1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 8: The Ignition for Change

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    This morning before i listened to the recording with Brandon, I read Alan’s piece on outcome independence. For some ego-driven reason, I forget what it is! Really. Totally blank. It’s “Change your definition of success. Work on it. Success is no longer measured by whether or not you have a good walk. Success is measured by how little you care.”
    So, if I am not pressuring myself to be perfect, to be clever, to be fit, to be liked, to heal my pain, to be thin, to be wise, to be pretty, to never age... then, I am ceasing to measure myself by success but rather, to measure success by the degree to which I let go, accept, detach.
    Accept, let go, detach. This, I can practice.
    I watch my adrenaline addiction like a tennis match. Back and forth, winding up, down, up and down. I am so much better at catching it before I get pain but if I do, the pain IS a spotlight, showing me something, usually my own judgemental mind: aiming arrows at me.
    Balsa11 and chemgirl like this.
  2. Syl

    Syl Peer Supporter

    Wow! Reading the posts after the Day 8 session was a real eye opener for me. And here I was, thinking I was the only one that made excuses for my condition; that I was broken, damaged goods; that I was the only one who was abused (my father used to hit us [my brother and me] with a leather belt and buckle. And my mother never interfered even though we always ran to hide behind her. But my father always came after us). I grew up hating my father; I remember writing little notes and hiding them around my room--all the notes said pretty much the same thing, that I wished he were dead. The beatings became less as I grew up, but my father found other ways to ruin my youth, putting on curfews when I wanted to go out with friends; not allowing me to move out with friends at age 20 or 21 (I can't remember now). He always said "If you move out you're never coming back through our door!); and then my mum would tell me not to fight so much with him, and to try and keep the peace for her sake.

    It took me years, until I discovered via a counsellor, that my mother was just as abusive as my dad in the fact that she never validated how I felt or stood up for me and my brother. It was always about "stop arguing with your father. Try and keep the peace, for my sake!" Intellectually, I understand now that she had her own issues, but to say this to me, when I was young and impressionable, went further to damage me; even when I pointed out to her a couple of times that I thought my father's and her behaviour had a big effect on my brother and me. Again, she berated me and told me off for blaming them. It's a long, long story, and only now, at age 56, I am beginning to discover how truly damaging my parents were to both my brother and me.

    It's no wonder I have so self-love! I was brought up to believe that I was never good enough; certainly, my father never told me he was proud of me. I cannot recall ever being told "I love you" by either parent, and now I know why whenever I was told "I love you" by a partner, I never believed them. I never believed in compliments men paid me either, or when someone said I was talented or clever, or whatever.

    Of course, I picked all the wrong men to become involved with--mostly abusive, one way or another. But my father was the only one to beat me (and only up to a certain age); I put a stop to this when I started doing martial arts (and thank you, Bruce Lee, for inspiring me through your movies!). I never forget, when I was 18 years, I returned home from a night out and I was late on my midnight curfew by about 5 minutes. I crept into the house, everything was quiet. I thought I was safe, walking into my bedroom, which was dark. Then, suddenly, a pair of hands were at my neck, trying to choke me, while my father's voice yelled at me for being late and how he was going to let me have it (or words to that effect). But unlike all the other times, when I was little and helpless, I went straight into action this time: I broke his hold and pushed him back. He was totally stunned. And then, I told him: "You touch me again and I'll kill you." Honestly, it was like a scene in an action film. My father NEVER touched me again after this. But I still had an ingrained fear of him, and the arguments went on, as did the threats that if I walked out of his home never bother coming back again.

    Unfortunately, as a result of these threats, I married the wrong man in order to get out from under my father's roof. But I walked from one abusive home into a worse one. My husband had a horrible temper and he was very abusive, always putting me down, yelling at me, treating me like dirt. Of course, the one thing he could not do was hit me. Ironically, he tried to choke me, too. This was one day when we went to the beach and we had an argument. I broke the hold and threw him down on the sand, punching him in the stomach really hard, and leaving him there to walk home while I drove off.

    What's interesting is that I've always been told I was an angry person, but the thing is I've always treated everyone with compassion, and if anything, I was too sensitive to suffering. I cried so many times when I watched news of someone being abused, or people being murdered, or animals being mistreated.... I'm a sucker for all kinds of suffering that affects humanity and our planet; and yet, here I am, probably abusing myself now that there is no one else to abuse me. I know this because aside from all the negative things I tell myself, when I developed pudendal neuralgia, I told myself this was a punishment. It took me about eight years to get this thought out of my head, and now that I'm up to year nine of PN, I still catch myself sometimes asking: "What did I ever do to deserve this?" And then I berate myself for having such a victim mentality.

