Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 895722

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Releasing the pain

Posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 3:11:43

Hey,
This is my first thread. I have been seeing my therapist for nearly a year now. It is great. I do have extremely strong maternal transference but I discuss it with her. We have come to a point now though where for me to move on I need to get my emotional baggage out. I don't know how to. It feels so stuck. I was psychically abused by my mum for a few years as a young child (munchausen by proxy), placed in foster care for a while, then taken back home and lived in an extremely disfunctional household until I was an adult. I am 26 now. The thing is I feel no anger, or pain about it all. I had at least 15 operations and spent 2 years in a hospital during the abuse so you'd think I'd have anger towards people but still I feel nothing. If i feel any pain I push it away because I don't feel I am ok to break. It all comes out through anxiety and mood disorders. My therapist says I go emotionally numb when things get hard as this is what I'm used to. Can anyone help me in ways to get this pain out of my system once and for all. Sorry this is such a long thread. :)

 

Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah

Posted by Dinah on May 14, 2009, at 9:15:09

In reply to Releasing the pain, posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 3:11:43

I think it's a slow process. I could barely name any emotions when I entered therapy, except ok and upset.

My understanding of the process is that your body and mind developed skills that helped protect you from the pain of your dysfunctional family. Now the skills are no longer working for you, but are keeping you from living the fullest life. It takes a while to honor the value that the skills gave you, while feeling, deep down, that it is safe to let those defenses slide.

I don't think you can force it, or rush it. But maybe you could do some visualization about it. I found that helpful. When I was someplace I felt safe, I pictured myself going deeper and deeper into my mind, opening doors, and inviting feelings to arise. Keeping in mind that it was safe now for me to do that.

For me, accepting who I was then, and in its time, it might have been good for me, but now it was no longer necessary. And helping myself feel safe so that I could invite those defenses to lower while thanking them for protecting me. Those things worked for me but they may not work for you. We're all different.

 

Re: Releasing the pain

Posted by yellowbird01 on May 14, 2009, at 16:53:44

In reply to Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah, posted by Dinah on May 14, 2009, at 9:15:09

Hi and welcome to babble. :) Just like Dinah said, it took me awhile to learn to feel and label emotions aside from "bad" or "okay". I had a really excellent therapist several years ago where I worked on that... saw a few therapists after her, and now I'm actually back with the original therapist again, working on completely different issues than I worked on with her many years ago. It's definitely a process. I'm 26 now.. we're the same age it sounds like. I think the body and mind is excellent at "turning things off" when it needs to, like to protect itself emotionally from abuse and trauma. I've never experienced anything like the type of abuse you describe, but I can only imagine how terrible that would be. It will probably have to come out a little at a time, sometimes probably so slowly you dont even realize it's happening. Your mind will let yourself start to feel things as you are ready for it. I try to trust myself in that way and not get too frustrated with the process.. it's very hard but it's all most of us can really do. It's great that you have a therapist you like. I think that's very important. Hope to see you posting here in the future! :)

 

Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah

Posted by obsidian on May 14, 2009, at 21:30:47

In reply to Releasing the pain, posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 3:11:43

I'm a big fan of writing. you can write back and forth to different parts of you, if they feel very separate...i.e. adult you to child you, child you to adult you, etc.
I'm sorry you suffered such a violation of yourself when you needed to be protected. It's sometimes hard to find the words, and it's sometimes hard to find the feelings, putting them together, well that's a real challenge.
good luck,
sid

 

Re: Releasing the pain

Posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 22:33:30

In reply to Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah, posted by obsidian on May 14, 2009, at 21:30:47

hey. Thanks for the replies. Sid i really like that idea of writing to my childhood self. A big problem i have is not being able to connect that life to my life. So that's why i find it hard to feel. I will try the writing. Thank you all so much for your support. I'm finding it so hard to be alone lately and being able to talk here is really helpful.

 

Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah

Posted by antigua3 on May 15, 2009, at 6:54:32

In reply to Re: Releasing the pain, posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 22:33:30

Here's an idea I learned about writing to my childhood self.

Use your dominant hand to write to your child, and use your less dominant one to let the child answer. It switches our brain back and forth.

It was hard to read what I wrote! but the messages came through pretty clearly and it was very helpful for me.

Just an idea,
Antigua

 

Re: Releasing the pain

Posted by blahblahblah on May 15, 2009, at 7:35:14

In reply to Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah, posted by antigua3 on May 15, 2009, at 6:54:32

k thanks. I'll give that a shot. I did write a letter to myself as a child before. It helped i think but it made it really hard to connect it to myself. i'll try using my other hand to reply.

 

Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah

Posted by B2chica on May 15, 2009, at 12:25:57

In reply to Re: Releasing the pain, posted by blahblahblah on May 15, 2009, at 7:35:14

first....LOVE the name , makes me smile.
next...

i was very similar to you at the begining of therapy.
i think for me i was scared TO DEATH of my anger inside...once i admitted i had it.
i was scared that if/when i let it out that it would physically and emotionally hurt whomever was near me, that it would forever be like that, or that it would Literally make me insane and 'they' would lock me up in ward for the rest of my days.

once i was able to talk about my fears of letting out my emotions, we also talked about when and where i would 'let them out'.
having a 'sort of' plan helped me.
even though i had anger come out at the wrong times anyway, i was able to get through it with frequent T appts.

and with this T its really interesting how my body just knows its ok to express the minute i get in her office. that that room is a safe room for anything (but violence of course) i can yell in her office i can make fists, even punch pillows and she's ok with it.

***************
so its just a matter of having that 'trust' factor with your T. figuring out a saftey plan and letting things happen as they will.
your body will probably be pretty good at letting out bits at a time. sometimes it seems to come all at once, but it does get better.

and now, i feel SO much more in control of my feelings, even though BEFORE, when i wasn't expressing them...that is when i THOUGHT i had 'control' of them...it was an illusion.


and thirdly...
two things that REALLY helped me..ok, three. were 1)journaling EVERYTHING, detailing anger etc. 2)exercise...lots of treadmill and 3)painting helped me.
but especially the first two.

this might help you when you start.

Best wishes

 

Re: Releasing the pain blahblahblah

Posted by mollieQ on May 16, 2009, at 0:00:12

In reply to Releasing the pain, posted by blahblahblah on May 14, 2009, at 3:11:43

With long-term trauma like you have experienced, and I'm so sorry you went through what you did, I think the cardinal rule in trauma therapy is slow, slow, slow. Even though you understandably want to get to excising the pain quickly, once you've taken the first courageous step by starting therapy, it is counter-productive to try to move faster than you are ready to. Chronic trauma, especially prior to adulthood, affects our brain wiring, nervous systems, and hormones, which are highly reactive as a consequence of the sustained high stress. Moving too fast in therapy can retraumatize you emotionally, and lead to flooding or numbing, which seems to be what you tend to experience. That's a hallmark of psychological trauma.

It sounds like you have a strong relationship with a good, caring T, and that's great. Be content to take baby steps as you approach the aspects of your past that cause you to numb your feelings. The numbing is protective, at least it was in the beginning. Sometimes then, like dissociation, what was a survival tactic can become a problem in itself. But as you grow stronger in therapy and begin to heal, you will be increasingly able to face those feelings, in small enough doses not to be overwhelming.

I know how hard it is to be patient when you are in emotional pain. But you are on a good path and have already made an excellent start. It is a long road and better viewed as a marathon, where you have to pace yourself. Many here on this board are on similar paths, at varying points. Moral support and encouragement helps a lot.

I'm glad that you've started posting here. I wish you peace and healing.

All the best,

Mollie


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