1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM DST Eastern U.S. (New York). It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. Enrique is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Crappy Christmas...childhood sadness / rage

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MWsunin12, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    So, what do you think about "owning" a crappy childhood?

    I'm looking to "accept and forgive" the various reasons I felt so neglected and pretty much used as a kid.

    A psychiatrist told me that a lack of bonding in infancy and early childhood is a very common element for adults in chronic or continuous physical pain. In a way, I wish I hadn't heard that.

    I've had a number of sequential small successes with TMS work, but something new pops up immediately.
    It feels like more self-punishment to me.

    The holidays always bring up my guilt-laden, unsatisfying, me-as-peacekeeper, childhood. I even stopped asking for the toy I really wanted because it wasn't going to happen.

    I remember the first year I decided I wasn't going to my parents for Christmas. It wasn't until I was 29!! I remember how free I felt.

    So, I know most people had a dysfunctional childhood. The point of this post isn't to play violins. In fact, it's hard for me to write this truth because it feels so immature. I long to be free of all the resentment.

    A therapist told me "Your parents did the best they could with what they knew."
    Okay, maybe. I'm not convinced narcissistic people do the best they can for anyone else besides themselves.

    Thanks for reading this...if you got this far.

    I'd love to "crack the nut" of this constant symptom thing, and part of that will be getting rid of the rage.

    Any thoughts are welcome.
    Ines, Ellen and readytoheal like this.
  2. Sita

    Sita Well known member


    I started to use the formula: "Forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." And the anger (or rage) dissipates on that moment. Or you can call it, "let it go moment" or complete surrender moment. There is a formula, it goes like this: "If you want more strength...you have to surrender!"

    It's not easy but can be very satisfying. For me personally, it works! My pain is not as noticeable as before and I can function, I can even have joy in my life. Plus, I feel really light and serene.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    plum likes this.
  3. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    i just posted my own Christmas "missery"on the forum "the support"map
    so i can relate to your feelings
    its dissapointment and from reading your post : a lot of anger
    i can understand that. sadly i am not really sure how to get past that..cause i believe
    that is the key to feel better overall i think
    your mentioned in your post your therapist talking about : they did the best they could'
    i heard that also before, and this is also true: but in reality all things true ,do not make things easier to digest do they?
    i can not look back on a disfunctional childhood but can look back at dissapointment and
    not really getting what a child needs. maybe its also true this is a"thing"" for life sadly
    like loosing someone: the pain will ease down but will always travel with you, at least if you are able at some point
    to make the decision to move on, if not : pain will keep going.
    the really important part is : how to come to terms with childhood pains on a base that its not causing you extra pain : physical
    forgiveness is part of this but i have not managed very well in that part too
    making the desicion for yourself to do some parts better in life is maybe a place to start from?
    and like some advise i got on the "christmas" topic : many people do not feel so happy around this time of year
    try humor and wine.. and maybe for the chrismas part its not much but all we can do to get by
    MWsunin12, plum and Lainey like this.
  4. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Hello MWsunin12
    This is such a 'good' time of year for knowing our rage. You deserved and needed to be adored, nurtured and loved by your parents but it seems you found your child self caught up in the role of peacemaker (adult) to your parents own issues instead. I can imagine the internal struggle in making the decision to not go to your parents for Christmas. This is a major move. The therapist stating that ".....did the best they could...." is probably on target when speaking of narcissistic people but importantly, YOU are correct in your understanding that they can only do what is best for themselves. So, you need to consider, what is now, best for you. This does not imply or make you a narcissist, but you need to recognize that you are important in you own right, and you deserve to be 'cradled' in love. Loving yourself does or will not make you into your parents, but loving yourself is important. You are worth the effort it may take.
    MWsunin12 and plum like this.
  5. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi MWsunin and other well known members…

    My Crappy childhood made me incapable of functioning in the real world. I would not dare to list the hang ups and embarrassing things that I am still so ashamed of.

    The difficulty I had writing and posting my “Crappy Bio” in 2011 was my first recognition and the beginning of acceptance of the dysfunction in my background, as I admit I was fully part of the dysfunction.

    Parents both dead, siblings afar and distant overseas, I endeavor to enjoy the present without them. I will never see siblings again for I just know hurt would follow. Not forgiving siblings protects and shields me, or do I want to go back once again volunteer as the proverbial whipping boy?

    So I feel scarred for life, at 69 I look back to reflect on happy childhood memories and none come to mind, I look forward and feel happy and in control. I look back and think: “did it really happen” and have to read my bio to understand: Yes it really did. The most important person to forgive is myself, will it ever come with the resentment that I still hold for protection?

    So, no news letter enclosed with the Christmas card to England, no comments about how good my year has been, just a curt “Happy Christmas”, written by my wife.

