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'Tis the Season for Pain? repost article

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Andy Bayliss, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,
    I posted this awhile back but have new links to this, so I am posting again. Can be found at http://www.tmspainrelief.com/tis-the-season-for-pain/ ('Tis the Season for Pain? | TMS Pain Relief with Andy Bayliss)
    Andy B

    ‘Tis the Season for Pain?


    I don’t give Christmas presents any more. I don’t have to find a gift that someone is “sure to like.” That’s a relief! I live in the same town as my mother, so for a holiday I just walk over and eat, like we do any time. I don’t have to travel. I’m not thrown into a crowded house with the frictions and stress of old relationships…trying to make them right.

    Despite the self-care I have given myself around the holidays, during this holiday season, I can feel my stress, and physical pain arises. What can I do?

    Shopping, long distance travel, presenting ourselves to family, extravagant meal preparation —-all this creates pressure on our deeper selves. While our “adult” self feels all these activities are normal and even needed, our child-self still has all the needs and feelings it did during the holidays of our youth. Pain (and other symptoms) can arise or intensify as these conflicts play out below the surface.

    Using Dr. John Sarno’s approach, we can gently inquire into what kind of pressures our holiday experience is creating in our unconscious or semi-conscious selves, and discover how the younger parts of us might be feeling. Dr. Sarno’s genius break-through is that pain is a distraction. Pain represses awareness of feelings that threaten our familiar sense of self. Our younger parts feel things we don’t want to be aware of.

    This Christmas I am with my mother, and I am the remaining family member. My brother Will, who died about 30 years ago was born on Christmas day. We lost my other brother Don two years ago. One stocking hangs where there used to be three. I am saddened when I see the single stocking.

    I see my mother in pain on Christmas Eve. I don’t know what to do. I can’t fully be there for her pain. I have not lost a son. Besides, honestly I don’t want to feel that much pain. So I am with my grieving mother as best I can be. I fear she will never find an antidote to her pain. I really don’t know how to help her.

    I am out for a walk later the same evening, and I feel a twinge of the familiar foot pain. What is this about? I ask myself.

    How does the oldest and only remaining son see his role? I ask. The answers come quickly.

    I should relieve a suffering mother. I should be strong, so that she hurts less. I should be cheerful, but not too cheerful so I don’t demonstrate non-attunement. I should feel her pain and therefore lessen it. I should forget my own pain and take care of hers. I should take away her pain.

    These are pressures I have put on myself: a mix of adult compassion and child-like delusion.

    This inquiry quickly reveals that I have semi-consciously taken on an impossible task. Worse yet, I didn’t even see that the task is impossible. I am mindlessly putting extreme pressure on myself to do the impossible. All this, trying to be a loving son.

    Wow! Now, I ask: How does a young Andy feel to be burdened with making his mother feel good about something that will never feel good? Rageful. Hopeless. Why is a young Andy worrying about taking care of someone else? He wants to be seen and loved for himself! Needy. Ashamed about Neediness. My young Andy also lost his dear brother Noel, all those years ago. Sadness. Hurt. Helpless.

    Rage, shame, neediness, sadness, hurt, helplessness. These feelings are painful, and they threaten who I see myself as: adult, rational, together, in control, a good son. These feelings are real (but overwhelming) for my inner child, but for my adult self-image they feel extremely threatening. So my mind-body follows an age-old human template of repression by distraction. My foot hurts!

    Seeing this, compassion for myself starts to emerge.

    Aware of these inner tensions, and how threatening the feelings are, I connect this to my foot pain while walking along. My awareness of these hidden feelings means the repression is no longer necessary. The tension in my foot relaxes almost immediately.

    I am using a simple Sarno technique to inquire into where my pain might actually be coming from, rather than assuming there is a physical source for the pain. Walking along, I notice his process is allowing me to see myself more fully. I feel connected to myself, which is satisfying. I feel warm and more complete. I am physically inhabiting more of me.

    Although my holiday example may seem extreme compared to your experience, the inner pressures to perform, conform, and the “need” to repress feelings are universal, powerful forces that can become extreme during Holidays. Being a loving and generous parent, a “successful spouse,” a patient brother… All of our familiar roles pressurize us, and this tension can create pain if it is not seen accurately.

    The whole of this adult life—what we do on a daily basis—is pretty overwhelming to a child.

