The sensation of shame sits in our body's middle, right around our solar plexus. It's an icky, uncomfortable feeling that we attach very specific meaning to, and define with thoughts of, "I'm not good enough, or lovable." These mental determinations have no validity or truth to them, but they remain in the body lifelong, unless core trauma repair is elicited.
It's crucial to understand just how these feelings get implanted, to comprehend how to dismantle and resolve them once and for all. This requires a specialized type of therapeutic intervention that's emotionally experiential, NOT insight based.
All the intellectual information and insight you can possibly gather to explain this sensation of core shame will not help alleviate or mitigate it. Only genuine Feeling Work and self-worth repair can accomplish this mighty task. Let's understand more about the etiology of our shame, shall we?
Every infant is in love with his mother before he leaves her womb. Once he is born, he needs to believe that he is the center of her universe and the very source of her joy. A baby born to a mother who is sad, discontent, angry or dissatisfied with her mate believes it's His fault his mother is unhappy, and interprets her lack of joy to mean that she's unhappy with HIM. Core shame then, typically begins within the first days and weeks of a baby's life. It's greatly exacerbated by a mother's post-partum depression.
Throughout an infant's growth journey, he repeatedly observes his mother's lack of joy, and feels responsible for having caused it. His primal sense of, "if she were happy with Me, this wouldn't be happening" clings to him as he develops into adulthood. Every relationship that follows these earliest relational deficits with Mother is approached from the standpoint of, "if I can make THIS person happy, all will be well and right in my world." Miraculously enough he remains undaunted in this aim, despite his many failed attempts to cheer his mother throughout childhood.
He's accustomed to NOT achieving this aim, so it never occurs to him to abandon it. As long as his sole focus is on pleasing and accommodating another's needs, he is able to dissociate from his own inner emptiness and pain, which is the payoff for maintaining this obsessional behavior pattern.
Caregiver/rescuer types live with a compulsion to be Everything to others, due to their primal experience of never having gotten to feel cherished and adored by their mommy, when it was age-appropriate to have received confirmation that they were lovable and good enough to have inspired her glee and joy.
The inevitable choice of borderline disordered partners in adulthood, springs from the adult child's earliest life experiences pertaining to never having been able to please his mother enough to assuage her profound discontent. This has become his "norm" for what being in a relationship bond with another entails. He knows no different, in context of expectations surrounding a partner's demeanor or moods.
Add to this, one's beloved literally echoes his own long-denied emptiness, dissatisfaction and inner pain, and it's far easier to try and fix the discontent or unhappiness a lover presents, than to address one's own~ which is central to why humans remain in toxic relationships!
What this child could NOT get from mother, in terms of nurturant supplies was compensated for, when she used him as her therapist, maternal object (for soothing/comforting) and surrogate mate. The adult child of maternal neglect and/or abuse grows up learning that His ONLY source of need-fulfillment and sense of empowerment, means always being responsive to the needs of someone else.
The dye was cast and throughout the remainder of his natural life, his primary aim has been to please and be useful to others, usually at a considerable expense to himself. The lack of satisfaction from his efforts to please others matters not, in relation to him pursuing that aim, because as an infant and small child, hope to alter his mother's profound unhappiness sprang eternal.
My book, DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED? about pathological codependency and how it drives impaired partner selection, is the quintessential primer for understanding not only why your relationships haven't worked out well, but why you continue to self-sabotage and struggle professionally and financially.