Pain and hurt
Most people don’t like pain, they want to feel good and be happy. Unfortunately, painting on a happy smile when you feel like shit does not work. No amount of joyous masks or putting on a happy act can cover up what is in your authentic experience. A façade is a façade and to pretend that you feel great when deep down you’re hurt is just being a phony fake. As for me, I like pain, it let’s me know when and where I’m hurt. At the same time, I think having an aversion to getting hurt is healthy. This is a KEY distinction:
Pain and hurt are not the same thing.
I don’t like being hurt. Being hurt is to be inflicted with damage (whether it be physically, emotionally or intellectually). Pain, on the other hand, is the feedback mechanism that signals me about hurt. Imagine a Life without pain, you’d never know when you’re hurt. You’d keep going when rest and recovery were needed and end up damaging yourself even further. Actually, this is what a lot of people are doing, as they use their mood alterations to get out of pain. They pretend all is well, compulsively go about their addictive behaviours and claim to be doing just fine, as they remain fairly functional in Life. I’m not talking about people that you’d usually classify as ‘addicts’. This includes a lot of people, just to a milder extent. Mild addiction or not, the tendency to mood alter my way out of pain is limiting me in the sense that it impairs processing and completion, plus it robs me of time and energy that I could invest in building the Life I want.
Poor little me
A great way to numb emotional pain is to distract attention away from the EXPERIENCE of pain and put attention on thoughts about pain. In this way, what I feel is obscured by a sad story about myself. I can focus on loops of thoughts that add up to a victim story, instead of experiencing the pain that is present in me. By turning the visceral experience of my emotions into mental abstractions, I no longer have to feel the pain I’m in. I get all down and sorry for myself and use my sad stories to gain sympathy from other people. Talking about my sad, victim story is not authentic sharing, it’s a solidifying of the HURT, so that I may stay the poor, disfigured person, crippled by the past trauma/abuse.
Authentic sharing is about in-the-moment pain, it’s just a matter-of-fact describing of how I feel. It is characterised by an open, curious attitude, with an intention of processing the pain and healing. Telling victim stories is about assuming the role of the sufferer, whereas sharing authentically about past pain is about living the remedy (curing and healing).
Eckhart Tolle refers to the part of us that creates sad victim stories as the ego. The ego is a defence mechanism, a set of self-protective processes that a human being shifts into when it is hurt or threatened. It is a primitive instinct that is not a bad thing, it serves the organism and helps it survive. However, when threat and danger are gone, it needs to be transcended. It is true that when the past trauma/abuse happened, I was suffering, but I need not create any suffering about it later. People tend to go two ways, they either harden up and act all tough or they go into sad, victim mode. The hardening of the ego shell makes me appear tough, but there is a vulnerable, hurting little person inside. The wall that keeps out pain, keeps out love. The first one (hardening up) is more of a masculine way of coping, whereas the second one (talking about it endlessly) is a more feminine way of dealing with it.
Ah, Pain. Women tend to wallow in it and turn into emotionally unstable bitches. Men tend to dissociate from feeling it, logic it to death and turn into passive, hesitant cowards.
Like I stated earlier, in my reality, pain is my friend.
Pain is an indication, a sign that I’ve been hurt. Pain is my friend. There is a difference between pain and getting hurt from abuse. Pain is my ally, abuse is not. Abuse is someone or something hurting me, pain is a sign that someone or something is hurting me and that I should call the abuse to a halt and then process & complete the hurt that I’ve suffered.
Pain let’s me know where rest, processing, completion, healing, and/or renewal is needed. Pain is not to be taken as a reason to feel bad, nor is it meant to be seen as an indication there is something wrong with me as a person, it’s meant to be utilised as valuable feedback for the body to steer away from abuse and to heal itself. I don’t resist it, react negatively to it, try to change it (thru mood altering addictions) or numb myself to it.
I embrace it as another beautiful aspect of Life, like Wheatson did in Wild Nights:
“Wheatson was a poet,” Mykonos said, referring to a soldier he knew who died in Vietnam. “He was a great man, capable of converting the most hellish circumstances into poetry.”
“My friend,” Mykonos said to me, “this is what everyone wants, one way or another. To see the horror of this place and not recoil, that is what it means to be a man. To stand strong in this knowledge of love, even when everything hurts, that is what it means to be free as a man. Wheatson was such a man.”
This does not mean that I am a sadist of some kind; that I love pain for the sake of pain. It’s a matter of staying open and alive and realizing that resistance to pain keeps old hurts in place. Staying open is a common thread in David Deida’s writings. Deida shares that we can collapse into our pain when it is there or remain open. It’s the same idea, pain need not be experienced as a negative thing. It’s our minds that label pain as bad, because it associates the pain with the hurt. It is possible to allow pain to be what it is and let it process.
“Whisper words of wisdom, let it be…”
~ Beatles ~
In my experience, pain completion tends to happen if I give pain the space to be, when I experience it rawly without either resisting it, pushing it away, denying it, ignoring it or turning it into a sad mental story. Pain does not need to be an experience you suffer, it can be an opportunity to experience beauty, aliveness, authenticity and healing.
Quarantined wounds don’t heal
Like I stated earlier, most people don’t do this. The immediate tendency after suffered abuse/trauma is to shove pain into the basement. Dissociating from the pain and focus on something else. If I stop looking at it, maybe it will disappear!
This allows people to remain functional and deal with the demands of everyday Life. The pain get’s put in ‘quarantine’, never fully processed, but locked away in a place so that it allows the person to remain fairly functional in Life.
“There are vaults in your nervous system, where you store whatever pain, stress and bad memories you have. You have to dive back into that trauma, go back and do the same tricks that hurt you, in the same place. If you don’t process it out, those traumas
will find homes in your body, hold you back.”
~ Danny Way ~
The quarantined pain is holding me back, but as long as I can be successful enough in society, everything seems fine.
As a result of this, I walk around weakened. As my wounds and hurts have not been processed, I am more prone to getting hurt more by other people. All they have to do is poke me a little bit and I get irritated. A lot of time, the intent of others may not even be to hurt me, it’s just that I interpret things they do that way. I blame the externals that are ‘hurting me’, while for the most part, the pain just comes from uncompleted past wounds. I go about my Life in a state of almost constant hyper-vigilance, on the look-out for threats, anxious that something might attack and hurt me again.
The next book piece drops Wednesday January 18th on the topic of Fear and the Autonomic Nervous System…
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