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

Derek S. How do I process painful emotions?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by amarie133, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. amarie133

    amarie133 Peer Supporter

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    I fully accept the TMS diagnosis and recognize previous times in my life emotional pain manifested physically (chronic throat pain for 2 years, and unexplained shoulder, wrist, and ankle pain for 1 year in my 20's). At the time I had a lot of sadness and grief around friendships and holding onto friends who were always letting me down and somewhat abusive.

    I'm on day 3 or 4, and looking at childhood experiences. One that repeatedly shows up is being abandoned, being let down by friends and not feeling like I fit in. It still shakes me to the core to this day and I'm 34. I still have reoccurring dreams about these particular "friends" who ignored me, hurt me, and walked all over me.

    So I'm journaling and it brings to the surface these very painful emotions that I don't know what to do with. Should I meditate and release them? Should I counteract these feelings and do some self talk about how I do have some good friends in my life? I just don't know what to do and am feeling quite raw, exposed, and all the old feelings of sadness, anxiety and emptiness are here again.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2015
  2. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Hi amarie,

    It sounds like you are doing some good, intense exploration of your emotions and I just want to reinforce the importance of the process that you are in.

    Journaling can be really useful for uncovering elusive feelings and for giving your emotions a context. That said, it is common to hit a proverbial wall when you have found all of this stuff but you don't know exactly what to do with it.

    At this point, I would suggest working on trying to feel your feelings in a different way. First of all, make sure that when these feelings come up you are tending to your anxiety and distinguishing it as a mechanism that is separate and distinct from your actual emotions. Emotions usually don't feel as uncomfortable as anxiety. It is easy to mistake emotions and anxiety because they feed off of one another.

    Focus on feeling your emotions in your body. For example, when you feel anger/rage towards your friends, what does it feel like physically and what is the sensation in your body? This helps you to just work on feeling the feeling rather than thinking about the feeling. Don't try to counteract your feelings because this invalidates them. You can focus on all of the positive stuff another time.

    Practice breathing into those sensations and trying to make them grow, kind of like fanning a hot coal. Visualize what your anger/rage/sadness would look like and try not to judge it or evaluate it in any way. It doesn't have to make logical sense because it's an emotion.

    You can go further in your visualization by imagining what your anger/sadness would do to make itself heard. This is just a way for you to validate and honor your emotions and is not based in any kind of reality.

    If you are struggling with this at all, working with a therapist can be very helpful. Our defense mechanisms can be pretty persistent and they often happen automatically and unconsciously.

    There are a number of other posts in this sub forum that provide suggestions for "feeling your feelings" so check those out as well.

    Keep up the good work and be patient with yourself. This is hard work but it's worth it!


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

    Kira and breakfree like this.
  3. Kate

    Kate New Member


    It was so good to read your post. I can so relate to what you said. I am still upset from things that happened in middle school. Friends who hurt me. Right now I am struggling with anxiety and depression. I have heard the expression anger turned in ward can result in depression. I think anxiety is the fear part. I still struggle to feel feelings. It seems like I do it but I still feel strange aka bad. Good for you that you are going through this process. It sounds like it is stirring things up that need healing.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Amarie. I suffered extreme back pain two years ago and discovered it wasn't from lifting a case of 36 cans of beer at the supermarket, but from TMS repressed emotions. I had been repressing anger and feelings of abandonment and insecurity when my parents divorced when I was seven. They often fought because of financial problems, even though both worked, during the 1930s Great Depression. Journaling led me to realizing they too had TMS pain, my mother having terrible migraine headaches and my father lower back pain. I began to learn more about their TMS causes and it led me to forgiving them, which led to me healng.

    Kate, you may very well have anger turned inward and need to think/journal about that.
    I think we may suspect that we cannot feel feeling, but we do. They're there, just being repressed.
    They may be harder to recognize than a paper cut on a finger, but emotional feeling are there.
    Kira and IrishSceptic like this.
  5. NIClubber

    NIClubber Peer Supporter

    I have similar feelings of being abandoned by friends and family, so you are definitely not alone.

Share This Page