Shame is often hidden underneath anger causing one to overreact, raging at their wife/husband, escalating from 0 to 1000. We are actually getting angry in order to not feel shame in moments of feeling dismissed, discounted or abandoned. Shame is a universal emotion that affects everyone and a powerful freeze state directly related to trauma. It freezes the body and the brain, making it impossible to think clearly. While shame affects everyone, men are socialized to not be “weak” so they often feel the powerful outward emotion of anger instead of shame. The action of a person who feels shame is to hide, disappear and deny their emotional pain that can be the underlying cause of addiction and depression.
Shame is a primary attachment related emotion. Maladaptive shame shuts us down (dissociate) and if we identify with it, it blocks our access to the adaptive primary emotions that serve to bring us back into connection with our partners. The EFT task is to transform maladaptive shame into healthy shame (guilt), which is about our hurtful actions. Healthy shame or guilt are adaptive because they lead to sadness, regret and remorse, (attachment related emotions) that facilitate connection. We address dissociation and identifying as unlovable, and can then be angry at our shame for how it has blocked our connection to our loved ones and/or sad about this block and our longing to reconnect.
Vulnerability is emotional risk, exposure and uncertainty. The ability to be vulnerable is our most accurate measurement of courage.
As a therapist I feel shame needs to be worked with like trauma, very gently and carefully touching it a little bit at a time and then coming out of it again. Gradually the client can go in deeper and stay in longer before coming out again with my support during the healing process.
"Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone."
- Mr. Fred Rogers
"Shame is the extremely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed, and therefore unworthy of love or belonging."
- Brene Brown