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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by jcacciat, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    In The Divided Mind, Dr. Sarno says that TMS symptoms are not punishment, but are the mind's way of distracting us from painful emotions. One such emotion is guilt. Louise Hay expresses the idea that guilt seeks punishment and this can cause pain. We therefore need to dissolve the guilt.

    I have never been able to overcome the idea that I am punishing myself with pain. I would be interested to know what others think about guilt as seeking punishment and therefore causing pain. And also how others have managed to dissolve their feelings of guilt.
    crashkahuna and silentflutes like this.
  2. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think about this often. How is it that we have this opposing force within ourselves that produces pain situations?
    They say that most perpetrators return to the scene of their crime if they haven't been caught. Almost like they are baiting themselves to be caught and punished. I know that's an extreme example, but I wonder if we do the same on a more subtle level…feeling that have to pay if we are angry about something or resentful of others taking our time.

    Guilt is a wasted emotion. It doesn't change anything. Perhaps write down what has caused you guilt. I know when I tell people that I feel guilty about something, they almost always respond "you're really hard on yourself." Sarno and Steve O write about how TMS personalities are "good" and "sensitive." I think we are.
    silentflutes likes this.
  3. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the reply. I think I was damaged by a Catholic upbringing and experience guilt in all kinds of contexts. I am trying to change my thought patterns and I have done some journaling on the subject. I like your analogy of the perpetrator returning to the scene of the crime. I am amazed by how much decision making is done by the unconscious mind, and it is a little scary. I agree that guilt is a totally useless emotion and I have come to believe that it is conditioned in many of us by authority figures, many times religious, as a form of control.
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  4. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    This hits close to home for me. When I recovered from my second bout with TMS--25 years after the first bout--I felt very guilty. Why hadn't I recognized this as TMS? Why had I wasted 2 years of my life, a lot of $, and a lot of pain, when my mind held the key to my recovery all along?
    And then I simply decided to reframe how I was looking at this. Instead of feeling guilty at having failed myself, I decided to be grateful that I finally found something that worked. Simply making that decision has worked well for me.
    Give it a try! Sometimes "acting as if" can make a big difference.
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  5. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    Gigi, that is great advice. Last summer, before I recognized my condition as TMS, I had some dry needling done on my glutes, thinking this would help resolve some of my pain issues. But instead of relief, my TMS used the needling as an opportunity to give me new pain, something that had not been there previously. I spent months beating myself up for having chosen to have the needling done, believing that it was the cause of my new pain. After reading Sarno and others, I now view that episode as a gift because it was the reason I started learning about TMS, and I understand that a little poke with a needle would not cause long-standing pain. I had a short-term setback that is leading to a long term recovery, and that is something for which to be grateful.
  6. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    I have a lot of experience with guilt, also having grown up in a guilt-ridden Catholic household.
    It seems to me that, at a certain point, people who are prone to guilt will find things to be guilty about. It's not that experiences in life produce guilt themselves, but it's rather our interpretation of those events. The most glaring example is when we feel guilt for something someone else did that we are completely uninvolved with. It's an emotion that's just "there", waiting to be felt. We pass a homeless person on the street asking for money and feel guilty that we don't offer it to them. Does everyone who walks by that person feel the same way? Most people don't even notice it.
    That's why it's important to constantly be talking to ourselves with the Inner Coach voice saying, "Alright, you feel guilty about this. Nothing new. How can you reframe this? Would other people feel guilty? What's the guilt trying to communicate to you? What's the worst that could happen?" So, bringing the unconscious back into the conscious. Sarno says this kind of talk is how we heal. But it takes a lot of effort.
  7. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    One of Shakespeare's characters, I think Hamlet, said that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Or something like that. So it is with guilt. Eric, I have been doing a lot of self talk lately, and I agree that it is a lot of work but also effective. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the guilt is trying to communicate to me, other than that I have deeply conditioned thought patterns. Intellectually, I have shed the Catholicism, but it is still emotionally ingrained.
  8. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    Totally. I'm right there with you. I think it's that, when we were children, these intrusive thoughts of guilt meant our survival, and now they're not working. I've wondered if TMS is our body's way of telling us that we need to enter the world of adults. Not to say that we aren't mature or responsible (Most people who suffer from TMS are OVERLY mature and responsible), but we need to remember that we are adults now and we have as much "say" as anyone else does. I know my physical pain flairs up when I'm dealing with an authority member, someone who has power over me. I instinctively revert to that child role where my feelings don't matter.
    I think guilt ultimately communicates that something is important to you. If I feel guilty that I showed up late for work, it's because my job is important to me because without it I could not pay my rent and support myself. If I feel guilty that I forgot about a dinner with my friends, it's because friendship is important to me. We would never feel guilty about something that we didn't value, right?
    I struggle just about every day with the Catholic stuff. It was so deeply engrained into my psyche. I get so angry at my parents (who are now both deceased) that they would be so stupid to raise me that way, but they were innocent, only doing what they thought was for my own good. The only way I can feel like I've won out over years of mis-attunement is to let it go and live a good life. It's so hard though.
  9. jcacciat

    jcacciat Peer Supporter

    Eric, I wish I could be so forgiving of my parents. They are both still alive, and I do not treat them badly, but I remain angry with them for a number of reasons. I understand that they were innocent during my childhood, but they continue to do and say things that are hurtful and even harmful to me, my wife, and my children. This is true in spite of my efforts to communicate with them in a constructive manner about these things. They hear it, they act like they get it, and then they just continue behaving the way they have always behaved.

