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Question about acceptance

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Pemberley, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    I’ve been on this TMS journey for quite a few years now with minimal progress. I was wondering if some of you could help me answer this question that has been a big stumbling block for me.

    My back pain started 11 years ago after the birth of my daughter. It was a traumatic pregnancy and premature birth (thankfully, she is healthy). There is no physical reason for my lingering pain. From all of my TMS work, I know that I was triggered during this event because of:

    - childhood emotional neglect/abuse from narcissistic parents

    - doubts and fears about being able to be a good parent

    - the trauma of the pregnancy and birth itself

    - repressed anger about not having been able to fully live my own life yet

    - repressed anger about having to put someone else’s needs before mine (again)

    - repressed anger about succumbing to the pressure to get pregnant because others were telling me not to wait until I got too old

    Etc… This list could go on! With all this mental stuff brewing, I was given the drug Pitocin to speed up labor. Pitocin prevents your body from releasing its own endorphins (oxytocin) – its own way of relieving pain. It’s always been in the back of my mind that my brain got “stuck” that way because of the drug. If so, are these mind-body methods that we use to deal with TMS the only way out – even if it was possibly drug-induced? Is it possible to physically have something wrong with your brain that is causing symptoms?

    I feel like this is a huge barrier to acceptance for me – a part of me is still thinking that there is something “physically” wrong with my brain triggered by an actual drug and not only by my repressed rage.

    Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions!
  2. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    I hope you will find what I think and suggest is helpful even though I do not know you at all and am not a professional. I am just a septuagenarian who succeeded in overcoming a half century of personal TMS symptoms but realizes that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another.

    I think you are correct any that lingering doubt about whether pain has a structural cause prevents one from overcoming TMS pain. That has been my experience. It is necessary to overcome the doubt.

    Several years before Dr. Sarno, he endorsed a new book by psychiatrist Dr. Allan Abbass. There is a video of an interview with Abbass on this tms.wiki website in which he says: “The major problem causing anxiety, somatic symptoms, and depression is guilt about anger or rage toward loved ones that is buried.”

    To overcome these symptoms, Abbass says: “Emotions that can be helpful are self-acceptance, positive regard for oneself and other people, and forgiveness for oneself and other people. So It involves getting back to basic love and attachment for others. That is difficult to do if a person has a lot of rage toward someone else and guilt about the rage.”

    Obviously, I cannot can assess whether this has any relevance to your situation. Only you can determine how much you still harbor anger at your narcissistic parents, anger at not being able to fully live your own life yet, anger at having to put someone else’s needs before yours (again), and anger at those who pressured you to get pregnant while still young, and if you do harbor such anger, assess whether you might have buried guilt about that. If so, only you can move on and embrace that (a) you love and are attached to your parents despite their narcissism, your children despite their neediness, etc., and (b) there is no reason to feel guilty (unconsciously) about the completely normal human reaction of having gotten angry at people you love when they cannot or do not give you what you need or even give you the opposite of what you need.

    Buried can guilt be tricky. Eric Sherman, one of the psychologists to whom Sarno referred patients who were not making progress, provides a revealing example in a part of Sarno's The Divided Mind that he wrote: "many young mothers are aware of resenting the demands of newborn babies, yet they often feel guilty. They are ashamed of these feelings, even when their behavior toward the child remains beyond reproach." Why did this mothers haver buried guilt/shame when their children were not harmed by their resentment? I think it is because their superegos told them one should never be selfish, especially regarding one's own helpless young child. In other words, guilt/shame can come from nothing more than falling short of one's ideals, even though no one is harmed by the falling short.

    There is an ancient Chinese proverb, misattributed by Senator Alan Simpson to his mother when speaking at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral: “Hatred corrodes the container in which it is carried.” Love is the opposite of hatred. Forgiving people who wronged you does not mean you condone what they did. It just means you love them rather than hate them, and you know you love them rather than hate them.

