Shame in the Physical Body: Symptoms & Dis-Eases Associated with Shame

Shame in the Body

How Does Shame Show Up In The Body?

Feminine Shame shows up in the physical body in many different ways. The way it shows up is unique to each individual. However, the main thing about how shame shows up in the body is that it will feel seemingly unrelated. How could shame impact posture or lead to the formation of chronic dis-eases such as adrenal fatigue or digestive challenges?

The answer is because of the impacts shame has on our nervous system and on our energy. Chances are those pesky “mystery symptoms” you experience or that diagnosis you received could be greatly improved by unraveling the legacy of Feminine Shame you are carrying.

What is Shame?

Shame is a mysterious, insidious, and shape-shifting emotion. It’s deeper than guilt, which is an awareness of wrongdoing and a sense of remorse. Shame is an internalization of guilt, wherein you believe there’s something inherently wrong about you. Shame and guilt are quite similar and damaging to our mental health.

Shame involves silence, secrecy, a fear of being seen, a fear of expressing, a fear of being found out. These painful, intense emotions can be very isolating, while making us feel badly and feel small.

In a nutshell, we’ve constructed a universal baseline for ourselves regarding conduct, appearance, etc. Then we assume everyone else knows it, too, and is fiercely measuring us up against it. Since it’s an impossible mark, we’re perpetually in conflict with ourselves and ashamed of our shortcomings and how they also influence those around us.

Internalizing False Beliefs

The key here is the internalization and making it a story about ourselves. This creates immense stress, creates a new tainted lens for us to view the world, and creates body armor and habits.

Acting from this place creates a cycle of more shame and more circumstances and situations to perpetuate the shame and the beliefs we’re now holding about ourselves and our lives.

Toxic shame is a vicious cycle with many facets.

Feminine Shame Lives in the Body

The body is transient and ever-changing. It’s passive, shifting, impermanent, just like the moon. We resist aging, we resist our bodies changing, we are ashamed of bodily functions and go to great lengths to hide the fact that we may produce odors, excrete waste, and make sounds we cannot control.

We’re programmed to mistrust and dislike that which is in flux. As humans, and women especially, our very nature is in flux. So even without the added external shame, we’re carrying these subconscious beliefs about ourselves. The Spiral Principle is all that is transient, shifting, passive, and cyclical, like the moon. The Triangle Principle is all that is fixed, structured, active, and linear, like the sun.

We’ve been taught to celebrate structure, outward expression, productivity, even flow, and action. We’ve been taught to view it as safe, while anything that is transient, passive, and changeable is deemed unsafe and something of which to be wary.

This is something I refer to as Feminine (or Spiral) Shame, which impacts us all regardless of gender or physical anatomy. Learn more about Feminine Shame and the fear of the transient.

How shame affects us will differ among people who experience shame or are the recipients of shaming behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions About Feminine Shame

What is Feminine Shame:
Have you ever felt out of step with the world, simply for embracing the natural ebbs and flows within yourself? At InnerSpark, we define “Feminine Shame” as a deeply ingrained resistance towards that which is cyclical, fluid, nurturing, intuitive, or emotional. It’s the uneasy feeling that arises from being cyclical, intuitive, or in tune with seasonal rhythms in a world that often values linear progress and constants. This disconnect is what distances many from their true essence, their InnerSpark, causing them to feel adrift, overwhelmed, and detached from the comforting rhythms of nature. It’s feeling ashamed of our innate, tender nature in a world that parades “normal” over “natural.”
Rooted in centuries-old beliefs, Feminine Shame drives that whispering ghost of “not enough.” It convinces us we’re wrong, unworthy, flawed at our very core. We’ve been conditioned to see our natural state as abnormal, which distances us from our true selves. This tug-of-war between the natural and the “normal” drains us—physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, spiritually—leading to widespread dis-ease. It’s high time we ask: isn’t it time to bridge that gap? To finally come home to ourselves? That’s where The InnerSpark Method is your guide.

Why Does Feminine Shame Exist:
From our early years, society hands us a blueprint of how to “fit in.” This blueprint often discounts the beauty of nature’s spirals – the inherent fluctuations and cycles that we, as beings of this Earth, naturally resonate with. When these intrinsic rhythms, intuitions, and emotions are labeled as irregular or inconsistent, it creates a landscape where Feminine Shame finds fertile ground, urging us to adopt the “standard” instead of cherishing our unique spirally essence.

Who Does Feminine Shame Impact:
Feminine Shame isn’t reserved for a select few. Imagine a shroud, thin but omnipresent, covering everything and everyone. Feminine Shame is that shroud. It blankets us all, an invisible veil impacting every heart. Regardless of gender or anatomy, everyone feels its presence – the nudge to prioritize society’s “shoulds” over the nurturing call of nature. It’s the tension that arises when our natural desire for a holistic, integrative life clashes with societal expectations, leaving us yearning for authentic connections, rhythms, and a return to our true nature.

