Feelings need to be kept secret, as do thoughts and behaviors of their families and themselves. A great deal of energy is expended in the effort to hide shame.
A shame-based person lives in the constant fear that they will become emotionally naked in front of others. Although they may appear relaxed and in control, underneath they are terrified, angry, lonely, and ashamed. They believe that if they expose their true feelings, they will be shamed by those who see them.
Shame manifests itself in addictions.
The addiction can be for alcohol, drugs, food, sex, television, work, shopping, exercise, relationships, gambling, adrenaline, and control, for example.
The addiction serves to temporarily relive anxiety, stress, feelings of powerlessness, avoid true feelings, problems and intimacy.
Addictions are unhealthy mechanisms that keep one from feeling their true feelings. The deeper the pain inside the more it pervades every aspect of their lives and the more the need to numb the pain through addiction. The pain is strong and frightening and many times takes more than one addiction to deny and hide the pain.
Over the years of hiding their true selves they no longer know who they really are.
They become two people - the exterior one and interior one.
Beneath the surface lies the fear of abandonment, guilt, shame, and identity and intimacy problems. Above the surface we see the symptoms manifested in various addictions.