Since the Fall in the Garden, shame has been the constant partner of sin. Indeed, the first act of the fallen Adam and Eve was to hide from God in their fig leaves. One of the great goods of the Gospel is that it relieves us of shame. And, upon the return of Christ, we are promised to have all trace of shame relieved and glory given in its place:
1 Peter 1:3–7 (ESV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In Where Narcissism Meets Addiction, (The Atlantic) psychotherapist Joseph Burgo contends that shame lies at the heart of addiction and narcissism:
In other words, addictive behavior is a defense against unconscious shame.
As I discussed in an earlier article for The Atlantic narcissism is another way to ward off unconscious shame – indeed, narcissism is the primary defense against shame. In the sub-title of his book on the subject, the psychologist Andrew Morrison refers to shame as “the underside of narcissism”: hiding beneath grandiosity and narcissistic behavior is a painful sense of internal defect or damage.
I would agree with this evaluation, although I do not think he sees the depth and trouble shame deeply enough. Moreover, without a Christ who can bear sin and shame (1 Peter 2:24), no explanation of the immediate sources of shame will be enough.