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Healing Unresolved Pain

Guest Author: Christine Rosche, M.P.H., C.B.T.

As children growing up, and as adults, we get many messages telling us not to feel. Perhaps when you tried to express your feelings, others have denied them or gotten angry with you. You learned very early to repress or to be confused about your true feelings. Because your feelings and emotions are a real and natural part of who you are, you often begin to feel that there is something wrong with you.

Who you are is not okay, or you shouldn’t feel that way. You are given messages to not be who you are. In essence, you are talked out of your own experience.
According to noted therapist John Bradshaw, avoidance of these inner feelings and emotions is the source of all compulsive/addictive behaviors be it overeating, alcohol, drugs, sports, or sex. And the only way out of this behavior is to identify and feel those very emotions. You need to feel the emotion before you can heal it.

Some of you may have been taught unhealthy ways to release emotions, such as yelling or venting anger on other people. These behaviors cause harm and do not really heal the source of the pain, fear, or hurt underneath the anger. Others may have learned to hide their feelings by imitating the negative behaviors of their parents, including food, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. My goal is to help you identify the underlying feelings and emotions that trigger these behaviors you can explore ways of accepting and releasing these emotions in a healthy, positive way.

Pain from Childhood

As a child, you may have experienced situations that were difficult for you to deal with. Children are very open, intuitive, and totally dependent on the all-knowing “giants” around them for survival. Your subconscious blueprint of who you are, what the world is like, etc., is learned and establish by a very young age (approximately 5-7 years old). These early experiences and your subconscious decisions about them govern your life into adulthood, until you discover these underlying beliefs and change them. Some of the early childhood experiences that can create inhibiting subconscious patterns include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglect; and unresolved grief. As a result of these traumatic experiences in your life, you usually carry a mixture of underlying fear, pain, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression, sadness, anger, rage, worthlessness, self-pity, shame, and guilt into adulthood.

The two most common and devastating of these emotions are shame and guilt. Shame is rooted in a belief that who you are, is not okay (you are unworthy, stupid, unlovable, or bad). This is opposed to guilt, which indicates that what you do is not okay. In other words, you feel guilty because something you did was bad, but you feel shame because you are bad. These feelings are likely to be at the root of many of your problems that involve lack of self-confidence, low self esteem, or not feeling worthy or deserving of success.Fortunately, they are learned self-concepts that, with awareness and time, can be unlearned.

Using Your Inner Team to Resolve the Pain

The following exercises will help you activate your own personal inner resources, in order to effect lasting changes. The first step is to check with the four parts of your inner team: the physical self; emotional self; intellectual self; and spiritual self. For this purpose, each part has its own finger signals to help you anchor the connection between mind and body. Using these finger signals will give you a few moments to figure out exactly what it is you need.

Physical Self: Your Body

Rubbing the thumb and pinky finger on your left hand together represents the physical self. As you do this, tune in to your body. Trust yourself. Before you innately respond with habitually negative behavior, such as overeating, drinking, etc., ask yourself, “What does my body truly need versus what is my mind telling me that I want?” Are you physically tired? Maybe your body needs rest, a hot bath, sexual satisfaction, daily recreation, or stretching.

Emotional Self: Your Inner Child

Rubbing the thumb and third finger on your left hand together represents the emotional self. As adults, we often react automatically on an emotional level. Instead, bring to mind the image, sensation, and voice of yourself at a younger age. What does this emotional part of you need? Do you need acceptance, love, security, or reassurance? Are you angry, sad, or in pain? Do you need to cry or scream into a pillow? Perhaps you need to play, sing, or dance? If you have difficulty identifying the underlying emotion, it may be helpful to start with willingness. I find that affirmations go a long way to accomplish this. Once you have identified it, your biggest challenge may be to express the negative emotions in a positive way. Remember, you deserve to have your emotional needs met. And trust me, as you accept your inner child’s emotions and allow them to be expressed, you will no longer feel the need to stuff or suppress the emotion with negative behaviors.

Intellectual Self: Your Intelligent, Capable Adult

Rubbing the thumb and pointer finger on your left hand together represents the mental self. Your mental self is the part of your mind and personality that operates effectively in the world. It is the resource that has all the information regarding making sound decisions. This is the powerful, capable adult that can be assertive in getting your needs met. Ask your intelligent adult self to evaluate the alternatives to destructive behavior and help von make the choice that will take you toward your goal of being light, healthy, and happy.

Spiritual Self: The Nurturing Parent

Rubbing the thumb and middle finger of your left hand together represents the spiritual self. Get a sense of the part of you that loves your inner child unconditionally. This part is capable of being the perfect nurturing parent that the child within you has always needed. This is the spiritual aspect of your being that can generate unconditional love. Ask yourself what you need spiritually. Maybe this facet of your life has been neglected. Your spirituality may need nurturing through prayer, meditation, reading, or enjoying the beauty of nature.

Staying in Communication with Your Inner Team

Use this technique of communicating with your physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual team as often as possible. The more you stop to ask them and the more you trust your inner resources, the stronger they will become. The bottom line is to discover what is the most living thing that you can do for yourself right now, knowing that overeating and similar negative behaviors are not the answer. You will find that the answers you need are within you. All you have to do is give them room to be heard.

To learn more about Christine Rosche or The Light Living Program, visit To purchase a copy of her new book Light Living: A Whole Person Approach to Well-Being and Weight, go to Christine’s Web site or call (800) 297-5943. Telephone consultations on nutrition and weight management are available.


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