    The good thing is that I now do things to please myself (mind you, I live alone, so I don't have to please anyone else except a very demanding kitty cat) :) But when my second husband left me shortly after I developed PN, I must say I was secretly relieved because, like a fool, I was doing everything I could to please him to make up for the fact that I couldn't work.
    Balsa11 and starseed like this.
  3. GShaw

    GShaw Peer Supporter

  4. GShaw

    GShaw Peer Supporter

    Day 8:

    This lesson really hit home for me! It helped me realize this time around (second time) to Alan's program I must approach it in a different manner.

    In October I approached this program hoping to see an improvement in my severe shin pain related to my back. Yes, I looked at many of my life events but still it was hoping to see improvement in my shin pain. The results were beyond anything I would have expected.

    I am thrilled I have gone from being able to walk about 5 minutes without pain to now walking many hours at a time with little to no pain. Sadly though, the last few months TMS continues to peak its head out several times over the last few months in many different forms.

    1) Feeling of upset stomach (especially when eating)
    2) Tightness in my neck and throat
    3) Very sore left buttock area down into my leg - this all started last spring after over stretching to try and relieve my shin pain - this is the opposite leg of the one I suffered shin pain

    To my surprise, last spring I did 10 days of medication and this completely over time eliminated the pain. I just finished 10 days of medication for the pain (believe the same medication) but this time it has done nothing for the pain. My conclusion, the majority of the pain has nothing to do with my physical condition. Yes, I know I have extremely tight quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. I don't believe these muscles would cause the level of pain currently in my left buttocks and leg area.

    This time around I have decided I need to focus more on me as a whole. I believe it I work on my overall all fears that I will have far less struggles in my future.

    I need far more self-love! As part of my self-love it is time for me to get back into meditation. I started this a few weeks ago but my struggles with my online business had me step back. I am someone that wants to help others but I MUST learn to also focus on ME.

    As I have told someone in the past, we are no good to people or animals around us if we don't look after ourselves.

    The one thing I do know, to all those using this program currently and for your first time, this program can work. Alan and his team has really put together something amazing here. Remember one important thing, 'do not try and avoid your challenges', welcome your challenges and observe them. We often hope by ignoring or distracting ourselves from the pain it will disappear. I believe this will only bring on the pain.

    Here are a few other things which many of us do for pain that I believe will have the opposite affect if it isn't physically related:

    1) Chiropractor - might help temporary but not a permanent solution on its own
    2) Physiotherapist - again could help temporary but not a permanent solution on its own
    3) Medication
    4) Massage
    5) Stretching
    6) Warm Bath
    Just to name a few.

    I am not saying none of the above are good for our health nor will help. Based on what I am learning I am saying these are not permanent solutions on their own for not physical issues. I conclude each one of these ideas while tell our brain that we believe our issue is physical. I believe this will result in an opposite affect.

    Many of the above are definitely great forms of self-love which as we learned in the lesson is great for helping us heal.

    Good luck to everyone as you work towards becoming a better YOU.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  5. I can definitely see me as being self-critical. If I do something wrong or make even the smallest mistake, I tend to not "forgive" myself for a good while. In fact, I'm pretty critical of others as well. I would not say that I don't "love" myself, but I do put pressure on myself in many aspects of life ... personal, professional, etc. I guess that now, after 15+ years of pain, I'm putting a bit of pressure on myself to rid me of it forever. I have read the "books" and am following the mindset, but it's still hard to comprehend when the muscles and nerves will relax and the pain will be gone. I look forward to the day when I can turn my head from side to side and from up to down without severe pain in the bones, muscles, tendons, and nerves. It will come, hopefully sooner rather than later, as there's no way that such pain could continue structurally from repetitive injuries and a specific episode from decades ago. Wish me luck!
    Balsa11 likes this.
  6. GShaw

    GShaw Peer Supporter


    Based on what I am understanding from your post I would say you're still putting pressure on yourself. You mention, "but it's still hard to comprehend when the muscles and nerves will relax and the pain will be gone". I believe the right approach isn't wondering when the pain will be gone. You actually want to take the approach, "who cares what happens to the pain", "bring it on", the more the better.

    In my opinion, if you're wondering when the pain will go away then you're sending a message to your brain of fear. That is the wrong message we want to send to our brain.

    We really want to invite the pain in and let our brain know that we don't care what happens. It is very important to let our brain know that we're open either way whether the pain comes or goes, or whether the pain gets stronger or weaker. Focus on looking after you and the rest will follow.

    I have found with this program it takes me until around Day 15 or so before I start seeing results. This is actually my second time around.

    Good luck to you!

