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Partner developing "sympathetic" TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BigBlueWolf, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. BigBlueWolf

    BigBlueWolf Peer Supporter

    So a new wrinkle has been added to my on-going TMS battle.

    I have a very supportive partner for the past year who has listened to me talk about TMS and explain what it is. I've shared my symptom history with him. My version shows up predominantly in my hands and mainly as a set of neurological symptoms -- burning sensations across the palm sides of my hands and pain in the fingers but no numbness or tingling and no wrist issues. I've been cleared of any signs of physical damage via x-rays and nerve conduction studies.

    Lately he has revealed to me that he started developing pain in his hands too. His symptoms eerily mimic my own and has started up without any obvious injury or physical cause. He has said he thinks he's developing these problems because I talk enough about my pain and that reinforces the belief that it can manifest entirely on its own. On top of that he has his own set of issues with a history of growing up in an abusive household (still caries a lot of anger over it) and lately being depressed and anxious over being unemployed and putting up with job rejections for the past 18 months. (He recently found work, thank goodness.)

    He hasn't read any of the Sarno books, but accepts the idea that pain can be completely psychosomatic. He doesn't feel he needs to read anything on TMS, that rather the problem would be solved by not hearing me talk about the pain I'm in. I see it as a fear response -- "if I hear about it, it makes it come true" -- and that indeed his subconscious could be turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy by attempting to bury it.

    Has anyone heard of this kind of thing happening between people who share their TMS stories with others?

    More importantly, what can we do to be supportive of each other if he thinks the solution for his pain is to not hear about my own struggles with it?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, we often talk about "inherited" TMS, but what we are really talking about is the fact that kids emulate their parents, and they are more likely to do this when their parents are ignorant of the TMS mechanism.

    In fact, the phenomenon of shared psychosomatic symptoms has occurred in towns and schools and has been studied, you can easily Google articles about the occurrences. It's pretty fascinating.

    I can assure you that you learning about TMS is not the reason your partner has symptoms. Obviously he would benefit from embracing TMS instead of avoiding the concept, but you can't push him. Your own success has to be his ultimate incentive.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is the Nocebo. A lot of us have had incidents of hearing about something and then, shortly after ,experiencing that very thing. The day my 'Back went out' that started the events that led me to Sarno, I was heckling the older guys at work when they warned me to be careful about my back....coincidence? Nope.

    JanAtheCPA just posted what I would have, so nuff sed. These things do go in an out of vogue. Hand and wrist stuff seems to be the TMS du Jour.

    We TMS sufferers do get a little windy (obsessional components is what Sarno called it), and talking about it is only useful to a point. The majority of the work goes on in our day to day lives. I made the mistake when I first got well that I Needed to tell anybody and everybody when they were pissing me off... and became quite a pill. The most important part is our own understanding and giving it time to sink in.
    Your Partners TMS was gonna come one way or the other. It always has to choose something plausible and suggestion (the Nocebo) is part of that.... none the less it is his own dharma.

    But like all people who are elated at discovering a solution... we are a preachy lot... it's part of the reason we got TMS in the first place. Don't worry about changing it... God needs preachy people too!
    Lainey, Sammie and yb44 like this.

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