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Repressed Anger and Exercise

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Marymouse, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Marymouse

    Marymouse New Member

    Hi everyone - I've read The Mindbody Prescription and I'm almost at the end of Steve's book. Some of the personality types aren't me but some are so me it stops me in my tracks!
    John Sarno says that you may never know what your repressed anger is specifically, and that any anger you are aware of definitely wont be the cause of TMS. So - why do I need to think about what's making me angry/keep a journal/speak to somebody?
    My other question is about exercise. I have what has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia (although I no longer think of it as being that). It's relatively mild - e.g. I can still work full time, walk etc. Steve's book suggests not concentrating on exercising a specific part that hurts, but as I ache/feel stiff all over I'm thinking I will just go for whatever I enjoy doing.
    Thanks in advance
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Marymouse, and welcome.

    I believe that Dr. Sarno might have changed his mind about that statement in his later life. I only read his last book, which was The Divided Mind, and by then he was clearly saying that some people with severe chronic conditions beyond the back pain that he generally dealt with during most of his career, might in fact need psychotherapy in order to recover. Remember, he was a physiatrist - like a physical therapist with an MD. So he pretty much dealt with muscle conditions, although by the time he wrote Mindbody Prescription he was beginning to suspect that other conditions could be TMS "equivalents". I think we've come a long way since then.

    Some of Dr. Sarno's "disciples" include Dr. Howard Schubiner, MD, whose workbook, "Unlearn Your Pain" was, I believe, a big inspiration for the early volunteers who designed our Structured Educational Program (SEP). Another one is Alan Gordon, LSCW, who himself designed and graciously donated our second program, the Pain Recovery Program. Both of these programs are based upon discovering the deeply repressed emotional issues that we all have been carrying around since childhood.

    Dr. Sarno was certainly right when he said that the anger being expressed is rarely what the true rage is about. The simplest example I can give is the anger that you feel when you're cut off in traffic. You're enraged by the selfishness and carelessness of a stupid a-hole, right? But the true source of your anger is a much deeper and more primitive emotion, which is that your freedom and your safety have been threatened by a stranger who has violated your personal space. This is just ancient biological territorialism, transplanted to the modern world.

    Remember that Steve is one of those people who had specific pain in one place. Fibromyalgia is a whole 'nother thing, and is accepted by all in the TMS community as being a TMS equivalent. I myself was probably on the edge of it, and had many types of symptoms, from pain, to digestive, to neuro. Through it all I maintained a regular program of exercise with a trainer (who specializes in clients over 50 - I'm 67 now) as well as regular walking. But it was discovering Dr. Sarno, this forum, and doing the SEP, that changed the downward direction my life and health were taking back in 2011.

    So now, when an old hip injury is acting up, I go ahead and do more leg lifts and hip openings, with the attitude that I don't have to give in to it, it's something I can get over. I've had two disk bulge incidents since 2011 (crippling spasm of my lower back) and I go ahead and do more cobra push-ups, while visualizing my spine opening up and relieving the pressure. HOWEVER: I also have to do some writing/journaling at the same time, to discover what recent events or thoughts might have caused my brain to decide that it needed to distract me. Because it's not that I did something "wrong" to cause the disc bulge/spasm - I know that. With any recurring symptom, it's always my brain that is the instigator. Being proactive about uncovering my emotions, along with an attitude that there's no serious injury, and a visualization of quick recovery, takes care of it in short order.

  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beautiful Jan! I was thinking about the relationship between anger and deeper unconscious rage the other day when responding to someone, and you're touching on part of what I wanted to express.

    I'll say more now. In your example, really allowing the anger, rather than defending against it, or attacking yourself for it, what can arise ---just like in therapy, are deeper roots and strands. It might be the realization, the deep memory of being a helpless child who was not getting his needs met. Anger/rage is a form of action, a form of energy to "change the conditions." So what might be revealed is unbelievable rage at "what is." This might lead to helplessness or deep sadness, or a sense of a rage which will not end. Who knows?

    Importantly for practicing inquiry/awareness is knowing that the anger we are aware of can be a very direct path into experiencing more of "what is hidden." This is not always easy, because the anger tends to keep us in its own orbit, but anger can bring us right to the point of our experience.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Marymouse

    Marymouse New Member

  5. Marymouse

    Marymouse New Member

    Hi Jan and thanks very much for your reply. I've been seeing a 'client lead' therapist for about 18 months (but only found out about TMS about three weeks ago). I started to see her because I realised that two years of stress with my daughters divorce had caused a flare up of 'fibromyalgia' (I first had this 15 years ago - I achieved 80% recovery by hot baths, stretching, acupuncture and the relief of having a diagnosis). Client lead means I talk and she helps me to feel. The last time I saw her I discussed how I had realised/released my anger about various things that happened in my childhood and recent past. I have been emailing Steven Ozanich who suggested that 18 months was too long to be seeing a therapist, but I haven't been talking about my anger for that long and I do find a different perspective very helpful. Perhaps I need to trust my instincts.

    I must admit I'm at point where I feel a bit overwhelmed about the whole thing - I'm even having the occasional thought that it would be easier to live with the pain and stiffness as it's not debilitating, but perhaps this is my 'id' rebelling! This fits in with the fact that since I've been reading Steve's book my symptoms have got a bit worse.

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