I know you’re just really wondering now from my previous blog how the heck it is possible that unconscious repressed emotions can be the cause of physical pain symptoms.
And it is good to wonder how that exactly works, because that means that you are curious and investigative. It is important to learn, this provides you with new insights and understanding. And then you can go further in your process to finally get rid of those shitty pain complaints! Right?
Every now and then things happen where you feel a certain emotion. In some situations, that emotion just does not come at a good time. You know, you have to give a super important presentation or lead a meeting, you feel tense, the drops of sweat slide down your forehead, your hands are shaking, you feel a heavy stone in your stomach and there you are in front of that group of people who are all staring at you. You find it tensive but you do it anyway. During your presentation you misspeak once and immediately you get a nasty or lame comment from someone in that group of people. It touches you and you feel a lump in your throat, you feel sad because you are standing there giving it your best, how dare someone act so mean to you! You want to keep looking strong and so you admonish yourself, you push your sad feeling to the background and smile away the nasty comment and continue your presentation with a tough poker face.
Can you imagine doing this?
This emotion of sadness is now hidden (suppressed) in your unconscious. It will stay there until you start expressing it. We all do these kind of repressing of emotions, or well sometimes, quite often actually. Of course one more than the other. We have been doing this all our lives from childhood already. Emotions that you think do not fit with your self-image or are not socially or professionally desirable, you will not express easily, but rather suppress them. For example, in the above example, in your view, in this situation it would not be as easily accepted if you showed that the lame comment makes you sad or angry, so you don’t want to show that emotion and rather suppress it. At that moment in that exact situation it is safer for you than to show reality.
That’s how it goes with many “negative” emotions that we experience throughout our lives. Once these emotions were too painful or a “danger” for you, so you hid them away in your unconscious. They are still there, piled on top of each other after each time suppressing new painful or at that moment “dangerous” emotions. So those emotions were a threat to you at that time, because in that situation they did not suit your self-image or the situation in which you were at the time.
So all these suppressed emotions of your whole life are all still stored in your body…. Sometimes you have to suppress an emotion, but if we do this constantly, this is not good for our health.
As the English proverb says: “Emotions need to be expressed, not repressed!” This is going to cause problems at some point as long as these emotions do not leave your body…
The word “emotions” comes from the Latin word “emovere” and literally means energy in motion. To express an emotion and thus process it, a physical action is required such as; tears, a scream or shovel. However, we often do not show/allow this physical action. So we do not express the emotion, it is not processed, but is suppressed to our unconscious. The energy supply is thus blocked.
But the emotions want to keep moving, they don’t want to be suppressed in your unconscious. So your emotions will want to come up to your conscious. Our brain thinks these emotions are too painful for us, so it wants to keep hiding them in the unconscious.
However, there is only one way the brain can do this, namely; create a distraction! There are hundreds of diversion strategies and everyone has its own diversion strategy(s). Here are a few: emotional-eating, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising excessively, working excessively, always being busy, etc. But you probably also know the physical reactions to emotions such as: clammy hands, trembling hands, increased heart rate from fear or shock, getting a red head, abdominal pain because you feel tense for that presentation, for example. But one very important physical reaction as a distraction to not feeling the emotion in your conscious mind is physical pain! Pain in one place, or pain in multiple places or pain that changes places every time, it’s all possible! Just as there are people who eat emotionally for years or work excessively for years, there are also people who experience pain as a distraction of emotions for years. And yes, this is even the case in about 97% of the cases with herniated disc pain, osteoarthritis and other abnormalities that can be seen on for example the MRI, which, as so often said by the doctor, are the cause of the pain!
Especially people who can relate to some of the following character traits are the people who suppress emotions more often and often experience physical pain in the body as a distraction from all these emotions:
– Driven / ambitious
– Highly sensitive / spiritual
– People pleaser
– Control freak
– Stress sensitive
– Often in a hurry
By creating pain in your body your focus is on the pain and not on the emotion, voilà goal of your brain is reached; you are distracted from the emotion.
The emotion in this case is the threat your body is trying to protect you from. As I wrote in my previous blog:
The threat -> the tension on the nervous system increases -> more tension on the connective tissue (fascia) -> disturbed balance between pull- and pressing loads of the various structures (such as muscles, tendons, connective tissue, bones) in the body -> poorly functioning joints or organs –> formation of trigger points –> narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) –> poorer blood flow –> less nutrients –> less oxygen –> energy crisis, production of pain- and waste substances –> decrease pH value (it becomes more acidic) –> more sensitive nerve endings –> more quickly pain / tension –> extra ‘protective’ activity nervous system –> again increase tension nervous system etc.
So the good news is that there is something you can do about this, which will cause more relaxation in the nervous system, improves blood flow, arise better oxygen supply to the muscles, the muscles can relax and you therefore experience little or no pain at all anymore!
Does this sound like it could be the case for you? Let me know in a comment below!