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Effects of parents stifling feelings?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Wings313, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Wings313

    Wings313 Peer Supporter

    I'm one of those TMSers without obvious childhood trauma. But one thing I've realized about my childhood is that my parents didn't really allow me to have feelings/emotion. And today it really hit home in a conversation with my mom - I was expressing anger, anxiety and some frustration and she just said don't get worked up, she couldn't have this conversation today (she is going through a difficult time), etc. And I realized that that is usually how the discussion goes when I express any sort of strong emotion - at least anger related. "don't go there" "I can't talk about this" and she just tries to shut down the conversation. It made me think how that was probably how it went when I was a child too. In addition, when observing how my mom interacts with my 2 year old daughter, if my daughter gets upset about something, I often hear her (my mom) saying things like "it's okay" "it's all good" etc. In effect, shutting down any expression of feelings on my daughter's part. So that is probably how she reacted when I was a child too. My dad had his own ways of basically teaching me that feelings were not to be trusted.

    So for those more experienced TMSers, how does this interact with TMS? How does this learning to not be okay with feelings manifest in physical symptoms? I have ideas about this but am interested in what others have to say. Thanks!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    ok Basically you have learned to hold in your anger and rage. Common ground for tms symptoms to thrive on ok. It doesn't mean that your mom or father are bad people. They just did the best they knew how to do.

    The trick is to feel the emotions as you get get up-set instead of ignoring them ok. No need in having any fusses about it with anyone cause this too will cause tms. All you have to do the next time you feel that you are getting angry is to set with the emotion and don't judge or criticize yourself at this time ok. Just notice the emtion is their and feel it. In a sense when you do this the emotion will soon leave because emotions are meant to arise and then leave if we acknowledge them. Its when we don't acknowledge them and act as if nothing has happened that starts the repression ok. Just face all your current issues and then feel the emotions attached to them. Then when you do you can even name the emotion if you wish -- like ok, this emotion is sadness, and then just set and feel the sadness. Then say ok I can feel this now and then just set their without judgement. Soon the emotion will release and leave and you will be learning how not to repress ok.

    yb44, Ellen, LindaRK and 1 other person like this.
  3. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Wings

    Many of us were "taught" to repress our emotions by parents who are TMSers themselves. You can't teach what you don't already know.

    By not experiencing and processing our emotions, we unconsciously create tension which can manifest as pain or other TMS equivalents. As Dr.Sarno says when your "rage tank" gets full, you start to have symptoms.

    While it's great that you have discovered why you hold on to anger etc., it is important not to blame your parents. Once you have fully explored the situation in your journaling, and acknowledged any negative feelings toward your them, try to let it go, and think about your mom & dad in a compassionate way. I have done this myself and found it very liberating.

    I realized where my need for approval came from during journaling. Below is an extract from a post I made in that regard, during a conversation with Herbie Watson some time ago :

    "I discovered something about myself when I was journaling today, when I was a kid my dad wouldn't get me my own bike to learn to ride myself, he insisted on supervising me trying to ride my sister's bike. He had no patience and kept yelling at me, which made me too nervous and I kept falling off, it all ended in tears and I said I didn't want a stupid bike (I did). I've never sat on one since that day, 42 years ago. I tried so hard to ride it, and gain his approval and I failed. I think I've been chasing that approval ever since. I yelled my eyes out when I relived this today, but felt better afterwards, a baby step to healing I think."

    It takes practice to trust your emotions and realize that they are temporary, you just have to let them run their course.

    Much Love & Blessing :joyful:
  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Parents, sometimes well-meaning, have not the understanding of their actions. My own beautiful mother disliked sounds in the higher registers. My younger brother and I were taught to never, ever, raise our voices. Display was forbidden. This also meant we never learned to sing. Only now, in the last few years, have I begun to find my voice, and even in song, it remains soft.

    In this instance, my mother has learned of her error, as she has several times suffered a burst eardrum, and has hearing issues in both ears. She has great difficulty in hearing her two grown children as we speak to her.

    Not being allowed to voice our emotions, especially in the wake of so many devastating events, left us both with many internal scars. My mother simply did not comprehend the outcome. She basked in the compliments she received for having such well-behaved children. She could take us anywhere in public and never worry about us being like other children who disturbed the public with their tantrums.

    She also lacks a verbal filter, and anything I tell her will be repeated without any concept of confidentiality. I have learned, albeit slowly and painfully, that I can fully love her, but she simply cannot fill the role of my emotional confidante. Adjusting my own expectations of her released a great deal of tension. Allowing her to be just who she is .... gave me a sense of freedom. I no longer beat myself against that wall.

    No one is perfect. A single person cannot fulfill our every need. This does not make them unworthy of our love. It simply makes them ... who they are. Be kind to them, and let the rest go.

    with grace and gratitude,
  5. Wings313

    Wings313 Peer Supporter

    Thank you to all. I totally agree with viewing my parents with compassion and loving them for who they are. I have begun to do that - to let go, to realize that no one is perfect and everyone carries wounds that we may not know about that affect them to this day. And yes, giving up expectations of what I would want in a parent. I struggle too with still seeking their approval in many things, being afraid to disappoint them, afraid of them having a negative opinion of me, etc. I need to truly let that go too and disentangle the emotional enmeshment I have with them.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and Mermaid like this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Wings and Lily Rose, you both bring up a very important issue about our parents,
    not expecting to be or have been perfect, but accepting them as they are or were.

    Lily Rose, you came to understand about your mother's aversion to noise and requiring you
    and your younger brother to be seen but not heard. You learned to forgive her and that is great.

    In journaling, I came to understand my parents better by putting myself in their shoes
    and realizing they both had a lot of TMS without knowing it. Out of my understanding
    came forgiveness and the anger I felt went away.

    Maybe when I was a boy I wanted and expected my parents to be perfect, like many
    of those I saw in the movies of the 1930s and 1940s, 1950s. Movies with happy homes
    and lives with happy endings. In many ways, movies were an escape for me. I still love
    my old favorites and as I did then, regard some as my parents or aunts and uncles.
    I could write a book on that, but a friend is, and I'm helping him. It will be out this
    summer or fall, called The Encyclopedia of Best Films. We write just about the 3 and 4
    star films.

    So let's be kind to our parents while they're still with us. Give them a hug, or at least touch
    their arm or hand, and give them the benefit of the doubt of having been good to us.
    I think most parents really do try to do that.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been thinking about this question from the other side. Have I as a parent been stifling my children's feelings as much as mine were stifled by my own parents? I was always told that if I wasn't 'feeling good', meaning that if I was in a bad mood, arguing or throwing a wobbly, I had to go to my room, stay there and not come out until I felt better. The problem was I never reached a point where I felt better. I just faked it. Now that I have woken up from that bad dream, I am trying to change. It's a work in progress.
    Lily Rose likes this.

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