Why is emotional development a reason some people shame others?Why is emotional development a reason some people shame others?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would think that it is a lack of emotional development that causes some to blame others.  The concept of "shame" involves some type of perceived transgression against established and accepted norms of behavior.  I think that some use the concept of "shame" to force compliance in others and to validate their own senses of power.  In this conception, a lack of emotional development becomes the motivating force.  That is to say that if individuals possessed a sense of emotional development or fortitude, they would not need to resort to shaming others in order to maintain control.  Rather, they would be able to work with the individual in question to ensure that there is a more focused understanding towards the offending behavior in question.  The idea of shaming someone, invoking guilt and embarrassment within them and in the eyes of another does not resemble emotional growth, in my mind.  Rather, it represents a lack of emotional development and a need to conceal this through the use of power and control.  I think that it is for this reason that I do not see a profound emotional development as a reason why some choose to employ shame against others.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his novel A Separate Peace, John Knowles's character Gene Forrester returns to the private boys' school which he attended before going to World War II.  He reviews his act of gratuitous cruelty to Phineas his friend, an act that ended up costing Phineas his very life.  While Gene greatly rues his adolescent actions, he understands now that he is a man that his act of causing Phineas to fall from the limb of a tree was not because he lacked emotional maturity.  Rather, he understood that people "began an obsessive labor of defense...the menace that saw facing them," and they made war literally and figuratively because there is "something ignorant in the human heart."  

Some people are simply cruel and predatory--period. They enjoy "the evil that men do" to use a phrase of Marc Antony from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The nature of this question is almost too vague to answer with specifics, unless some definition is brought to some of the terms provided.  I'm going take this from the angle that a difference in emotional development often causes some to bring shame to themselves or others.

Simply speaking, humans (especially children) pick on others when any differences are present.  In a group of people who are on different emotional levels (could also be called "maturity") it is only natural that behavior and responses to behavior would be different.  Some handle behavioral differences appropriately.  Others, whether out of insecurity or lack of knowledge and experience, revert to more childlike responses, attempting to shame those who are different.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The gaps in emotional development that some people experience make them socially inept and even behaviorally awkward in front of others. They shame others so that they take the upper hand and are not shamed first by other people. They know deep inside that they have needs to be satisfied. They may not know which needs they are exactly, but certainly they know that they are different than the emotionally healthy people that they meet. A combination of personal jealousy, the resentment of not having their needs satisfied, and the anger of seeing other people in a happier emotional state definitely are triggers for emotionally-disturbed people to want to share their misery with others. Like they say, misery loves company.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with post #2.  It seems more that a lack of emotional development rather than acquiring it that makes people cause shame for others.  More often than not, the will to be accepted is stronger than the will to do what one knows is right.  One who is acquiring maturity and sense of identity may feel remorse, but out of peer pressure cooperates with the ridiculing and shaming of the person involved, whatever it may be...namecalling, other verbal abuse, physical assault, pranks, etc.  This person would feel much guilt and remorse, but being accepted is more important...until, of course, the person decides that being true to himself is more important than being in the company of "friends" who are cruel individuals. 

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is something about human beings, particularly those who have not yet matured, to compete with others. In some instances, that competition may be completely internalized. There is the constant need to compare ones self to others, and hopefully do so favorably. When one needs to feed his own self esteem, he does so by bringing down others, shame being just one method of doing so. As was pointed out in the previous posts, this is indeed an issue of maturity. Sadly individuals mature at different times and at different rates. Those who perceive themselves as "behind" others will find other ways to equalize themselves. Shaming does the trick for them; but it is a sad way to improve ones self esteem.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When we lack emotional development, we are not mature enough to look ourselves squarely in the eye and admit our weaknesses (and honestly appraise our strengths).  When we are not strong enough to admit our weaknesses, we try to make others look bad so that we will be able to convince ourselves that we are superior to them.  This is why a lack of emotional development causes some people to shame others -- it is an attempt to make them look bad to cover up for our own lack of emotional maturity.