Bitch on the Blog

July 5, 2016

Off the well worn path

I do have fond memories of my school days. The time between age seven (in the motherland they don’t shove kids off to school at the unreasonable age of four as they do in the UK) and when I left (age 19). Yes, it was an education. In more ways than one. Which is why I think home schooling should be avoided unless your kid is a Mimosa and allergic to human interaction.

So, among my many other favourites, one challenge I remember with particular enthusiasm was when one of our teachers bounced in and wrote, chalk screeching, onto the blackboard: BEGRIFFSABGRENZUNG.

Don’t panic. It’s just a word. In English you’d write “begriffs abgrenzung”. Two words. Same difference.  (As an aside why is the English language so Capital averse?) “Begriff” meaning term/concept. “Abgrenzung” meaning boundaries/overlap. I’d say “definition”. Let’s say the option we were given was “clever, wise, intelligent, educated”. You then had to define each in relation to the other. Call me anal but that sort of challenge appealed to my sense of order. To my sense of enjoying being a nit picking precision freak. Two hours would fly by.

Long intro – short inspiration. Nick, on his blog the other day, brought up the subject of “shame”. Which set me thinking how closely “shame” is related to “regret”. Indeed how they overlap. Of course one may regret, more often than not, without feeling shame.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have felt shame in my life, acutely. Regret? Yes, and no. Where I think shame to be an all encompassing moral concept, regret is very very personal, and elusive. I may regret something to some extent, and yet, in terms of causality, chain of life events which, some way down the line, may give you cause to regret may also, in a wider context, have been a good thing to happen to you. Naturally, that’s the long view. Short term? Don’t bite your fingernails. It’s not becoming. Slam a door instead. At least it makes a noise.

Chew on that. You’ve got two hours.




  1. Regret and shame. Can’t quite see the connection. I have very few regrets. Remembered shame can make me blush even now. Often in embarrassment at my susceptible/gullible/innocent self. Shame is a waste of good energy. Hindsight let’s me see that. It’s a false feeling.

    Comment by wisewebwoman — July 5, 2016 @ 12:46 | Reply

    • The connection, WWW? Regret is a result of shame. You did something shameful, you regret it (or so I hope). Of course, to stick with the task originally set, namely to differentiate, we will feel regret with no shame involved whatsoever.

      The difference between shame and embarrassment is, in my opinion as follows: Shame is what you feel when you have done wrong onto others; embarrassment is when you have made a fool of YOURself. Hence the blushes.

      I don’t agree with you that shame is a waste of energy. It’s a regulator as to our morals, as to ethics. It’s like a fever to our normal Celsius Degree Centigrade. And as such a good and self regulating pointer.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — July 13, 2016 @ 16:06 | Reply

  2. Why Mimosa?

    Shame and regret are perfectly fine as long as it doesn’t lead to guilt. The problem with shame is that it often leads to guilt which can be devastating.

    Comment by rummuser — July 5, 2016 @ 15:01 | Reply

    • Well said. Thumbs up!

      Comment by cheerfulmonk — July 5, 2016 @ 20:38 | Reply

    • Yes, guilt. “Devastating”. Often justifiably so. Which is not the same as being sent on a guilt trip by others.

      Parents are good that way. In my case my father is blameless. Never thought about it till now. Hand on heart I can say he never ever once has put any guilt on anyone.

      My mother? Well, she doesn’t do it with me. Mainly because there is no reason. And she doesn’t do it intentionally with my siblings. As I keep telling them. But as soon as a parent puts “neglect” at someone’s threshold you can bet your bottom rupe that the one being made feel guilty will resent you. Enter the downward spiral. Not, of course, that it’s a one way street. My youngest sister has made it a fine art to make my mother feel guilty for slight parental mishaps (as perceived by my sister) donkeys’ years ago.

      Other than that, hug,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — July 13, 2016 @ 15:58 | Reply

  3. I’ve been delving into my psyche looking for anything that could amount to shame and I have to say I got nowhere. I think I’m genuinely immune to this paralysing emotion. Other people’s criticism may be annoying or embarrassing but it never affects me that deeply. I accept or reject their criticism and that’s the end of it. As Wise Web Woman says, shame is a waste of good energy.

    Comment by nick — July 11, 2016 @ 21:21 | Reply

    • No, no, Nick, as I said to you before “shame” is NOT about other people putting you to shame (or what you call “criticism”). It’s when you know, right at the bottom of your heart, you have done or, in my case, said something I realize hurt someone. Unnecessarily so. I don’t mind hurting (or being hurt) when it has a place and a justification. But, as in the example I gave over at your blog, what I said was just plain “let the ground swallow me” stuff. Shite, even if only blurted out in the moment without malice intended.

      Intention isn’t all. Perception is. And sometimes the other person’s perception is more important than our carelessness.

      I believe where you and I differ are what direction we see shame coming from: You look outward, ie what’s coming AT you (shamed by others) – and refuse to be made feel guilty/ashamed/whatever. I see it at what I have dished out TO others, and promptly (and not prompted by others at all since my whims are generally indulged by them) do go into my own heart and retreat – briefly – into a shell. Nothing like a bit of mulling over and self awareness.

      If the above doesn’t clarify come and see me in my shell. There is room.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — July 13, 2016 @ 15:46 | Reply

      • Realising you’ve hurt someone or done something dreadful seems to me like guilt or remorse rather than shame.

        Comment by nick — July 15, 2016 @ 16:37 | Reply

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