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Perceived Humiliation Followed by Revenge

Bob Wallace 

September 2, 2010 

When I was in college, for a year-and-a-half I lived in a studio apartment attached to an old two-story house, in which lived 11 or 12 girls. I got to know them quite well. 

Some stayed there the entire time but some left and others arrived, so altogether I got to know maybe 15 girls. It was an eye-opening experience. 

One night I was in the room of one of them, listening to her records (this was before CDs, obviously). She was 21 years old, very attractive, very curvaceous. 

For some unknown reason she began to tell me about when she was 12 years old. She had been ostracized in the seventh grade, she told me. She showed me a picture. 

She didn’t look bad, just a gawky 12-year-old with glasses. A little pudgy. The word “nerdy” occurred to me. All these things together were enough for her to be ostracized. 

That summer, within three months, she blossomed. The baby fat melted, she got contacts, she got taller, she filled out. It was the proverbial case of the ugly duckling turning into a swan.

When she went back to school in the eighth grade, all of the kids who had ostracized her now wanted to be her friends. She ignored every one of them. She told me from that time forward she was never attracted to “what most women consider good-looking men” — the kind who had ostracized her. 

I remembered that story because it made such a vivid impression on me. Years later, when I began to think about it, I realized what had happened to her. It was a case of humiliation followed by revenge. I never asked her, but I wouldn’t doubt that if some really good-looking guy asked her out she turned him down. Neither would I doubt that she enjoyed it. 

I tried to put myself in her place. How would I feel? Rejected? Offended? Hurt feelings (whatever that means)? Anger, resentment? Self-pity? Perhaps. Humiliated? The desire for revenge? In some form, yes.  

Humiliation followed by revenge is the story of Cain and Abel, except in that case it led to murder. In this girl’s case, being much milder than that of those two unfortunate brothers, it took the form of rejecting or completely ignoring the kind of guys who had humiliated her when she was 12 years old. She was doing to them what they did to her. 

What happened to her for those several months in the seventh grade affected her for the rest of her life. You could use the word “trauma,” although I think it’s a bit strong. But there is an old saying, “Trauma demands repetition,” which is done in order to relive the trauma and make it turn out right. It might be why some people who have been (or think they have been) humiliated seek revenge over and over. 

I mentioned this girl was nerdy at 12 but very good-looking at 13. That reminded me of the well-known movie, The Revenge of the Nerds. And what was it about? Humiliation followed by revenge (for that matter, the same goes for Animal House). That formula is an archetype that everyone, the world over, understands. You could probably show both those movies without any sound, and people would still understand it. 

I was also reminded of Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, about a girl who gets revenge on her high school — and the entire town — by destroying both. 

Then of course there is the classic revenge novel, one that has influenced so many writers — The Count of Monte Cristo, which, in my copy, is over 1300 pages devoted to vengeance. 

I don’t see much difference, if any, between humiliation and shame — in both cases the sufferers perceive themselves as diminished. In the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve (who, ominously, are Cain and Abel’s parents), are ashamed when they realize they are naked. And Cain is shamed and humiliated when God rejects his sacrifice and accepts Abel’s. 

Shame, humiliation…pretty much the same thing, then. They are apparently our earliest unpleasant feelings, and the cause of so much trouble in the world. In the story of Cain and Abel, those feelings are what bring murder into the world. 

The psychiatrist James Gilligan, who studied murderers his entire career, one day realized what he was hearing from them, over and over, was the story of Cain and Abel. “I killed him because he dissed me,” he heard. It’s become a shorthand — “dissed.” And everyone knows what that word means: he disrespected and shamed me, so I got revenge by brutally battering or killing him. 

Can there be a case of revenge that is not based on humiliation and being shamed? If revenge is not based on humiliation, then what else can it be based upon? I can’t think of any other reason. 

 “Humiliation followed by revenge” doesn’t have to be based on real humiliation. That is the problem. It can be based on perceived humiliations, perceived slights, even if they are non-existent. I suppose that’s the definition of paranoia: seeing attacks that are not there. 

Perceiving humiliations that are not there is an excruciating problem in the United States, one that I believe is going to get worse, and could be fatal to this country, especially when dealing with ethnic groups. 

How can an entire ethnic group be exploited and therefore humiliated? Individuals, yes, but entire groups? Every member, including ones who didn’t move to the United States until they were adults? The idea is preposterous. 

Yet the prevailing multicultural paradigm today implies that people have an identity mainly as members of their ethnic groups, and not as individuals. Ethnic group status has become a legally recognized category. This means the institutionalization of the non-existent: group innocence and group guilt. 

When people are legally judged as groups, I see no way around the belief in group guilt and group innocence. Because of human nature, if one group believes it has been humiliated, it is always going to blame that humiliation on another group. It will see itself as innocent and the other group as guilty.  

The media as well as classes in many colleges — indeed in some high schools — have for some years been portraying White people (and especially White men) as a group as the cause of all the trouble in the world, which means that people are taught that Whites have been humiliating everyone else in the world who is not White. The result of all of this will be attempts at revenge from the resentful and paranoid who have been brainwashed into thinking White people are the cause of all their problems. (The theme of historical grudges held by non-White ethnic groups is a major theme of TOO.)

