Shame – humiliation emotion is a social sanction

February 24, 2010

Guilt and shame are often mixed up.

  1. Guilt rides with the act.
  2. Shame degrades the value of the individual in a public or social way.

Leaders of any group that opposes the powerful are shamed. Without support, they abandon their cause while internalizing that sanction.

Shame silences much more than 1,000 signed gag orders.

In this photograph, a young man who allegedly had illicit relations with a Jewish woman is marched through the streets for public humiliation. Flanked by German police officers, he wears a sign that reads, “I am a defiler of the race.” These events were calculated to both punish the so-called offenders and to make a public example of them as a deterrent to others who might not fully subscribe to Nazi racial theory. Norden, Germany, July 1935.

Staatsarchiv Aurich

Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Manifestations of workplace bullying

February 19, 2010

Bullying is violence.

Look it up.

Behaviour, % of cases

  1. Aggressive shouting at victim, 94.1
  2. Public Humiliation of victim,  70.6
  3. Victim set up to fail with overload of work,  23.5
  4. Unjustifiable and inconsistent discipline, 29.4
  5. Constant & consistent insulting of victim,  41.2
  6. Inconsistently changing hours & duties, 23.5
  7. Cancelling holidays without good reason,  17.6
  8. Deliberate exclusion from social gatherings,  5.9
  9. Malicious gossip/rumour spreading, 5.9
  10. Telephoning victim at home to intimidate further,  17.6
  11. Sexual/Racial harassment,  23.5

One can see from the figures above that the most common forms of bullying are the overt types such as aggressively shouting at the victim or publicly humiliating the victim. As I have pointed out earlier in this report, the use of an audience is of great importance to a bully as it spreads word of the bullies power across the store or even group of stores in the case of a more senior manager.

Source: Workplace Bullying: Stress, Employment Law and You

Fear which breeds hate is a double-edged win

February 10, 2010

Franchisees are humans.

Humans act primarily via their emotions but explain their behaviour by “dressing them up” in logic.

Franchisees manged through fear, shame and humiliation, are taught to hate themselves and others.

Violence is a foreseeable consequence of dehumanization.

Franchisors are legally responsible for the safety of their workplaces.

Franchisees overcome fear the best as a group

November 26, 2009

Fear creates division and loneliness:

a sense of hopelessness and helplessness; shame-humiliation disguised as depression.

It slowly creeps up on you and makes you do stupid things. It clouds your judgment and distorts your perception. It’s plainly seen by those outside the “power circles” but invisible to the individual.

All skilled power players know to keep the franchisees separated and only bring them together when they are well-supervised.

This maintains their dependency on the central power authority.

Eight ways to combat fear

  1. It doesn’t matter why you’re scared. Knowing why you’ve developed a particular fear doesn’t do much to help you overcome it, and it delays your progress in areas that will actually help you become less afraid. Stop trying to figure it out.
  2. Learn about the thing you fear. Uncertainty is a huge component of fear: Developing an understanding of what you’re afraid of goes a long way toward erasing that fear.
  3. Train. If there’s something you’re afraid to try because it seems scary or difficult, start small and work in steps. Slowly building familiarity with a scary subject makes it more manageable.
  4. Find someone who is not afraid. If there’s something you’re afraid of, find someone who is not afraid of that thing and spend time with that person. Take her along when you try to conquer your fear — it’ll be much easier.
  5. Talk about it. Sharing your fear out loud can make it seem much less daunting.
  6. Play mind games with yourself. If you’re afraid of speaking in front of groups, it’s probably because you think the audience is going to judge you. Try imagining the audience members naked — being the only clothed person in the room puts you in the position of judgment.
  7. Stop looking at the grand scheme. Think only about each successive step. If you’re afraid of heights, don’t think about being on the fortieth floor of a building. Just think about getting your foot in the lobby.
  8. Seek help. Fear is not a simple emotion. If you’re having trouble overcoming your fear on your own, find a professional to help you. There are lots of treatments for fear out there, and no good reason not to try them under the guidance of someone with training and experience.

I note that #2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 can ONLY be done with the help of others. Look to your peers but get some outside help.

This, again, is an excellent article.

