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TMS AS "AVOIDANCE TECHNIQUES"

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Tabathafromnj, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Tabathafromnj

    Tabathafromnj Peer Supporter

    Yesterday I was reading "The Great Pain Deception" when I was waiting for my train into NYC to work and I came across a saying that hit the nail right on the head with my TMS. Steve uses the term AVOIDANCE TECHNIQUES and if that doesn't describe my personal circumstances with TMS I don't know what does! I have shared before that my TMS symptoms started when my friendship with a married man became romantic. For me, my TMS hit my looks and my appearance, I began to lose about 60-70% of my long blonde hair leaving me now looking disheveled and a mess and in constant fear (which I still have most of the Time) of losing the rest of my hair. I have isolated my self from much of life due to the embarrassment and trauma of it and waited it out since my DR said it is all stress related and will eventually grow back.

    But the big avoidance for me has been avoiding the MARRIED MAN. Since my TMS I have refused to see him, again being ashamed of my looks. When I read Steve O's description, TMS as an AVOIDANCE TECHNIQUE it hit me hard. MY TMS has been an avoidance technique for me to avoid being in this relationship as well as dealing with all of the feelings of it which on some level I must feel are too painful, or dangerous or unpleasant. Since the change in my looks from my TMS, I look in the mirror several times a day over the past several months and say the words to myself " OH there is no way I can see Bill (my married man) now, no way! I THINK and THOUGHT I was saying this all the time because of my appearance from the TMS but now I see that I nave been saying " I cant see Bill" because maybe I really can't see him emotionally on some level and my TMS is just a convenient excuse for me to use instead. I don't see this consciously of course. It is all unfelt consciously. When I read Steve's book I see that my TMS has really been a way to avoid this man and my feelings around the affair. How can I have any time to think of him when I am trying to fix my TMS or obsessing about how much my symptoms bother me don't ya know. When he calls or asks to see me what do I do...? I AVOID HIM! My whole relationship is about trying to keep him close (god forbid I lose him) while avoiding him (with my TMS) at the same time. I can't seem to be with him yet I can't seem to cope with losing him either. If I REALLY felt my feelings I might see how damaging and hurtful the whole affair is and that would risk me leaving him. I suspect my mind thought it was safer to obsess over TMS than to really examine my true feelings.

    I was not aware as much as I am not that my symptoms were an avoidance technique even though every day I was saying to myself concurrently I need to avoid him and I can't see him (because of my TMS). Now I am dealing with the real reasons I have been trying to avoid him. It is painful but my symptoms are suddenly getting much better as I deal with the feelings underneath it all. I thought I couldn't see this man because of my TMS. Now I see it it the other way around. I have my TMS because I can't see him, not I can't see Him because of my TMS.

    My TMS is a masterful " avoidance technique" A safety bubble of symptoms and obsessions that have kept me from dealing with that which has been all too painful and threatening to me, continuing or losing a very dangerous affair.

    In the last week, As I have finally begun to take the focus of my TMS and begin to deal with my true feelings of how I feel about this relationship and this man, my fears and resentments and hurts (I never knew how hurt or afraid I was) I am amazed how much better I feel and how much my symptoms seem to be going away. The more I make myself feel my feelings about the affair instead of focusing JUST on my TMS, the less my TMS seems to bother me, the lesser my symptoms have become. I am now in much more emotional pain feeling my feelings but my TMS feels so much better.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Many, many years ago I had an affair with a married man. The memories are now cold, and enough distance has passed for me to navigate back to the heart. Yes, we huddle into our symptoms to avoid our truths and while these stormy emotions must be faced, we can do so gently. The people here are kind and offer some solidarity against shame, sadness, guilt and rage. Some of us are in the thick if it, as you are now; others are trudging back to old places where who they were and who they are now cancel each other out.
    In the end, it is the same thing. You are a woman who loves a man who is married to someone else. How can you not hurt? What else can your body do but send you these love letters that are so fragile and heart-breaking you can no longer look at your own reflection?

