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My mind: "Your traumatic events aren't traumatic enough to mention."

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by giantsfan, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    I've been having a huge difficulty in talking to my TMS therapist about traumatic events that have occurred in my life. With the last session my therapist spoke very briefly about another patients traumatic event and when I heard about it I thought to myself, "wow, that's so terrible and sad, how can I even consider talking about my events when shitty things like that have happened to other people." To add fuel to the fire my Mom and I had an argument the other day and in the midst of it she went off on me about a horrible story about a child being locked up in their basement most of their life. I was getting the impression from her of: "suck it up, your problems aren't anything compared to others."

    I feel like I can't talk to anyone (therapist included) about much of my past without feeling guilt. I can't understand either why my symptoms were so bad if my traumatic events weren't as bad in comparison to others. I know I shouldn't compare to others, but it's a hard habit to break. Maybe my symptoms has more to do with the other 2/3rds (my personality and current stressors)?

    Any words would help. Thank you all so much for reading this.
  2. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Hi giantsfan. I can relate to what you are saying. While I was doing the SEP program (I am only on day 7) I was thinking of my traumatic events. I know that being raised by two alcoholic parents, which I was, is traumatic, but it seems kind of mainstream in my mind. So I understand when you say you can't comprehend how your symptoms could correspond with your life events. I think I haven't gone beyond day 7 in the program because I look at my examples and I have events such as fear that my parents would divorce when I was very young. I mean I wasn't starved and beaten or anything.. My symptoms are severe enough to monopolize a lot of my waking thoughts and it doesn't seem to fit with my past negative experiences.

    So good point giantsfan. I wonder if others have any comments about this.
  3. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    I believe both of you are looking at this through the intellect and maturity of an adult but what you are missing is that you were just a child trying to process what was happening to you and or around you.
    A child can't say oh this isn't so bad because so and so has it worse. That's not realistic.
    Repressed anger and emotions is not your current but your past.
    This isn't a contest who has the worst trauma, pain is pain and you are in pain.
    I'm hearing that neither of you are showing yourself compassion.

    You know I grew up in a fairly normal home but there were dynamics in how we got along that affected me. I was a little girl I didn't understand. I believe that decisions I've made through out my adulthood are in direct correlation to my upbringing.

    TMS has been a journey into me. Currently I'm barely in pain and my pain is nothing compared to what I've read but it was my pain and it frightened me like nothing I ever felt before. I wanted it gone and to feel better.

    So it's your pain your traumas no contest. Show yourselves compassion in order to heal Take the journey into You...

    Warmly, Susan
  4. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Thank you Susan. What you say makes sense. When you're a child fear is fear and believe me I had a lot of it. Maybe I will continue to day 8 of SEP. :)

    Thank you, Debbie
  5. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    Debbie I'm so glad I made sense to you....take good care of yourself and day 8 is waiting for you
  6. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    This --> "A child can't say oh this isn't so bad because so and so has it worse. That's not realistic. Repressed anger and emotions is not your current but your past," sold me. That's a darn good point. Now I just gotta figure out how to handle the people who tell me to only think about the good and not the bad in my life.

    I recognized I wasn't showing myself compassion, I just didn't know what to do about it, thanks for the kind words, Susan.
  7. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    I'm glad you see it...and a real quick response you don't owe anyone an explanation. Perhaps that's part of your work.
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,

    I loved reading this thread. I think Susan that you make such a good point about "how do we know how we grappled with our upbringing?" Look at a 2 year old. How ready are they to suffer even not being given food when they want. Life is traumatic. Maybe that's why Dr. Sarno said everyone has TMS.

    Also giantsfan, you clearly are under attack by your Inner Critic, which your mother exemplifies. So when you point to 2/3 personality may be the reason, this seems really true to me as an observer. A great place to inquire. Not that you have to change much. Just those insights about giving yourself more compassion when you see the self treatment, and linking your patterns to the TMS.

    I had a great upbringing, yet I have a particularly viscous Inner Critic. My TMS prevented me from walking or standing for more than a few minutes --for years. So it is that inner dynamic that may be the place to examine and work with. It was for me.

    As you defend your right to experience what you are experiencing in the moment (make space for yourself out of compassion), the older "trauma" will be easier to access. You will feel the hurts and wounds. Then even more understanding will occur, but meantime work with the Inner Critic and self-compassion directly in your moment-to-moment inner relationships. This may be all you need to undo TMS.

    Andy B
  9. David88

    David88 Well known member

    It's not your responsibility to 'handle' them. Let them say what they will. You don't have to defend yourself. Smile and change the subject. Or go find someone else to talk to.

    Overcoming TMS is largely about developing trust in yourself, your feelings, and your experiences. You don't have to worry about every damn fool thing that some well-meaning friend or relation says.
  10. David88

    David88 Well known member

    The way I understand TMS, the pain that you have now comes from your current stressors and the way you react to them now, not from past trauma. BUT! The way you react to stress now flows from your past. It's not either/or -- the past and the present are connected.

