Shame-based people unconsciously seek each other out. Shame-based men and women both have low self-esteem and feel unworthy. As such they each put on a good face to attract each other. On the subconscious energy level, however, shame-based people recognize each other and are attracted to each other. When shame-based people get together it is great in the beginning. Both the man and the woman are “people pleasers” and will do anything to get the other person to like them and each feels gratified to have validation from another person. Because the man feels unworthy he is motivated by a need to acquire something he can show to the world and himself that he has worth. The woman may also have this motive but also has a fear of abandonment and sees the shame-based man as a reliable, non-abandoning replacement for her parents.
Because “people pleasing” is not an action of heart but rather an action of shame, maintaining it eventually becomes tiresome. By “action of heart” I mean an act that is performed for the love of performing the act itself. Actions of the heart are effortless, energizing and joyful. An “action of shame” is an act performed because the actor thinks it will make him look good in the eyes of others. Actions of shame may start out effortless but eventually become tiresome, draining and bring forth a feeling of resentment towards the person to whom the act benefits.
Shame-based women will seek to dominate their shame-based partner. Because the man in this relationship starts out as a people pleaser he will bend his will to hers. Eventually, this will become tiresome and he will begin to let up on his pleasing behavior. This will trigger the woman’s fear of abandonment and she will respond by becoming angry. Shame-based men become very uncomfortable around angry women and so the man will back down. The woman will hold this wounding (the letting up on people pleasing) over the man’s head as a means of controlling him and keeping him from abandoning her. This cycle will repeat itself over and over until the chain is broken.
For the shame-based man in this position the only answer is to stand up to the woman. If he does not do this he will become resentful and will eventually hate the woman and find everything she does irritating. By standing up to her he will notice his resentment and irritation abate almost instantly. Standing up for himself, however, is one of the most difficult things in the world for a shame-based man so it takes a bit of practice and outside support to come to a place where he is comfortable enough to do this. The more he does it, however, the better he will feel.
If anger no longer works for the woman to control the man she may attempt to manipulate him trough tears. It is very important for the man to stand up to this as well. By “stand up” I mean the man must not give himself away. I am not saying to be cruel or abusive but simply to not take shit from the woman whether shit comes in the form of anger, abuse or guilt. He can only not give himself away if he keeps his center and rejects the attempts to manipulate him. This may take anger on his part at first. Part of the woman’s strategy will be to deny him his anger or to make him feel ashamed of his anger. Here, she is playing the role of shame and will try to outflank him every time he stands up for himself. But the man must weather this storm.
Why does the man not just leave the woman? If he does without resolving this inability to stand up to a domineering woman he will simply find another woman to dominate him and the cycle will repeat itself. This is actually helpful for the shame-based woman as well because she will be put in a position to learn the lesson that she should not blame another person for her own feelings.