How Do We Heal Feminine Shame:
The path to healing starts with recognizing the value of our innate connection to nature’s cycles. By turning towards our own challenges and deepest desires, and embracing the rhythms that have always been a part of us, we can find grounding and resilience. It’s about harmonizing with nature’s wisdom, tapping into its rhythms for guidance, and shedding the layers that keep us from living organically and authentically. Together, as a community that sees, supports, and validates each other, we transition from feeling fragmented and out of sync to dancing in harmony with life’s beautiful, ever-changing spirals.

Shame In The Body: Specifics

Shame is an emotion that is the result of a mental body story, cellular memory, ancestral trauma, energetic imprint, empathically responding to and internalizing the emotions and stories of others, and more.

What does shame feel like in the body? Where do you feel shame in the body? What are the physical symptoms of toxic shame?

The effects of shame on the body are many. I’ll touch on a few today to paint a picture and provide examples so you can begin to understand the origin of your physical challenges.

You have more power over your own health than you’ve been led to believe. You can heal the root rather than pacifying symptoms continually.

Poor Posture

Poor posture results when we don’t feel comfortable, supported, safe, and strong in our bodies. The barrier to these states of being, which are your birthright, is shame.

We’re ashamed of our bodies, ashamed of our lack of support, ashamed of our lack of strength. Rather than seeing our bodies as sacred, temporary homes open to our influence, we fall victim to shame and perpetuate it through the way we hold our body. Our bodies have a memory and postural patterns reflect our infernal dialogue. Working on both levels – physical and mental – simultaneously results in rapid change.

Additionally, carrying around a burden of shame doesn’t have to just be the slouched or hunched-over depressive posture. An aggressive or defensive posture may be the tendency depending on the individual and their unique shame story.

Digestive Challenges  

Digestive challenges, especially constipation, can be the result of shame. We carry shame in our center and in our place of power, the solar plexus chakra. Feelings of early life powerlessness result in a heightened need to control, which can mean controlling the body and its natural processes, like defecation.

The shame lies in feeling like it was our fault that we were powerless. Then, internalizing the treatment we received or the circumstances we endured, as well as soaking in the collective’s shame of the body and in particular, bowel movements. I’ve seen this especially in womxn.

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Sexual dissatisfaction can show up in a variety of ways. From an inability to perform, to an inability to climax, to low libido, to a general dislike of sex, and more.

This is a very loaded and multifaceted topic that could be a series of posts and of itself. For now, I’d like to bring presence to how shame of the body, and a deep cultural programming of how sex is shameful, have resulted in a perverted society devoid of a healthy, innate, innocent sexuality. 

For many, sex elicits so much shameful anxiety that it’s no wonder there’s a loss of libido or an inability to climax and more!

Shame of enjoying ourselves, shame of how we’ll be perceived by our partners, or shame of how our bodies look. Shame of looking or sounding weird, shame of being too experienced, shame of being inexperienced. Shame of taking too long, shame of not taking long enough.

Disordered Eating & A Poor Relationship With Food

Relationships with food are very intimately tied in with relationships with our Earth mothers or mother figures. Our desire to be nourished and have our needs met can feel shameful.

We either internalize the shortcomings of our caretakers as a reflection on us, or we simply feel ashamed for having the need to be loved and nurtured. In any case, turning to food feels like a reliable, safe fix since it won’t judge or shame us.

Restrictive eating may come from that early life experience with powerlessness that I mentioned with constipation. It’s a form of control. Binge eating is a way of punishing ourselves and taking out deeply held frustrations, anger, and desperation.

We can also feel ashamed to eat in front of others because we don’t want them to see us enjoy our nourishment, and we don’t want to feel judged. We place a sense of morality on ourselves based on what we eat – “I was so good today! I ate my vegetables.” Or “I was bad today, I ate cake.”

Nourishment is a basic necessity and not something to be ashamed of, yet there is that tricky emotion popping up again. Check out this class on nourishment and digestion.

Endocrine Disorders Like Adrenal Fatigue, Hypothyroidism, & Reproductive Challenges

These challenges are symptoms in my book. Sure, they’re diagnoses, yet, the body doesn’t just randomly decide to malfunction; these are symptoms of underlying, subtle imprints. The subtle is always creating the gross. The subtle goes askew when it’s coated in different nuances of the shame story.

Adrenal Fatigue & Shame

In Adrenal Insufficiency or Adrenal Fatigue as it’s commonly referred to as, there is such deep, deep imprints of shame that drive perfectionism, anxiety, fear, feeling like one’s survival is threatened, isolation, and loneliness. There may also be a sense of defeat and that we have made our bed, this is how it has to be.

Shame is preventing the adrenal fatigue sufferer from receiving new options and possibilities, receiving support, admitting they need help, facing their unique, particular experiences that have resulted in living this way.

Hypothyroidism & Shame

Hypothyroidism is linked to shame around expressing and sharing one’s self. Continually swallowing one’s truth, holding one’s self back from being seen in the world and sharing one’s gifts.