    If you can convince yourself of all this, maybe you be able to get over your lingering doubt that your pain is structural.
    Lainey and Pemberley like this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberly and Duggit,

    I really appreciate the depth of your response Duggit. It touches what my immediate intuition for you Pemberly is, which is "how much deeper psychodynamic work have you done?" regarding all the things you know about --your list. Using Dr. Sarno's basic approach, your doubts about the cause and continuation of your pain --the doubts themselves may be a defense against feeling more. It might be easier to think there is a drug issue, than to own the psychodynamics which are so powerful. You know so much. How much have you felt?

    I say this with deep respect, not knowing your inner work, but wishing you the best.

    I would also say that I have not heard of the reaction you speak of: taking a drug once ruining the ability to generate your own oxytocin, or ruining the receptors. I don't believe it could create the brain stuckness you surmise.

    To me, your list is plenty of support for your chronic pain, and deeply to your credit you have this depth of understanding. If you feel you've worked these things pretty deeply, then perhaps just being convinced that the history of the drug can't do what you think it might have done will be a huge step for you.

    Andy B
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  4. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Duggit – thank you so much for your reply. It really means a lot to me. Guilt ABOUT the rage and forgiveness definitely ring true. This past fall, I’ve started getting EMDR therapy since this was recommended in a book I read for adult children of narcissistic parents. I’ve been dealing with these topics of self-acceptance, but I haven’t truly tackled forgiveness yet. A big one for me is still grief – grieving over the mother and father I wanted and needed but never had. I really thought I was done grieving many years ago, but now it seems to still be there.

    Andy B – thank you for your reply too! I have done a lot of inner work on my own without a therapist – so much so that it feels like psychoarcheology, to the point of rehashing the same emotions (that I’m consciously aware of). And that’s why I turned to EMDR since it can reach the subconscious without so much emphasis on rehashing trauma. My therapist also uses somatics. So a lot of the time she is asking me, “Where do you feel that in your body?” and “What sensations can you describe?” (There are no TMS therapists near me, so I went with someone who uses these techniques and is open to understanding Dr. Sarno’s work.)

    I understand when you say that “the doubts themselves may be a defense against feeling more.” This doubt about the drug was a little niggling thing in the back of my mind that I really didn’t pay too much attention to until recently. It helps to hear from another person on this forum that they’ve never heard about such a reaction.

    It also makes me think of Forest’s recent poll about a new name for TMS. While I’ve appreciated all the latest research into neural pathways, cellular memory, etc. in order to understand how it all works, there’s something about calling it “neurophysiologic symptoms” or “neural pathway symptoms” that makes it sound structural. (However, I did vote for these since I think it would help convince a lot of people who are looking for a more concrete medical term.) But it’s easy to start thinking that there’s something wrong with your brain when it’s actually just a normal process and a part of being a human!

    As an aside, I do actually love being a mom, and I love my daughter. My relationship with her is so much more loving and open than anything I had growing up, and I think we’ve broken the dysfunctional patterns I can see among the generations in our family. When she comes over and hugs me or drapes her arm around me for no other reason than just for contact (which is lovely since she’s nearly my height now), I have an immense feeling of love and JOY that washes over me. I might not be feeling the repressed emotions yet (and I say this to mean SENSE them in my body – not necessarily being able to know them and name them), but I think this TMS work has brought out the depth of positive emotions too.
    Lainey likes this.
  5. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Hi Duggit, Have you posted your success story? If you haven't, I think it would be very helpful for people age 50+ who come to this site. The success stories for older people are few and far between and so often I read on this site people indicating that they think their older age is preventing them from recovering.
  6. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberly,

    Lots of great responses above! I just wanted to add to the medical side to ease your fears- Pitocin cannot permanently change your brain. It is a limited time dose and does not act on oxytocin receptors in a lasting way at all. It can certainly mess with natural pain relief during labor, but not beyond. (I also had pitocin during labor). There is nothing "physically wrong" with you! I'm glad you're getting some help with all of this, and glad you've found TMS!
    Pemberley likes this.

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