to try. Disagree-because of the motion sensor/video camera doorbell (I blogged it in a post) I don’t think my father will open the door or curse him out via speaker right then and there. My inner voice is struggling between the two right now and I need help/advice on the matter. I’m so sorry for this long response, I guess I had a lot to say lol

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    1. Happy Birthday 🙂 (don’t know if I’m late or early in wishing you)!

      Oh yes, I have read about the Disneyland incident few weeks back when I first stumbled upon your blog. I don’t know everything about your life to have an accurate opinion about your life..and even if I know everything, I can never understand you completely because human beings ultimately see things from their eyes. So, I could be wrong about everything. I’m only writing about my understanding from limited information. I apologize if I unintentionally said something insensitive.

      I feel that your father’s problem is not your boyfriend’s behavior. Even if your boyfriend did exactly what he wanted him to do, he would still be complaining. He would have picked some other “flaw” and complained about it. So, at this point, I feel that even if your bf apologizes, your dad is not going to change. Because your dad doesn’t like YOUR choice. He will probably disapprove of whatever you do..because he probably knows that you have a soft corner for him..and disapproval is the only way by which he can control someone who has a mind of her own. Even if your father likes your bf, he will never admit it.

      Your bf seems nice…he is willing to even apologize…even though he hasn’t done anything wrong. I am not sure if he should apologize…maybe he can just try talking to your dad again. If your dad doesn’t respond, then really, I think you guys should either keep trying to reach out to him…or should reach out to him with a sense of detachment i.e. have less expectations but keep trying anyway. As long as your mental health is not affected, you can probably try. If it’s too taxing, just forget about it. I know it’s easy for me to say “forget about it”…I know how children long for their parent’s love…but when the parent is insulting us and our choices, it’s just too painful.

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      1. Thank you so much for your feedback and wishing me a happy birthday! You are so kind 🙂
        Even with the limited information I posted, you assessed my situation accurately. I recently talked to my half sister about the situation as well (she is my half sister from my father). And both her and her mom (my father’s first wife, she was lucky/smart to get away from him) essentially said the same as you.
        I even told my half sister, that even if I get married, I would elope and not have my parents there. I know I’ll get a lot of backlash of “but they’re your parents/family” but the day of marriage is a happy one and I don’t want disapproving eyes during the ceremony/my day. I should have a choice to decide who I can share that moment in my life.
        Forgetting about it is something I tell myself everyday. I need to for my mental health but it’s difficult because he is my father (and that bond can only go so far). Family is important to me but I feel that I should not put myself into situations that I know would hurt me emotionally. They will never change. Tolerate me maybe.
        I know regardless what I say or do it will never be enough to satisfy their expectations. My parents will talk crap about my choices to our extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) making me look like the bad guy either way. Might as well choose the path that makes me happy in the long run. I told my aunt (my father’s sister) that in the future, I do see myself estranging myself from them. They have nothing to offer me (emotional support wise) and we won’t have much to say to each other. My aunt understands, I feel that she will defend me if family members talk crap about me about these decisions. It’s to the point where I’m realizing that I shouldn’t care about others’ opinions of me and do it if it makes me truly happy.

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      2. You are right. We understand intellectually that family can be anything or anyone and not just our blood relations, but biologically and emotionally, we are wired to be attached to them. It is almost like a part of your body…you can’t get rid of a body part without losing something. It will be a big decision to you…whether to invite your father for your marriage or not…it reminded me of one of the questions I read in “Dear Sugar” (by Cheryl Strayed) where a girl asked if she should invite her (toxic) father to her wedding or not. The columnist suggested her to not invite. She said that doing so would be the beginning of a tiny revolution. I don’t know what’s in store for you..I hope you find peace 🙂

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