    Balsa11, JuliaJulia and westb like this.
  7. JuliaJulia

    JuliaJulia Newcomer

    If you feel so guilty and sorry you may be more type A than you think and putting a LOT of pressure on yourself!
    Balsa11 likes this.
  8. braveheart

    braveheart Peer Supporter

    I can relate....I too feel embarrassed sometimes about my physical condition. For most of last 24 years I've had excruciating vulvar pain (pudendal neuralgia, vulvodynia, central sensitization syndrome, pain is a 7 to 9 out of 10 without ever sitting. Have a spinal cord stimulator that keeps resting pain down in left foot (central sensitization syndrome, plantar fasciitis) but like you pain goes very high if on feet, can't even run an errand. I'm not a type a personality, if anything I'm often unmotivated, maybe due to low self esteem. Some of this TMS stuff is starting to sink in but no pain relief. Just curious.....did you find any techniques that helped reduce your pain?
  9. Syl

    Syl Peer Supporter

    @braveheart @itmsw Never, EVER, feel embarrassed or feel that you have to apologise for your condition. I've lived with pudendal neuralgia (plus a whole host of other horrid chronic issues) for 11 years now. My ex-husband dumped me when I developed PN, and I was left to cope with a very nasty divorce, I lost my home as I couldn't afford to buy out his half, I could barely manage to work at the time (and the only reason I managed part-time work was because I worked for an ex-boss of mine who gave me a job, and so he was flexible with me), plus I was still grieving the death of my mother (to whom I was very close) and one of my long-term kitty cats. I was alone and had no close friends, and my only family is my brother who I rarely see due to his being so busy with his own family. At first, I didn't think I was going to make it and I kept wishing I would get killed by an asteroid hitting me on the head (nice and quick; no suffering), but eventually life went on (thanks to my other cat who stayed with me until she was almost 21 years of age). If it weren't for her I'm sure I would've found a way to exit this planet.

    I sometimes still feel this way, but somehow I try to overcome it the best I can, but one thing I've learned from this awful experience is that one should NEVER apologise for oneself. We were dealt some nasty cards, I grant you, but all we can do is "play the game". I have now reached the point where I really don't care about people who drop me because I cannot participate in some activity they wish to engage in. Basically, if this is the standard by which they measure friendship, or even a relationship, then I don't want to know them. I'm still alone and only have acquaintances, but not many. I ended up adopting a kitty cat after my last cat passed on, and this keeps me distracted from my darkest thoughts. It's hard work sometimes to live inside my body, but I'm still hanging in there. One thing, though, this experience has truly taught me not to apologise for myself, and I've become more selfish (in a good way) by starting to look after myself more, do what I like to do (assuming I can do it without pain), pamper myself, and not care about what others think. I don't go around talking openly about my health issues, as they are so complicated, but if someone wishes to know I tell them straight out, but I simplify what I say otherwise I'd be there all day giving a lecture.

    I think we are "heroes" for living with this horrible condition. At the same time we learn to be kinder to ourselves, we become more patient, and we can be more empathetic to others' suffering (though I've always been too empathetic--and this is something I have to watch as it can make me spiral with all sorts of emotions). But overall, I try to live my life the best way I can, I don't judge others because they may have health issues, too. Having said this, I do not make friends easily anymore. The moment I see someone wish to use me or take advantage because they mistakenly think that my health condition makes me an easier mark, I drop them like a hot brick.

    The TMS thing worked for me, and I've had some good results with it, but it can take years for some people to make a dent (I'm one of those), and this is a lifetime thing. One has to change how they think so the brain is eventually rewired to think likewise. The longer one has suffered, the longer it takes to rewire the brain. This is what I have discovered. But never give up hope!
    Balsa11 and westb like this.
  10. Mclean

    Mclean New Member

    My day starts with going down the list of things I haven't accomplished or done correctly and includes the trivial stuff like mowing the lawn and cleaning the house all the way to work related and family matters. It's non stop. And whatever I have accomplished I either judge very critically or assume everyone else is judging it negatively. My new symptoms came about when I began supervising at my workplace and now I constantly feel the pressure to make sure everyone is happy and positive which is mostly impossible. I'm not sure it would matter either way as I assume every other supervisor is doing it correctly, etc. It's an unfortunate convergence of people pleasing, low self esteem, and guilt with a healthy dose of perfectionism. The perfectionist in me causes a bit of a freeze response or severe procrastination which in turn creates more stress.
    Balsa11 and Syl like this.
  11. Syl

    Syl Peer Supporter

    Hi there,

    You may have read my entry above, dated June 29, 2020. Perhaps this may help a little? But all I can say is I can relate to a lot of what you say, but these days I've learned to let go and be kind to myself instead. I have let go of the guilt and trying to please others. It takes time, but you can start with small steps that will lead to bigger ones. Next time you feel guilty about something involving another or you are about to engage in people pleasing, just say a big "NO" to yourself and instead go off the do something nice for yourself. This is the one and only person you should please: YOURSELF. And remember that this does not make you a nasty person or a selfish one, it simply makes you a healthier person so that in future you can help others through the wisdom of your advise or your empathy, but not by pandering to them in order to gain their approval. You can be a friend to someone else or a good partner, etc, but this does not mean your role is to please others or "fix their lives for them". We are all responsible to please ourselves by becoming comfortable with who we are inside. If we're happy within ourselves this will communicate itself externally and people will perceive our sense of confidence in who we are and the fact that we are comfortable to be in our skin. This is enough to inspire them to do something about their own problems. But if you get the "emotional leaches" trying to bleed you because they cannot face their own problems you will have to harden your heart.

