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Wanted: Tips on Telling People How You Really Feel

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by HeidiF, Aug 4, 2023.

  1. HeidiF

    HeidiF New Member

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I need some help and decided to take the plunge. I started the Curable app in 2018, have read all the Sarno books, Unlearn Your Pain, The Way Out, and others.

    I started The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron back in May and if you aren’t familiar with the book part of the program is to journal every morning, which Cameron calls morning pages.

    At the 9 week point you are encourage to reread your pages to highlight any themes you see that keep repeating. I did, which rereading was a very stressful time and I felt thoroughly overwhelmed, but didn’t speak up. Mainly my reoccurring gripes were that everyone comes to me with their problems and I don’t want to listen anymore (I’m exhausted), over-giving, and that I want to speak up for myself more. I read these pages Monday and have been home sick since.

    I know there is a connection, but am I sick from what I read? Or I am I sick from stress? Or does it even matter to know?

    Of course my mind went straight to thinking about when I got bit by a tick in June and am now being tested for Lyme disease, but my concern is I don’t want Lyme disease, but what if the test is negative and I have been sick because of TMS? Is all sickness TMS?

    And the real question: how do you start telling people how you really feel?
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    No. But TMS often mimics real sickness and in the case of contractible stuff (like colds, covid, flus,etc) might have a lot to do with Immune failures...Many of the common TMS equivalents are Overactive immune (allergies, eczema, swollen glands,etc)

    In context of TMS? I am not certain THAT is necessary. The most important part is your awareness of what YOU would tell them and seeing through the fake politeness, the "caring person' charade".

    If being confrontational meant immunity from TMS , I would have never gotten it. All of us have life lessons to learn...for me it was NOT swatting at every little fly. But as far as TMS recovery goes, I can be involved in something and present a facade of interest...as long as I remain aware that I really am not interested I can stay symptom free..it's when I fall asleep on my feet and start thinking I am a 'good guy'...that is when I am vulnerable to TMS because it is building up suppressed narcissistic rage.

    and yes...your body could have responded to stuff you dug out, but your moving through it...I'd rather get sick once and know the truth then be healthy and have my head in the sand.


    One of the best books I ever read. I would also recommend it to any artist with TMS because a lot of the questions in the chapter work pages are important... The Villains and Heroes in our creative life...mostly knowing the villains. Crappy things people said to us that we are still carrying around 40 years later. Awesome book to get unstuck.

    ..and the morning pages can be a good place to let fly with any lingering grievances as we become aware

    or to write a song

    or both
    JanAtheCPA and HeidiF like this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there @HeidiF and welcome! You are asking some important questions.

    I agree 100% with what @Baseball65 said to your question about whether all illness is TMS? You have a really solid basis in the emotional side of this work, and I think it would be helpful to learn a little more about the physiological side of the stress response

    Both. What you read caused a stress reaction, and the stress reaction causes fight/flight/freeze, which is a physiological response. Except that FFF is supposed to be temporary, not ongoing.

    Here is an excellent description of the stress response, from the Mayo Clinic with a link to their slightly longer article from which I excerpted this. the bolding is mine:

    Your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This "fight-or-flight" response fuels you to deal with the threat.

    Once the threat is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. Unfortunately, the nonstop complications of modern life and its demands and expectations mean that some people's alarm systems rarely shut off.

    Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset and to recalibrate your alarm system. It can help your mind and body adapt (resilience). Without it, your body might always be on high alert. Over time, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.

    Don't wait until stress damages your health, relationships or quality of life. Start practicing stress management techniques today

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495 (Stress management Stress basics)

    When you reviewed your journal, your primitive fight/flight/freeze mechanism interpreted your response as a physical threat, because, as the excerpt states above, it can't comprehend that for those of us who are fortunate to live in safety, our everyday stresses are not physically dangerous. In your case, you have not resolved the threat, so as you continue to ruminate about it, your stress response remains high, and your chronic symptoms return or get worse.

    My TMS coach/therapist says that a huge amount of the stress we experience today is actually pressure that we put on ourselves. Pressure leads to Judgement which leads to Repression which leads to Symptoms.

    Long-term exposure to the stress response can cause physiological damage. I have RA, which came on very suddenly in 2020 (and uncommonly late in life at age 69) soon after the pandemic shutdown. I blame it entirely on stress and a failure to remain mindful and to care for myself in a pandemic-affected volunteer activity, on top of four years of the existential stress of expanding world disorder. The pandemic was the icing on the cake. RA is an inflammatory condition, and the connection between stress and inflammation is well-known in the medical community. So yep: "real" measurable illness, completely caused by stress, because there is no other logical explanation (there is no autoimmune in my long-lived family).

    Gabor Mate MD wrote a book a number of years ago titled "When the Body Says No" in which he describes, for non-medical readers, the physiological process behind conditions which are caused by long-term stress as a result of emotional repression. Many people find his book scary, but I find it hopeful. The message in his title is: If you won't start saying NO, your body will eventually say it for you.

    Some thoughts for you - actually, these are suggestions for expressive writing:

    1. What would saying "NO" look like and feel like?

    2. Have you ever tried the "Unsent Letter" technique? This is where you write a completely unedited letter to any individual who has hurt you, or who is actively hurting you, due to their dysfunctional behavior. Don't edit it, and be completely self-centered about how their horrific behavior affects YOU. Then I would urge you to send it to the trash bin. Do NOT save it to read later. It has to be honest and in the moment - if you think you will read it later, it will not be honest enough. In fact, it should be so raw that your handwriting might not even be legible.
    (BTW, Nicole Sachs and Dr. David Hanscom both recommend not keeping your writing exercises . Clearly this is in contradiction to Julia Cameron's approach - yet it was her approach which brought you to this important realization, so I'm not going to knock it in the context of her program!)

