unpacking SHAME

wounded self

Recent studies reveal that shame is the core of addiction, angry outbursts, reactivity, low self-worth, codependency, anxiety and mood disorders, such as depression

Shame is a natural emotion that triggers a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. It tends to be so viscerally painful that we do almost anything to avoid it. 

Many maladapative protective strategies and behaviors, including reactivity and addiction, work to 'over-protect' you from feeling the pain of shame.

In childhood, we learn to think "if I feel bad, then I must do something to make this bad feeling go away." We think avoiding our shame is "self-love." When it's actually self-abandonment.

"If we don't unpack shame, we cannot reach our core of love. Positive affirmations are useful but they give only temporary support to balance the negative judgments, like painkillers which diminish the pain temporarily without addressing the cause - in this case, suppressed shame."

Somesh Curti, PhD

is shame driving your life?

avoiding shame is an epidemic

This automatic tendency to avoid shame at all costs, is a learned behavior, passed down from generations. It's become a societal epidemic.

Attempting to FLEE shame, FIGHT against it, or depress it (FREEZE), is really just allowing shame and fear to sit in the driver's seat of your life.

We need to learn how to feel into shame, unpack it, understand and organize it. This is what resolves and lifts the pain of shame.

I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

Brene Brown, PhD



Shame stems from core beliefs of right or wrong. It's part of our subconscious programming, stemming from primal fears and early childhood. 

Shame's job is to let you know what it believes is right or wrong with YOU. Shame is rigid and all-or-nothing. It tells you you're broken, flawed, bad, or inadequate.

Shame impacts our sense of self and worthiness. Shame involves our Inner Critic and statements like, "I am unlovable," or "I am not enough."

When you understand your shame (authentic versus inauthentic shame), rather than avoid, escape, or self-medicate it, you can heal pain and resolve undesirable behaviors


'healthy' shame

Based on our morals, values, rules and boundaries we personally agree to willingly. Authentic Shame serves as a compass to guide us away from harmful or self-sabotaging impulses.  


When we IDENTIFY AND correct our wrongdoings, as best we can, authentic shame will naturally lift with a sense of cleansing relief and self-forgiveness.


'wounded' shame

Subconscious 'contracts' that stem from: childhood; perceptions of others' expectations; family pressures; cultural norms. Core beliefs of what we are supposed to be (perfect, hero, caretaker, always nice, always tough, never sad, always logical, etc.)

inauthentic shame is impossible to please. it has an insatiable appetite for the impossible that is never satisfied, nor does it ever forgive you.

"Delivering the body from functioning as a storage room for suppressed emotions [and shame] brings a sense of natural love and ease, a spaciousness in the breath, that we commonly call happiness."

Somesh Curti, PhD

practices to unpack shame

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identifying values

Learn to feel into shame, so you may chose actions aligned with your values (even when no one is looking)

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tearing up contracts

Begin identifying your AUTHENTIC (healthy) and  INAUTHENTIC (toxic) shame.



Navigate your past and life regrets and if-only's. 'Sit in the mud' of acceptance and realize where you are and what you wish you were.


inner critic work

Building awareness of your inner critical dialogue is imperative. Without awareness, inauthentic shame can drive your life.


If you are experiencing a crisis or an emergency dial 911 or Crisis Response at 602.222.9444

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Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.  It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Creating Your Balance LLC and information provided may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care.