    I've come across many emotional vampires (as I call them) and these are people who want constant sympathy and approval stroking, but when you give them a few words of wisdom they either ignore you or drop you. And you must have the courage to let all this go.

    I hope this helps.

    Balsa11 likes this.
  12. Nattygracey

    Nattygracey Newcomer

    I totally see where you guys are all coming from, but how do we break the cycle? I’m still stuck in turmoil... I’m finding it difficult to control my mind and affirm to myself this is TMS. I’ve had a tricky life, call it troubled ... so many things that would make me doubt myself and one battle after another and I this mental cycle of depression is so hard to break...

    After my surgery when I began to feel better I was elated, I believed that I’d smashed it and after all the suffering and attempted suicide that it was worth living to return back to a normal life and get on with things and live the way I want to and put all this behind me but then boom .... pain returned! Why? I was so happy! Everyone around me was so happy and now I have this fixation that I’m still not healed properly because my physio told me my nerve is being compressed by muscle and my pelvis is twisted and that my pudenal nerve is agrivated .... I can’t stand / walk / sit ... I just get to grips with the TMS and convince myself it’s this but I find within minutes my mind reverts back to negative thinking ... all day long it’s a battle in my mind - TMS Vs physical - it’s all day trying to override the negative with positive - I’ve always been like this, I struggled all through my life battling my demons ... I’m
    Only 40, I have a business and a family my daughter is only 5 and all this started when my pudenal nerve was trapped during childbirth.... My surgeon assures me that I have central sensitisation and that my nerves is completely free on all its pathways but now my physio has put these thoughts in my mind because my pelvis is twisted that they’re nervous still being compressed by muscle so I’m in a constant fight trying to tell myself it’s TMS as I say I can’t do a normal daily routine to take my mind off all of this not being able to stand, walk, so it just compounds my thoughts day in day out I am in a true struggling battle please can anybody help me?
  13. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Calling yourself broken is the worst thing you can tell yourself. Be nice to yourself
  14. Nattygracey

    Nattygracey Newcomer

    I know! I’m practicing... it’s not easy for me, I’ve been in turmoil my entire life it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime... trust me I’m trying, I’m like a caged bird I’ve had my wings clipped and I’ve tried over and over for a year with practice and fail of TMS training so I’m trying again. I’m doing my best! It’s consuming me I’m trying so hard.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  15. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Yep. Any good memory or feeling will do. Just don't force it.
  16. Nattygracey

    Nattygracey Newcomer

    Thank you
  17. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I love Alan's concept of caring, comforting, and treating ourselves in the same way we would our own child if they had been bullied. Really brings it home.
    Katya likes this.
  18. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    I think it should be "Success is measured by how little you wallow/self criticize".
  19. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Honestly same, detaching from trauma is hard because it's scary. But when I'm happy or otherwise unbothered by anything, I feel like a different person. This is probably what they mean by "you are not your circumstances" like usually you and your circumstances blend together but then there's this totally different level of awareness for a moment when you realize your circumstances affected how you feel but you aren't labeled by it as in you actually separate from what happened to you and you would identify with something else if something else had happened. Ex: in a good situation, I'm a winner, if I made a mistake, I'm a loser. Wait- I can be both a winner or loser? These are labels, so they're not really me!

    I can relate to the trying hard bit. Trying too hard leads to more self criticism and is frustratingly counterproductive.
  20. Xara

    Xara Peer Supporter

    I am back after a year having done the structured program. Just wanted to thank everyone here, expressing our thoughts and our stories is very helpful for others. This day I realized why every method I applied didn't help me!
    I was not used to "lose" , I did everything right, didn't make many mistakes, I was so so judging towards others and mostly to myself. I got used to believe - its the way I brought up, that if I put pressure to myself I will succeed. Ooouuuf.
    Enlightening. And many stories are very helpful, we are so the same! Patterns of the way we are brought up are patterns the way our parents brought up and finally the whole society.
    We are lucky to have this forum and we are lucky these symptoms- whatever one has- are our true self who says, enough is enough! Go and enjoy yourself, love yourself otherwise I an not leaving!
    Thank you all of you
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.

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