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The Importance of Addressing Childhood Issues

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lori, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Hi PeterO, Yes, this is very similar to what you are describing and I am so happy that you seem to be getting some relief. I am doing better and better with this approach, but is is quite difficult sometimes. What you are trying to accomplish is to reestablish communication with uncomfortable or painful physical sensations that, somewhere along the line, you got in the habit of repressing. I think this often happens when our human needs for safety and security are not met and we keep kicking to the curb (repressing or dissociating) these bodily sensations. Eventually this results in pain or other physical symptoms that are trying to break through to conscious awareness. But always keep in mind that you must touch, feel the physical sensation that underlies the symptom, such as bracing or constricting that could be causing muscle or nerve pain. I often find that, while contacting these sensations, that I remember incidents from my past that may have contributed to my pain issues. This way I don't need to look consciously or guess about what needs to be addressed in my past, or where I may have personality conflicts.

    I began taking this approach after reading several books by Peter Levine whose methods are very good for treating both chronic pain and trauma. Let me know if you want more detail about this. Some other things I found very helpful were EFT (Emotional Freedom technique), and Dr. Alexander's book, "The Hidden Psychology of Pain". I also am quite spiritually inclined, so I do some Chakra meditation work. This worked well also for me in the past, but I had given it up for several years because of my habit of becoming cynical at times. I have started doing this again with several Chakra meditation CD's, for now focusing on the ROOT Chakra, which is where most of my issues reside. Dr. Levine's approach reminds me very much of the Energy Healing therapy that I had several years ago.
  2. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I tried what you explained the best I could. I was having so much pain when I woke up and had a very restless night sleep.
    The sensations in your body, do you mean tightness of buttock or burning in legs. I tried to stay in the present as you recommended.
    I decided to go back to bed to get quiet and be aware of my heart beat, breathing.... Then I started to encourage myself that I was
    safe, my life is very good, all is well and then put my focus on some emotional issues like forgiving people from my past and letting
    go of it. I was surprised what came up.

    I did this forgiving and letting go of resentment and I could literally feel my autonomic
    nervous system calming down. It was like an episode of symptoms but after doing the forgiving and concentrating on that my whole
    body calmed down. I could feel whatever it was leave. I felt very victorious. I definitely felt there was something there from my past;
    maybe some trauma that my body and subconscious thought was happening at that moment. Could it be trapped trauma?

    I am not sure exactly what I did but it did work. Can anyone comment?

    When I got out of bed I did have some trouble walking. And I felt so exhausted from whatever my body was releasing. I am believing
    it is part of my healing process.

    The funny thing was that when I was going to do some errands, there was no back pain but I started limping. This has happened twice
    before. This happened three days recently before my wedding. And happened when I had been successful for about three weeks with no pain.
    What do you think?

    I really stood up against this today. It did not get better at first but slowly is going away. I think my subconscious wants to keep
    distracting me because she knows I am very serious at getting to the root of these emotions and heal. Maybe, like Dr. Sarno says
    my subconscious feels I just cannot handle these emotions.

    If anyone has any insight, I would greatly appreciate that.
  3. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    GR, Sounds like you are making some good progress. I don't think that we need to rummage around in our past because consciously we may not really know what experiences may have been responsible for our pain. However, I think that when you get in touch with these bodily sensations in the present, we often are led by our unconscious to remember the experiences that may need to be attended to, worked out, etc. I find this method to be remarkably successful with that. I think, for this purpose, it is useful to think of our body as our unconscious. There is a lot of evidence that this "sensory data" gets stored in the body.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    GR, that is very interesting and really exciting to hear. Even though you know your symptoms are benign, they can still create a tremendous amount of fear in you. Anytime you can reduce the fear/stress response and calm yourself down, the more you will limit your symptoms, at least in the present moment. When you let go of the pain and allow yourself to be in the present with your emotions, you are signaling to your unconscious that there is no more need of the TMS distraction.

