Here are a few signs of a man with a serious shame problem: Everything he does is someone else’s fault He gets mad and defensive when you correct him He over inflates his abilities on a consistent basis He over promises and under-delivers He’s unreliable The behavior outlined above is that of a man who ultimately feels inadequate. And, let’s face it. Who in their right mind likes to feel inadequate? Nobody! Not even you.
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Here’s how you hold him accountable. One of the number one questions women ask me is why men lie and cheat. The answer, in one word is — shame. Now you’re probably asking yourself, “How in the hell does someone who lies and cheats do so out of shame?” From your perspective, cheating comes across as caring only about one’s own self, one’s own activities, and not giving a damn about the rest of the world. But the truth is … beneath it all, the exact opposite is driving his cheating behavior. Such behavior is merely a mask.
1. Use the word “we,” not “you.” More than likely the man you’re dealing with grew up in an environment latent with criticism. By using the word “we” you’re fostering a team dynamic in your relationship. This helps him feel accountable for his contribution to circumstances and situations, without having him feel like he’s being ostracized. Saying “we need to get back on track” achieves an entirely different outcome than saying “you need to get back on track.”
2. Lower your voice. Don’t shout or raise your voice when confronting him. In other words, talk to him the way you would a little boy. After all, it’s the little boy inside of him who needs reassurance and understanding. It’s the wounded child within that keeps sabotaging his interpersonal growth.
3. Use negative reinforcement to get his attention. As with most people, “punishment” such as cursing a man out, hitting, or threatening him, only adds to the problem. Negative reinforcement, however, allows him to see healthy natural consequences of his behavior. It involves you holding your boundaries, allowing him to see the positive things his selfish behavior causes him to lose.
4. Stop accepting mediocrity. Make clear your expectations, while being that which you seek.
5. Lastly, never use the phrase “a real man.” This is one of the most shaming phrases men hear. “A real man” would do this, or “a real man” would never do that. Coming at him with this phrase will only lead to a useless confrontation. It’s the equivalent of him comparing you to your mother. On some level, we’re all a work in progress … including you.
Just because your man seems broken now doesn’t mean he’s incapable of fixing himself. Your job is to make sure that you empower him, not enable him. Trust me, when he knows better, more than likely he’ll do better.