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TMS is nearly gone, but now I have FEELINGS, and they're scary.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Eve2015, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. Eve2015

    Eve2015 New Member

    Hi there, everyone. I'm doing really well with my TMS. I finally found what I considered the "key" to my healing, which was just to accept that everything I am feeling is totally okay, and that I don't need to beat myself up for being imperfect, or being in pain, or saying the wrong thing, or not being exactly the way I wish I was. I had been dealing with severe back and hip pain for three straight months, but with this revelation, I was about 95% pain free in a matter of days, and have been that way and improving steadily for the past week. I feel alive once again, and like I am no longer crazed with pain and frustration.

    But here's the problem:

    I now FEEL my emotions. All of them. I was away with cousins when I finally began to recover, and I realized that part of it was because one of my cousins is pretty much my best friend, and I felt very validated and listened to. Recently, I've been living near my father and brother, after having come back "home" longterm for the first time in about 13 years, when I left to go to college. Of course, my ONLY experiences with my severe TMS have been while I was visiting (or would soon be visiting) my brother and father. What a coincidence?

    My anxiety around my brother and father is EXTREME. My father wants things between us to be good, and so he is a lot more receptive to what's been coming up for me, though he still doesn't seem to really grasp who I am or what I'm saying. My brother, on the other hand, has years and years of repressed anger, so much so that he cannot help but smile ear-to-ear when he is clearly ENRAGED and wants to strangle me. Why does he want to strange me? Because I'm talking about how I feel in our relationship, and that I feel like he's been angry with me for years, and he's treated me very badly. His response? "YOU NEED TO START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN LIFE! I'M NOT ANGRY!" Clearly, there's no judgment, and no anger.

    TMS has taught me that my body literally will not tolerate the ways I've been taught to betray myself, in that I had internalized a lifetime of criticism, anger, and belittlement from my brother, whom I've only just realized while working with a TMS therapist was physically abusive to me as a child (I just thought it was normal?). I'm so used to explaining away his behavior because it was "hard for all of us" after our mother died, but that feels like such a lie now, such a betrayal: I'M ANGRY. And I don't really know how to get beyond the anger, how to move through it. It's just there. In the meantime, I've had to cut him off. My lower back/hip muscles spasm hardcore when he is around, and I feel at a loss for words. So, as I am leaving soon for a year of traveling, I have vowed not to see him before I go. To see him feels like it would be so wrong, even though it hurts so much inside to walk away. I've been trying for 20 years to work things out with him, but it never gets any better. I have been the scapegoat for his problems.

    So many pieces of my personality have fallen into place from these revelations, from my feelings about men and dating to my body image and relationship with food. I learned to silence myself with food, because no one wanted to hear what I had to say; I literally learned to force down what I was feeling. I've also always had a hard time being myself around men, because I'm so accustomed to the pain that comes with being vulnerable to my family. I also never really felt great in my body, and now, labeling my childhood experiences as "abuse" really makes sense to me--my body did not feel like a safe place to be. So much is coming to the surface, but it's scary, and I feel helpless at times when I imagine my future--will I always feel this way?

    I'm about to leave for a year or more to Australia (from the US), and I'm hoping that I will end up loving it so much that I stay there longterm. But I feel so much GUILT. Guilt for leaving my dad (again), but now he's 80. Guilt for "hurting" my brother, who finishes every one of his rants about all that's wrong with who I am by saying, "But you're my sister, and I love you unconditionally." (I'm not sure if he knows what "unconditionally" means.) Guilt for not being able to say goodbye to my 5-year-old nephew, whom I love and adore, but whom I can't bring myself to visit because it would mean seeing my brother again. Guilt for finally screaming and cursing at my brother when he started verbally abusing me today on the phone. I just couldn't take it anymore, and I am tired of burying my rage. But then there's the guilt. As a woman, as a sister, as the youngest, shouldn't I be the one to make it all better? Aren't I letting them all down? As much as I know that staying here and having relationships with them would mean intense suffering and pain, I still feel so much loss and sadness for cutting off my brother, for leaving my father, for not saying goodbye to my nephew.

