A Little Old-Fashioned Shame

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A Little Old-Fashioned Shame

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“The only shame is to have none.”  Blaise Pascal

A R.A.D.I.C.A.L. Woman sent me an article written by her niece a while back. I asked if I could post it on my midlife divorce recovery blog, and she said I could. The article talks about something I struggled with this during my divorce, and I even say in my Radical Recovery book that I think if more people stood up and said to our straying (or totally gone wasbands) that what they are doing or what they did was not right, it would help. It seems that people are so afraid of being judgmental that they don’t take a stand on anything. We let bad behavior stand unchallenged and without consequence.

In fact, everyone seems to try so hard to be accepting of the new girlfriend or new wife that they totally forget the bad behavior that led to that new relationship. I’m not saying people should forever carry around a load of bitterness or anger at someone, but I truly think there would be fewer affairs and divorces if good people stood up and said, “sorry, I’m not going to invite him or his girlfriend to our party.” Or if guys said, “Sorry, find another golf foursome until you stop having an affair with your nurse.” Or if women let another woman who was involved with a married man know that they definitely do not approve, and until she stops that behavior, they would rather not go have coffee.

It’s hard to do that today. The media and so-called enlightened people seem to think that whatever anyone does is okay. (Look at Anthony Weiner or Miley Cyrus … or remember Bill Clinton in the Oval Office or Mark Sandford and his Argentine mistress).  Our culture seems to think we have to be tolerant of everything. Well, the article below makes a good argument for standing up and holding people accountable for bad behavior. Thanks to the writer for letting us use this very well-written article. It’s entitled, “A Little Old Fashioned Shame Would Make the World a Better Place.”

     “When is it OK to hold a grudge? In this age of “forgive and forget,” I maintain that many of us would be better off if we were to “remember and hold people accountable.” This viewpoint probably won’t win much support from relationship experts and therapists, but the idea that we should tolerate and even accept bad behavior from people is just another example of how permissive we’ve become as a society.
     There’s an old expression, “hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me.” Does this hold true anymore? Or in this age of finding excuses for every kind of rude or even illegal behavior do we instead choose to give everyone a second, third or fourth chance? Look at criminals in our justice system. Many of t hem try to explain their bad decisions by pointing to a bad childhood, substance abuse or some other problem. While those issues need to be taken into consideration, where do we draw the line? When do we collectively say “enough is enough” and render a fitting judgment?
     This issue goes well beyond criminals and the justice system. These days, it seems that no behavior is considered unacceptable. Even something as seemingly minor as talking on a cell phone during a movie is proof of what we in polite society have decided to endure. In many of our personal lives, we tolerate people who continually either make bad choices or inflict harm on others. Because we’ve been told that we need to get along at any cost and not make others feel uncomfortable, these same people continue their bad habits while the rest of us wonder why they don’t change their ways.
     This is not a conservative versus liberal issue. Too many of us have placed wanting to be liked ahead of doing what’s right that it has become more of a societal problem. If I can emphasize one point, it is that sometimes, it IS a black and white issue; there is no gray area and it’s OK to make people uncomfortable for the sake of doing what’s right. The next time you run into an old friend who left his wife and kids for another woman, you’re well within your rights to ignore him or even cut him out of your life. What he did was wrong, and some behaviors are just unacceptable.      Think about how people might change their ways if they knew they would be held to a higher standard. Maybe we’d think a little more about our actions and how they impact those around us. And that would be a good thing.” By S. E.

It’s not healthy to hold a grudge, but simply choosing not to have someone in your life is not holding a grudge, it’s making a choice for your own good.  Would love to hear what MDRcommunity members think about this!

By |September 3rd, 2013|Today's Blog|Comments Off on A Little Old-Fashioned Shame

About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she’s been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.