I’ve been on the TMS journey for years now. Whatever is at the opposite end from the ever-envied book cure, that is where I am. I read myself on every page of Dr. Sarno’s writings. And I really connected with The Great Pain Deception which I’m re-reading. There’s so much to open up to in GPD, I’m enjoying the 2nd time around and it comes at a time when I needed a boost. Thank you for writing it Steve. Like so many here, you learn about TMS, you say to yourself “oh man, that’s ME! I’ve been like that all my life!” Then you hit the books, determined, SEP, journaling, therapy, evidence list, more reading, challenging your limitations, mindfulness, being more present, don’t forget to ignore the pain, forgiving, etc. I believe in it fully but sometimes feel “aaaaaad naseam” (to homage the infamous phrase—I smile every time I hear the audio book). Alas, I cannot call myself healed. The low back pain that is my #1 issue is, well, stubborn. I’m wondering if anyone resonates with something I catch myself doing. But first, some history: In journaling and therapy, I found I needed to look at my childhood. My family dynamics were unique in that I had a severely handicapped brother born 2 years after me. He had cerebral palsy and was blind. Couldn’t walk, speak or take care of himself at all. Endured many surgeries. He lived with us and we took care of him. My mother mainly. I’ve learned that my family with 7 kids (4 left, brother’s twin died at birth) and the related challenges formed some big conflicts within me. I wanted to help, aid and fix (which of course I did), but deep down I resented this helpless person for making my life harder, more vulnerable, a target for teasing. I dreamed of being free from it—and suffer guilt and shame for those feelings. I didn’t feel my parents were there for my own growing up issues. They never heard me—because I never asked for help. I suffered alone. My brother died in his sleep when he was 21. I regretted not checking in on him that night, perhaps I could’ve saved him. Instead I woke up to screams, emergency, and seeing my father weep openly for the first and last time. I felt I’d let them down even though it was not in my control. The battle between instinctive duty and the urge to be selfish plays out in my life daily. I resent duty while guilt and shame ruin any selfish efforts I attempt. I have more work to do but that gives a basic summary. There are other significant life events but the above seems to be the beginning for me. Ending up in relationships where I feel the need to take care of someone, then resent it, is pattern I keep replaying. As is the fantasy of leaving it all behind. Back to the question I have, when I reflect or talk about my brother, I immediately negate it. Saying to myself, it wasn’t that hard for you. It should’t have an effect on you today. There is no way it’s the reason for your back pain. You’re just playing the handicapped brother card. How dare you blame him for your problems. Get the picture? Or I question weather I’m looking for a good “excuse” to fit the TMS mold. Or fall back into thinking structural anomalies are the cause of pain. I just can’t seem to get over the hump on this, and other issues go the same route. I can’t admit to myself on a baseline honest level that I dealt with things that were hard and deserving of my sympathy now. It would feel like an injustice to my brother who of course meant no harm to me. We did connect and bond and there was love but there was also anger at his condition, under wraps. I also grew up in the Catholic church so there’s the “God can do anything” element. When you pray every night for God to heal your brother, you start doubting the teaching or blame yourself for not praying hard enough. And of course the “Why did God make my brother this way?” question. As a kid, when everyone around seems fine with your brother’s condition, and you have a real problem with it, all that is left to do is bury those feelings so no one finds out. Ever. If anyone has overcome a really permanent-looking road block like this, I’d like to know how you did it. I can say I forgive myself for having those feelings all day, but it doesn’t count. My hope rests in “I’ll get there when I get there.” When my mind is ready to forgive and stop punishing for those “bad” feelings, it just will. I can’t will it to happen. My fear is that it might never come, and TMS will never leave. To the people who run and populate this site so well, it’s not only the best place to work on TMS, it looks good doing it. Thank you for all that you do.