    On top of this, all of these emotional revelations have me asking myself, "Am I crazy? Is it me? Are they right?" I have great friends who have assured me that, no, I am not crazy, and that my feelings are real and justified and valid. But I'm watching so many of my hopes for these relationships totally crumble, and I'm wondering, "What did I do to deserve this?" It feels like everything that was once sacred to me is now just dead. Or blown apart. I don't know that it will never work out in the future, but right now, there's nothing. And it hurts.

    Is this kind of emotional hell all par for the course? Does it get any better? Anyone else out there with sibling issues? Is this just all part of being human, or do some people not have to deal with this crap? TMS is so intense! First, it takes away our the freedom in our bodies, and then when we get it back, we have to pay for it with serious soul-searching. I know this is a gift in the long run; I know that this is freeing me from what does not help me in my life. But right now, it's so hard, and it hurts.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Eve, your post should be the mandatory reading for everyone who is stuck in their TMS recovery. You have said it beautifully. To stop the symptoms, you have to accept your feelings. Yes, those feelings can be intense, scary, overwhelming. It feels dangerous to have them. But that's why you have TMS -- you are unconsciously 'protecting' yourself from them.

    I'm not sure everyone with TMS has to go through the same emotional hell, but I certainly did, and it was my only way. But the feeling of being in hell will pass. You will find those feelings becoming less scary over time. You will free yourself from old patterns that don't work for you any more.

    You've done amazing work! Bravo!

    (I would just add -- no, you're not responsible for making it all better. No one should shoulder that burden alone. But if you can, try to find some way to say goodbye to your nephew, despite your brother. It sounds like that's important to you, and he'll be grateful.)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
    IrishSceptic, IndiMarshall and JenV like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi. Eve. I know where you're coming from, about relationship problems with your father and brother.
    It's going to be good for you to get away to Australia and start a new life there.
    It's often impossible to please our families. Your father wants you to be perfect (which I doubt he is)
    and your brother doesn't sound like he knows what unconditional love us.

    You have a life of your own to live and I hope you won't live it to please anyone but yourself.

    I sure had sibling problems, with my older brother. Through journaling I realized why he bullied me
    and beat up on me so much. He was four years older and resented our parents having him look after
    me and our sister while they were at work. He wanted to be out playing with his pals. Once I realized
    that, I was able to forgive him. He had passed on by then, but I forgave him in my heart.

    It's great when family works together for everyone's good, but if not, let it go. Like yourself,
    that's the important thing.
  4. Elena99

    Elena99 New Member

    Siblings are very confusing, and sibling relationships are not always easy.

    I have two sisters, and I love my sisters, but we also have problems. I think that is normal, and you don't owe your brother anything simply because he is your brother. That is an important thing to internalize, I think. It's like how mothers don't get a free pass to be toxic and controlling just because they are a mother. Same thing for siblings. After a year, things may be different. His behaviour is on HIM, not on YOU.

    I hope you have an awesome time in Australia! Um, one warning though. I went to Korea soon after having a lot of drama in my life for a year, and it was hard to suddenly be alone. Make sure you're okay being alone with yourself first, and be prepared to be your own best friend for a while if need be (unless you already have friends/family over there). I wish someone had pointed that out to me before I went off to the other side of the world.
  5. Eve2015

