How Guilt and Shame Are Used by Others to Control You

Guilt and shame are the loser's tool for controlling others.

Isn't it funny how the Internet has enabled so many to offer unsolicited, uneducated, and unwarranted opinions people's lives?

What's also funny is how many of these comments come from private accounts. That one always gets me.

But it's not just social media that this hypocrisy runs rampant: you find it coming from family and friends much of the time.

This is understandable since our species has built-in mechanisms that try to keep everyone equal. Simply put, our evolutionary past designed us to seek equality for everyone—we don't like anyone lower or higher than anyone else—which is why bullying exists and hatred for the rich and elite come so naturally to most people.

It's also why guilt and shame are so ubiquitous and why humans so easily succumb to groupthink and tribalism.

Shame is a powerful tool that anthropologists have observed while researching modern-day hunter-gatherer groups around the world. The summary of this in their discussing these behaviors and rituals with these peoples is it helps maintain group cohesion, which supports survival.

Groupthink, confirmation bias, likability bias, guilt, shame, and many other human behaviors are a byproduct of Mother Nature optimizing for group survival. The better the group thinks, the better it gets along, and thus, the more likely the group will survive and raise healthy offspring. In the harsh wild, group survival was the evolutionary advantage that moved homo sapiens to the top of the food chain. When that happened, the rest of the animal kingdom didn't stand a chance.

It makes sense that people shame and guilt each other. But today, we need to overcome these built-in behaviors because they no longer serve us.

If you spend your life for others, you will end up on your deathbed with regrets. You will do things you don't want to do. A life lived for someone else is not your life. Think about that a second.

One final thing to consider the next time someone comes at you with guilt or shame is this: the person is likely projecting onto you the things they suck at.

It's a weird quirk of the human mind that people tend to criticize and attack people's behaviors that they struggle with. This is projection 101: project onto others one's own guilt, shame, and weakness.

So the next time you do something out of guilt or shame, stop.

Ignore it. Starve the flame. Don't try to defend yourself or explain yourself. Just say NO, and let that be it.

It's amazing how much human drama can be starved out with this simple approach, yet most people feel the need to respond and defend, which never works since your attackers will just change the subject as they swim around blind in their superiority.