Shame As Leverage: Control Freaks

In order to gain "leverage", controlling people will often insert and project shame onto random things about others. Often they learn this in childhood from someone else who did it.

For example, the hairstyle a person has is just a hairstyle, and each person has, of course, the right to wear their hair however they want. The exception to this is their job; dress code usually includes hair, and if I want that job I am going to respect my employer's dress code. However, people who are not my employer do not have any reason to try to "control" my hairstyle, that's simply disrespect. In order to get AROUND being called disrespectful, a Controller person will insert SHAME when they criticize my hair, as if my non-compliance with THEIR TASTE in hairstyles is some kind of hostile behavior.

>If your car is not perfectly clean, you aren't SHAMEFUL.

>If your bed is not made, you're not a BAD PERSON.

>If you made a mess when you were cooking, you're not a SLOB.

>If your shop or work area does not look like someone else's OCD fantasy, you're not a CRAZY or BAD person.

>If you aren't PERFECT with your money, well, you're just like 99% of the population.

>If you ARE very good with money, it doesn't mean you're full of GREED .

>If you're a FRIENDLY and POLITE PERSON, it doesn't mean you are trying to GET ATTENTION, or FLIRTING, or PROMISCUOUS.

>If you're "GOOD LOOKING", it doesn't mean anything AT ALL about your character or behavior, and neither does being "AVERAGE LOOKING".

ALL of these things are frequently twisted by Controllers as excuses to PROJECT SHAME in order to try to GAIN LEVERAGE.

People may project and insert SHAME onto others for all kinds of reasons that have to do with control, such as money. When a scammer or con artist tries to get more money out of a person, or get out of paying a bill, they quite often use this SHAME tactic, instead of doing straightforward business without emotional overtones. This is a RED FLAG. When someone you're doing business with tries to project SHAME onto you, or if you see that they're doing that to or about someone else, you should go on RED ALERT. Above-board business NEVER includes SHAME. It is straight MATH, a straightforward exchange for product or service; zero emotional projection should be involved.

I was at a consignment shop recently where a friend and I were interested in the vintage clothing. The shop owner approached us and asked if we wanted to try some things on; we said we were in a hurry right now (we were) but we wanted to come back. The shop owner said "Well if you're not going to buy anything then you can leave." So~ we left, and we will probably NEVER return. We WOULD HAVE returned when we weren't in a rush, and probably bought some items, but when that shop owner tried to project control and shame on us, we saw that there was a good chance the shop was a scam; everything was probably way overpriced, and maybe fake vintage.

Controllers who owe you money will often do this to the Nth degree. They will often project ALL KINDS of shame on you in order to try to get out of paying you what they owe you. This is probably a lifelong habit with them, they most likely do it all the time and have gotten away with it before.

For example if you loaned a Controller $10,000, and they are trying to get out of paying you back, they might try to use things about YOU as "leverage". Like "If you didn't buy that car you wouldn't NEED the 10K back!" or "If you didn't gamble you would HAVE more money, and you wouldn't need the 10K back!" or "If you didn't spend so much on travelling, you would HAVE the money and you wouldn't NEED the 10K back!" They will do this REGARDLESS of how fair you are in expecting payment. They will probably also do this with banks, credit cards, and other bills. Most likely someone they know does it too, so they keep getting reaffirmed that it's "okay" to act this way.

I had a Landlord who did this to a silly degree. I saw the flags when I moved in, but I needed a place to live, so I decided to keep my guard up and just stay there. I SHOULD HAVE left, in hindsight, right away. (Another lesson). This person tried to use shame to control everything, and used personal involvement and "concern" to get out of being called out on the control behavior. Everything was about him. Everything was about how things were tough for him, like the cracked basement and the higher rent. Nothing was his fault, like the high water table (which was not, but the cracked basement WAS) and the ants (which were not, but refusing to do anything about them WAS). Everything was about how hard he worked to make the yard "perfect" and the house "perfect", and how I needed to KEEP it PERFECT, the way he would... About 7 months into my lease, he started to ask me if I was going to stay or not. I told him I wasn't sure. He responded to my response as if I didn't "understand" how IMPORTANT my decision to stay or go was to HIS financial well-being. (He owns several properties in an affluent community). He bugged me regularly about this AND tried to pressure me into staying for several months. Then, when I finally told him straight up NO, (the decision was because of his behavior more than about the actual place), he tried to make finding a new tenant into a crisis that I had to be a part of. More than once he scheduled a showing without giving me notice. One day I had to drive two hours from where I was so I could get there before he did because I was afraid he would harass my son if I wasn't there.
NEEDLESS to say, my security deposit was mostly gone, supposedly "used up" with the HUGE amount of work they had to do... cleaning and repairing the place after I moved out... I saw that coming about a month after I moved in~ I was actually surprised he was planning to give me ANY back. I used to repair apartments in between tenants for one of my accounts, I know the HUGE difference between normal wear and tear and irresponsible tenants, and I know exactly what each repair and cleaning costs. Landlords are SUPPOSED TO expect to do a reasonable amount of cleaning and repair when a tenant moves out, and painting is a NORMAL part of being a Landlord. ACTUAL DAMAGE is not the same thing as NORMAL MAINTENANCE, but that's what this Landlord seemed to believe, and tried to SHAME me for... I saw the flags, he couldn't "get" me, I knew what the game was, but he DID TRY.

I had another Landlord who was stringing the electricity for the outside of the house and the 3 car garage off of MY meter. She was also a real estate agent, she used that to as a cover for appearing to be above board. Same SHAME game, same scam. She also tried to take my entire security deposit for a couple of knobs on the gas stove that were melted a bit when some grease flared up... Solid gold stove knobs, apparently! Must be nice!

When a person is projecting SHAME for all kinds of random things like your hair, your car, your appearance, your job, your ambition and aspirations, your beliefs, your outgoing or introverted personality, your housekeeping, your education level, during a business transaction, your clothing, your money handling, your emotions, things that HAPPENED TO YOU, during counseling, and ESPECIALLY if they are trying to shame you when you stand up for yourself or for someone else, it is a red flag for CONTROL. At one end of this spectrum, the person is just used to getting their way with this tactic in social and family situations, often trying to maintain a "top dog" position. At the other end of this spectrum, the person is a con artist and criminal.