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Day 10 Struggling to break free of religious intolerance (and an update)

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by grateful_mama, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone -
    I haven't yet posted about my progress (besides my day 1 post) so I thought it was time for an update. I'm on Day 10 although it's taken about 15 days. The first 6 days I was doing the program like the perfect perfectionist I am ;) and then on day 7 I just couldn't do it - I was exhausted, and busy - and day 8 was the same way. I have a new baby, and she takes all my extra time and energy. So I told myself it was ok, I'd just have to do it at my own pace, and tried to let myself be ok with taking a break. Then, at the end of day 8 when I read the day 7 program instructions - to take a break, and not be a perfectionist about the program - I had to laugh. Ok. Deep breaths. Good job to whoever put the program together. You know us TMSers well. Since then, I've given myself more grace to do what I can, and trust that it is exactly enough.

    I enjoy journaling and meditating (have done both off and on for years), and had just fallen out of practice since late pregnancy/early motherhood. All of this is a good reminder to keep at it. With renewed focus. I've been managing - at the very least - to say affirmations every day, and keep myself focused on Dr. Sarno's message, and shifting focus to emotions whenever I feel pain.

    As for the pain - I have wrist pain that has been persistent. And, admittedly, it's tempting to question whether it's truly TMS. Though, I do think that I have the capacity to overcome any pain with my mind, so it's irrelevant. Just that doubts creep in from time to time. And I'm not sure it's really gotten much better. It's gotten a bit worse, and then back down to the same. Sometimes I forget about it...but whenever I "remember" (i.e.: re-focus?) it hurts again. Just keeping at it. Likewise, my back pain occasionally creeps back in, as well as foot pain, but I seem to be much better at keeping them at bay. It's these wrists...carrying my daughter, picking her up, breastfeeding, etc, etc. They are getting a lot of use (RSI, tendonitis) and I keep slipping with the belief that they're TMS.

    I have a tendency to write too much, so bear with me.

    As for the day 10 content...the past few days I've been confronting difficult feelings I have for my sister and resentment stemming from my very religious upbringing. She's my sister! I love her! Yet she is 110% entrenched in the evangelical christian church I was raised in, that has likely contributed to a lot of my pain. It took me years and years to slowly find myself and "break free" from the "truth" I'd been fed my whole life. So much guilt, fear, uncertainty in finding myself beyond the church. So much anger and hypocrisy stemming from an unstable household (parents fought a lot, father had bouts of anger and a temper like a 4-year old) and then the dogmatic church we always attended, sometimes after one of these shouting matches. It's just so much...I can't go into it all. But I've known for years I have complicated feelings about it all (feeling so much judgment from them...is this why I'm so self-critical? Are they actually being judgmental or is it projection?)... so I'm just trying to work through which part is relevant to me RIGHT NOW. As a new mom, there's a whole host of things to consider, as well, and I think, ultimately, I fear screwing my daughter up so that in 30 years she'll have TMS, too. Also, I'm so angry that I have always been the one to graciously listen to the christian BS that my sister tells me, rather than telling her I don't want to hear about Jesus one more time. I'm worried about hurting HER...and meanwhile, I'm not able to fully be myself. I'm afraid she'll force her version of religion on my daughter. And we've been in contact so much more since her birth...because I'm so proud of my baby, and desperately want to share her with my family. Only...I DON'T want to share her.

    It's so complicated. There's so much more, but you all don't want to hear my psycho ramblings. Anyway.

    Thanks for listening. That's all for now. Thanks for the support. You guys are the best. I can do this!! Love.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
    plum likes this.
  2. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    I'd also like to add...For years I've been exploring what spirituality means to me, personally...without being told how or what to believe. (I don't want to come across as an angry anti-christian). I absolutely have a spiritual life, though it looks nothing like the one I was spoon-fed as a child and guilted into as a teen, and shamed for rejecting as a college student. I try very hard to be open minded and tolerant of all religions and beliefs. There are just so many complicated feelings built up in my family and their church over the years, that I feel like my tolerance has reached it's limit. But I think it's because I feel judged. And on the outside, I'm happily nodding and thanking them for their prayers (or even asking them for prayers when my back went out!). But mostly, I just feel condescended to, because I know they believe I'm in the wrong. And I suppose, as a typical person with TMS, I am a bit of a goodist, and it's painful to feel like I'm constantly trying to be myself, but it's not good enough. Not just to me...but to my family.

    So. Ugh. Sorry to go on a religious rant. That's just what's been coming up for me lately. Also, I listened to a podcast about Scientology today, and how oppressive it was to grow up in, and how hard to leave, and cult stuff always strikes a chord with me, because my church felt a little wing-nut in the early days. So. It's been on my mind.
  3. Jackhammer

    Jackhammer New Member

    Thank you for your story Gratful_mama! I just completed day 42 of the SEP and your story about religion and family struck a very familiar chord, and brought up feelings I have not let myself explore. I will be working on those feelings today, and probably a lot longer! It is interesting that I had not even considered how much conflict and negativity my relationship with my family has because of their religion that I left as soon as I moved out of my parents house and was not forced to attend. One of my sisters mentioned that they "love the sinner, but hate the sin", the sin being my leaving their catholicchurch/cult and my lifestyle. I am going to work on forgiving and letting go.
    Good luck on your journey!!!
    grateful_mama likes this.
  4. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    Exactly. So they love you, which is wonderful. There's so much love in my family as well. But it's impossible for this to not also feel condescending. And judgmental. They always have the "high ground." You could never say that same thing to them. Good luck to you as well!
  5. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    This post has struck a chord with me as well. I was raised in a very strict Southern Baptist church and have spent many years reconciling my religious beliefs with my spiritual beliefs. It doesn't help that my brother (whom I'm very close to) is a minister firmly entrenched in the doctrine. I've been putting off journaling about my religious upbringing because it stirs up so many conflicting and emotional feelings. Exactly what I should be confronting, right? You've given me the motivation that I needed to start exploring those feelings. Thank you!
    grateful_mama likes this.
  6. Jackhammer

    Jackhammer New Member

    How about we all meet back here with our progress reports and what "tools" we have used.
    Sharing really seems to help!
    grateful_mama likes this.
  7. MSZ812

    MSZ812 Well known member

    Acknowledging that you have resentment about your upbringing is a HUGE STEP. Dr Sarno believes that discovering what emotional issues you have is more important than "fixing" those issues. There will be a time when you will feel the need to speak to your family about these issues. Until then, work towards being pain-free!

