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Hi Jessi Glaub !!
Regarding your subset of patients who “tend to express some emotions about their pain experience and life stressors related to the onset of those symptoms, but immediately follow it up with a justification for why they shouldn’t feel that way or will same something along the lines of “but I am blessed for…”…..
Emotions are repressed for a reason – patients have learned that they are very painful to feel or very dangerous to feel. They are repressing in order to survive – this is what they learned either in childhood or adulthood. But as adults, we have to start acknowledging, accepting and feeling these difficult emotions, if we are to heal. When my patients are exhibiting discomfort with anger/rage/sadness, I often explain to them that it is ok to feel both anger/rage/sadness and love/support/compassion at the same time !!! It is not either/or – it is both/and. They need to hear that it does not make them a bad person, a bad mother, a bad sister, a bad daughter, etc. to have these feelings. They will feel guilt and shame for having negative emotions towards people they believe they are only supposed to love !!! It is the guilt and shame that is suppressing the anger and causing the pain – not the anger itself. The anger is the normal emotion that is just trying to be felt and then, released from the body. Help them to let go of the guilt and shame for feeling these other emotions and they will be able to feel the anger, then it passes and then the pain goes with it.
Alicia Batson MD