This is the official thread for Section 3.6 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Identify Source of Repression." Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it. Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 3.6 of the TMS Recovery Program: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Recovery_Program#Identify_Source_of_Repression In section 3.6, Alan writes the following: Identify Source of Repression There are different reasons we learn to repress emotions. You may repress sadness or anger because these emotions weren’t validated when you were young. Perhaps you were even shamed for expressing them. Maybe your parents got so sad or so angry, that it was terrifying and you unconsciously decided you never want to be like them. Perhaps it simply wasn’t modeled by your parents and your four-year-old brain interpreted this as meaning that it must not be okay. Maybe you didn’t want to overwhelm your parents with your emotions if you felt they couldn’t handle them. Or maybe you don’t know why, which is okay too. Many people say they remember a happy childhood and don’t think they have any repressed emotions about those formative years. Some say they get anxious or depressed thinking about their childhood. Psychologists say events good or bad in the first six years of our lives stay with us all our lives. Journaling can bring those repressed emotions to the surface, and that is for our good, to help heal us. In journaling, I thought about two major repressed emotions, one related to my childhood, and another from my adult years. First, my childhood. My parents argued a lot when I was a boy and had a year-older sister and a brother four years older than I. This was during the Great Depression of the 1930s and we, like millions of others, were in hard times. Sometimes my parents found work, sometimes there was none. We were on government charity called “Relief,” which didn’t pay the rent on the apartment we had, or the utilities, but each month a truck would deliver potatoes, oatmeal, prunes, and a few other staples. The rent and electric and gas bills came every month and even when my parents worked, their salaries were small and sometimes they didn’t have enough to pay the gas or electric bills so we lived by candle light and there was no gas to heat food on the stove. My mother sometimes ran through the apartment screaming that she was going to commit suicide. My father gambled with his small salary in hope of making more money but most often he lost. My mother finally gave up on my father and divorced him. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that left me with feelings of anger and abandonment. I repressed them because I did not want to add to their problems. My mother married another man just because he had a house, so she and we kids would have a roof over our heads. She divorced him a year later and remarried my birth father. The same financial problems came back, but he died 10 years later. A few months later, my mother married one of my father’s brothers who had been married twice before and was very jealous of anyone who even looked at my mother, including me. I had to repress my anger at him because, again, I didn’t want to add to their problems. The adult repressed emotion had to do with my mother. She was in her 70s and impossible to please. My sister tried for several years, my brother never tried at all, and they asked me to try. I found her an apartment near me but after about two years of trying to do everything she asked of me, I gave up in order to keep from having a nervous breakdown. She moved away and lived to be 94, but I felt repressed guilt all those years because I had to give up on trying to help her. We never discussed the matter and I believe she forgave me, but I have had trouble forgiving myself. I think a lot of people have problems like that…they may be able to forgive those who caused us emotional problems, but they can’t forgive themselves. It’s sometimes easier to forgive than to forget. It isn’t easy to bring these memories of repressed emotions back to the surface, even after journaling about them and forgiving my parents. So I totally understand when others say that journaling is stressful to them. I do, however, think it is an essential part of TMS healing. I found it helpful to put myself in my parents’ shoes, and my stepfather’s, too, and realized they had their own repressed emotions causing them TMS emotional and physical pain. Knowing that, I was able to forgive them. Identifying the source of my repressed emotions was the key to me healing from severe back pain. The process of identifying the source is, I think, best done by journaling. One psychologist suggested that his patient, a man whose mother had told him to repress his anger when he was a boy, visualize beating her up. He mentally nearly beat her to death, then said he felt better, but guilty. Another psychologist said imagining beating someone up who caused you grief as a child is a bad thing because it brings guilt. I couldn’t imagine striking my mother, father, or stepfather. I found it more helpful, instead of beating them, to forgive them. That didn’t cause me any guilt. It left me with peace and compassion.