    Forgive my negativeity, just venting.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Simply sending everyone on this thread some love

    (Damn those f***ers! Let's make Christmas about the people we love and who Love us. Now that is something to celebrate.)
  7. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Here, Here! so agree. Also, I appreciate Andy6's vent.
    Hope his and your holiday are celebrations you truly can enjoy.
    andy64tms and plum like this.
  8. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    I can maybe present a different perspective. My TMS issues don't come from resentment or a bad childhood. I'm more the perfectionist who ignores his emotions while pressuring himself to get things done. That said, I'm obviously susceptible very much so to psychosomatic issues.

    I believe I'm not too terribly troubled by factors in my life that I had no say so in because I completely accept that life is not fair and that we are all dealt a certain set of cards. You make the best of the hand you were dealt. There is nobody to mad at about that. That's the reality of being alive for humans. It's too easy for me to see people who had it worse. I didn't have the brady bunch upbringing by any means. I'm middle aged and my only sibling hates me and it's mutual. My parents don't get along and fought a lot growing up as well. They cared about me and did what was in my best interest though. Put me on the path to success. My perspective on these issues makes it easier for me to make peace with it. It was on my initial list of causes, but I don't think it was the problem after all.
    andy64tms, Ellen and plum like this.
  9. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with you. There isn't really any gain to being mad. I really hesitated to start this post to begin with because I know people who have had it so much worse, many probably right here on this forum.

    As Sarno implied, emotions create the physical distraction to prevent us from feeling so badly emotionally.

    We are all dealt a hand, and some would say that we "chose" that hand before we incarnated.
    That's what I meant when I wrote "owning" the crap, too. We may have been victims as children, but once you're an adult you can choose otherwise.
    The childhood can't be repaired or redone. So, I'm choosing to "own" it.
    andy64tms likes this.
  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    While I believe it is important to eventually "forgive others," I find I can't do that without first being real about about my reactions to things. Being real and knowing my reality is important, in my opinion, both for my own self-compassion, and for understanding what "does not want to be felt" as I apply Dr. Sarno's work.

    May we see with clarity how our wounds and our survival strategies are connected with TMS! And may we forgive ourselves for all our reactivity, shame, rage and all the difficult places life takes us. We didn't create our childhood life, nor did we create our own existence. None of our suffering is our fault. When we feel it is, this is old childhood beliefs coming up. So let us love our tender, precious, short lives as best we can.
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is great power in Stoicism. With regard to my partner's illness, I have often said that we can only play the hand we're dealt. We are poker players par excellence (for the most part). But I see how his childhood has harmed him and I really enjoy being able to make times such as Christmas happy ones for him now. There is such power in kicking the old days into touch and replacing them with joy.

    I hear what you say about perfectionism though. These days I take a transgressive pleasure in defying its demands. Now that really does feel good.
    andy64tms likes this.
  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Life is so wonderfully complex that it is hard to truly define where experience rests on a scale. The Holmes-Rahe is a great starting point but even that acknowledges the inherent limitations of measuring personal experience.

    It is entirely valid and important to speak from your heart here. Us tms'ers do way too much downplaying and while I don't endorse histrionics and emotional indulgence, it really matters that we have somewhere where we can speak freely. Don't hesitate to post threads like this. It helps many people.

    Yes. The Soul's Choice to experience certain lessons...I am familiar with this. It is a perspective big enough to bring much comfort and insight and that is a good thing. There is a danger of it slipping into nonsense. This is why a robust spiritual life is so important to me. I've let it slide in recent years and that is going to change. I need that sacred element. The human world grinds me down without it. At the very least my beliefs are buffers and restoratives, at best they are my salvation.
    andy64tms and Bodhigirl like this.
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. Yes. Yes!!!

    Bodhigirl, MWsunin12 and karinabrown like this.
  14. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Joe,
    and new members, Well known members, and Beloved Grand Eagles,

    Where do you think your TMS issues came from? If you blame your perfectionism, where did that come from if not family or parental reasons? Either they were demanding- paying attention to you or the opposite- neglect. Either way “perfectionism” in its negative sense is not normal.

    My perfectionism was the protective cloak that masked the resentment and unhappiness I was under as a child. I found satisfaction and solace in myself, which became the substitute for lost love. The dark side of perfectionism came later in life. My perfectionism over time turned from protecting me to causing both emotional and physical pain.

    Like you, my parents did the best they could with what they had at the time, and I often reflect what were they thinking? When I was sent off to boarding school did they think of it as abandonment or unnatural? They both couldn’t impart parenting skills to me they never had, so I became like them. I made a statement to a friend once: “I want to become unlike them as I possibly can”, and I’m still striving to this end.

    It wasn’t all bad though. My personality formed with life assets that have benefited me. I have a good balance of traits, it’s just that the bad ones are the root cause of TMS.

    I remember taking offence when someone once said that: “my family wasn’t normal”. It took journaling and many years to understanding and agree they were not!