    Chickenbone, another amazing post, full of helpful information. You have a great understanding of TMS. :cool:
  5. Marla

    Marla Peer Supporter

    This has been a great thread to read. I just went back to summer job and mid back pain came back. I kept telling myself it is TMS but fightinging other thoughts saying I am not sitting right, etc. I think the fear of thinking about working and what it might do caused it.

    Talking about childhood, I had a very tough one. Lots of fear, angry parents. Brother who left home and for many years I thought it was because of me. I spent most of my life trying to overcome my past and heal from it. I am 56 and feel like a lot has been healed. I know I was drawn to angry men because of my past, I still deal with that because my husband has BPD.

    Speaking of husband my back started hurting bad after bending to make dinner last night. I just took breaks and told myself it was TMS but husband said don't do anything that causes pain or you will have more pain at work.

    Hearing him say that my mind went two places, one place he is wrong it is TMS and don't engage in telling him so or it will bring out his anger issues, next place is he right should I rest.

    I have been going through some intense emotions because of dealing with my reactions to husbands BPD lately. When he has angry outbursts I find myself reverting to the fear place I had as a child or stuffing the emotions from it.

    It's like I want to force myself to have a happy normal life and you can't do that. Force doesn't work!
  6. UnknownStuntman

    UnknownStuntman Peer Supporter

    Hi chickenbone,
    your postings are well written and helped me a lot. I saved some of them. One point I'm not clear on, though. You said your firm anchor in the present helps that your sensations don't overwelm you or make you run around the room. I've started reading Peter Levine's books. Isn't it good to follow the physical impulses - for example run around or move a leg nervously - and get rid of that energy?
  7. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Marla, I am so sorry to hear that you have to live with someone with BPD. That can be really difficult. Try to take good care of yourself.

    US - Hi. That is a really good question. I am not really sure, but I did not go with the urge to run around because that is how I would have reacted in the past which got me nowhere and would make me lose my concentration. The running around is a mind thing to try to get away from the uncomfortable sensation. I wanted to remain with the physical sensation so I could learn as much as I could about it. I would not say that you so much as follow the impulses as you are trying to figure out what the impulses are trying to tell you about your current emotional state. Here it is step by step:

    1. Pay close attention to uncomfortable sensation (that may precede onset of pain or hot flash, whatever)
    2. Feel and study the sensation. Let it go where it wants in your body. (feel spread of hot flash through organs or spread of pain)
    3. Resist the urge your mind will have to do something to suppress or run from the sensation (like my getting up and running around when hyper-aroused). Also resist the temptation your mind will have to make up a story to explain the sensation. This will always be a rational explanation, but will be mostly a cover-up.
    4. See where it takes you. Listen carefully for hidden emotions - what do you feel? Identify emotions.
    5. If you have an emotion, experience it briefly and mentally connect the sensation with the feeling/emotion.
    6. See if any images of the past spring up. RESIST the temptation your mind will have to make up a story.
    7. Try not to intellectualize and try to keep you mind out of this as much as you can. Let your mind be the observer, not a participant.
    8. Pay particular attention to states of hyper-arousal whenever it happens or precedes an emotion. A lot of us tend to become hyper-aroused without knowing it.
    BridgetE and UnknownStuntman like this.
  8. UnknownStuntman

    UnknownStuntman Peer Supporter

    Hi chickenbone, I love your way to look at things and to explain what works for you! My strategy is similar to yours, but I just started the 'felt sense' approach, so hearing about your success with it is very encouraging, thank you.

    The 8 steps above are great, after months of journaling I need something else now, I learned something through journaling+enjoyed it, but it didn't do the trick, I guess I didn't check with my body if the things I write about are the real issues.

