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Mucking Through Emotions

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by RikR, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    My psychologist believes that mucking through old memories and emotions is just a recipe for getting upset and more suffering.

    My wife has so few painful memories that she can only recall one or two – I have thousands and could fill books. So is revisiting this painful stuff really the part of the program that heals or am I just rubbing old wounds with salt.

    Right now one painful memory leads to another and it feels like I am just self flagellating without benefit.

    In spite of pain, hurt and disappointment all my life I managed graduate degrees and making a fair amount of money and toys I have forever felt like I was stuck together with string and chewing gum. Anyone looking on the outside of my life would conclude I had it made.

    I need some help on this!
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    It sounds to me as though your therapist is more focused on placating the symptoms than finding and curing the cause. I spoke with a psychoanalyist who viewed traditional "behavioral talk therapy" and anti-depressant/anxiety medications as basically one and the same - both with very valuable "first aid" but neither designed to produce the long-term cure that people in pain so desperately need. He said it was like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound thinking it was the end solution to the problem - eventually there will be a bleed through if the primary issues are left unaddressed.

    Perhaps you're traveling to quickly down memory lane? Are you taking the time to explore each of these painful memories as they come or are you moving right past one as another shows up on it's tail? You reference your achievements in spite of hurt and disappointment in your life and they certainly are commendable. It seems reasonable to me that your ability to achieve these results for yourself has come as a result of your equally impressive ability to repress your emotions so seemingly they would be somewhat even in number.

    I also notice you compare yourself to your wife. As a perfectionist my natural tendency is to stack myself up against someone else as well. The trouble I find (in hindsight) when I do this is that I'm invariably and unknowingly comparing apples and oranges which only serves to fuel my self-defeating tendencies. As difficult as it may be for you, perhaps you may benefit from attempting to be kinder to yourself. I don't make this suggestion lightly as it is a constant struggle for me, but one that I really benefit from when I achieve it.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    Thanks for the thoughts Leslie.

    What I am amazed by is the amount of crap I have been through and the thousands of frustrations, disappointments and outright mistreatments. Up until the age of 8 my life was great – dad caught cheating and when he left my life went into constant hell and drama.

    Some as I take a broad over view I am feeling anger over my life history – while each incidence was painful I am also feeling like why the hell was there no one there to take care of me so at age 13 I was in foster homes that sucked and then on my own at 15, working graveyard alone at a service station and going to high school days while living in a one room flop house.

    This is just a tip of a huge iceberg – was I ever hit or physically abused...no but I was provided with pain that no child or human should endure. My parents were good people - but they were screwed up in their childhood.

    And while I thought I took good care of myself- I ate organically, exercised every day and was competent in the world I mercilessly drove myself into TMS. Probably not too much for a normal healthy person but for the internal load I was carrying I have buckled.
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    What you describe here are undeniably horrifying experiences for anyone to endure, especially a child. What you are also confirming here, as much from what you don't say as from that which you do, is that you are an extraordinarily strong, determined person who has demonstrated an incredible ability to overcome any challenges you may face. Draw from that strength and determination; put it to work for you in overcoming your TMS, but do it compassionately. It has the ability to produce the same emotional benefits that it has already given you physically and materially.

    I can't speak to what a normal healthy person might endure as I have yet to attain my definition of that status. What I can tell you is that you are describing an internal load that is far weightier than anything I have had to endure in my lifetime and I buckled under far less pressure. Don't beat yourself up for that (also easier said than done, I realize). Thank your sub-conscious for putting up the SOS flags that have captured your attention and proceed from there.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    I have to agree with Leslie, Rik. If you haven't read The Mindful Path to Self Compassion by Christopher Germer or Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, I would suggest you check them out. We are often times our own worst enemies. These books are helping me to treat myself, and the hurt and angry inner child, with the same compassion I would use with a good friend.
    veronica73 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rik, I wonder if your psychologist is overwhelmed by your pain and rage. I say, find one who can handle it. You deserve someone stronger. ISTDP might be a good choice - Alan Gordon practices this. We have two webinars with Alan in which he worked with several individuals - I found listening to them pretty powerful, but at the least they will give you an idea of what good therapy should be like. My profile has links to all my favorite stuff including those webinars.

    I'm enjoying your posts - keep it up!

  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with Jan: ISTDP (Instantaneous Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy) sounds like the best way to approach all the bad episodes and feelings you describe; that is, to actually feel them. Alan Gordon has an uncanny ability to make a patient "feel" repressed emotions rather quickly. Howard Schubiner's methods are also based on an ISTDP approach.
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi RikR,

    Thanks for sharing your story here and for all of your great posts! (((hugs)))

    I'm now pain free and still working with my TMS therapist on all of my emotional patterns/issues. I'd say most of the time 90% of my session relates to how I'm dealing with things now and how my personality and behaviors cause me to beat up on myself. We do talk about childhood too, but more to see where these patterns got started not to relive every horrible thing from the past.

    I don't go digging around in the past for no reason, but if an unpleasant memory comes to me I just let myself really feel and remember it. The emotional pain moves through and I don't end up feeling worse or more upset. Sometimes it's even a relief.

    Is your therapist open to working with the TMS approach? Maybe you can ask him/her to read one of Sarno's books?

    Be kind to yourself.
    ~ Veronica
  9. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Rik, sorry to hear.

    Have you read the parts on this form about processing these feelings out through journaling ? You can come to terms with your past; it will take work, but it absolutely can be done.
  10. RikR

    RikR Well known member


    I agree with your approach and I am moving towards the same present day work.


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