Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Defining the Jewish Guilt-Shame Complex

My friends, the situation is farkakt!

Indeed, I say farkakt!

I say "farkakt" because I fall victim -in fact, prey- to the Guilt-Shame complex characteristic of my Jewish lineage. Yes, the Jewish Guilt Shame Complex! No Guilt-Shame complex torments the psyche quite like that of the Jewish persuasion.

I am still ashamed of bailing out on my eighth-grade chorus teacher, Ms. Nedzelski, when at quite the last minute and due to my pre-teen insecurities, I informed her I would not be singing the vocal solo on her arrangement of John Lennon's "Imagine." I am guilty of this lapse in integrity! I am ashamed of my guilt! Guilty of my shame! It was more than twenty years ago, yet I cannot rid myself of this burden! Ms. Nedzelski, forgive me!

If you are even just one-eighth Jewish, beware! If shame does not yet accompany your guilt, don't worry; it will. If guilt does not accompany your shame, don't worry; it will...

And, yes, my friends, I hyphenate: Guilt-hyphen-Shame.  I hyphenate because in a Jew, even a measly half-Jew such as myself, there is no guilt without shame, nor shame without guilt.  In some cases, the hyphen should be increased in font so as to stress the inseparability of these two forces: Guilt-BIG-HYPHEN-Shame.

I thus endeavor to dissect the Jewish Guilt-Shame Complex in the hopes that some of you may avoid this most unfortunate and unnecessary set of debilitating circumstances. Let me stress that no thoughts are thought, no food consumed, no sleep slept, and no bowels moved as both Guilt and Shame compulsions seize the body and mind indefinitely.

I still flush red when remembering how I -and my twenty-four other six-grade science classmates- mocked the ink blotch on Ms. Charboneau's cheek, the stray mark of which she was unaware. What of the time when I didn't invite my family to my older daughter's baptism because I thought I'd be saving them the trouble of traveling nine hours to Maine? Or the fact that I'm raising my daughters as Epsicopalians? Are they not only a quarter Jewish? Why such distress over something so seemingly logical?

I'll tell you why: Jewish Guilt-Shame!

How dare I complain or whine, EVER! Because I enjoy, because I laugh, because I bathe in the waters of happiness, health, and the hilarity of my peculiar eccentricities, I am guilty and thus compelled to shame for my good fortune, guilt that I enjoy and others do not, self-loathing of my entire existence. How dare I?

I repeat it: farkakt!


Note: This picture aboves are not products of my creativity. Rather, they was found via the Google Images search engine at and  Why do I state this, you ask? Reasons have been provided above, although it may be due more to my own neuroses. Articles on that are yet to come.

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