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    #1

    Red face "You're embarrassing yourself"

    I think it may have started with a quote from the movie "Stepbrothers," but I have heard the phrase "you're embarrassing yourself" used a lot lately, on TV talk shows and elsewhere. Am I wrong in thinking that the phrase makes no sense? Embarrassment, it seems to me, is a subjective feeling; so only I can impose it on myself. No matter how boorish or stupid my actions may be, if I don't feel embarrassed by them, then there is no embarrassment. For one person to say to another, "you're embarrassing yourself," seems illogical to me. "You should feel embarrassed" would be fine. Am I wrong? Have I just embarrassed myself?

  1. calypsovoice's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    Yes, I have the same feeling!

    In simple words, verb "to embarrass" means ""to cause somebody to feel ashamed, confused, being put in a difficult situation"

    For these reasons, in my humble opinion, it's illogical that one can do it to himself. It can be done to another person, though.

    In Polish we say something like that: "you're putting yourself to shame /or/ you're making an idiot of yourself"

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    It's not that you feel embarrassment, it's that you are acting in a manner to cause embarrassment. Say that you are standing in the middle of a main street at two in the morning and you are screaming. You may feel fine about your screaming but your friend will point out that you are acting badly - you are embarrassing yourself.
    Embarass - encyclopedia article about Embarass.
    I agree with the others. I don't like it.
    Embarassment is an emotion. If you don't feel it, you can't be doing it to yourself. In the above situation, the friend is embarassed and, if they say "you are embarassing yourself", they are projecting the embarassment onto the actor, rather than acknowledging where the true feelings lie - unless you are claiming that "You're embarassing yourself" means "You will feel embarassed later for what you are doing now".

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    It sounds pretty normal here. Obviously the extended meaning is to behave in a way the community finds shamefully inappropriate, without yet realizing it. As soon as it is pointed out, you're meant to get it.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    It sounds pretty normal here. Obviously the extended meaning is to behave in a way the community finds shamefully inappropriate, without yet realizing it. As soon as it is pointed out, you're meant to get it.
    That's possible, but it's an anomaly. Yes, the meaning's clear, but the usage isn't consistent with other emotions.
    We don't say "You're angering yourself", "You're making yourself feel guilty", etc. when someone behaves in a way that the community finds anger- or guilt-inducing.
    Are there any other emotions that are referred to in this way?

  5. Tullia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That's possible, but it's an anomaly. Yes, the meaning's clear, but the usage isn't consistent with other emotions.
    We don't say "You're angering yourself", "You're making yourself feel guilty", etc. when someone behaves in a way that the community finds anger- or guilt-inducing.
    Are there any other emotions that are referred to in this way?

    I think we would say "you're just hurting yourself", "you are winding yourself up", "you aren't helping yourself", "you're making it worse for yourself" or even "you're being irrational". They aren't quite the same, but there are some parallels - in each case, in the instant they are said, the person might well not agree with our assessment of the situation or their emotion, but we say it as if it's a fact in order to shock them into realising we are right.


    What about "you are making yourself miserable"? Is that a closer parallel to "you are embarassing yourself"?


    Also "you're upsetting yourself" - said especially to children. This is, in terms of structure, muc more like "embarassing yourself". I know I've had it said to me and snapped back "I'm not [insert swearword] upset, I'm angry!" when, in truth, and as I later realised, I was indeed upset, and had been making myself worse.

  6. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "You're embarrassing yourself"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That's possible, but it's an anomaly. Yes, the meaning's clear, but the usage isn't consistent with other emotions.
    We don't say "You're angering yourself", "You're making yourself feel guilty", etc. when someone behaves in a way that the community finds anger- or guilt-inducing.
    Are there any other emotions that are referred to in this way?
    Normally, I think, when we do something to cause ourselves great embarrassment, there is a definite period during which we're unaware how we're going to be perceived. Unlike pleasuring yourself, or angering yourself, which can be imagined to be instantaneous, one cannot imagine ever embarrassing oneself socially or publically without a form of dramatic irony, a period of obliviousness. Otherwise no one would ever go ahead and do anything embarrassing.

    So I find the phrase all right for that reason.

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