FA 065 Shame 2: Electric Boogaloo

Introduction topic

 

  • People are having less sex — maybe because of all our screen time

    • by Alessandra Potenza

    • A new study, published this week in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, shows that in the 1990s, Americans generally had sex from about 60 to 65 times a year; but by 2014, the average American had sex about 53 times a year. Millennials and Generation Z were also found to have sex less often than any previous generation. Instead, people over 70 are still getting it: they actually had more sex in 2014 than in 1989.

    • Why are Americans spending less time in the bedroom (or the kitchen floor)? The researchers rule out two reasons: longer work hours and pornography. Spending more time at the office or watching porn were actually linked to busier sex lives, the study says.

    • The study points to some possible culprits, like a decline in happiness in people over 30 that was found in another study by two of the same authors. But another reason might be tied to cultural changes that have happened in the past 20 years — namely, the rise of social media and video streaming, the authors speculate. In short, Americans could have less sex because they’re spending their nights watching Netflix and scrolling through Facebook.

    • The study has some limitations. The researchers analyzed data from the General Social Survey, a nationwide survey of adult Americans that is nationally representative, and therefore mostly applies to heterosexual people. People also define “sex” differently, so some respondents might include masturbation — solo or together — as sex, and others might not.

 

Topic

The Facade

  • Despite being out and no longer feeling ashamed that you are LGBT/etc… there is still an intrinsic shame of being different, or broken, or damaged

    • When you grow up believing that you are twisted, even if you move past that there is still a core belief that you are inferior

  • By building a loud, over-the-top persona, we can then begin to seek validation from others

    • Many people try to be the best at X rather than being themselves

    • This is different from seeking validation when you are still closeted: you are not seeking validation to hide yourself but, instead, to silence the voice of shame and to assure ourselves that we are worthwhile and deserve to be loved (just like everybody else does)

  • Validation is good for our psychological well-being

    • However, because we have not figured out who we are and faced our shame to become a whole person, this validation is less than authentic. It is validation of a facade that we have created to be praised

  • The facade does not allow for tolerance of invalidation

    • This can lead to projecting your inner invalidations on others

    • In relationships, this can lead to emotional abuse as you want a codependent partner to constantly validate you as being worthwhile

      • However, this does not satisfy you as you are projecting your inner shame and doubt rather than resolving it

  • When you don the armor of cattiness and bitterness in anticipation of invalidation, this leads to a negative facade that further drives feelings of shame and invalidation

    • While you can receive validation for being shady or reading others, it still does not address the inner issue of shame itself

  • Not taking ownership of fault or blame

    • When you refuse to own up to mistakes it is often a sign that you are afraid that even the small pleasures in your life have become infected with invalidation

  • Over time this facade begins to crack, so you reinforce it

    • Praise no longer is meaningful at work, so you turn to another source to get your high

    • There is a constant escalation of invalidation, so you must compensate

Compensation

  • Sex. Drugs. Alcohol.

    • Process Addiction: using a behavior to regulate your mood but, over time, that behavior no longer improves your mood

    • Wanting others to be excited for what you offer (attractive looks, parTy favors, etc…) rather than who you are

      • When they no longer notice you or are attracted to you for what you have, you lose a sense of your own valuation

  • We compensate for shame by seeking validation from others because we are incapable of validating ourselves as we run and conceal our shame

    • As long as people are praising us, that means we are great, right?

    • This means that when we are the figure of blame or a mistake we often project this failure, deny, or refuse to accept blame.

      • Example: Quitting your job in a fit of rage or impulsively at a minor slight with no follow up plan in place

  • Mistakes trigger shame, so they must be avoided, especially in relationships

    • If you make mistakes in front of friends / partners, you ditch them to avoid the reminders of being imperfect

    • Every relationship requires repair and evaluation from time to time, and if you refuse to acknowledge your mistakes then it is less likely to be a successful repair

    • Counter-blaming as a means of mitigating shame

      • “I didn’t do the dishes last night but it’s because you made a mess in the living room and I was busy cleaning up after you.”

