A friend’s admission about experiencing shaming made me think. All shaming is bullying.
We all know what shaming feels like. We’ve been in the presence of other people’s distress, of remembered hurt, of confusion & fear. We’ve been at the receiving end of people who can’t or won’t manage their hurts better. We’ve been around people when they are not at their best. And we are all people.
Saying someone’s experience is not real or as bad as someone else’s is microaggression. There’s no glory in having been shamed worse or longer or for more things. Playing Oppression Olympics is like cutting other people & thinking that cures your own pain. All it does is make a bloody mess.
Shaming causes wounds to the psyche & only you can heal them. This doesn’t mean shaming must be indulged. Stand up to bullies when there’s no other choice. But otherwise, don’t engage with bullies – this isn’t weak. To let a bully’s words (or actions) define you is to give bullying power.
Whatabouttery is another form of shaming. Attacking people who are doing something for not doing enough, is a way to deflect from the shame you feel over not doing anything.
Remember that shaming is never about you. Neither are compliments. Most things people say to each other, especially of personal nature, are about their own feelings. So why let other people’s moods & reactions define your sense of self?
I’m learning to get out of the blast radius of those who aim the shame gun. Try it once & you’ll see how it’s not about you when the shamer goes in search of another subject. We are all on our own journeys & those who weild firepower must tire of their own burn marks before they set the weapons down. Let them go. Reverse bullying (or shaming) heals nobody, solves nothing.
Shame is burning poison, let it find no home in you. When words hurt you, pick the shrapnel out of your wounds. Look at what parts of you lie sore & in need of loving. Acknowledging it to yourself can be a relief because waiting for other people to hear you through their own screaming feelings, can be very tiring. Heal yourself with patience & watch your wounds turn to scars and your scars become art.