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Stressful Situation - How Do I Manage It?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by COgirl05, May 19, 2015.

  1. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    I don't have a great relationship with my inlaws, but it's always been kinda passive. My husband tries to have a relationship with them despite the fact that I don't feel like they try very hard. Anyways, we just booked a flight to see them in 3 weeks. When I was there last December, I got the worst back pain of my life and it started about 1 hour after seeing them and lasted until we left 2 days later. I'm trying to grasp the idea that we're going and I'm going to remain pain-free. We are going for 4 days and I need help on how to not get the pain while I'm there. I'm making big strides with TMS lately. My biggest thing is fear and preoccupation. I remember thinking when we got there last time, "I hope I don't get pain when I see them" and sure enough I did. I know that's why I did too. Any words of wisdom would be GREATL Y appreciated!!
  2. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Edited to add: When I saw the confirmation for the flights, I already got the back pain. I'm trying to stay calm and know it's okay.
  3. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I think the most important thing is you are aware of the connection between -
    1. seeing your in-laws,
    2. possible conscious or unconscious emotions related to seeing them, and
    3. your pain!
    Once your brain makes this connection and is no longer fooled, you are on your way to recovery.

    Then do the things Dr. Sarno suggests like, challenge the pain, ignore it, resume normal activities, journal about what emotions may be causing the pain, etc.

    I used to have similar issues related to seeing my in-laws before I found Dr. Sarno, except I used to get sick (cold, allergies, upset stomach, and of course, pain). Once I started understanding what was actually happening, I no longer have that problem. I'm still not always thrilled about going to visit them, but I don't have health issues when I do.

    Congratulations on the progress you are making!!
    Ellen likes this.
  4. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your reply! I think I totally talked myself into having this pain because I was thinking about whether I would, how to combat it, telling myself I wouldn't have pain but didn't really believe I wouldn't, and being totally preoccupied with it. It was the most blantantly obvious thing that the pain was caused by this situation. I was pain free one second and then 1 second later, I was in a ton of pain.

    I totally recognize this, I was wonder how to not work myself up about seeing them and not even thinking about whether I'm going to get pain when I deal with them.

    So you think I'm on the right path? The pain is pretty severe right now, I don't think I can exercise! I also have noticed that the pain relate to seeing them is much worse now since I learned about TMS than it was prior. Is this weird?
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle


    You are working yourself into a box, believing that you are a victim of the situation: "My unchangable TMS patterns are meeting the conditions/stressors in my outer environment, so therefore there has to be pain." You have no control. You feel stuck.

    You might completely re-frame this and say to yourself: "Of course I will be in pain when I am contemplating this visit, because all my TMS patterns are arising!" "Bring it on!!" Just live in this fire. Turn and face the syndrome and tell it you are here to witness all its wrath. You're not moving. This may help you get your juice back in this relationship to "it."

    I don't see you helping yourself by trying to find the exact right way to deal with it, which is what we all get caught in, in all aspects of our inner and outer world. Who are we in this approach? Helpless children, hoping for mercy, with no inner guidance or strength.

    Good luck in this, and please ignore my crazy wisdom if it doesn't resonate!

    Andy B.
    Ellen likes this.
  6. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Andy - it does resonate because I do feel rather helpless in this situation. For the first time ever, I an not freaking out about the pain. I obviously want it to go away and it doesn't make me happy, but I know exactly what this is and there is absolutely no other explanation for it - it was blatantly obvious. However, I do feel helpless in the fact that when my in-laws are in the picture, I will have pain. I don't know what to do about it. I think changing my thinking is needed and I'm going to do this now. Once I think that way, do you think the TMS will lose some of it steam? I thought the way I was thinking about the pain would help, but it came back with a vengeance.
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi COgirlO5,
    Yes, stay in the fire of this experience you describe. This is your experience. Own it, stay steadfast. You don't know what to do about it. Yet you are here, in the present. Like a rock. Or a flame. Or the beautiful tender person you are. This is what wants to shine in you. You being right here now.
  8. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    I'm pretty sure I brought on the pain myself today by worrying about it coming. That exact same thing happened to me with them in Dec. Both times I was completely pain free and I kept thinking to myself "I hope this doesn't cause pain, etc." and sure enough almost immediately, I was in enormous pain. I'm trying to avoid thinking that way in the future. For now, I'm trying to give the pain the silent treatment and not be anxious about it because I know it's just an acute flare-up and I know the exact reason why.
  9. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    You are so far ahead in knowing where your pain is coming from! Also, you have much good advice. You are aware enough to know its the visit with the in-laws, but maybe journal about hiw deep the feelings go. I wonder how hurt you and your husband have been? How angry might you be?
  10. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Lizzy - Thanks for the response. I've never been hurt worse than by my in-laws. They constantly hurt my feelings and I know I'm pissed at them, so I can't even imagine how mad my inner child is! I know this is a huge source of my TMS, but I have journaled about it tons of times and I know why, but it doesn't seem to go away when it relates to them. Honestly, it seems to be getting worse with them. I've made strides in the rest of my life, but with them, it's different! I'm just a little confused.
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I think the advice you've gotten from others above is great and I don't have much to add. I would just suggest that you ask yourself this question--Why am I visiting these people who constantly hurt my feelings? Is it because you feel you should? If so, are you angry at yourself for not being able to stand your ground and say "I don't want to visit people who hurt me". That could be the source of your internal conflict that is causing your pain. There is often a "should" involved in my experience.
    Mala likes this.
  12. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Ellen-I think there is a component of this. My husband makes me go because he thinks it will look bad and make the relationship worse if I dont. He also says it supports him if I go. I've tried to not go and it ends up in a huge fight between us. Him saying that's the only thing he asks for, which is kinda true. I think you're on to something though. I don't feel empowered to make his decision at all.
  13. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Why would u want to go & be with ppl whom you say have hurt you badly & who u are pissed off at? Its not the situation itself ( because that can be avoided if u really want) that is causing the pain & anxiety but maybe you r angry at yrself for feeling that u don't have any control over the situation.