Shaming debtors so they pay up

October 19, 2009

ElCobradorDelFracI think I love the Spanish.

They understand that public ridicule is a very powerful motivator.

I’d love to specialize in franchise industry-specific debt collection under the El Cobrador del Frac brand.

Or in English: The Debt Collector in Top Hat and Tails.

I had covered it in a previous post but a 2008 Independent article asks a very good question to recalcitrant payers:

If you owed a few thousand euros and found your footsteps dogged by a man wearing a top hat, tails and silken cummerbund, wouldn’t you pay up rather than face the humiliation of being shadowed by someone dressed like Count Dracula?

… El Cobrador del Frac – “The Debt collector in Top Hat and Tails” – is a nationwide operation which sends employees dressed like Hollywood villains to collect debts. To underline the message, the theatrically-clad collector carries a black briefcase with his calling spelled out in capital letters.

This YouTube video gives you a pretty good idea how they work. (I think when the 6 foot bunny follows you into the washroom, you’d tend to pay your debts.)

There is a very important distinction: They only target those debtors who (1) can afford to pay but (2) chose not to do so (voluntary deadbeats).

“We use no aggression, we just reclaim our debt. We fulfil an important social function,” he insists. “We don’t prey on cash-strapped individuals. We are dealing with professional debtors who know all the tricks and who can pay but don’t.”

I stay in franchising to reclaim debts.

The Compass of Shame, Donald L. Nathanson

August 20, 2009

Money won, Money lost.

Not all that important in the long-term.

Of everything I have seen in franchising, shame is the most dangerous.

Shame can become permanent and lead to despair.

It is an extremely strong interpersonal emotion can be intentionally triggered by those wanting to stop dissent.

The Compass of Shame, Donald L. Nathanson

You should read about Dr. Nathanson’s work. He discusses a way out of the shame cycle on a YouTube video here and here.

In fairness, no one can make you feel a-shamed: you have to accept that judgment of the group. Technically, you can only really ever deceive yourself or give others permission to do so.

Our society used to be pretty good at differentiating between shame and guilt. Not so much now.

Everyone is expected to be successful and that there must be something wrong with you if you don’t follow along the crown.

  1. Guilt rides with the behavior (and can be solved by yourself).
  2. Shame is corrosive to your social identity and beyond your control.

Some people profit from your emotions in the pre-sale, entry, honeymoon phase.  Joy’s shadow emotions, shame and stigma (spoiled identity) are used at the exit.

What is the Science of arresting intelligence long enough to get money from it?

August 19, 2009


Professor Leacock‘s full quote:

Advertising can best be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Franchising is just like that.

The primary stage of arrested intelligence (entrepreneurial wishful thinking) is call pre-sale due diligence.

Due diligence, DD was created as a concept to serve the sellers, NOT the buyers of franchisors.  Perfect, “110%” awesome research can NOT provide reasonable protection against post-sale franchisor opportunism.

DD cannot stop a totally sweetheart franchisor from turning into the worst predator, unilaterally and selectively after the contract is signed.

DD never could and it never will.

DD was created to give a plausible excuse why 1,000s of hard-working, honest investors have lost their life savings. It is maintains the ” confidence” in the game, cools out the mark and confuses and distracts people. When the siht hits the fan…the victim is blamed and most importantly, their shame (stigma, spoiled identity, self-loathing) silences their potential dissent.

Dr. Donald L. Nathanson (The Name of the Game is Shame) provides a nice treatment of a very powerful affect: shame. His Compass of Shame, I find very interesting. He defines 4 patterns of reaction:

  1. withdrawal,
  2. avoidance,
  3. attack others or
  4. attack self.

Note how certain ones of these strategies are encouraged to be used over at Blue MauMau and People are ridiculed our shouted-down, banned, shouted, censored or made to be felt stupid. Even to the point of lecturing rape victim advocacy groups on their ignorance of asinine legal processes.

Just like they know the distracting qualities of such a lovely image, above.

Confusion, distraction, sleight of hand…not very difficult to disable critical thinking, is it?

