Vulnerability Researcher Brene Brown claims on page 165 of her book 'Daring greatly' states 'we are still awaiting the neurobiology to show that shame is perceived as trauma'. I have written to her to ask if she has come across the work of Ronald A Ruden MD PhD, a clinical research scientist in NYC. In his book 'The past is always present' he claims that: Shame, guilt,, etc are reflective emotions linked to attachment - he has described the process of traumatization in the limbic system as being a process of the Basal lateral complex BLC sending a message to the Central Nucleus (Ce) within the amygdala - it is potentiated by the neurotransmitter glutamate (released at the time when helplessness is present - ie. the situation is inescapable - such as being shamed by one you love and trust) - and processing inhibited by norepinephrine (which prevents it being rationalised consciously at the time - and is thus subconsciously encoded). Anyhow he explains it way better than I can - but shame is definitely identified as a trauma trigger by neurochemistry - perhaps one of the most important..
My particular interest is in releasing childhood and adult trauma through bodywork and EMDR to release chronic pain and anxiety states. I am just learning my craft but am doing a lot of research on the subject to try to pull together a full understanding of the process. People find it difficult to understand that physical pain can be caused by emotional triggers but this is also beginning to be described in the literature. Your work on shame and vulnerability has meant a lot to me and when I point them in your direction, my clients. it helps them to understand the meaning of their experiences and how they can move beyond their self-limiting beliefs about themselves. As I work with a lot of academics (particularly women), her work has a lot of resonance from women who have striven to achieve and succeed despite their shame experiences. I aim to move them to a point not just of acceptance but of realisation that they can love themselves not despite but because of those experiences and the understanding and compassion it has given them for themselves and others.
I love Brene's work as it complements my own researches so well and her willingness to connect and share her personal experience. I think she's amazing - a much needed light at the end of a dark tunnel.