    One day you'll look back and into the mirror of yourself and you will understand and forgive it all. Until then, listen, link hands, do the deep work. Peace, my dear.
     
  3. Tabathafromnj

    Tabathafromnj Peer Supporter

    Thank you Plum, your response is right on. The surprise to me was that I never knew I felt any of these feelings- pain,intense fear, anger at myself for letting myself be degraded, wanting him and being so angry and afraid of him and his aggressive pursuit of me at the same time. I was so busy worrying about my TMS Symptoms and my outside appearance from the symptoms I never even noticed I had these feelings. Of course the real threat was if I ever became aware of how bad I truly felt I would then have to take action which meant giving him up and losing him was as much a threat as seeing him was.

    TMS made for one hell of a distraction from my inner turmoil. I never even knew it was there. I guess it is true that the body will say what the mind is to afraid to. Mostly I think I just needed some time and space in this relationship and the ability to say no when I needed to which is something I wasnt able to do in this situation (if I said no to him Id risk losing him :( ) Again, a case of my body doing for me what my mimd couldn't. Giving me time and space and the ability to say no, when I needed to.

    Just for today I will make no decisions on this except to try to sit with my feelings instead of burying them or running from them like I always have done in the past.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sweetheart, I feel for you and offer the surefire knowledge that you will come through this and open your arms wide to sunshine once more. I learned a lot about myself in the aftermath of the affair, and these lessons continue to bear fruit. You said something that waved a little red flag at me and I'd like to raise it to see if it has any resonance for you.

    You mention the ability to say no. Having walked through this particular fire, I'd like to share a couple of resourses that you may take or leave. The first is a link to a therapist who discusses responses with reference to fight, flight, freeze, and to which he adds a fourth, fawn. Scroll down and see what you think.
    http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

    This next one goes deeper:
    http://www.pete-walker.com/codependencyFawnResponse.htm

    If this does ring a bell, you may be interested in a book called 'Women Who Love Too Much' by Robin Norwood.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1416550216/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1382720025&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70

    I thought all this was complete bull**** but the day came when I could deny no longer. I've made great strides in healing this and so I offer it for what it's worth.

    Last resource is one I came to via Gigi (thank you, gentle soul) and it's 'Radical Self-Acceptance' by Tara Brach. I have the audiobook but it is a regular book too.

    In addition I would encourage you to seek good nutrition. A couple of years ago my mum suffered hair loss as a reaction to statins. It was terribly traumatic for her. I took her off the offending items and replaced them with deeply nourishing supplements chosen to encourage strong and healthy growth. They worked beautifully. I know it's not the same situation but with tms there can be a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to *physical treatments*. It is a fine and good thing to care wholistically for oneself.

    Stay in touch. We're here for you.
     
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Felt I should add that the roots for me lay not in childhood, in issues with my parents. This obvious theoretical/actual experience discrepancy meant I rejected a lot of stuff before I acknowledged where it came from. Sometimes we need a searchlight to find the obvious because it is not the norm. So shake it up and if it in no way fits, bin it.
     
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Girls, you both have material for terrific novels about your lives with the married man.

    You could find it very therapeutic if you wrote one.

    You don't have to be a writer. Just write it like you would talk it to a friend.
    Or talk it into a tape recorder and later write it down.

    You will learn so much about the relationship, and can make up stuff
    besides the real stuff.

    It would be like a long journaling. It sounds like you need to really get into
    that relationship, to learn how to become free from it.

    You might even give it an ending that sticks it to him.

    Maybe you should consider writing a book together, sharing your experiences.

    I'd love to read it. Think of it as a movie. Write it scene by scene, starting with meeting
    the man, later learning he's married.
     