Franchisees must remember their place

May 31, 2009

FranchiseesRoleimpertinent adj 1 rude or insolent; lacking proper respect. 2 out of place; absurd. 3 esp. Law irrelevant, intrusive

Canadian Oxford Dictionary

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. Frederick Douglass

At one time Mr. Douglass was travelling in the state of Pennsylvania, and was forced, on account of his colour, to ride in the baggage-car, in spite of the fact that he had paid the same price for his passage that the other passengers had paid. When some of the white passengers went into the baggage-car to console Mr. Douglass, and one of them said to him: “I am sorry, Mr. Douglass, that you have been degraded in this manner,” Mr. Douglass straightened himself up on the box upon which he was sitting, and replied: “They cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. The soul that is within me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me…” Booker T. Washington

Service above self: Learning to help men (and ourselves) heal

April 29, 2009

fisherwomanThat is a sunfish.

Not much of a fish, really. Tiny, no sport catching them and you’d never eat them. Unlike the pickerel that are common in our lakes.

But it’s great fun with people you love. And very good practice for dealing with life’s pain.

The term fisher king is appropriate since the young prince is so much associated with fish; first he is wounded by a fish (the unlawful taking of consciousness, which was called the fruit of the forbidden tree in the Adam and Eve story), then he is partly relieved of his suffering while fishing. To fish in this sense is to do one’s inner work – work on dreams, meditation, active imagination, drawing, music, or poetry – any form of inner work that is rich to one. Even such mundane things as gardening…

Fishing is  a fisher king’s only balm to his aching wound.

…What young man has not tried some adult task with bravado only to find that he could not accomplish it? The humiliation, embarrassment, and feelings of inferiority engendered by such a venture cause a fisher king wound in him and suffering that is particularly deep and painful. Perhaps it was a brash love affair or trying to climb the sheer face of a cliff or a business venture that he was not skillful enough to manage. A man tortures himself at 2:00 AM with these memories.

It is tragic that many modern men never escape the fisher king wound and live in anxiety and inferiority all their lives.

When a man follows a strong woman’s prescription, he helps heal both his and her wounds. This hints at the “two becoming one” reality of relationships.

The Fisher King & the Handless Maiden: Understanding the Wounded Feeling Function in Masculine and Feminine Psychology, Robert A. Johnson

Bait and Switch: Deceptive business practices

April 28, 2009

baitandswitchI read Barbara Ehrenreich‘s first major book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America and I found her treatment of the working poor very well done.

From the back cover:

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. Barbara Ehrenrich decided to join them, inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour?…

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity –  a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategems for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives the working poor.

Ehrenreich followed it up with another one called Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. I intend to get that one (time/money) but let’s take a look at the term bait and switch.

Bait and Switch

In retail sales, a bait and switch is a form of fraud in which the party putting forth the fraud lures in customers by advertising a product or service at an unprofitably low price, then reveals to potential customers that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is. This term has lots of other meanings, even outside of the marketing sense.

The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some buyers to purchase the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait, or as a way to recover sunk costs expended to try to obtain the bait. It suggests that the seller will not show the original product or product advertised but instead will demonstrate a more expensive product. Other advertising practices, such as the use of sales techniques to steer customers away from low-profit items, depend on many of the same psychological mechanisms as a bait and switch. Wikipedia

In these hard economic times, potential employees are particularly vulnerable to these deceptive practices.

  • Why not advertise a full-time salaried position at, say $60,000 only to offer (3 months down the line) a cheesy 31 day labour independent contractor contract?

And if you question the deal: Send 100% of the work to a “friendly” consultant, possible because the quasi-government agency granting source is very “flexible”.

Personal flexibility or discretion with taxpayers’ money; when disbursing hundreds of thousands of public funds? Hmmm…

These are words not normally used by any forensic accountants I know.

Not much you can do when the employer is in the private sector but when this happens with public funds, it raises the perception, if not reality of wrongdoing.  Any experienced member of  a volunteer board of directors, not-for profit executive or purchasing professional would know that oftentimes reality IS what is perceived.

By acting recklessly, the individual office holder is acting outside their legal authority (ultra vires) and is therefore personally liable for legal action as well as damaging the affiliated organization’s credibility when someone who knows how the law works, holds them accountable.

— see Misfeasance or Malfeasance in Office

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