    If you are in pain this holiday season, spend a few minutes to think of the sensitivity and needs of a young child, perhaps at Christmas. Is he getting what he really wants? How might he feel down deep with the pressures of travel, of always being loving, of being ever-generous? Does she feel like she isn’t really being seen? Does she feel like she has to fix a world that is not in her control?

    This practice of inquiry when pain arises, is Dr. John Sarno’s gift. The real miracle is that none of the stress we feel has to go away in order to find relief. We simply have to connect our inner life with the symptoms, and the pain-distraction strategy no longer works.

    With Gratitude,

    Andy Bayliss
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beautiful, sad, but full of hope. Thank you, Andy!
  3. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    It's from the heart Andy... I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you tgirl and TG957...
  5. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Thanks for sharing.
  6. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I just worked through day 16 in the SEP journaling on my Christmas triggers... and after that I read this. I lost my only sister when I was 20, she was 14, and my children's father when I was 33. Becoming a single child and the only living parent for my children was... is... The grief in the people that I love the most, my mother, my children, my dead ex-husband's mother and family - my grief never had a real place, and I just tried, still try, to make it up for the missing ones. On top of that, I have all the traumatic childhood events that were not less on display during Christmas... I understand every word in your writing - and I know why I'm so deeply exhausted and in pain at Christmas, and why it all vanishes by 1 January ;). I'm repressing so much and work my guts out. Thank you for being so honest and clear - I needed this today and it helped me <3
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, everyone. Wishing you all a peaceful, pain-free Christmas. Maybe even take a break from thinking about pain or TMS and just be grateful to God and enjoy the season of his son's birth.
    TG957 likes this.
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pia,

    I am impacted by your story. I find it supportive to hear your heartfelt words about your life, and I am happy that you feel supported by my experience in this.

    There is a great deal of suffering in this world, and when I allow this into my heart, as tenderness then I feel better. Thank you.

    This, understanding how I try so hard to take away the pain in myself and others, I feel a tenderness for myself. Your words help me feel this.

    Andy B
    Pia likes this.
  9. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Walt. We do live in an amazing Universe, with lots of love and support! It is good to remember that...
  10. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    What hauntingly, and yet real, heartfelt emotions Andy. I have a very hard time seeing many social media posts about people who either have lost loved ones or who are financially struggling where they can't even give their kids Christmas. Sometimes, it gets overheard because I feel for these people and it usually results in me taking on their pain in the form of my own physical pain. If I can only focus on being empathetic and not feeling hopeless or heartbroken for a world gone mad, it would make it easier; but alas, then the feeling of guilt or shame for feeling that way, creeps up. It's a cycle I'm trying to break.

    Thanks for sharing.
  11. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    Thank you so much for this post.
    My heart goes out to your for your own lost and i Thank you for being so open about the struglle.
    You opened my eye this evening strugling with my relationship with my own mother this christmas .
    The quilt and the pain and sadness and my foot being more tensed this last two weeks . You made me rethink my own situation and wonder for myself too : if it really is possible that my footpain really can be caused by my feelings? Which is still so hard for me to believe

    You are right too much pain and suffering is out there. But also wonderfull and inspiring people like you. Thank you for this and wish you the best

  12. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Karina and Jules,

    I am glad that you found my piece helpful, and that you feel supported in different ways by my experience. I am honored to be of some service in your healing.

    Yes, Karina, this is hard to imagine, given our many years of "learning" about what causes pain (the physical). I hope you inquire more and more into why everything which Dr. Sarno has shared with us, and all the success stories here --don't "apply" to you. I had to inquire into my own doubts about how Dr. Sarno's work could actually apply to me. Here is a link to this article on my doubts.

    http://www.tmspainrelief.com/doubts-about-dr-sarnos-work/ (Doubts about Dr. Sarno's Work | TMS Pain Relief with Andy Bayliss)

    Andy B
  13. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Andy ,

    My problem is that i think it does apply to me in all the levels and all of my bodypain : exept my footpain! Strange but true . I have no problem understanding that stress and worrying as i do cause a lot of psysical pain and problems. I fact i knew this for a long time about ibs, neckpain my si joint problems : but not for my foot.
    I have been thinking a lot about the why' but did not find a real good answer exept : all the other pain came and went en comes en goes. The foot is better than 4 years ago but never 'okay' and i never have been able again to go on a normal fine walk
    Now there is also logics into that : you cannot give a foot 'a break ' without huge impact on life : that also goes for lot of other pains but somehow it is different. Then there is also the fact i did injure my foot at the time : so always there in the back of my head the thought what if stuff is healed 'wrong ' even if mri etc shows nothing strange.
    For all other pains i could get past that ' for my foot not so far.
    I even dream of being able to walk normal and cry after that so much i miss it. Not giving up the tms approach but just not being able the link it to my footpain