People’s first defense — projection — is to blame their problems on someone else. That’s one of the lessons of the story of the Garden of Eden: “The woman made me do it…the serpent made me do it.” Who has not heard from every small child, “You made me do it?” It’s your fault, not mine. 

Coupled with the propaganda that non-White ethnic groups have been shamed and humiliated by White people (i.e., the West) is the attempt to disarm them and make them self-destruct by making them feel shame and guilt. 

Guilt can lead to attempts at self-destruction. It may not be physical self-destruction, the way Arthur Dimmesdale branded himself in “The Scarlet Letter,” but it certainly can be attempts at psychological self-destruction. 

Guilt is, in fact, self-hatred. If people are propagandized into believing they are the worst ethnic group in the world, and responsible for nearly every problem that exists, their guilt will make them attempt to debase and destroy themselves. 

What we’ve got today are resentful ethnic groups, who believe they have been exploited and humiliated, and who have no guilt at all toward those they blame their problems on. The group that is taught to be guilty, if they internalize that guilt, will hate themselves and participate in their own destruction (see also here). It is a nifty little scheme. 

White people are supposed to feel guilty and ashamed of themselves for their supposed sins against the world — as if every ethnic tribe hasn’t done horrible things to other tribes. 

The Aztecs ripped the hearts out of hundreds of thousands of people who belonged to the tribes they conquered. American Indians used to bash out the brains of babies of other tribes on rocks. The Bolshevists of Russia killed 20 million Russian Christians, with a very large role played by Jews motivated by revenge against the old order. The Communists in China may have killed up to 50 million Chinese. How much worse can it get than those atrocities? 

Once one group believes it has been humiliated and exploited, it is going to blame it on another group, then try to disarm that group by attacking it and trying to make the members feel shame and guilt. It’s happening today — witness insults about how Americans are “racists” if we don’t allow the U.S. to be inundated with illegal immigrants, or “prejudiced” if we don’t permit a mosque to be built near the WTC site. 

What the aforementioned means is that it is sheer insanity to believe the United States can be a successful multicultural nation. Ethnic groups that believe they have been humiliated and abused are going to blame their problems on the White tribe — specifically White men — then try to disarm and then destroy them by trying to make them feel humiliation and guilt. 

Leftism, at least extreme leftism, is predicated on the belief there is no human nature. Yet even leftists have to admit the existence of envy, since that is the one feeling leftism is dedicated to eradicating. So even leftists have to accept the irreducible minimum that human nature, if nothing else, is envious. 

What goes along with the feeling of envying others? Feelings of humiliation. So we’re back to the desire for revenge, which painfully illustrates the fact that leftists don’t merely misunderstand human nature; they don’t understand it at all. That is one of the reasons they support multiculturalism. They are clueless as to where it will lead. 

I believe “perceived humiliation followed by revenge” is a law of human nature, just as “You’re the cause of my problems” and “People who think they are guilty try to hurt themselves” are laws. I’d like to see them taught in the schools, but that’s not going to happen, not with public schools. I have no idea why they’re not taught in church, unless the churches are not doing their job. Which they’re not. 

It’s up to individuals to teach themselves (autodidacts are the best-educated) and to teach their children, to arm them against the attacks they are going to subjected as soon as they start public school  — if you let them attend public school. (Personally, I consider public schools to be traumatizing children, not educating them.) And children are certainly going to be inundated with these attacks from the media. 

I now know that when members of different ethnic groups attack White people not as individuals but as a group, these attacks are based on envy and fantasies about their entire ethnic group being shamed and humiliated, and are not attempts at fairness and justice, but instead attempts at revenge and therefore attempts at destruction.  

Nietzsche well understood the ressentiment, or “life-envy” of those who feel themselves to be oppressed by others. He considered it to be at the root their desires to bring down their supposed oppressors.  

These attempts to instill guilt and shame can only be done through propaganda — schools, commercials. TV, movies, magazines, and newspapers. It’s best to start when they’re kids. Get ‘em when they’re little and can be easily molded! 

For me, and for others I know, it’s got to the point I’m very careful where I spend my money. Why should I fund my enemies?  

As a friend of mine wrote me, “It's getting to the point that I'm starting to feel the ol' territorial defense mechanism kick in. It's getting harder and harder not to notice that I (and others like me) are no longer included in most advertisements, that our only role in most popular entertainment is that of a buffoon or the ‘weak member that constantly needs getting rescued or the ‘evil criminal’ and that anything we do will have the credit taken by others or be ignored. It's hard not to notice that ads now advertise jobs for ‘women and minorities’ only, and that loans/grants are given to, yes, ‘women and minority based...whatever’ and nothing else.” 

People consumed with guilt don’t murder others — they murder themselves. Those who have convinced themselves they are oppressed and humiliated — they are the dangerous ones and the potential murderers. They attack, without guilt, and attempt to destroy, the people who have disarmed themselves through their false beliefs in their own shame and guilt. 

 What’s that old saying? “Forewarned is forearmed”? It’s true.

Bob Wallace (email him) has a degree in Mass Communications and is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He writes occasionally about economics and cultural issues.

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