    3. Another way to address #1 and #2 combined is to examine the rage that has emerged, and be curious about it. What is the threat that your unconscious is experiencing? What is it about the demands of these needy people in your life that is threatening to your well-being? Are you angry at yourself for being taken advantage of, or for not being able to say No, or... ???

    4. How can you position yourself so that you are taking care of yourself first? How can you tell them that you don't have time for them? Can you tune it out while pretending to listen?

    5. Our forum friend @Cactusflower recommends asking ourselves two simple questions when we are in a situation that is causing stress: "Do I feel safe? Do I feel loved?" You might try asking those two questions the next time one of these people intrudes upon your precious equanimity - and examine your response with curiousity and self-compassion.

    Good luck!

    HeidiF likes this.
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I get were you are coming from.
    This week, a friend was back in contact with me. Although I care about said friend, I am more than done with her drama of trauma -she can’t truly hold space for anyone but herself. When she is with me she constantly repeats these old traumatic experiences.. and I am “a fixer” so I get drawn in.
    This week, for instance after months of little contact I was accused of criticizing.. last November. She wants an apology (none from her for ruining our holiday meal). Fine, I apologize.
    Then it continues about current stress and drama.
    Ok, sorry for your situation.
    Then it’s attempts to invite herself over.
    This is only happening because others are refusing to get drawn in, keeping their boundaries. So she makes the rounds. This person’s pain is real, but I’m not responsible nor can I really do anything about it.
    The boundaries, I’ve realized are both with my own self -refusing to get drawn in and refusing to feel guilt about it. Not shutting off the guilt, but actually seeing that cycle and saying no to myself. That is helping me decide to keep boundaries I want to set with this person. Discussing it with them doesn’t work, only keeping physical space does. At one point simply thinking about trying to keep the boundaries stressed me out, but now I realize it’s not as big of a deal as it seems. It may become a big deal… but I’ve tried to make it clear in the past this is a subject I don’t want to broach. “I hope you can work that out for yourself” - pretty much ends a discussion. You can do that with kindness and caring “I’m sort this is tough”. Simply refuse to help them think it through, solve their problem and do not offer advice. If you have been the one to step in and step up in a pinch - just don’t offer.
    If you feel an emotion about your response, just sit with it.. or journal about it.
    Recently another friend asked me to step in to fix what they perceived as a poor decision on their part. NO! It was hard, someone else’s fate is at hand. That friend tried to lay a guilt trip on me. NO! I did not engage after the first no. No means No.
    The more no’s you lay down the remarkably more ease you feel doing it, and the more often you can do it. I think about all the “no’s” those people felt just fine giving me. Makes it much easier to give ‘em back.
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  5. HeidiF

    HeidiF New Member

    This has really helped a lot. Thank you.

    The rage from doing something you don’t want to do?

    Oh geeze, this makes so much sense. I am more of a fawner/freezer so this makes total sense. It also makes so much sense based on what I have been journaling about. I’m exhausted from fawning. That’s why being confrontational, in theory, looks so appealing.

    Yes! That was another underlying theme is rereading my journal, stop being so hard on yourself. I think part of it is I feel bad people annoy me, then I feel guilty I feel annoyed, then I judge myself for feeling guilty, so instead of letting myself just feel it, I suppress it until I either get sick (like now) or do an identifying emotions mediation and cry it out.

    That’s actually one of my favorite books. I find it hopeful as well. It might be time to reread it.

    I will work on these this week. I have written the unsent letter, but it has been years. Also time to revisit.

    Oh gosh, you do! I thought I was reading my own journal.

    This really hits home. It’s difficult for me to see people in pain, but I have recently realized (sadly) some people use that to manipulate you and it can be unintentional, but again it’s not my problem.

    I really appreciate setting boundaries with yourself because I know I used to get a “high” from being the fixer and I am sure I could still, but I don’t want to. I rather feel the realness of the guilt.

    That’s the other thing, I think I’m a reasonable person I can talk to this person like a reasonable person, but we are all on our journey and our levels of reasonableness fluctuate.

    I too made saying no a bigger deal in my head than it was in reality and as you said if you do it with kindness it really isn’t bad. I also found saying “NO” to someone really shows you what someone is like.

    Thank you @Baseball65 @JanAtheCPA and @Cactusflower for helping me process this. I guess the real takeaway is that I don’t necessarily have to tell people how I feel (I don’t mean people in my innermost circle), but knowing and accepting how I feel with out judgement.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes,, though If I am having symptoms a lot of the times I am not aware... Particularly the ones that are embarrassing to the conscious mind , like Children, Pets, Religious responsibilities,etc.

    Just like another poster was discussing, it isn't the 'perceived' emotion that causes the symptom but the unconscious ones we have no access to and can only imagine, get a 'reflection off the cave wall' to quote Plato.

    Sarno once pointed out, he didn't treat pain...we're stopping the process for tomorrow. When we start to raise our awareness and greet frustration and rage inducing things at the door, they don't go down into the depths and have as much weight. I imagine as you reviewed those things you wrote about, the ones down there might have instigated some stuff "Oh no..she's getting close...quick, somebody start a diversion!"
    HeidiF and backhand like this.
  7. HeidiF

    HeidiF New Member

    OH, I never thought about it that way, but that makes sense. Instead of greeting them, I push them down. But now I know.
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