    The ultimate goal is to change yourself in the now, but it can be very helpful, sometimes essential, to understand how your past is still with you.

    Does that make sense? It's not easy to explain.
    Simplicity and blake like this.
  11. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    Actally yes David it makes a lot of sense!! For me looking backwards helped me in my present.
    David88 likes this.
  12. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi giantsfan,

    This is just a thought, but maybe the word "traumatic" itself is the problem. it might be hard not to associate it with horrible things like rape, violence and war. It seems to have judgement written all over it: we somehow have to prove that something was bad to justify being upset about it. Maybe childhood "suffering" would be a better term to use. All human have suffered one way or another, and everyone's suffering is legitimate, especially children's, given how powerless they are compared to adults.

    The idea is for us to give our inner child permission to feel and express what's wrong without judgement. It takes practice, but it's absolutely possible.
  13. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    That's a good point, Blake. I was just using the word traumatic based on what the SEP and Dr. John Sarno have said. Thank you for the advice. :)
    blake likes this.
  14. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    At first that made my brain hurt a bit haha, but I re-read it a few times and now I understand you. It definitely makes sense. Thank you, David. :)
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Giantsfan. I haven't replied to you lately because I got real busy for my book publisher boss. I deleted the word "traumatic" from my mental dictionary Most of what we consider traumatic (except rape and other things I call tragedies) are not worth raising to the level of stressing about. Life gives enough hurdles to try to jump over. Maybe we should think of traumas as being just above our ankles in leaping over a barrier, not above our shoulders or necks.
    We can think our problems being high or low. Low is better. Like the famous old actress Mae West once said. "I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better."
    Tassie Devil likes this.
  16. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it is all about your life experience that made up of who you are and how you/your body respond to "thing". People in Syria, Somalia, Afganistan... are seeing death and killing and blood almost everyday. I'm sure it is nothing for them to see someone have an accident, lost a finger and blood everywhere. In my office there is a lady she couldn't stop complaining about a paper cut she got while doing some copying. She was upset, she was cursing, she was running around looking for bandage...

    Your trauma is your trauma. It is "major" or not depend on your upbringing and life experience. Don't compare it to other. It take Lewis & Clark months to go from St. Louis to the West coast. Now a day, any trip that is longer than 3 hours is way too long for me.
    tms/mind body ill is the product of Negative "stuffs" in our mind (FEAR is the worst). Our body took those negative "stuffs" as a sign of danger and it will produce Fight or Flight respond and all these tms/mind body symptoms.
    Susan1111 and giantsfan like this.
  17. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Such great responses!

    "Traumatic" is a problematic word. In popular culture, we use it to describe what we in the psychology field call "Big T's" - car accidents, deaths, natural disasters, etc... But trauma is also made up of "Little T's" which, when accumulated can have a far greater impact for some people than the big T's. Little T's can be as simple as a parent failing to be attuned to a child's needs for comfort. If that parent is a narcissist, then, that parent will fail attunement just about every day - how about MULTIPLE times every day! These add up and can cause major dysfunction in our lives or lead to TMS symptoms.

    It's best to consider this definition of trauma, "Trauma is any time our ability to cope with a situation is overwhelmed." Think about that. It might give you a whole new perspective to view trauma through. Susan had a wonderful point that children have far less ability to cope with adversity than adults do and if the adults in their lives are not adequately supporting them or assisting them to cope - Viola! - we have a recipe for trauma.

    One final point, and I hope it all ties together, it is not uncommon for TMS clients to have large quantities of shame attached to their trauma's, lives and actions in the past. This can often show up as, "My trauma isn't as bad as your trauma." You might see where I'm going here... Dismissing your trauma can be unconsciously enraging to the child-primitive in you and can help perpetuate the TMS symptoms.


    David88 and giantsfan like this.
  18. Daffy Duck

    Daffy Duck Peer Supporter

    Hi Giantsfan,

    "Your traumatic events aren't traumatic enough to mention."

    I'm sorry that you are having a difficult time talking to your therapist and your mom about traumatic events from your past. It doesn't help when the person you are trying to talk to brings in other aspects from others' events for us to consider, I know. And I'm sure I've actually heard the same thing from my family members when I tried to state my case to them I "may have been" abused or felt traumatized. You know, the one where your mom talks about other kids who are locked in basements... and how "you" haven't been, right?

    "I can't understand either why my symptoms were so bad if my traumatic events weren't as bad in comparison to others."

    For me the hardest thing about being abused is not about the actual event itself... but the lack of validation for our own perception from the people around us... not just the abusers but the ones who are trying to help too. It can be scary to be on your own like that with whatever you're feeling. I think someone mentioned above about shame ...and I believe that's what sets in without that validation.

    I appreciate your sharing.

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