    I took a focusing class this weekend (excellent, eye opening and fun!) and would like to add another possible way of looking at these thoughts: if there's a thought or a mental picture coming up, it's helpful to not to take it as it is (it may be just rational like you mentioned), but to go back and forth between the thought (or picture) and the felt sense (maybe pain, heat, upset stomach etc.) in the body and see how the body reacts to that thought or picture. "These words can be tested against the felt sense: The felt sense will not resonate with a word or phrase that does not adequately describe it." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focusing

    If somebody is interested in focusing, I recommend Ann Weiser Cornell's book 'The power of focusing'. It's an easy and fast read and fun technique to learn what the body wants us to know. Also focusing is excellent for peer work (on the phone or in person) with a partner, and usually more effektive, since it helps the concentration and patience not to rush through steps. Most focusing books descibe how peer work is easily done. I'm thinking about starting a focusing group where I live in Dortmund, Germany.
  9. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    US - Great!! I will check out that book. Sounds like it will help me. I am still having some difficulty with some symptoms. For example, when I get a bad cold, I have a hard time just doing what Clare Weeks says to do "face, accept, float and let time pass" I have a tendency to think I am worse off than I am and prolong the symptoms. Other symptoms I have pretty much beat, like back pain and gastric reflux. Once I get over the fear of a symptom, I usually don't have a lot of problems with it anymore, although there is often a substantial time lag.

    Thanks for the input. I find this very helpful. I wish I had more access to professional services. My husband and I retired to Panama and there isn't much here. Even my internet connection is not so good here. If it was better, I would be able to participate in the Forum more. Maybe in the future.
  10. UnknownStuntman

    UnknownStuntman Peer Supporter

    Hi chickenbone, the Focusing trainer told us, Focusing could also be done with a friend or relative who listens. The process can be explained in 5 minutes, it's simple. Even if the person just actively listens it is helpful. These things can be done alone, but most experts recommend doing them with a partner for greater benefits and deeper experiences. This forum is amazing, without it, I wouldn't even know about Claire Weekes, Peter Levine etc.!

    With the knowledge, that PART of me is tired. Or a part of me hurts. Or a part of me is afraid, my life quality gets better (even though I can't work yet), because I acknowledge there are also so many other parts that are not hurting or afraid. I don't say anymore: "I'm afraid!" I say or think: "There's fear." Or: "A part of me is afraid." Or I think friendly: "Hi fear, I noticed you're there." Then it often changes. I don't jump into the lake of emotions/pain etc., I just sit next to it, watch it with interest or put my feet into it.

    I just tried what you said about ignoring the thoughts, when looking at the body sensations (I felt some physical panic sensations and my mind interpreted it as fear, which I ignored and focused on the sensations), it worked! I didn't put fuel on the fire and the sensations went away!! Thank you! I'll use it now, when I don't have time to check about the underlying issues.
  11. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    The time lag is the hard part!

    Whenever I notice that a part of me is tense (very often this is my stomach muscles), indicating fear, I loosen my muscles and take deep breaths. Even if I don't notice a difference in pain right away, I know that every time I am able to relax I am adding to my "reservoir of relaxation," and just like with my "reservoir of rage (or anxiety)," it builds up over time and eases the pain. But it does take time, and that can make the process difficult.
  12. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    US- really sounds like you are doing well. I like your ideas on "focusing". Maybe I could do even better if I learned the best way to focus on something.

    Yes, Gail, the time lag can be a killer. It is really easy to get to the point where we have faced and accepted a symptom and all the physical sensations that go with it, only to bring it back with all the distress because we were not patient enough to get by the time lag. The hardest part for me is to "float". I am often so carried away by my thoughts that I don't realize when they are taking me somewhere I don't want to go. I need more practice with letting negative and scary thoughts "float by" and not "listening in" to them. You know, this stuff is really difficult!
  13. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    This is a really interesting threat! I have been meditating for a long time but I recently, two months ago, started to get rid of my rage. I have had fibromyalgia for more than 20 years, so my pain is not easy to trace. I already have pain in all my body and specially in my legs and neck. I already managed to work out without additional pain, but my neck pain seems to have increased. The intensity does change and the pain moves from my upper neck to my lower neck, to my sides etc. I am more concentrating in going through all the possible past and present stressors because I am having a hard time finding the ones that triggered my pain. Whenever I focus on my sensations and causes of pain I tend to lose the attention and make up stories. I mixed meditation with mantra, focusing on pain and distressing it, I repeat affirmations, I also focus on my skin, pores, inner body, I feel the sand, the wind, the sea water (when I am at the beach) but I do have a hard time staying focused, so I will look deeper into it.
  14. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi all, I'm late on this thread, but wanted to push it back to the top for all to see. There's so much wisdom in this thread.
    Simplicity likes this.
  15. Zumbafan

