"I never liked beer. But I do know beer and other substances work pretty well to numb feelings and deflect vulnerability. Overeating, over-working, and over-exercising can all provide an emotionally-numbing benefit. Asserting dominance is especially effective for deflecting vulnerability.
None of those leads to healing.
Shaming is tempting. It often feels momentarily empowering for someone who has been victimized to redirect it toward the person who made them feel vulnerable – or alternately, to whoever’s standing close by.
Shame inevitably becomes part of the narrative when admired entertainers, executives, members of the clergy, political figures and others are accused of wrongdoing. Supporters counter allegations with endorsements about what “good” people they are, as if goodness somehow immunizes someone from the possibility of doing harm.
Shame mistakenly conflates bad character and bad behavior. It demands contempt for an unchangeable, flawed, singular identity, like “murderer,” “rapist”, “liar” or “thief”. For anyone targeted by shaming, whether the accusation is true or false, defensiveness is the natural and maybe the best strategy for preserving a positive sense of self, beyond the bogeyman label.
I’ve known shame from both sides: first, blaming myself for being sexually abused; and then by the urge to shift the shame to the trusted person who assaulted me. But in my own healing process, I’ve learned that shame is a dead-end street for everyone involved." Peter Pollard