  7. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, thank you for this. In the years that followed my experience I wrote much, so much that I am free in every sense. For this reason I can endorse the long journaling method you speak of. There is nothing in that place for me anymore but if I can help another then I consider it a gift. The affair I was embroiled in had abusive elements which led me to finally tackle the abuse I'd suffered as a teenager, at the hands of a therapist. Without the affair I may never have had those wounds exposed in such a way that demanded healing. To come through the original experiences, to have crawled through the long shadows they cast, and to walk with my head held high and my heart crystal clear is enough. It is more than enough.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  8. Tabathafromnj

    Tabathafromnj Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your great shares Plum. I am interested in anyone who has wisdom about TMS as avoidance techniques, especially when it comes to TMS as a way to avoid harmful or threatening feelings in romantic relationships. Romantic relationships can be big TMS triggers for me I am finding.
     
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tabatha,
    I suppose many of us could write a book about this. For me, the repressed emotions that trigger TMS almost always relate to fears of abandonment. This fear is so strong that it creates an intense fear of intimacy because of the possibility of abandonment that being close to someone encompasses. Couple that fear with very low self esteem, and the result is highly dysfunctional relationships and/or isolation. Since discovering TMS and practicing the healing techniques and lifestyle changes that are required to make progress, I've seen a big improvement in all my relationships (including with myself). I still have a long way to go, but I know it is possible to change a lifetime of dysfunctional patterns. I wish this for you, too, in your own time.
     
    plum likes this.
  10. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    It looks like you ladies are coming along fine using TMS techniques for healing. Isn't it wonderful we've learned about TMS and how to find the reasons we have been in pain? The thing is to keep living in the present as much as possible. Enjoy every minute of every day, and if something comes up to cause stress or anxiety or a headache, just do some deep breathing and then laugh it off.
     
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, I'd love to hear about your romantic and relationship experiences, about how intimacy evolves and resolves as we get older. The male perspective coupled with maturity has much to offer.
     
  12. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, where do I begin?
    Actually, I've written about it all in a book Herbie and I are writing together about TMS.
    I've finished my ten chapters and am waiting for him to finish his 10th.
    I write about my repressed emotions and he writes mainly about his healing techniques.

    It may be published soon, but until then I don't want to put out my ten chapters.
    It may even be published by TMSWiki but not sure yet. It will definitely be available
    through TMSWiki and amazon.com, etc.

    For short, I can say that I was close to being engaged to four different young women
    but it was the wrong timing for them or me. My parents divorced when I was about eight.
    She married another man right away for security reasons. That only lasted a year and she
    and my birth father remarried. Their problem was financial. He died ten years later when I
    was a freshman in college and a few months later mom married his brother who had been
    married twice before and was very jealous of her and made life miserable for me and my
    older sister. He died after about ten years and mom began looking for another man.
    She found them but never married again.

    All this left me very marriage shy. I dated but never really fell in love so it didn't make
    sense to marry. I asked my godmother how she knew she was in love and married the man.
    She said she had shopped where he was the butcher and after a few visits in the store she
    said, "I felt like dancing on his meat counter."

    I never felt like that about anyone, except my dogs.

    The girl I probably came closest to wanting to marry went skinny-dipping in a lake with
    my best friend on a weekend at a state park in Indiana to celebrate my 40th birthday.
    I was to join them but didn't like the idea so I left them together. His wife was having mental
    problems and was in their tent when he and my girlfriend went down to the lake and skinny-dipped.
    It was not my favorite birthday. I don't think my friend's wife knew about it all, but in the car
    driving back to Chicago no one spoke. We just listened to the car radio and it seemed that
    every 15 minutes we heard "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

    That's in one chapter of my book.

    My advice on dating etc. is take your time and really get to know the guy. Everyone puts on
    their best shoes and personalities when in a relationship. Sometimes there is more under the
    personality than on the soles of the shoes.

    I also stuck with friendship. Impossible with a guy-girl, but I've been very lucky having some
    guys who have been like brothers.

    I don't know if any of this answers your question. I'm a happy bachelor.
     