    Your comments about guilt informing us of what is important is insightful. Thank you.

    Mis-attunement is a good word. Wish I had thought of that:>
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was not raised in a Catholic family, yet, guilt is, probably, my predominant emotion :).

    I think it is one of the methods used by the inner bully to put us in whatever place it determined we should be. I don't remember my parents pushing this button with me - so I can't even get angry at them. I am afraid it is that gene I got from the pool: my entire extended family consists of highly responsible people, mostly prone to TMS conditions, from depression and migraines to fibromyalgia to a score of back and neck pains.

    Somehow, I am learning to dissolve the feeling of guilt by proving to myself that most often, my guilt is imaginary and completely unfounded. It is just another form of fear, nothing else.

    Here are examples:

    1. Recently I found myself accidentally committing to two important meetings at work, both I could not move. I literally told my inner child to tell the bully that one of the two meetings would be cancelled. Sure enough, it was and another one was moved to a different date! Me circa 2015 would just die of guilt and self-loathing for being stupid and not checking. Me today - just let it go and came up with a good enough strategy to split my time between two meetings.

    2. I said something that I found to be very stupid, to my very dear friend. I thought it would be insulting to her and she would never want to talk to me again. I was terrified to call her. Yet, I send her an email to apologize and discovered that she thought it was a cute joke.

    So, we should connect guilt to fear and inner bully. Then there will be way out.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  11. crashkahuna

    crashkahuna New Member

    This combo of guilt/pain had me up all last night. And just as I was getting a handle on my insomnia using Curable tools. Right now I can have no self compassion on this (for childhood mistakes). I also would like to know how anyone else deals with these devils at night. Maybe somatic tracking can help - will try tonight.
  12. NCGal

    NCGal New Member

    I’ve been listening to guided sleep meditations from Jason Stephenson and The Honest Guys on YouTube. They are very relaxing and often get my mind to stop working.
    crashkahuna likes this.
  13. kylehuisman

    kylehuisman New Member

    David Burns in his book Feeling Good has a chapter on guilt that is illuminating. He makes good points about the pointlessness of guilt and why carrying guilt is illogical and so helps to let go. Say you make a mistake, or do something you feel bad about - it makes perfect sense that you would do that action under your current conditioning or experience. It makes perfect sense that you behave the way that you do, or if feel bad about what you do continuously until you learn methods or other alternatives to change it. There's no real reason to feel guilty. We are all innocent as human beings, we innocently make mistakes, and we are innocently programmed and conditioned by people who don't actually have our best interests in mind. We have to learn to honour and accept our innocence as part of ourselves, and that's a part of true self love.

    In his book "Letting Go" David Hawkins also has a chapter on guilt. He says "99% of guilt has nothing to do with reality". He says, Guilt is a denial of our innocence and our self worth as human beings. and in fact, when we look deep within ourselves, is it not for our inner innocence that we believe ourselves to be guilty? it is because of our own innocence that we have bought into all the negativity of the world and allow it to kill our aliveness, destroy our awareness of who we really are and sell us the pathetic little smallness for which we have settled. When we see our own innocence, we see we are the pure blanc computer, under which we innocently become programmed. We have to take charger of our minds, he says we must wake up to lies of world, because what went into our minds was garbage, and see guilt for what it is, and that is an attempt by others to control us.

    These books have helped me hope this helps!
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  14. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    My question: is it guilt or shame? Have you so self identified with guilt, it becomes you?
    Or is it really perfectionism? You screwed up and now that image doesn't fit with that perfect you?
    Perhaps something to explore?
    crashkahuna likes this.
  15. crashkahuna

    crashkahuna New Member

    Not perfectionism. I don't have that high of standards :). I have been doing some exercises in looking at major events that caused me to keep grudges and forgiving them. Maybe that is making me look at how I have also harmed people. Also I have always had a high degree of sensitivity and ruminations.
  16. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’ve learned perfectionism is really sneaky. It makes us feel bad because we don’t measure up.
    Perfectionism can made us good people, but it can also be harmful to self. You worry about harming people. Maybe you have, or maybe that is your perception. You care, so you have certain standards about harm, and yourself.
    I try doing this: picture a mown field, very large circle in it, an outline about the size of a ball field. Now imagine yourself in the middle. Now imagine another of yourself standing on the circle outline. Walk around the circle looking at yourself and simply ask: what do I feel about the concern you have. Now focus on your breath and go into your body and try to feel what comes up, if anything. Sometimes it comes later. You can even ask yourself each emotion: guilt, shame, anger, fear.. this nifty heat map illustrates where many people feel emotions. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/12/30/258313116/mapping-emotions-on-the-body-love-makes-us-warm-all-over (Mapping Emotions On The Body: Love Makes Us Warm All Over)

    This is basically a form of somatic tracking, called emotional tracking. You just lightly look in your body for a sense of feeling.
    You do not wanna do this when you are trying to sleep! This is a good daytime exercise. You may find you can feel into the emotion and let it pass through you. It really helps you decide the next step: to choose to continue ruminating or choose an action or choose to let it be.
    Hope you find a way to sleep easy!
    crashkahuna likes this.
  17. crashkahuna

    crashkahuna New Member

    Thanks so much and interesting link. Suprised that feet not activated in any of the emotions charted. Maybe I have more perfectionism than at first glance considering I am always evaluating and seeing if I measure up. I think my main energy pushing me forward in life has been anger but that is now is going away and has created a confusion and vacuum. It feels like a physical weakness.

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