    Eve2015 New Member

    Hey there, everyone. Thank you so much for your replies. It was a hard few days but I keep finding that the more I listen to what I actually feel, the easier it gets to let go of what other people are thinking. I ended up finishing my job (which was causing me a bit of stress) the day after I wrote that post, and decided to fast-track my departure for Australia/Korea--I leave on July 17th. I felt so excited about it and, when I spoke to my father later that day, told him exactly what I was doing with total conviction and lack of fear. I assumed that he'd be disappointed, as I feel he often is, but he was so thrilled for me, and basically told me that, if I'm happy, he's happy. It's amazing how letting go of the need for approval often brings that approval, but by that point, it's just a bonus--approving of myself is way more exciting than getting it from anyone else. I also spoke to my dad about the truth of what went on between me and my brother as kids, and how violent he (my brother) was, and how it was so often right when my dad left the room or when no one else was around. It was so validating to share these stories, even if I was rejected or not believed. And, lo and behold, my father understood and even asked, "Have I been blind all these years?" Well...yes. But we've all been blind, in a way. That's why we're on this forum, IN PAIN, because it was time for a wake-up call. I have moments of anger at my father for not protecting me, but I also recognize his humanity and his struggle, and his attempts to be better, always. But when I'm angry, I just write about it. He's sorry, and he can't change the past. It's all on me now.

    As for my brother, forget it. My father tried to arrange for me to see my nephew when my nephew was with him, but my brother vetoed it and said I could only see him if I went to my brother's house. Nope. I am finding more and more with TMS that it's about really embracing WHO I AM, entirely, with my flaws, with my strengths, with my preferences and FEELINGS, and then committing to that, committing to myself. I recognize now that, because my mother died when I was so young, I never got to be taken care of, and I never learned much about setting boundaries for myself. But now that I know that, on some level, even my body (subconscious mind) is SCREAMING about the things I do not like in my life, it feels like there's someone watching out for me deep inside, who will not allow me to turn against myself anymore, nor will it allow me to let in the bullies/vultures/wounded who take out their problems on me. New beginnings.

    @Elena99: Thank you for the head's up on Korea! I actually lived there for about 7 years and left in March of last year, which is why it's been so hard to face these family relationships, as I was conveniently "on vacation" for so long. I remember that feeling of complete loneliness and culture shock upon my arrival there, and I totally relate to having to be my own best friend--I had no one else! Fortunately, some of my closest friends still live there and I will be visiting them all over the country, and then maybe subletting an apartment for a month or two.
    Ines and David88 like this.
  6. Elena99

    Elena99 New Member

    Oh, that's good then :) So many people have lived in Korea, and for 7 years, wow. That's great that you bumped up the departure date and felt good about telling your dad about it.
  7. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    Your brother sounds like my sister, your post remainded me of an email she wrote about 'unconditional love' after a long line of abusive accusations!

    Now I realized, it wasn't personal she is even more caught than I am in the dysfunctional family dynamics. She is the golden child of my mum but that is not a place to be envied!
  8. riverrat

    riverrat Well known member

    I have a very difficult, mean, and what I call harassing sister in law who uses terms like unconditional love. Terms like that are part of her manipulation she gives us.
  9. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    Note that what you are given are words to make you feel guilty, not actions to make you feel loved!!
    Ines likes this.
  10. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    This is an amazing post. Good luck with your travels. Thank you for sharing your story.
  11. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Hi-- I relate, A LOT. I had horrible hip/back pain and a lot of my stress was triggered by family issues. I've cut off family members, and even though it feels like the best thing for me, I can feel horribly guilty about it, too. They always end up blaming me for all their problems, and now they think I'm the cause of their disfunction since I cut them off (as if things weren't bad the whole time!) Anyway, I thought it might help to know that someone else relates. There is so much messaging out there about how you have to stick with your family and be grateful for them, no matter what. That can make you feel really ashamed and isolated for doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. I'm sorry you didn't get to see your nephew; I think it's a good idea to give yourself space from your brother though. I hope your healing continues and you find a wonderful new home somewhere. :)
  12. Maribel

    Maribel New Member

    I call it active non contact, I am very aware that I am choosing not to engage!

    I started it initially because poor me was sick and could not be available but no poor me is getting way better and wiser so poor me is smart and keeps the non contact in place!!!!

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