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Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

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Avoiding Your Pain Cuts Off Your Passion

Posted: 08/05/11 07:03 PM ET

We all learned many ways of avoiding our pain when we were growing up because we could not handle feeling it when we were little. Now, as adults, most people continue to protect in the ways they learned, not knowing that they are now capable of managing their pain and moving back into their joy.

There are two kinds of painful feelings:

  • The core painful feelings -- loneliness, heartbreak, sadness, grief, sorrow and helplessness over others -- comes from events or others' unloving or disconnected behavior toward themselves or us.
  • The wounded painful feelings -- anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and anger -- come from our own thoughts and protective, controlling actions toward ourselves and others.

We all desire to be connected with those important to us, and we naturally feel core painful feelings when important others disconnect from us with their protections -- their anger, blame, withdrawal and so on.

In many relationships this becomes a protective circle, each person's protections triggering the others' core pain, and each person protecting against feeling their core pain with their protections, which guarantees that you will remain disconnected -- the very thing you are trying to protect against.

How Do You Protect Against Feeling Your Core Pain?

  • I judge myself, preferring to feel shame and inadequacy rather than loneliness, grief, sadness, heartbreak and powerlessness over others.
  • I get angry, annoyed, blaming, judgmental toward others, defensive, argumentative, explaining myself, withdrawn, resistant and/or I give myself up rather than feel my authentic painful feelings.
  • I turn to addictions -- food, alcohol, drugs, sugar, TV, sex, porno, buying things, working and so on -- to numb out my core painful feelings.
  • I stay in my head, not allowing myself to feel much, depressing my feelings. I prefer depression to my core pain.
  • I make others responsible for my feelings with my neediness, crying, guilting or shaming others into connecting with me, so that I can avoid connecting with myself and my painful core feelings.
  • I try to be perfect, hoping that then no one will reject me, and then I don't have to feel the pain of another disconnecting from me.
  • I focus on the past and future rather than being in the moment with my feelings.
  • I read endless books, attend endless workshops, have endless therapy rather than develop my spiritual connection and learn how to take responsibility for managing my core painful feelings.
  • Other ________________________


How Do You Feel When You Protect Against Your Core Pain?

  • I feel bad about myself -- inadequate -- like there is always something wrong with me.
  • I feel depressed a lot.
  • I feel anxious a lot.
  • I feel alone and abandoned.
  • I feel despair. I don't think things will ever get better.
  • I feel angry and resentful.
  • I feel empty inside.
  • I feel used or abused.
  • I feel victimized.
  • I feel disconnected from myself, my spiritual guidance and others.
  • Other_______________________

Is it worth it to protect against your loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, grief, sadness, sorrow or helplessness over others?

The truth is that the above wounded feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, guilt and shame go on and on. But when you compassionately embrace your painful core feelings with gentleness and tenderness toward yourself they move through you, so you can again experience your joy, aliveness, passion for life and connection with loved ones.

It takes courage to be willing to feel your core painful feelings of life and to learn how to lovingly manage them, rather than protect against them with your various addictions and controlling behaviors. If you want your life to be filled with love, joy and passion, then find that place of courage within you. Learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process will give you the ability to manage your pain, rather than continue to avoid it in ways that create more pain.

 
 
 

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