    • Pseudoapologies are also employed to mitigate shame

      • When you apologize for a list of things you believe you haven’t done but know it will make your partner happy

      • This fills a well of resentment inside you towards your partner

      • This can lead to feeling like a martyr or the one who is always sacrificing on the altar of your relationship

    • Ultimately, refusing to acknowledge mistakes leads you to seek new, exciting partners, ones who are flash in the pan and never get to know who you are (because you believe yourself to be dark and twisted)

  • Refusing to examine the core issues of shame or face the mistakes of the past, even in therapy, and instead focusing on finding support for defensive behaviors

    • Exposure to shame is not desired, so avoidance tactics are deployed

What’s it really for?

  • Most individuals in this stage of life tend to not resolve this question of meaning but instead foreclose on it

    • Foreclosure is a quick fix to a long term distressing emotional state

    • It’s throwing yourself into yet another relationship, going to cons to avoid being home alone, pushing yourself at the gym to create the perfect body others want, finding peace in drugs or alcohol

    • Foreclosure is where you try harder at what you’ve already been doing, even though you know it has failed up to this point

      • “If I try harder it will work”

    • To resolve this question we must reach a place of honest and radical authenticity towards ourself

      • We would no longer need to compensate for shame and can live life without a facade that is extraordinarily outrageous

  • To move past this all and discover who we are we must acknowledge that we view ourselves as fundamentally flawed and that this belief has been a negative direction in our lives. Ultimately we must stop shrouding mistakes with shame and, instead, view the two separately. Once you face your shame, mistakes become building blocks of integrity.

    • Facing this is never easy as it uproots all core beliefs and understandings that we have believed in for some time

    • At the end of it all, many find the metaphors, the expressions no longer work for them. Many destroy it all, from friendships, to even career choices, and decide to start anew as they try to answer the question of what’s it really for. They become god and rebuild themselves with the new meaning as the core of their identity.

    • While each person reacts differently (some silently, some vocally) the result is the same: the elimination of shame and the birth of authenticity

Feedback

  • Hi guys, hope this message finds you all well. Been wanting to write in for some time now. Been catching up with your latest episodes while I'm putter away on my comics and commissions. Skipped ahead a couple of episodes and tuned in to FA 064, Shame. While I haven't read the Playboy article (our country actually banned the website, what a bunch of doofs), the things you guys discussed regarding the interview and article have struck a few chords. Back in December, a friend of friend who happens to be a journalist popped by our art studio and noticed my unabashedly furry corner (furry dakimakura, wall tapestry, the works). She contacted me for an interview to find out more about the community. I had only agreed on the basis that her previously written articles were relatively insightful and nuanced, plus she came across as non-sensational and sane. After a series of draft approvals, the furry article was released here:

  • https://coconuts.co/singapore/features/secret-fuzzy-life-singapores-furry-community/

  • As expected, a fair share of negative responses came from the local furry community itself. (Was the article even necessary? Why did you guys agree to being interviewed? You've just opened Pandora's box, now they'll find out where we work and what schools we go to! Did you not watch all the Uncle Kage videos about the terrifying entity known as The Media? Have you no shame? Do you not heed the words of Kage?! SACRILEGE!) Our original interview had been heavily cut out for editing, but was primarily focused on how the furry community serves as a safe space for people to explore their own identities, and how it's helped us cope with our personal traumas to become more mature and balanced adults. It did not help that one of the editors slipped in a Google search URL on the sly that linked to results for "furry porn". We've since addressed the matter with the nice gentleman, but the fact that the words "furry" and "porn", both appeared within the same sentence line, had not alleviate the concerns of the Singaporean furry community. I guess you could say the whole thing caused quite the furor.

  • Ironically, a large portion of positive responses came from furry friends in Australia or non-furry readers. Most of them hardly jumped to the immediate assumption that the community was primarily populated by sexual deviants. In fact, most found the article amusing and interesting. (Admittedly, the opening introduction had me cringing a little...) So I guess I'm just writing in just to ask, has it bothered you guys that your own community reacts in this manner, ignoring the entire context and intention of the article and jumping to finger pointing? I kinda saw all this coming from a mile away when I agreed to do the interview. It's been a running joke in the community. The documentary, "Fursonas" alone was a good case study to people's reactions, as with one of FurCast's earlier interviews. Just curious to know what you guys think, how it's been since you did the Playboy article, and will this affect any future interviews you guys agree to do, in terms of the tone or language used? Keep up the good work. Love your podcast.

Closer

  • Next week’s topic: Shame 3: The Redemption

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Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.