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The pain as punishment

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by blake, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi all,

    In my journaling I'm noticing an idea coming to the surface, which is that I somehow deserve this pain. I unconsciously see it as a form of punishment - for what I don't really know. Doesn't really make sense to me. Has anyone else come across this idea on their journey? What impact does it have on recovery?

  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Blake, Oh YES! I totally agree with you. I think some of my pain has been because of shame over some events in my life…be it a bad decision or parenting issues or….fill in the blank.

    I'll take it one step even further. I think some of the painful treatment modalities I've pursued were self-flagelation. Dry needling was horrendously painful and any positive effective would wear off in a few days. And then I'd go back. (Dry needling is when they insert acupuncture needles right into the middle of a trigger point. On my calf, some of the needles would go right to the bone. I would sob and curse while she was doing it. It was horrible.)

    I also remember nearly passing out from the pain when a Physical therapist worked my foot over using deep massage. Such special memories. NOT! :hurting:

    How has it impacted me? I try to practice self-kindness. NOT a thing that comes naturally to one who is so good at beating herself up. I'm getting better though. I imagine how I would treat one of my children when they were babies and apply the same tenderness and love to myself.

    Or I use the time of training my adorable pup as time to retrain myself…lots of praise, even for the smallest improvements. dancea
  3. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi North Star,
    I think that my seeing the pain as punishment is just one more form of being mean to myself, probably as you mentioned, due to shame. You're right that the only remedy is kindness and compassion. You helped me realize that this is just more of the same old me beating myself up for my perceived failings. Thanks for your insight.

    Btw I've heard of that dry needling, but I never knew it was so painful. Sounds pretty awful. Bet you're glad not to do that to yourself anymore! One of the best parts of finding out I had tms was being able to call my physiotherapist and tell her I wouldn't be needing her anymore. She had very little empathy and made it clear she was after my money.
    North Star and Anne Walker like this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Blake, I think you're right, that thinking your pain is a form of punishment.
    That's your inner bully hoodwinking you.

    If you feel shame for any reason, stop feeling it. God forgives us everything.
    We would be insulting Him if we didn't forgive ourselves and those who caused us shame.

    I sometimes offer my pain up to God, in thanks for his suffering and dying for us.

    I hope this isn't too religious or heavy for you.

    That physiotherapist who was after your money should be ashamed. Really ashamed.
    She needs her own counseling.
  5. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Sounds like you let them beat you up. I hate needles, so thank goodness I never tried that. Doing something you love is a good alternative to beating yourself up or letting others beat you up.
    North Star likes this.
  6. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    What was that? You wouldn't be needling her anymore? Ha ha!
    North Star likes this.
  7. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Oh yeah, I hear you on this.

    I was sure God was punishing me for my worst sin: pride.

    It seems like every time something good happened in my life, and I start to feel prideful, the Lord would hurt me. I bought a condo, then I lost my job. I started a workout plan to lose all the weight I'd gained in the following job hunt stress, I lost 20lbs, and got "tendonitis" all over my body so I couldn't workout.

    I'm judgmental and I know it's wrong. I would say in my mind, "all those people on the bikes are slackers, I run so I try harder." But then another voice in my head would say, "You know that's a horrible thought and not true." So I fight with myself. I'm wondering if losing the ability to run and thus making myself a "slacker like the other people" was my minds way of finding the perfect way to punish me. Then it has nothing to do with God, and it was me punishing me.

    I'm trying very, very hard to stop thinking like this but it's really hard. Walt's view of God forgiving everything is a way better thought process. All I can say, is we should both shoot for something like that, forgiving ourselves.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
    North Star likes this.
  8. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Blake. When I first started working with a TMS therapist over a year ago, I was stuck on the idea that this pain was self created, something that I was doing to myself, and that I deserved it for some reason. It wasn't punishment coming from someone else, it was me punishing myself. And I was doing it because I somehow knew something no one else did! What that was I didn't know exactly or couldn't explain, but I must be doing it for a reason. I was ultimately to blame. I was the one doing it. I was the one who was responsible for all the suffering and pain I created. Yes, this is a form of internal bullying!!! There is nothing to do but break the bully habit. The way to do that is to notice when you are doing it and then to actively counter act it with forgiveness and self acceptance. The reason I say active is that if you are not accustomed to self-forgiveness, you need to consciously apply it whether it feels natural or not. Its like you have to override the auto pilot. The more you apply it, the more you can feel the truth in it. No one deserves to be in pain.
    Ellen likes this.
  9. blake

    blake Well known member

    Peggy: Hilarious!!! Thanks for the laugh!
    Walt: Thanks for "taking my side" with that physiotherapist. My inner child likes has someone in her corner:). Sure am working on forgiving myself. I'm trying to be patient with the entire process, but it's not always easy. It's the kind of thing that flows from the heart when the heart is ready, I guess. Anyway, that's how it was for me with my dad. I was able to forgive him after he passed away and now I only recall the nice moments, not all the violence.
    Waterbear: You hit the nail on the head when you write about these things being thought processes. Seeing these events or pain as punishment is only an idea. It isn't the truth at all. Maybe it's when we can see these thoughts for what they are, we can get some distance and hopefully, some relief as well.

    I'm certainly not there yet. My TMS has really been acting up for the last 4 days. Don't really know what else to explore at this point, so I'm waiting for something to come up.

