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Thread: Examples of the Shame Game

  1. #1

    Default Examples of the Shame Game

    The desire to regress and act like a baby has inevitably involved shame or guilt. At least is has for me and I suspect for other ADISC members. The shame part can come from your own view of what you "think is right" or it can come directly from parents, siblings, spouses or friends. I recently witnessed an example that bears reporting.

    I was speaking with a woman at a park who had in tow what appeared to be her daughter and two grandsons. The boys were approximately 1.5 and 3.5 years old, respectively. We got on the subject of animal reproduction and I remarked on the behavior of a lizard who laid it's eggs in the soil and left them to hatch on their own. The woman then turned directly to the 3.5 year old and said, "look Brandon, these baby lizards don't need to be taken care of, they don't need bottles and diapers."

    It was obvious to me that what she was really saying was "grow up kid, if these lizards can make it without being babied, then you can too." I suspect the 3.5 year old boy was still clinging to babyish things and she wanted him to drop it. That's called playing the shame game or the guilt card. My mom was an expert at it. It means getting someone to feel bad because of a behavior they feel you shouldn't be doing. I wonder how many shame examples are in this community?

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  3. #3

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    The most painful thing for me would be when I did something that upset my mom and she would just leave the room and cry while just pushing me away. It hurt me so much to know that I hurt someone who cared so deeply about me.

    But I guess things like that are pretty common in early teenage years...



    I'm aware that it isn't directly related to shame but I can't think of any good examples atm.

  4. #4

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    [Removed reply to deleted post]

    EDIT: Spaz, I can't think of any examples right now in my own life similar to the one you just said, but I know they've happened. The parents usually just want the best for their kids; it's a shame they try to achieve that this way.
    Last edited by Near; 10-Jun-2011 at 17:32.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwis View Post
    The most painful thing for me would be when I did something that upset my mom and she would just leave the room and cry while just pushing me away. It hurt me so much to know that I hurt someone who cared so deeply about me.
    My mom did the same thing. That's her trying to make you feel guilty for your actions.
    Last edited by Spaz; 10-Jun-2011 at 23:28.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spaz View Post


    ---------- Post added at 11:25 ---------- Previous post was at 11:23 ----------



    My mom did the same thing. That's her trying to make you feel guilty for your actions.
    OMG me too! I hated it when she did that! She was also really keen on making me mature, especially in grade school, with the classic "grow up already!" line after her every angry sermon.

    Ironically it seems immature that parents play the guilt card on 7 year olds... Its kindda cruel IMO.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spaz View Post
    The desire to regress and act like a baby has inevitably involved shame or guilt. At least is has for me and I suspect for other ADISC members. The shame part can come from your own view of what you "think is right" or it can come directly from parents, siblings, spouses or friends. I recently witnessed an example that bears reporting.

    I was speaking with a woman at a park who had in tow what appeared to be her daughter and two grandsons. The boys were approximately 1.5 and 3.5 years old, respectively. We got on the subject of animal reproduction and I remarked on the behavior of a lizard who laid it's eggs in the soil and left them to hatch on their own. The woman then turned directly to the 3.5 year old and said, "look Brandon, these baby lizards don't need to be taken care of, they don't need bottles and diapers."

    It was obvious to me that what she was really saying was "grow up kid, if these lizards can make it without being babied, then you can too." I suspect the 3.5 year old boy was still clinging to babyish things and she wanted him to drop it. That's called playing the shame game or the guilt card. My mom was an expert at it. It means getting someone to feel bad because of a behavior they feel you shouldn't be doing. I wonder how many shame examples are in this community?
    I find that a lot of the time it's mothers who do that; but then manipulation is something women are brought up to be good at. My mother used to like to throw really breathtakingly childish tantrums if I ever did anything she didn't like, would have the entire family's attention focused on her while she screeched and wailed about what a horrible person I was, and so on and so forth. Nine times out of ten it left me being told off by everyone else for "upsetting your mother", and still not getting whatever it was I needed in the first place.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spaz View Post


    ---------- Post added at 11:25 ---------- Previous post was at 11:23 ----------



    My mom did the same thing. That's her trying to make you feel guilty for your actions.
    I'm aware of that =p
    It worked pretty good regardless.

  9. #9

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    Shame is never good - and as I understand it, it means "I am not a good person."

    Guilt, on the other hand, is a little different and sometimes can actually be helpful - it means, "I did something wrong and [often] I regret it". Most of the lines of "right/wrong" are being questioned in today's world and while I think this is for the best, I still think that there are some things that just simply are 'wrong'.

    For a little kid, making mistakes is common and if a parent responds by breaking off the relationship (even temporarily), threatening to do so, or even just reacting really really strongly in anger or shaming, it can be really really damaging. For many of us, we hold this stuff with us for years and even shape our lives by it. For example, my mother left two different husbands when they made mistakes (my dad who became an alcoholic and another one who had an affair) and divorced them when I was under 10 years old. In addition, when I would make mistakes, she would do something similar to me that Kwis' mom would do - shame me, cry and cry and cry, or become really really angry. In any case, it would often be days before she would speak to me again.

    The consequence of watching my mother interact with her husbands (whom she supposedly loved the most of all people other than her kids) and of how she dealt with my mistakes on my little kid psyche was significant. Essentially, I came to believe in the deepest part of my heart that "if I do something wrong, everyone I love will leave me". That's pretty heavy for a 12 year old - and its complete bull$#@% - but I have only come to realize and understand the falsehood of it as a 30 year old!

    The point I'm trying to make is that the parent needs to be the leader of the household and of his/her kids but that leadership brings great responsibilities and perhaps it is a lose-lose situation in which every parent screws up their kid in some way. Regardless, I dont' think it's crazy for a parent to try to potty train their 3.5 year old and lead him through the ever-unfolding stages of childhood. It is always damaging to shame a kid over his behavior and sometimes even so to try to manipulate guilt out of him/her. I'm not sure I think there was shame in the story Spaz referred to from my perspective; and the pointing out of good behavior as the ideal didn't seem horrible to me either.

    We all got our junk; a more interesting thing to ask yourself Spaz is - "Why did I react to that situation like that? What in me does this rub against?"
    As we do that kind of work, we come to the place where we can live our lives out of who exactly we want to be - rather than reacting against emotion and issues we are blind to.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cm90210 View Post
    We all got our junk; a more interesting thing to ask yourself Spaz is - "Why did I react to that situation like that? What in me does this rub against?"
    As we do that kind of work, we come to the place where we can live our lives out of who exactly we want to be - rather than reacting against emotion and issues we are blind to.
    Well put.

    As parents, we all have the thankless job of figuring out what buttons we have to push to get our kids to grow up strong, independent, and ready to function in an increasingly complex society. Every kid is wired differently, and thus every parent has to play the trial and error game figuring out what sort of praise, criticism, rewards, and consequences their child will respond to.

    The only issue I had with the actual comment was the "taken care of" part - if anything, she defeated her own purpose by using those words, because in the child's mind, that translates to "If you stop wearing diapers and drinking a bottle, I won't take care of you anymore" - definitely NOT the message she was trying to send, I'm sure.

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