    Zumbafan Well known member

    Thanks Mike, I agree, so much wisdom in the thread. Some people can explain things so well.
  16. Simplicity

    Simplicity Guest

    I agree, Mike, what an amazing thread.
  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This really is a terrific exchange of posts and replies on a critical subject.

    I too thought my childhood was "perfect," until in journaling I realized I was only remembering the fun times. In giving it more thought, I realized I was repressing childhood anger and feelings of abandonment and insecurity when my parents divorced when I was seven. It's a long story, but even though they remarried a year later, the feeling I had when they divorced never left me. When friends who were like family to me divorced two years ago,
    I think it triggered those childhood feelings.

    I think I benefitted from discovering my childhood stresses and that everyone needs to do this in order to find more peace inside themselves. That inner peace relieves TMS pain, in my case severe back pain.

    Just don't spend too much time on childhood emotions. Let them come out, acknowledge them, then let them go. If you can forgive those who caused the childhood emotions, all the better. Forgiving is powerful in TMS healing.

    I went a giant step beyond journaling and wrote a book about my life. I discovered a lot about my inner self in writing it. If you want to read it,
    it's called UP THE ALLEY AND OVER THE FENCE, in paperback at CreateSpace eStore.
  18. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Thanks Lori. Great post.

    What we experience as a child can have a devastating effect on the rest of our lives.

    I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. My father had a post doctorate in economics, fluent in six languages, and many other accomplishments, yet extremely manipulative and violent at home. The psychological abuse was worse than the physical abuse. Anytime I failed to find something he called me dump and blind. It's amazing I did not end up wearing coke bottle glasses.

    As the youngest of 6 brothers my father was neglected and beaten up by his older brothers. So to make up for his own bad childhood he spoiled the youngest child in our family. I was there for a five years until my third brother was born. Well, as you can image the youngest one turned out a spoiled brat that got away with whatever wrong he did.

    I remember when I was 12 years old or so and my brother was seven, he did something wrong and our mom got mad at him and hit him. What did my dad do? He retaliated by cornering me and hitting me. It made no sense. The physical pain was nothing compared to the emotional pain. I felt absolutely unloved. Incidents like this were a common occurrence in our home.

    Yet, as I worked on resolving my childhood issues and more importantly stop seeing myself as a victim of my circumstances, I began to see my parents as two insecure children in adult bodies. Two people who were not loved and care for by their parents and had no knowledge or experience in raising children lovingly. Nowadays, I laugh when I remember the above incident because it was so ridiculous. Eventually I reached a level that I began to put my arms around my old father and tried to give him the love he never received, It felt like he was the child and I was the father. It is difficult to explain how wonderful it feels to go from feeling a victim of my circumstances to seeing it as a blessing and no longer feel sorry for myself.

    My father passed away 3 years ago from chest pain. Yes, chest pain. He was a healthy active 82 year old who died during an angioplasty, which just like back surgery is a dismal failure with death as a possible side effect. It was sad to lose him but I was relieved that I had a good relationship with him. He had never apologized for his violent acts but I was not waiting for one either. Those who are waiting for an apology from their parents set themselves up for disappointment. It is best to forgive and let go. It is not easy, but when you reach a point that you do you will feel empowered, happy, and much more joyful.

    For those of you interested to know why it is best to avoid angiogram, angioplasty, and bypass surgery please see below.

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