This is the official thread for Section 3.9 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Provide Comfort." 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 3.9 of the TMS Recovery Program: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Recovery_Program#Provide_Comfort In section 3.9, Alan writes the following: Provide Comfort There’s more to it than standing up for yourself. When your hypothetical kindergartner is getting bullied, you don’t just head down to the school to protect him, you comfort him too. He needs to know that he’s safe. Many of us were never truly soothed growing up or comforted when we were scared. Subsequently we grew up feeling on a primitive level that the world isn’t safe. Learning to comfort yourself, not with logic or rationale, but on an emotional level can help teach this primitive part of you that you’re safe. Listen to Alan's session with Mandi Click here to download the mp3 audio The pain scares you. When you feel this fear, try and soothe yourself. Give yourself the comfort that you may not have received when you were young, or that you may have received but are now withholding from yourself. I’m often asked, “How do I know when to respond to the fear with anger and when to respond with comfort?” It’s a funny question. When you see your child getting pushed around by an older kid, you don’t have to ask, “Should I comfort him or should I stand up to the bully?” You just know. Because you feel it. Try not to look at it as a formula. You care about yourself. When you feel yourself getting abused, sometimes you want to be soothed, sometimes you feel anger toward the abuser. See what works for you. Follow your gut. And whatever you do, don’t constantly question whether you’re responding in the right way. That’s just more fear (see how sneaky it is?) The following technique is a great way to disarm your fight-or-flight response, and provide an underlying sense of safety: To Fear or Not to Fear The audio in this section features Mandi, who talks about her childhood traumas when her parents argued. She needed but never got any comforting. In the session Alan Gordon advised Mandi to imagine herself as she was back then and comfort herself. She could become the person who never comforted her. The session reminded me of my parents arguing when I was a boy, always about financial difficulties. They were not in my face but we lived in small apartments so it was impossible to distance myself from hearing them and feeling their anger. My year-older sister was usually there, too, and together we needed comforting but no one gave it to us so we endured the traumas. I know I repressed the anger I felt because of it, and she probably did, too. Our older brother often left the house when our parents argued, and sometimes stayed away long into the night. He escaped, but my sister and I, being younger, were trapped. I’ve taken Alan Gordon’s advice and gone back into my boyhood and gave myself comforting and a good hug. I felt better doing that. In To Fear or Not to Fear, Gordon says the brain doesn’t know the difference between a psychological threat and a physical threat. We may be undecided about doing two opposing things. Gordon suggests that it’s okay to do either thing. We should not let fear govern our decision, fear that one way or the other could prove harmful or even fatal.