    My mother in law didn't have much time for me so very early on in the game my husband & I decided that it would be best all round for everyone if I didn't visit her. He would go spend time with her & she would be very happy to see him & he was able to be with her without having to worry about me or my feelings. It worked out very well under the circumstances.

    I'm sorry if I sound blunt but there is also an element of emotional blackmail coming from your husband. Maybe that is causing conflict too. You are being made to feel helpless like a child but the thing is you are not!


  14. COgirl05

    COgirl05 Peer Supporter

    Mala - I don't want to go. My husband and I have had many fights about them and he knows that they aren't the best people, but he still wants to try to have a relationship with them. He wants our son to have a relationship with his grandparents and he doesn't want to have regrets that he was the one that didn't try when they are gone. They have a relationship that I will never understand. That's part of the problem. I've tried to understand it for so many years now. I would cut them out of my life quickly if it weren't for my husband. I also feel like in life we make sacrifices for those we love. I "get my way" a lot in our relationship and my husband is more than accommodating in our life together. This is the one thing that he feels strongly about - that we visit his family about once a year. I stand my ground on a lot of topics, but this is one thing that I feel like I should do for him. I know that it causes a lot of conflict in me - that I feel helpless that I have to go through this. You weren't blunt - you stated the obvious, but there is more to it than that. There are lots of dynamics in this situation that cause my tension including the one between my husband and I, but I really feel like I want to work through this and be able to face them without pain. There will still be times that they visit my house too.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

  16. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    My computer wants to run away with itself. Damn computers. I really hate when they act like HAL in "2001."

    How to deal with in-laws... I stayed single so never had that problem, but can sympathize.
    I find that whenever I have to deal with people I don't get along with, or any unpleasant situation,
    is I take them or it on and just say FK them and it. Four days is about two days too long to visit anyone.
    After two days everyone has said it all and enough is enough.

    If some wine is handy, take some before and during the trip. Or hot milk.

    We're told to live in the present, but when the future means 4 days with problem in-laws,
    I would prefer to live in the future being the day after you leave them.

    Nothing lasts forever except a dog's love.

    Maybe bribe the in-laws into being nicer... Bring her flowers and him a porn DVD. haha
    Mala likes this.
  17. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    My heart goes out to you, it really does. And when I asked the question about why u would want to go be with ppl who hurt u, it was really a rhetorical one.

    Yes the dynamics involved in this kind of situation is messy & full of tension.

    You r well aware of the psychological & emotional components that are involved but that awareness itself is obviously not enough so maybe u need to look for ways where u don't feel so much of a victim & find ways to gain control over at least some aspects of the situation. Most of the advice given by the other posters here is excellent but of course only u can decide what will work for you. If journalling hasn't worked, try something else. Some of the things I can suggest are:

    Be grounded in the moment. Having negative thoughts about something which has not happened yet (the visit is still 3 weeks away) will just make u feel worse.

    Accept that u may have some pain and that u will deal with it appropriately at the time. Take some meds with u that u know are effective. Think about yr last visit . Were there things that made the pain worse or better? Avoid those situations that worsened the pain & try to create happy moments for yrself.

    Maybe encourage the whole family to go out so that u r not stuck at home. 'Out' might be a more neutral place than yr in laws home where u may feel u have less control.

    Maybe encourage yr husband & son to do things with yr in laws & u can plan a day for yrself without them.

    Remind yrself that this visit is temporary. It'll be over after 4 days & maybe in the future u can convince yr husband that a shorter stay for u would actually be better while he & yr son can stay on & have some serious 'bonding' time with yr inlaws.

    I love Walt's suggestion of having wine. I think u should have lots of it while u r there. Not so sure aboure about the porn bit though @Walt Oleksy ;). And yes if u feel inclined to be nice to yr in laws try that too but don't force yrself to do anything u r not comfortable doing as that may only create more internal conflict.

    I understand completely about making sacrifices for ppl u love but the fact that u hate doing something but feel obliged to do it because you feel that u should is perhaps a huge source of conflict for you.

    In my opinion a good relationship is one where adults especially 2 ppl living together should never 'force' the other to do something uncomfortable against their wish no matter how important it is for them. But then that's my take and u may not feel the same way as I do.

    good luck!

    Last edited: May 20, 2015
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  18. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Cogirl.

    Reading this thread has made me think about my in-laws... Have you considered assertively pointing out to them when they are being hurtful. I told my farther-in-law to "F off" once and he NEVER teased me again. We get on great now.

    Ask them WHY are they being hurtful... When you stand up to them you are in control of the situation. Tell your hubby that if they become hurtful that you will do this, and if he's uncomfortable about this then tell him you won't go. If you don't go and they ask, then ask your husband to be honest with them and tell them why.

    They might not even be aware they cause you this much distress. If they are aware then you should rightly point out to them that you can't be pushed around.

    You know the phrase: In-laws are like fish - after three days they stink!

    Be assertive, and take back the control they have over you.
    Tennis Tom, Cap'n Spanky and Mala like this.

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