We are born with the hardwiring for connection, and I think we learn shame. It starts as a parenting tool. It’s also a tool for social control; it’s a tool in classrooms; it’s a tool in synagogues and churches and mosques. Shame needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment, but it only works when it keeps you in a false belief that you are alone. men have a tendency to have one or two responses to shame, which is anger or disengagement. Women have a tendency to turn against themselves. We tend to join the choir of the gremlins and engage in some destructive self-loathing.
We found that for people who held on to a secret of trauma—because of shame or because of guilt—keeping that secret had a worse effect on their physical well-being than the actual traumatic event.