    Good luck to you!

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  8. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    Yes! I hope you definitely try to journal about this. It's so hard when you love your family and they love you, but you have completely different belief systems. Honestly, this reality is an endless source of constant emotional conflict for me, and I could fill journal after journal...I hope one of these days the TMS symptoms disappear. I'm not sure how deep to go. But it certainly helps to confront it all and bring the feelings to light. Good luck! I can totally relate, so feel free to stay in contact :)
  9. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Matt!
  10. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello sweetheart,

    Actually, we do want to hear your unbridled, passionate, honest and emotion-filled ramblings because they hold the key. Caroline Myss often said "Your Biography becomes Your Biology", and time and time again the good souls here ably demonstrate the resounding truth of this maxim. The beauty of this forum is that it was created by people who have suffered with and recovered from TMS and because it is peer-supported you receive imput from every type of person who has lived through every type of experience. What we have in common is the sure-fire knowing, firmly grounded in personal experience, that you can heal. So please, write to your hearts content. People are reading (listening) even if they do not comment. Sometimes it takes a little time to get a sense of the person behind the words and this is best achieved by posting both here on the SEP and/or on the main forums. It is much harder to help people who stay closed and silent. You clearly possess a lovely open heart despite all you have endured. I look forward to getting to know you more.

    I don't have time to post more right now but I wanted you to know we have your back and are here for you.

    Blessings to you and your precious little one,

    Plum x
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  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    A Catholic priest once told me he objected to a lot the Vatican told him to believe and follow, so he just stayed a priest and tossed the ball to God to let him/her catch and handle it. Just having faith in God is the important thing. Abraham Lincoln believed in God, but to him God was Nature.
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  13. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    Thank you so very much, Plum, for your kind words (that brought tears to my eyes). I read it a couple days ago, and haven't replied until now. Believe me, I have no shortage of emotion-filled ramblings, and I'm sure there are plenty more to come! I can't seem to be succinct sometimes. And it makes me wonder how I'm ever going to get to the bottom of all this TMS stuff, since my mind is so very busy and full...but maybe there is no "bottom." I have a great capacity and tendency to feel and emote, so it's hard for me to pinpoint where to focus. But little by little I'm sure it will become clear.
    plum likes this.
  14. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    I love this.
  15. Jackhammer

    Jackhammer New Member

    Hello! So, I have a bit to share about coming to terms with my "resentment" for the religious divide between my family and myself.

    I journaled a lot, got stuff out on paper, looked at it, and just let it roll around in the back of my head for a few days.
    Mostly a "general feeling" kind of approach.
    I thought about writing a blow by blow, but opted for a broader outline that I felt would be easier to let go of.
    One of the big feelings that surfaced is that they are most likely as disappointed in me as I am in them,
    And then there is that love of my family that is such a big part of my life and thoughts that makes this disappointment seem like it is wedging between us.

    A few days later I am listening to a podcast from TheHealthyMind by Peter Zafirides, MD about "The Healing Power of Forgiveness", podcast #103, available at digitalpodcast.com. ( also want to point out a great interview with Dr. Schlechter on podcast #101!!).
    Dr. Zafirides spoke a lot about the healing that comes with truely forgiving someone or ourselves and just how awful keeping an undercurrent of "getting revenge" is to our well being. It festers and will never heal left alone.
    What he said next, and what hit it home for me, he said that you do not need to forgive the act or words used against you, just forgive the person.
    Well, that made it easier!!
    Yeah, that sure resonated with me.
    I hope you get some time to listen to it, Gratful_Mama, or perhaps the quote is enough to hit a switch in you.
    My best, Jack.
    grateful_mama and plum like this.
  16. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    Thanks for mentioning the Peter Zafirides podcast. The segment on forgiveness is very good. I think Peter is right, forgiveness of the person rather than the act is key, and this shift in perspective enables a surge of healing. Forgiveness is indeed the cornerstone of health.

  17. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    @Jackhammer So glad to hear you're having some breakthroughs! Thanks for the podcast recommendation - I have to confess, I have been so busy with my baby and a stupid work project lately that I kinda fell off the wagon this past week. (i.e.: didn't do much journaling, meditation, or make progress with this online program). Now that I've sent it off to the client, I'm hoping to shift focus a bit. It's interesting how different days or weeks (or moments) bring out different things to focus on. Last week I was thinking a lot about my religious past, but this week I really was just struggling with and angry about my baby distracting me from my work (couldn't get anything done!)...but, in fact, I think I was ACTUALLY really angry at this work I had to do, but desperately didn't want to do, because IT was taking my focus from my daughter. Or maybe angry at myself for taking on this work, and not having found a career path I love at this point in my life (a whole other topic). Maybe all of the above.

    Anyway, lots of stuff always going on. I plan to do more journaling about my upbringing, per my original post here, but also I think there's a lot of continuous stuff in my present that sometimes feels more relevant! But I think the forgiveness podcast that you and @plum mentioned could actually be really helpful in forgiving myself. Can't wait to give it a listen. And I'll be back in touch here, as well.

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