ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Gender and Relationships»
  • Relationship Problems & Advice

6 Ways to Overcome Humiliation

Updated on July 1, 2017
threekeys profile image

Threekeys is a freelance writer and poet who loves burning candles; drinking cafe lattes; and standing under Moreton Bay Fig Trees.


What is Humiliation?

Humiliation is another word for being debased, denigrated, disrespected, disgraced, defamed, made to look like a fool, dis’ed, slurred and shamed.

The Latin root of the word humiliation is humilus which translates into low and lowly. That is, being treated as dirt. You are singled out and isolated. Humiliation is a situation that exemplifies the workings of an unequal power balance in a relationship and you are in the inferior position. You are unjustly diminished.

Emotionally, humiliation paralyses you. Humiliation incapacitates you. You cringe and wish the Earth would open up and swallow you whole when you are being publicly insulted, mocked, ridiculed, shamed, your innocent beliefs and curiosities being turned into something dark and harmful, being forced into a state of learned helplessness and powerlessness.

Those slurs, lies, half-truths and attacks on you or your Achille’s Heel, makes you think and look weak, stupid, greedy, wrong and self-focused to others.

Humiliation is a visceral experience. The perpetrator/s have made an attack on the core of your being, your soul. Humiliation is an existential attack about who you are.

Forms of Humiliation

If you have ever experienced any of these situations then you too have experienced a humiliating experience.

* treating someone as being invisible

*holding someone distant, isolating them or abandoning them

*denying them from credit where credit is due

*treating them as an animal or object

*denying basic amenities

*being cheated, lied to, defrauded and duped

*reduction in rank, title, positional power

*public shame

*forced nakedness

*poverty, unemployment, bad investments, bankruptcy, imprisonment, homelessness and powerlessness

*degradation of your beliefs, race, gender, characteristics and affiliations

*forced to submit

*violating privacy (trespassing)

*losing basic personal freedom, mobility, autonomy, being exploited, dominated and intruded upon

*being treated as an equal by a person of a lower status

Humiliation has been linked to academic failure, low sense of self value, social isolation, underachievement, delinquency, cruelty, depression, learned helplessness, social disruption and in extreme cases humiliation is seen as a basic tactic of torturers, prison guards and domestic abusers that can cause death.


The Model of Humiliation

1. The perpetrator exercises the power

2. The victim is shown to be powerless and humiliated

3. The witnesses are the observers to the process of humiliation

People in power use humiliation as a form of social control. Humiliation is said to be a common tool of oppressors. The fear of humiliation acts as a powerful motivating force with humans.

Humiliation is a by-product of institutional prejudices. Professions that can employ the practices of dehumanization (that is, the suppression of empathy and having the attitude of “getting the job done”) are the police force, lawyers, firemen, medicine and paramedics. Over-practising humiliation techniques increases anti- sociality in the form of aggressive behaviours such as bullying and harassment together with social rejection. The victim’s suffering is minimized so the perpetrator can justify their maltreatment.


The Practice of Humiliation has been with us for long time. For instance: -

  • In 1640 Prisoners were humiliated by way of being barefoot. Being barefoot communicated to other members of society that they were prisoners.
  • In the 1690’s Humiliation was expressed via mob justice. This was seen in the Salem Witch Trials where the Towns people belief overpowered the logic of the present-day laws.
  • In 1837 President Abraham Lincoln wrote about mob rule and its involvement in lynching practices
  • In Paris in 1944 French women accused of working alongside the Nazis had their heads shaved and were marched through the town streets barefoot.

5 Reasons Why Those Who Humiliate you, Do What They Do?

1. The humiliators project their own flaws onto the target

2. The humiliators are insecure, and do not want the target to do well.

E.g. cowards do not compliment others because they are afraid if they do, they will be left behind

3. The humiliators failed to have a useful role in life

4. The humiliators have a low sense of worth and tend towards jealousy. They do not want the target to do better than them

5. The humiliators have strong feelings of inferiority

What is the Difference Between Humiliation and Shame?

What is the difference between humiliation and shame? Shame is a private experience. Humiliation is a public experience. With shame, you agree with the perpetrator. With humiliation, you are disagreeing with the perpetrator.

6 Ways to Overcome Humiliation?

1. Align your actions with your beliefs. Whatever you do, DO NOT DEVIATE from your personal code of behaviour/ethics/actions. That is, do not violate your own life rules, values otherwise you too will serve to humiliate yourself.

2. Rethink your beliefs. Reframing could benefit you. Try and see.

3. Know that the things the perpetrator is shaming you about are the exact same things that are a very necessary and integral part of what has made you who you are today. Know in your heart, that you do not need to repair, change or squash those characteristics. When you feel safe get out there and start sharing yourself.

4. Appreciation is the opposite to humiliation. So, start allowing yourself to be appreciated. In your spare time do what you love to do so that you can appreciate what you do which in turn will boost your appreciation feelings for yourself.

5. Look at this experience as a character building exercise and that you are going to increase your emotional competency and resilience. A positive outgrowth is that you can become someone else’s Rock of Gibraltar when they need you to be like that for them. To concretize your growth, write down the pros and cons of your emotional development

6. During your humiliation process, you will want to crawl under a rock and hide away for good. That is exactly what the perpetrator wants you to do. It will be challenging but the best thing you can do for yourself, is start asserting who you are and what you stand for. Show how this crisis has not destroyed you.

I won’t lie to you. You will be heavily infected by the perpetrator’s hatred and your hatred for the perpetrator/s. Revenge will be high on your list. If you have an ancestral family line of violence or personal cruelty and you are the last in the line and you come from an esoteric point of view? To stop the ancestral legacy, you may want to hold the perpetrator accountable and sue him/her/them.

However, I will stop you for a moment and ask you to first-weigh it all up. Will revenge comeback add time, money, reputation to your life? Or, will it detract from your life? Have a think, first.


The Best Way for Me to Overcome Humiliation is

See results

In Conclusion, I Would Like to Say…..

It is said, the difference between successful people from those who fail, is not talent but being able to pick yourself up and get going again.

With that said, I will leave you with this- “Don’t Give Up and Don’t Give In. Just Get Going!”

Thank you for supporting yourself in dealing with and overcoming the hurtful experiences of humiliation


© 2017 ThreeKeys


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 3 months ago

      I love this article of yours, and all the elements that you explained about Humiliation. I like how you added what the difference is between Shame and Humiliation. When I was growing up, it was very common for my alcoholic mom to humiliate me. I forgive her because I think she was very sick and had been treated the same by her own upbringing... but, it was a painful experience as a child.

      I also appreciate your remedies for how not to humiliate ourselves by sticking to our beliefs and values. Magnificent!

      Warm Hugs,


    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Interesting descriptions of humiliation and shame. Great suggestions on how to overcome humiliation. The entire article is very insightful and helpful. Thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great insightful hub and I agree with most of the points you have mentioned above.

      It's not easy to deal with such situations in life especially if the people involved are the ones you are very close with. In other words one can get hurt by the people for whom one cares or who have a significant role in their respective life. If some outsider does such acts , you really don't care and one should not.

      Agree with the quote at the end.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 3 months ago from United States

      If you are not a caring person, then humiliation would not affect you. Because you are, you can overcome humiliating incidences through your own courage and strength. Many blessings my friend. whonu