    Thanks for the link above,
    So hopefull to read
  14. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    Karina, I totally understand as I feel the same what about my myofascial pain. I've had it for 19 years and no matter how much I journal and such, it always comes back, but interestingly, I helped my husband paint our house the last two weeks and had no myofascial pain. I had some back pain and thigh pain from bending down and such, so that was an interesting observation, since the pain is tightly woven with the "RSI" issues I have. Yet, I did repetitive things with my arms and had no pain - that is until I started writing an article on my computer and boom! The pain is back.

    It's more than frustrating the pain still wants to hold on, yet, I've been doing more emotional work in the last number of months than I've done in years. It's the fear of doing the activity - typing - for whatever reason, but thinking it's the conditioning I've been used to for so long, which may take longer to reverse.

    I do think I'm winning the war because the pain has been moving like crazy and hitting places it hasn't in years As Dr. Sarno says, "You've got it (the pain) on the run."

    Don't give up. Remember, the brain wants us to *think* it's structural so it can continue the charade.

    Blessings to you and yours.
  15. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Jules,

    Yes there is def. Fear for activity and it is so hard to break . So far did try a lot of different things in approaching that .
    If only it would give me a break : a very good day that would prove me that me foot still could act' painless when walking. You are right about the expecting pain : i do.
    After 4+ years is impossible not to feel or think otherwise.

    Wish you happy painting

  16. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Karina,

    I understand the foot pain thing, personally. It feels like "nothing can get done" without causing pain. It seems that to be "standing on our own two feet" is not possible.

    Two things strike me about foot pain, and I'll mention them to you. Forgive me if I have mentioned these things before.

    The first concept that I think may apply to me is that the foot pain might be related to "standing my own ground" or "putting my foot down." That is, creating healthy boundaries for myself. Saying "no." Allowing healthy anger. This is kind of a play on words, but I intuit there may be some truth for me here. That is that the foot pain points to lack of boundaries.

    The second idea is that the feet are our basic support to do and be. There may be something about supporting ourselves, or fear of lack of support in the world. Will the world/support/love/ be there for us? Is it here for us? Are we safe and taken care of?

    You might see if either of these resonate with you. Or share your ideas too.

    Andy B
  17. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Andy,

    That does say something to me. Funny that you mentioned 'playing with words " because i do that too : just last week i thought en said' if my feet where okay : the world would be at my feet'
    Immidiately i saw the irony of that remark. Cause this pain made me a prisoner and far from free to do what i want.

    But the frase 'standing at your own two feet ' does mean a lot to me ..
    But actualy the footpain made that impossible in terms of earming a living etc. Needing help to get to places etc. So
    now i really feel that i am not so independent as i should be
    But that is a circle isn't ? Wanting to be on my own two feet and litteraty not being able
    to. I am really going to think about this more
  18. Abbo

    Abbo Well known member

    Thank you Andy for your incredibly insightful post. On reading it I fully understood your pain and why you were experiencing it at this time of year. Thank you for sharing it with us all.
    I also had a very painful Christmas period and the only thing I can think of is how much I miss my sons which is much more acute at this time. I tell myself it is ridiculous as they are now grown men with a family of their own. The pain (which is always there at present) starts to increase as soon as the Christmas decorations and Christmas Carols become more vivid and vocal and my thoughts go back to when we were all together. This is not possible now as my boys live far away and it is not possible for me to visit (unable to travel at present) or for them to visit me as I could not look after them as I used to (because of the pain) therefore I have to accept this situation and just hope that maybe next Christmas things may be different. I am fortunate that they and their families are happy and healthy and also I have a loving, caring husband but despite his denial I feel I am spoiling his Christmas by being in so much discomfort.

    I am so relieved that the New Year has arrived and with it hopes for the future.

    I wish you all a Very Healthy and Happy New Year. May we all find Peace and Contentment.
  19. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,
    I am giving this a bump, because it might be useful again this year. I wish for everyone here deep connection with others, and with themselves.
    Andy B
    Lainey likes this.
  20. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    Well sadly just like last year this is a big stressor, in terms of christmas i am a either a real slow learner or this is my problem area for life

    This post stays very useful
    I loved then and loved to read it this year

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