This is the official thread for Section 3.3 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Identify Source of Abuse." Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it. Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 3.3 of the TMS Recovery Program: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Recovery_Program#Identify_Source_of_Abuse In section 3.3, Alan writes the following: Identify Source of Abuse Where do these abusive habits come from? Often the way we treat ourselves is based on messages we get when we’re younger. Maybe your mom made you feel bad about yourself. Maybe your dad got excited when you got good grades and was bummed out when you didn’t. Maybe your grandmother ignored you as a form of punishment. Maybe your dad had epilepsy and unintentionally terrified you each time he had a seizure. Maybe you had an older brother who got all the attention. Maybe your mom was depressed and you were preoccupied with making her feel better. Maybe your dad was irrationally anxious and you never felt completely safe. Maybe you were one of eleven kids and you made yourself invisible because you saw how overwhelmed your parents were. Or maybe your home life was relatively trauma-free, but you were bullied in 7th grade, went to an ultracompetitive high school, or your college girlfriend cheated on you. There’re many different reasons why you could have come to develop this inner bully. Sometimes it can help to understand why. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. A word about the inner bully. It’s you, but it isn’t you. A lot of clients that I work with have a difficult time getting angry at the part of their mind that abuses them, because they feel they are getting angry at themselves. Brain imaging research and studies on split brain patients have shown that many of our thoughts and feelings come from a place of our mind that is out of our conscious control. Like dreams. Consequently I’ve found it best to think of the inner bully, this destructive side of our minds, as coming from someone else, not the “I” that you identify with. There’s often an irony in learning about the way you abuse yourself. When I point out to clients that they seem to beat themselves up a lot, they often respond, “You’re right. What the hell’s wrong with me?” When I point out their tendency to pressure themselves and the impact it has, it’s, “I need to change this immediately!” And with those that terrify themselves, “I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to stop this!” It goes to show that the mind is so clever, even awareness of these tendencies aren’t enough to change them. Later on in the program, I’ll address how to alter these abusive behaviors, but for the time being I’d like to focus on learning to recognize them. My father used to “put me down” in front of his friends when they came to our house when I was a preteen and teenager. I never knew why. I thought he loved me, so why did he make me feel like such a loser? I think it made me grow up trying to be perfect and very successful. But when I was about to start college, my father told me, “Just do your best.” That sounded like he didn’t think I’d make it past the first day, and might have put even more pressure on me than what I put there myself. Now, I feel I have had a successful life as a writer and author of books, but I still struggle with the perfectionist in me. In learning about TMS and journaling, I began to think again about my father putting me down and came to believe he had TMS pain himself from working hard but getting nowhere during the 1930s Great Depression. He may have just been taking his perceived failure out on whoever was handy, and I was. By putting myself in his and others’ shoes I was able to change my thinking about them and the pain they caused me. Don’t bully yourself. Learn to understand yourself. This post by forum member littleme is right-on involving the subject of our inner bully from childhood: “I have finished Alan's Recovery Program and will probably listen over and over again, because everything about it, even the sound of his voice, is *so* soothing. “The reparenting bits are very helpful and I understand the subconscious anger, because I have actually had dreams where I have my mother by the throat and am screaming obscenities at her. But directing that anger at my Inner Bully just doesn't feel right. The Inner Bully doesn't feel like something separate from me. It feels like that little kid who can't "get" something and says out loud, "I'm so stupid!" Would I feel angry toward that child if she were my own? Would I even chastise her for not being able to "get" it or for feeling frustrated? How can it be healthy, or even helpful, to direct the anger I feel toward my parents for not loving the real me toward the part of me that just parrots what I heard as a child? I have been telling her that hard things feel hard and that's OK, but she doesn't need to feel anxious and afraid, because she's still going to be just fine, however it turns out.” We probably all wish our childhood had been happier or easier. We wish our parents or other guardian had loved us more. Even just gave us a hug once in a while, instead of giving us another chore or reason to want to escape from them and home. But where could we go? We were trapped because of our young age. So we endured as best we could, and most likely repressed our feelings of being a victim, and even blamed ourselves. But now that we know about TMS and can identify the repressed emotions causing us physical pain, anxiety, and depression, we can look at our childhood through new eyes and heart. Relief from our repressed childhood anger is then open to us. It is in forgiving, our parents or others in our childhood, and ourselves.