    I love this thread, good words from all, thank you MWsunin12 for starting it. I think I’ll think I’ll have a good rant every year before Christmas before counting my bountiful blessings.santahat
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
    MWsunin12, Ellen and Lainey like this.
  15. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    Andy64TMS, I do not know what led to my perfectionism. It started in my early 20s when I was living in my own and becoming an adult. I was competitive when younger, but not a perfectionist. I didn’t pressure myself to be good.
    andy64tms likes this.
  16. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi TMS _Joe,

    Well done for being aware you have it, none of the engineers I worked with ever were. In our striving to compete and succeed in this world most people are compelled to excel to the max. There is for me much satisfaction in being a perfectionist, but I am continually working on its dark side. I no longer have the urge to straighten pictures in other peoples home and if other people are untidy and can’t find stuff that’s their problem!

    Two winters ago I built an RV trailer for windsurfing. It was totally imperfect, ugly and utilitarian. I did this with no perfect drawings, no perfect boss and no money and time constraints. It was the happiest project I’ve ever worked on.

    In 2011 I did many pages of journaling on perfectionism, why when how etc. in the form of short stories, when I started enjoying and laughing, I realized: “perfectionism is a gift to be used wisely”. I can post some of them if you want.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  17. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    What a wonderful thread! I jumped on as I wanted to report a new layer of enlightenment around tension and perfectionism and was snagged by Crappy Christmas.
    First, I can remember being overwhelmed, overstimulated, over-gifted and full of insane expectations that the Stuff I Got for Christmas was going to fill the empty space that was in my heart. My parents were children of the depression and felt that they were giving us everything that they didn't get. I understand that. But in return for everything they gave us, we were supposed to be happy and perfect, to get straight A's and be incredibly beautiful. I was horribly traumatized at age 8 and happiness was elusive after that. Perfectionism grew up as a defense for feeling defective, which was followed by binge-eating of cinnamon toast, two slices at a time, while I made the next two slices. And then I had two problems: perfectionism and self-hatred for overeating.
    Yesterday on the flight home from vacation, I was encountering that empty place inside. I'd had the picture perfect holiday in my beautiful life... and there was that tension, seeking an outlet. I found it in runny nose and eyes that were sopping wet with some TMS-crazy allergy. So, without internet access over the Pacific, I looked in my Notes and found a wonderful post of about 26 points that one of you guys wrote a few years ago. I began to meditate on my perfectionism/tension/tension-release syndrome. I see something I need to do, I build up tension until it's accomplished and once it's done I feel relief rather akin to what I think a bulimic feels. I have gotten rid of something rather than accomplished something. I have checked the box, making things perfect but have done little to face the basic anxiety of emptiness, of not-enoughness. This can be tiny things throughout the day like making the bed, doing dishes, getting to yoga class, doing some paperwork. I see I need to do it and then I am silently revving until I get it done. Once it's done, something else takes its place. I am wired to rev up and shift down, rev up and shift down, tensing, releasing tension over and over and over, day in, day out.
    This was a major awareness for me, not just intellectually but viscerally. My nose and eyes dried up as I began to understand it. I had soaked about 15 tissues with blowing my nose, my sinuses were afire and I knew, deep down, that they were here to teach me about my perfectionism and intrinsic shame.
    When my dear husband brings up my childhood feelings in the form of transference (he's definitely both Dad and Mom), I use the mantra "I forgive easily" and my body relaxes. If I buy into the tension, if I don't forgive quickly, I will find the symptom imperative racing through the pit stops of my Indy 500 of Pain, seeking an outlet.
    If I forgive him (them), if I easily forgive myself my imperfections, if I can forgive my annoying landlords of my office building who are really the only stressors currently in my life (if I let them), then I can be pain free and breathing deeply.
    What a joy!
    I want the newcomers to know that this pain problem comes in the form of gift wrap of a deep and meaningful gift: the gift of knowing ourselves and our feelings instead of being victims of the doctors, re-enacting the "nobody can help me" feeling, the helplessness that we felt as tiny children.
    Wishing my TMS family a contented new year, full of accepting the things we cannot change and changing the things we can, mostly our outlook and attitude.

    Palms together,
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ahhh, I missed this wonderful thread - thankfully Bodhigirl bumped it, because like her, the title drew me right in. And not because I had crappy Christmases as a kid, and not even because I had a particularly dysfunctional childhood, because I really didn't. And yet, and yet... I still struggle at this time of high expectations, dark days, and watching another year end, and and I see and feel it in those around me, and here on the forum as well. Everyone wants the holidays to be "perfect" - playing into the hands of us perfectionists, right? And the focus on family allows regrets to creep in, thinking about the losses we've suffered, some through death, and others through estrangement.

    Well, as has been expressed so well in every post, starting with the OP by @MWsunin12, self-awareness, and the ability to acknowledge and face and feel all of the emotions which accompany the holidays is what will carry us through the dark times. And soon enough, spring will arrive to redeem us once again.

    In closing, let me quote our dear plum:
    Amen, sister.

    plum, Bodhigirl and MWsunin12 like this.

Share This Page