Shame is painful, hard-wired, rapid response, primitive emotion. It is often activated by the loss of relationship connection or threat of demotion or exclusion. Being an emotional experience that can be intensely painful, shame has the capacity to negatively impact self worth and how a person relates to others. The experience of toxic, maladaptive shame is so destructive, it is closely associated with most major mental health issues including depression, body image and eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, violence , social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress and suicide.
The pain and embarrassment associated with this experience of shame drives it underground where it is suppressed, denied or managed in a way that creates even more distress to self and others.