Body-language and nonverbal communication

The skin is the message 5 – The wish to be seen as resistance to the feeling of shame












The skín is the message 5 – The wish to be seen as resistance to the feeling of shame

Maybe you remember my experience in the underground of Berlin some dweeks ago. I had seen a couple having tattoos. When trying to look at the tattoos, because I got interested in the symbols which I could see even from the distance, the man addressed me in quite an aggressive way. He did not want to be seen, though having his tattoos uncovered so that everybody in the underground could see them.

So that everybody had to see them.

This experience again made me be aware of a paradox in our media society: There is a broad interest in to be seen, a deep longing for to be seen and a lot of activities to be seen. BUT on the one hand often the moment when someone is seen on TV or is so short that it is soon forgotten again. And on the other hand people react quite strange when they are seen, when someone really is interested in what they see.

This reminds me also of the feedback when people ……………..comment my analysis on body-language of i.e. of politicians, prominent people and so on. One main issue of the critics is the following:

“What the hell are you doing. You’re not allowed to use your analytical background and your specific tools to analyse people in public in such a way. You are not allowed to explain the nonverbal impact and behaviour patterns of people who present themselves in public, who are part of the media stage. This is cruel and exposing. And by the way, you did not ask them for permission.”

Another comment is the following: “it is cruel to these people when someone analysis and unveils the hidden sides of the personality and behaviour patterns, in the way as he sees it. You don´t respect their personality rights. They have a right for intimacy.”

How can this happen and how does this work together, I ask myself? How can these people decide to go public and to be in public and to profit from the public, if they at the same time dislike the feedback they get. Dislike it with the argument: a journalist can comment on their behaviour but not a psychologist or psychotherapist. If a psychologist does so, his analysis is some kind of devaluing the people who present themselves in public.

I am convinced that it is not my feedback which is the problem for those people. It is the specific psychological mirror these people are confronted with, when they feel themselves while reading my analysis. It is a mirror by which they can see themselves in a very intimate way. This mirroring is completely different to a feedback by the public. Different because it touches the inner self of the person who reads. It touches one´s own core of one´s own personality.

And the person unconsciously feels not ok. Reading an analysis in such a context vitalizes a deep feeling of shame. This activates a resistance to such a dynamic. A peculiar reaction then is to pick up a role, a role behaviour – in order to feel ok again. One could say to oneself in such a moment: I am ok, if play a role which is accepted in and by society, by the public, by media.

Whatever role you pick up, it has to do with going public. It has to do with being seen by the others.

—-And the circle starts again: you pose, you are seen, someone looks at you, shame and aggression/rejection will occur, and …… can imagine how the process will go on.

 The ambivalence is: We need and want openness, publicity, transparence but at the same time wish: don’t address me, when being seen,  in a meaningful way, in a deeper sense, on a deeper emotional level.

To make it short, the unconscious script could be:

Be in public, be  transparent but don`t experience to be seen, and don`t let the other one find interest in you.

One could also come to the conclusion that we’re not yet ready, we’re not yet prepared and don’t feel save enough being part of an overall world in public. One could also say that the more we go public the more we’re seen, the more we’re present nonverbally, the more one feels the deep shame when being seen by the other people.


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