ARE YOU IGNORING ONE SURPRISING SOURCE OF CHRONIC PAIN?
When I see clients, ONE issue they have in common, is an emotion that 98% of them would deny at the get-go. When I ask if they feel angry about anything, they say, “Nah, no, nope – that doesn’t sound like me at all. My fibromyalgia (or health challenge) chronic pain comes from X, Y, or Z.”
We all have an idea of where our pain comes from, and for the most part, we’re right. Pain stems from a number of things including injuries, infections, food sensitivities, sugar consumption, toxins, and various other physical issues that lead to leaky gut, cognitive dysfunction, immune system impact, fatigue, hormone and thyroid dysregulation, and more.
But few talk about the emotional side of things. Sure, many of us recognize that traumas (childhood, especially) have a lasting impact on our lives. But many of us ignore that emotional traumas linger. Many fears and anxieties multiply around themes such as safety, security, personal boundaries, being valued and validated, etc. But DO we really feel angry?
You tell me. If at any time in the past, you felt unsafe in your environment – a natural response would be anger and frustration. If you felt isolated or ignored, you’d likely feel hurt, saddened, and yes, angered. If you were made to feel unworthy or not valued for your own ideas and thoughts, you’d feel hopeless, helpless, and … angry. Were you lead by the authorities you trusted to believe it was okay to be angry? The most common answer I hear to this question is no.
Anger is one emotion that many of us believe
we’re “not supposed” to feel.
Here’s a litmus test. Have you ever had a simple scenario such as a delay in the line at the grocery store or a traffic jam cause you to blow your stack? Or at the least, become impatient and ticked off? If so, it’s likely that other issues of unresolved anger are burbling to the surface. One-time outbursts are not the issue here. It’s the seething consistency to repressed anger that becomes an issue.
Remember that we’re all different. Some may react to anger with an outburst or tirade. Others have a veneer and surface so placid there’s not a hint of the anger that lies beneath. It’s important to note that they’re both destructive to the healthy healing plans you have for today.
It takes guidance, time, patience, self-discovery, and a bit of open-mindedness to uncover your anger. First, there must be an inner inquisitiveness to explore the topic. Consider, when do I feel angry now? When did I feel angry in the past?
Feeling angry isn’t bad. It’s just one of many emotions. In fact, when it’s bottled, suppressed, denied, or ignored, anger can really fester into some nasty physical symptoms. One result of this festering? Pain.
Here’s an important key to reviewing your own history with the emotion, anger. Take the “should” and “judgment” factors out of it. Allow yourself to explore these ideas without any inner judgment telling you how you “should” feel. And, if your anger includes others, don’t discount your own feelings by saying that you didn’t have a right to feel that way because the other party’s intentions were good. That may very well be the case, but it’s not the point at this moment.
For this exploration stay out of other people’s heads and stay in your own. You have a right to your own feelings and to take a look at them – objectively and without judgment.
There are many practices and modalities to help with this self-discovery that I don’t have the time to go into here. But the beginning steps can be done on your own.
First, recognize your anger. Tell yourself it’s okay to feel that way. Once you can do that, you’re well on your way to cutting the ties to the situations that created the anger and are keeping you stuck. Seeking additional guidance can be particularly helpful. A counselor or health coach can help you to be extremely productive and see things in ways that you simply cannot. NONE of us find it easy to see our own “stuff.” The guidance of an objective, trained party can help you along this discovery process much faster and more efficiently.
It’s time to let go. Here are a few indications that will let you know if you’re on the right track: feelings of peace, hope, lightness, and, of course … less pain.
Have you ever been angry, but told yourself that you had no right to feel that way? Please share below!
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As a child I lived in an environment that was lacking truth. Up was down. In was out. We were not allowed to feel and even were punished for sharing our feelings. I remember saying that losing a beloved pet was the worse day of my life. The result. No more cats–even though a little kitten landed on our doorstep who needed love and compassion–I was forced to make him go away. But the night before, I defied my mother and allowed this kitten to share my warmth and love in my bed. When I was in my 40s, I remembered a traumatic happening in my life. I had already married and had four children. I now know that if I had remembered before, I would have neither in my life. It has taken many years of process and a non-linear journey to heal inwardly. I did. But before that I did not understand the depth of the rage I carried. Finally I did when I saw it exhibited within the life of another greatly wounded person who was playing havoc with a precious daughter. Thankfully, we both have brought this intense feeling out in the open and have, by the grace of God, changed for the better. Anger is merely a warning light. Hopefully people will not ignore or stuff it down. I did unknowingly. It became rage. I believe my healing has taken longer due to being married to a man who has stuffed his feelings from childhood as well. He tended (back in the day) to squash my feelings. All is forgiven and we move on!
Julie — You’ve articulated your journey and thanks so much for being open to sharing it here! Others will benefit from your words and your heart. It’s so important to point out that healing is NOT a linear journey and I’m so glad you illustrated that.
Healing isn’t an easy journey — but SO worth it!
Thank you, Sue.
Hi Sue I live with my Mom who always expects me to be happy well I can’t do that always I Lost my husband in 2007 and my house so it is very hard to always be happy I try to help her as much as I can but I have Fibro and some times when you have Chronic Pain it is hard to be happy so I try to put on a brave face and go through out the day. Donna
Donna, thanks so much for sharing! I’m sorry to hear that you’re not emotionally supported at home. I’m sure your mom things that’s doing what’s best for you, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that your needs aren’t met. Do you have anyone else to confide in? It’s extremely important to have someone to talk to. Thanks again for letting us know what you’re going through as that helps others in this community to know that they’re not alone.
Thank you for yet another well written and informative article: I have only been out of control angry 5 times in my life. It wasn’t until recently I realised this might not be a great thing. I was raised in a loving home where I never ever heard my parent argue, don’t know if they did but they certainly didn’t do it openly. I never had cause to rehearse arguments and therefore didn’t quite know what to do if one was brewing. I became a people pleaser and in the main avoided conflict often to my detriment. I now realise the need to be assertive and often see this in others as being the one thing that would make such a big difference in their life.
Thanks for your input, Steven! I know that this topic hits “home” with me as well as with every client I see – to some degree. I’m glad you’re able to look at your past experiences in expressing yourself with objectivity and kindness. It sounds as if you’ve made great strides and this is a great way to have a healthier future.
Hi Sue!! Great topic!! I’m reading now about how to heal your own pain and most of it is about our emotions. In answer to your question…YES, I’m pissed off I have FIBRO, Arthritis (one knee replaced at age 42, other knee on the way out), and an injured back from a car accident. My question is, what do we do about it? Yes, I’ve tried to make friends with the changes in my body, and make adaptations, but I’m still pissed about it.
Hey Barbara — thanks for chiming in! I’m so glad you’ve expressed how you feel. Pain is a direct result of so many things, but our frustrations, anxieties, and anger issues are a big part of that. Admitting that we’re angry is a primary step. After that, there are processes that can be done to learn how to channel that anger in productive and healing ways. While a lot of that can be done on your own (through self-education), it’s also very, very helpful to share your burdens and frustrations with others. Do you have a good support system? Is there someone you trust with whom you can share your honest feelings?
I know that it’s hard, when you’re still in the tornado, to see blue skies ahead. I’ve been there. But I want you to know that they’re out there ahead of you. Of course, there’s far more to say than I can go into here, but I’m always happy to continue the conversation. Feel free to email me from my website.
Again, thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!
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