    All the best !
  10. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Anne,

    That makes sense. Sometimes I feel like I'm going around in circles, exploring different things, but I always come back to this point: the pervasiveness of the inner bully. It's like I know that this is an issue, but I keep forgetting, over and over again. I like the idea of being active about addressing it. That's very helpful.
    Thank you!
  11. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sorry for the delay in my reply, Blake. I've got a lot going on in life right now.

    That PT…that's too bad. There are a lot of wonderful compassionate PT's out there and to have someone like that discredit the profession is a shame. Having said that, the pain industry must be multi-billion. That's a lot of mortgage and car payments!

    The bigger and tighter the knots, the more horrendous the pain. And yes, I am so glad I won't be needling her anymore. ROFL! Your comment cracked me up, Peggy!

    Oh, Waterbear. Your comments sent a shudder down my spine because you described my thought processes during my charis-maniac days. I would rise at 4:45am to make sure I prayed enough. At one time I was trying to fast every other day. After reading about George Mueller, that man who gave so much to run an orphanage, I would give a "reverse tithe"…ie, give 90% of my income.

    I had worked myself into such a lather of misery and exhaustion I remember having an explosion with God and telling him "It's too damn hard." It was a turning point in my coming about to a complete do-over in spiritual matters. But it took several years.

    I think all that religious indoctrination really fueled my shame and conflict. I was never good enough. (BTW, my extremely dysfunctional childhood really set me up when it came to getting sucked into such extreme religious stuff. I was so hungry for fatherly approval and I found it as long as I was good at performing on the religious treadmill.)

    Anne, I loved what you shared too. I am learning more and more…especially through today's journalling, how at odds I have been with myself.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, the other night I was watching the Catholic satellite tv channel, EWTV, and two priests were answering phone calls.
    A woman said she often felt pain during the hours noon to 3 pm. They suggested that she was feeling guilt about Jesus' Crucifixion
    because those were his last three hours on the Cross.

    I think they gave her something to really worry about, and they shouldn't have. They also gave her no advice on how to deal with it.
    They obviously knew nothing about TMS. That could have helped her.

    Religion can be good and also bad. Religious teaching can be good and bad.

    I think the main thing the priests should have told that woman was Jesus forgave those who persecuted him
    and he died for our sins. He did that because God loves us and forgives us. We just have to forgive others and ourselves.

    I think too much religious thinking can be counter-productive unless we focus on the joys of knowing God and not the
    depressing things. Think more about Heaven and less about any alternative.
    North Star likes this.
  13. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hello North Star and Walt,

    Thank you both for your feedback. I'm having a difficult and pretty heavy day today, so being on the forum is really helfpul.

    I agree that our minds can use religion in any number of ways. I think it comes down to what we do with the information and how we're already wired (of course, we work on changing this wiring).

    For me, seeing the pain as a form of punishment is an extension of the detrimental idea that somehow God must have made a mistake with me. According to this faulty logic I am way too flawed and weak to ever be deserving of anything good. So many aspects of my behaviour reflects this negative belief. Realizing that this is actually how I see myself is when I hit bottom. I mean, you can't go any lower than imagining that even God hates you, right?! But facing that false belief is also very liberating: it obviously doesn't make sense to think that, so that means God couldn't have made a mistake with me, which in turn also means He loves me with all my flaws, weaknesses and shadowy sides. (Not to mention, that objectively speaking I am not a bad person at all). In other words, the punishment definitely does not fit the crime!

    As this information slowly makes its way into my mind and heart, I can already feel a greater sense of peace. I still need to be patient though. I think I've held this awful view of myself my entire life, so I need to give myself a bit of time to get over it.

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughtful views with me. It's so nice to be able to come here, even when I'm feeling so vulnerable and raw, and know that I will be welcomed with gentleness.
    God bless
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Before I learned about TMS, I fluctuated between believing my symptoms were structural or psychosomatic. My belief about a psychosomatic origin was similar to what Anne describes above. I thought I had created it for some type of secondary gain, e.g. to punish myself, or because the symptoms gave me an excuse to isolate myself and a host of other reasons. When I learned about the theory of TMS, it was such a relief to understand that while, yes, this was psychosomatic, it was being done by an unconscious process for the primary gain of distraction from emotional conflict and pain. As Anne says, no one deserves to be pain, and I don't believe we create it ourselves for punishment. It feels like punishment, but our brain is trying to protect us. When one has an active inner bully, it is easy to find reasons that we think mean that we deserve punishment. The key for me is giving up the concept that TMS is punishment. Still that inner bully needs to be silenced.
    Anne Walker and North Star like this.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Blake.

    God doesn't make mistakes. He made you and me just the way we are, warts and all.
    He loves us, warts and all.
    I think he just has a kinda strange sense of humor in how he makes some of his Children.
    He could have left out the Inner Bully in us, for one thing.
    And he could have made my book publisher boss a little less ecomaniacal and nuts.
    blake and North Star like this.
  16. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, wonderful thoughts. And oh ma gosh. That woman with the pain between 12-3. Holy cow! And a big amen to different types of religion. Even James had something to say about this….pure religion - to visit the widows and orphans.

    I think I am mostly healed from my years in toxic religion.

    Learning to love myself, as is, is still an on-going challenge.

    I appreciate your transparency and candor, Blake.
    blake likes this.

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