Hypothyroidism energetically and physically is directly linked to anything involving the adrenals and often times, contrary to western medicine’s testing practices, hypothyroidism is a secondary ailment due to taxed adrenals.

Reproductive Challenges & Shame

Reproductive hormones and functions also tie into this little triad energetically and physiologically, as well. This can be linked to shame around the body, shame around being a woman, shame around one’s own childhood, and more. And, the same goes for this – there’s most always an adrenal component when anything regarding the reproduction is challenged.

Healing Shame

What’s your experience with shame? Where do you notice it in your body? Please share with me below! I invite you to peruse the following resources to support your path of healing shame:

The InnerSpark Method

Timeless Wisdom to become Naturally Resilient

Transform life's storms and cultivate peace, resilience, and vitality with Nature's wisdom.

Dive deep into nature’s rhythms, unraveling from the complexities and strains of modern life, and align yourself with the ebb and flow that has sustained life for millennia.

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Come discover a whole-person, trauma-informed system of Nature's self-care to rekindle natural cadences across all dimensions of your being -  whether it's the physicality of daily routines, the depths of emotional resilience, the realms of mental clarity, the vibrations of energy, the art of relationships, or the ethereal world of spirituality.

Explore Feminine Shame:

  • Feminine Shame: The Root of Our Disconnection From Nature

    Feminine Shame: The Root of Our Disconnection From Nature

    In most all modern folks, the actual root cause of cycles of burnout, physical health challenges, stress, and feeling like there’s just something “wrong” with you is our disconnection from Nature. This disconnection stems from Feminine Shame. Feminine Shame will have you feeling like you’re just going through the motions. Like somehow life has become…

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  • Healing Feminine Shame

    Healing Feminine Shame

    In today’s fast-paced world, where we prize the linear, productive, and constant, a profound form of dissonance permeates our lives. This dissonance is rooted in Feminine Shame: a deep-seated aversion and resistance towards the inherently natural, cyclical, and intuitive aspects of existence. By understanding and healing Feminine Shame, we initiate the process of aligning more…

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Greetings! I’m Devon Ray Battaglia, MS, AHA, ACC. As an Integrative Health Expert, Ayurvedic Health Advisor, and Holistic Life Coach, I’ve devoted myself to living and sharing the timeless wisdom of Nature’s rhythms to unlock our natural resilience and joy!

I mentor individuals like you on a heartfelt journey toward the life-changing simplicity and nourishment of living in sync with Nature.

Ready to transform life’s storms, amplify resilience, boost health and vitality, reconnect with your InnerSpark, and discover a life overflowing with peace, confidence, and clarity?

Click here to learn more about me and The InnerSpark Method.


  1. Julie

    I just started listening to the recording on this page, and it started great and felt excited by it. The male voice chimed in and mentioned a “quote” about who do you think you are that you know what others are thinking? I get the sentiment, but for those of us who have suffered from childhood shame, abuse and trauma, this kind of statement feels very shaming. I did not come on here to be shamed even more for a defensive mechanism that I want to learn about and heal from. I would recommend removing this comment from the recording. Im certain Im not the only one who feels this way. I did fast forward this part and listened to the rest to the podcast. It was very helpful and enlightening. I could so identify with the part with the endocrine system… so many A-has! Thank you very much for this information.

    • Michael Battaglia

      Hello Julie, thank you for the comment. My name is Mike and I’m the
      male voice heard in the podcast.

      I certainly did not mean to shame you for anything and I am truly and
      whole-heartedly sorry that my words came across that way; such was not
      my intention.

      As a male survivor of sexual abuse I have felt a lot of shame, and I
      still do to some degree most days. Through my own journey towards
      healing (which is still a work-in-progress) I realized that much of my
      shame was rooted in the idea that everybody around me could see what
      had been done to me, like it was written on my forehead.

      It was a breakthrough for me to realize that the people around me
      don’t have any superhuman abilities to read my past or my mind, any
      more that I can read theirs. This helped me to stop assuming that
      people are judging me everywhere I go.

      The irony of a self-deflating shame being rooted in something that
      would have required super-human powers was, to me at least, a
      fascinating paradox which reminded me of something I had heard about
      “Don’t be so humble — you’re not that great.” (looked it up later:
      Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, 1969. See footnote)

      In that moment I had the freedom to laugh at myself for how my own
      defense mechanisms had created these paradoxes in my mind, the
      unraveling of which was very liberating.

      I shared this in the podcast in the hopes that somebody out there
      might understand and realize that part of their feeling of shame is
      also rooted in this idea of assumptions. If that does not resonate
      with you, that’s okay. If it doesn’t resonate with most people, that’s
      still okay, but if it helps even one person then that’s more than
      okay. I never used the words “who do you think you are” and never did
      I intend to challenge anyone’s process or where they’re at in their

      I am more grateful for your criticism than you can imagine and as a
      fellow sufferer of shame and abuse I am rooting for you with
      everything I’ve got.

      With deepest respect,

      Note: you can find the context of that quote from Golda Meir here:


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