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Dr. Hanscom's Blog Destroyed by Bullies

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member



    I will never forget a 40 year-old woman I met in the office a few years ago. She had suffered from chronic pain that enveloped almost her entire body since her late teenage years. She was anxious, depressed, and would barely lift her head to talk to me. The depth of her sadness struck me. She did not have a structural spine problem and I began to discuss some of the ways she could approach solving her chronic pain. Shortly into the conversation she related to me that she had been severely bullied in high school and in spite of her best efforts she did not seem to be able to get past it. I never saw her back. Bullying – my challenge to the Charter

    Dreams shattered

    I was pretty shaken by the encounter in that she seemed so broken. I was talking to my assistant about the encounter and she told me a story about her daughter that happened in high school. She loved animals and had a cat that she adored. Her dream was to become a veterinarian. She was asked to the prom by a boy she did not care for and turned him down. He became very aggressive. He and a friend began to taunt her and threatened to kill her cat. They did. They killed her cat and then proceeded to make cat sounds every time they saw her at school. Her life was never the same and she did not pursue her dream. As a cat lover this story was quite upsetting to me.

    Bullying affects the body’s chemistry

    A study was reported in the New York Times last week about the effects on the body’s chemistry from being bullied. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a blood test that measures the level of inflammation in the body. It is very sensitive and I order it frequently if I am suspicious of an infection. High levels have been correlated with heart disease.

    The study was out of the department of psychiatry from Duke University. Researchers followed 1420 boys and girls between the ages of 9 to 21 with extensive interviews of close family and friends. The CRP was elevated in direct proportion to the amount of bullying they had experienced. In contrast, bullies had lower levels of CRP – even lower than individuals who were not exposed to bullying. It was postulated that the increased social status of the bully might have “biological advantages.” Anger = loss of control

    Stress causes changes in the body’s chemistry and every organ system is affected creating a multitude of physical responses. There are over 30 symptoms of the Mind Body Syndrome (MBS). Prolonged stress is even worse. It is similar to trying to run a marathon at sprint speed. You will collapse and often quickly. The MBS symptoms are not psychological and the symptoms are not imaginary or subtle.


    Letting go – NOT

    I have long observed that many patients have no interest in engaging in the DOCC program. They do not seem to want to let go of their anger. I think the reasons for a given person are complex but I do think that the need to remain angry is deep. If you are the bully there is a feeling (and bodily response) of power that is difficult to let go of. If you are the victim then feeling powerless is stressful But is also a familiar pattern and the only haven of power you have left. In the victim mode you are angry and you do feel powerful. You can then exert that power over your employer, the medical system, and your family. If down deep you feel powerless, what other choices do you have? Advantages of victimhood


    I suspect that the bully’s bodily response is mediated through the pleasure centers and the victim’s through the fight or flight system. There is power in being a bully and there is power in remaining a victim. I don’t know what the chances are of a bully developing chronic pain but I do think the odds are much higher in the bullied group. If being bullied causes an increase in inflammatory markers, is there a link with autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis? These disorders are not even currently considered to be MBS diseases. Chronic pain is a MBS symptom.

    Pain pathways and anger pathways are inextricably linked. You will not solve your chronic pain until you can let go of the past at a deep emotional level. Do you really want to heal?


    North Star likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've known some people who are not happy unless they are miserable.
    Maybe they feel better by making others feel bad. Maybe they love sympathy.

    It's like they intentionally poison their own drinking water, and ours.

    I just avoid them.
    North Star likes this.
  3. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you David for sharing this blog.

    I think when we suffer for years with TMS pain, it begins to define who we are, so it's very liberating when we are set free from pain. Some people I know however don't want to heal, and their pain becomes their companion, and they thrive on sympathy. Its heart-breaking when that person is a close friend or relative, and you want to shake them and tell them how wonderful their life could be if they could open their minds and accept they have the ability to heal themselves.
    North Star likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Colly, I've had some friends who wallowed in their misery and it seemed to make them happy spreading their misery to others.

    Some horses just don't want to drink the healing water we lead them to.
    North Star likes this.
  5. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    I have wallowed in misery on occasion and, for me, it was to avoid harming someone, big time. I don't like to hurt people but there is also a part of me just looking for an excuse. So, instead, I get depressed. What I get out of it is a feeling of having some control over myself and (paradoxically) even the situation.
  6. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    I read Advantages to Victimhood (the link is near the end of David's initial post) and he wrote:

    "Workers Comp
    A similar situation exists in the world of chronic pain and is especially true in the workers compensation system. You are being treated terribly. If you are not angry, then you are unconscious or incredibly skillful in suppressing your anger. I personally cannot talk to most claims examiners for more than five minutes without losing my mind. I do realize that they are controlling your ENTIRE life. You have very little if any control of the circumstances. That’s frustrating." (emphasis is mine)

    It's enraging, is what it is. I'm often surprised there are so few berserkers who take out people who have done them wrong, usually killing a few innocents in the process. I just watched the movie Freedomland tonight. Great depiction of how people with power, people being victimized, and people living on the edge can get so frustrated that they turn into a mob. Always, the results are horrifying but how much can people take when they feel there is no way out?
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I watched a tv show last night in which would-be chefs competed against each other to make dishes that
    would satisfy three judges. It was one of the most awful examples of people having power over other people
    and it was shown as a form of tv entertainment. One of the group was chastised and sent home in total disgrace.
    He didn't deserve such treatment, especially in front of worldwide tv audiences.

    I will never watch that series again. It even gave me a bad dream.

    It was one of the few times I've watched any network tv, especially those so-called reality shows.
    Never again.
  8. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014

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