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and plum like this.
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Walt, yes. You have most generously answered my question. Bless you for that. I had the experience of losing my original response to you here (where do all the accidentally deleted, weirdly disappearing words go?), and the original thoughts have melted away now. No matter. You and Herbie have written a book and that is wonderful. I eagerly await it.
     
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle



    As Steve Ozanich says, the root cause of TMS is our fear of abandonment. It is something that drove my symptoms, and, I suspect, is driving your own. We fear that if we admit that we have this deep, intense fear we will be rejected by the people closest to us. One of our problems is that we have difficulty understanding we can have multiple wants. It is very much possible to love some one and have intense rage towards them at the same time. Our emotions are not black and white. They get mixed together. The key, and what Dr. Sarno teaches us, is that we need to simply recognize that this anger and rage is there and accept that we have a wide range of emotions. The person who has intense rage at his boss or work does not necessarily need to quit his job to get better. Simply understanding this balance is enough.

    TMS does lead to some avoidance techniques at times, but not always. People with TMS are some of the most hardest working and committed people there are. We are the ones who volunteer to stay late at work and pick up the kids from soccer practice even though we don't have the time. These are the people who push through their symptoms to do way more than they should. But there are those times when our symptoms will increase to the point where we have no choice put to back away. This does not mean, though, that taking a break or relaxing more will make the symptoms go away. There is a good chance that if you continue to avoid this person your symptoms will still continue, if you do not recognize the role of anger and rage in causing them. But this does not sound like it is a problem with you. From what you wrote it appears you are starting to understand the level of rage and anger that this relationship has caused you. Keep going down this road, and you will continue to see progress :)
     
    plum and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  15. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is an awesome post forest, fear of abandonment , multiple wants, emotions mixing, and then bringing it under control with balance. Great stuff.
     
  16. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I can relate to the fear of abandonment. It may be my most repressed emotion.
    My parents divorced when I was about eight years old. It was for financial reasons during the
    1930s Great Depression. A month later she married the mailman because he had a house which
    meant a roof over the heads of my mom and my older sister and brother and me.
    That turned out to be a disaster and a year later she and my birth father remarried.
    More money problems until he died, when I was a college freshman. A few months later
    she married his brother who had already been divorced twice and was very jealous, making
    life really miserable for me and my sister. He died after ten years.

    So I grew up with four fathers. I developed severe back pain about a year ago and through
    reading Dr. Sarno and practicing TMS techniques (probably the most helpful was journaling)
    I realized how traumatic my boyhood had been, from divorces and separation anxiety.

    What cause the back pain to surface from all that was a recent trigger. My closest friends divorced.
    I had been like part of their family, but they were not separated. I lose the feeling of family and
    it left me with separation anxiety. Telling my unconscious mind that was the cause of my back pain
    ended the pain. I then had to learn to live without that friend-family situation. As my favorite author
    F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, there comes a time when "Even your friends can't help you."

    The truth is, we're not abandoned, and never will be. We have God and He never abandons us.
    And we are all part of the family of Man.

    TMS can be a blessing. It teaches us to learn to live with ourselves and others and even to love.
     
    nancy, Tabathafromnj and plum like this.
  17. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tabathafromnj you are a winner, this is a true story of a woman that found life.
    Now your onto your destination and goals, meanings to larger thoughts of life-
    completion with the relationship to life, you have found your journey.

    Welcome aboard my friend, you have reached a new level of understanding.
     
  18. Tabathafromnj

    Tabathafromnj Peer Supporter

    Amazing share Forest. Thank you so much for it. Your insight is so incredibly helpful. THANK YOU!
     
  19. Tabathafromnj

    Tabathafromnj Peer Supporter

    Thank you Eric. I am enjoying your shares and insights on the wiki, you are truly gifted. I have saved many if the things you have written to me.
     
  20. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Tabathafromnj
    Keep us up-dated on how your doing and we can continue
    our insights and ideas, its cool to know your coming along fine
    How are you doing in the SEP?
    Bless you
     

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