One of the most damaging ways people respond to fear and insecurity is by shaming others. I’ve seen this quite a bit with the couples I work with. When we are afraid, or feel threatened or triggered into employing our coping mechanisms, we sometimes try to undermine the person we see as "threatening" by shaming or attacking them. The alternative is working through the circumstance, which requires vulnerability.
Shaming can be a statement, tone of voice, or facial expression, that communicates the idea that we think the other person is inferior—that there’s something wrong with who they are. You can also shame someone by simply rolling your eyes or being sarcastic. Here are a few examples of shaming language:
"What is the matter with you?"
"You are just like your mother."
"Be a real man."
"You're so needy!"
Learning to express how you feel versus calling names, reverting to judgment, or trying to undermine your partner, is the difference between pushing love away and building a deeper, more worthwhile connection and sense of trust in your relationship.
When we haven't dealt with our baggage or developed healthy coping strategies for triggering circumstances, we often revert to damaging behaviors like comparison, belittling, shaming, and disrespecting our partners. This kind of behavior slowly chips away at the emotional stability of the relationship. And unless each partner feels emotionally safe, there is no intimacy. Without intimacy, the relationship is in a downward spiral toward an inevitable end.