Two kinds of humiliation: humiliation as rejection from the human commonwealth and humiliation as extreme injury to the other’s control over herself.
Humiliation leads to social pain, to decreased self-awareness to decreased self-regulation to …increased self-defeating behavior and finally to violence.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, in a speech in 2003, said
the ‘single most under-appreciated force in international relations is humiliation.
The more severe the humiliation and trauma, the more likely its victims are to become suspicious of and paranoid about the intentions of others towards them. Once humiliated, there is often a powerful feeling that ‘the self’ will never be repaired, healed, or be made whole again, unless the injustice is appropriately addressed.’ The anger and rage that follows protects us from inner fragmentation, from ‘going mad’ or having a ‘nervous breakdown’. But it also tends to foster a desire for vengeance, and an attempt to restore dignity. This is why humiliation is often followed by a reversal in which the previously humiliated becomes the next humiliator.
– Helene Lewis
A considerable proportion of the most humiliating gestures are those which show the victims that they lack even the most miniscule degree of control over their fate – that they are helpless and subject to the good will (or rather, the bad will) of their tormentors