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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:21 am 
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Hi Harigata,

Welcome to the forum. I'm curious what you see as a success when it comes to primaling alone. What do you experience as an obstacle in your present life and how do you know any new person that offers help, will not be negative and non-supportive? Is Alice Miller's How to find the right therapist something that can help you further?

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:08 pm 
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I've met many therapists who didn't, with whom I couldn't work. Also many patients.....


Are you a therapist yourself? The unbearable truth that a parent has hurt a child's needs, will last a lifetime if you keep looking for replacement parents to fulfill the needs you had as a child. And because the child is prohibited to question his parents, he will blame himself. But a child needed good parents that respected his needs, so it always hoped that the parents would change and finally give him what he needed. I've seen many forms of so-called primal therapy where the old need was re-expressed and projected on others. But it's the pain that needs to be felt of having an old need NOT fulfilled. That way you don't stay small and can grow.

What feeling/ emotion do you think is blocked in yourself?

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:46 pm 
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Harigata wrote:
People in PT don't like it when the person with whom they are working is bringing up issues they rather not deal with.


Harigata wrote:
...they should serve as a sentry while a person turns his attention inwards, a listening, friendly ear, a guide of sorts, motivating the patient to keep facing pain and feeling it, asking questions that will help the patient connect with feelings


What's important is asking yourself questions. If you are looking for others that don't know you, they will ask you questions that you are not ready for, and things will fall apart, because of the defenses against repressed pain. The first step is to take yourself serious. You don't beg for the basic right to live, you OWN it.

Thinking that you're a nobody, unfortunately shows the lack of self-respect. Many therapists will try to change your thinking, making you say: 'I am a somebody', and will let you repeat it a thousand times, until you are distracted enough to believe it. Writers like Wayne Dyer got rich by this and his books sold over 50 million copies.

This way nobody has to worry about the people who installed such feelings in a person. But the truth is that it's the voice of your parents, teachers or other people from your childhood, that went hand in hand with an arsenal of threats, punishments, humiliations, ignorance. And you give them your power, and turn the blame to yourself. Time to stand up and rebel.

If you look for other people that deal with childhood injury, maybe http://www.topica.com/lists/ourchildhood.int is a way. But don't put all your eggs in one basket. No one is offering a complete healing. But there are ways and books that will help you getting more healed. Have you read Alice Miller's Banished Knowledge and Breaking Down the Wall of Silence? Or Jean Jenson's Reclaiming Your Life. Or Stettbacher's Making Sense of Suffering. They all can contribute to a better integration of your childhood injury.

It's also important to start dealing with healthier people. If you have - for example - problems with spontaneity, then why not spend time with spontaneous people? That way you start wondering what has happened with your own spontaneity, and why you feel inhibited, which will undoubtedly lead to the discovery and expression of old pain. Again, as an example, because I don't know you.

Don't worry about being 'rantish' or not. There are no written rules how you express yourself. It's up to you.

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:54 am 
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So, if I understood you right, you want a person that visits or call you in person, who will keep telling you that it's okay what you feel when feeling repressed pain. This forum only has a handful of members, so coming in here and demanding the help of a person is a struggle destined to lose. If you understood PT, you know that it's the struggle you re-create. You keep saying that so far you haven't met a single person who could feel your pain. That's because nobody can feel the pain for you. There are people who have made excellent progress with Stettbacher's, Ellie van Winkle's or Jean Jensson's self-help therapy. These people are not fully healed, but they don't walk around with suicidal or self-destructive thoughts anymore. You all wipe that from the table and want your needs being met by a stranger. PT also starts with asking questions, most therapies or forms of healing do. Asking yourself the right questions will lead you to repressed pain. And it's a very scary and frightful process. Just like it was in reality in your childhood. And the feeling of not being able to do anything about it, is also connected to old repressed feelings because it was exactly that when you were very small: you couldn't do a damn thing about it. Now as an adult, you have a few more options, but the overall feeling of not being able to stand up and fight, overshadows everything.

And the promise that you can help another person who is in the same boat as you, is wishful thinking. I say this because I've been there myself. It's the curse of every therapist out there: if I help someone enough, that someone can help me then. I had a depressed mother and I always thought if I could help her, she would finally see my needs and she would be able to fulfill them and be a good mother. It never happened and as an adult I continued with this in seeking troubled, depressed women to give my total devotion. But they never saw me or my needs. They pulled me towards them and rejected me at random, completely at will.

But like you say, words have no impact on you, so I just want to say that you may try the forum at http://www.topica.com/lists/ourchildhood.int where there are a lot more people that claim to listen. This forum and site focus on prevention of child abuse, and healing is a personal venture that often needs much more than just a forum or website.

I hope you will choose to live.

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:19 pm 
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D. (or Harigata), Hang in there. You got a fairly insensitive reply :twisted: , but that only says things about the person who gave it.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:39 pm 
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And what does it say about the rest of the people who DON'T say anything? The term 'hang in there' is a term from the poisonous pedagogy. As if things just disappear if you wait or struggle long enough. To me that's much more insensitive than my replies. I don't pretend that I'm responsible for another person's suffering. I'm not the causer and I'm not giving any illusions. There are people 'primaling' for 20 years with 'buddies' and haven't got anywhere.

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:14 pm 
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Harigata wrote:
Though in sharing, alas, we do interact and take responsibility for others, and there are certain burdens (and reciprocity) involved.


The term 'buddy session' comes from 'primal groups' that are often founded on toxic beliefs. Let's get back to the topic of your posts and your statement that your experience so far with helping people is not positive in any way. It's you who chooses or have chosen these people. How can you be sure that the next person that offers help, doesn't end up the same way as the others? Neurotic people choose neurotic relationships. Abusive adults seek abusive relationships. And if you understand Janov's work, you know it's about re-creating the struggle, THAT'S what is important to the neurotic. If I was in an agitated period of pain and frustration, I wouldn't say thank you to a person who tells me to 'hang in there'.

I don't know you, I'm giving some ideas based on what you write, which isn't too much. It's up to you to do something with that or not. What I'm saying is, why look for unhealthy, damaged people to get help from, when there are healthy or healthier people around?

Harigata wrote:
It may cause you to ask yourself the wrong questions, give yourself the wrong answers, or simply become confused or overwhelmed (the exact nature of this depends on one's personal primal burden) and eventually either abandon therapy, invent a neurotic form of 'therapy' or just start moving around in circles, doing 'primal therapy' without really confronting any of the major issues in your subconsience.


I don't disagree with this. That's why it's very important to continue the process until the old pain is fully integrated. Of course not every question you will ask yourself will give you a good outcome, but the most important questions you can ask yourself in these situations are:

    What do I feel
    What do I need?
    What do I want?

And then make a connection to yourself as a child and ask the same questions. If you have trouble making that connection, photographs of your childhood may help or even certain music or movies. No one is pushing you to hurry with this but every expression you make in connection to your childhood, is towards healing. Of course this is very easy to say and reality is much harder, especially because in our world, it's hard to find the time for it. The aforementioned writers can help asking you the right questions. I like to add John Bradshaw as well, to make that emotional connection to childhood easier.

Harigara wrote:
Add to that the fact that not all of us share the same conditions of life. The same person can do mighty well self primaling in a relaxed environment, while having his therapy come to a screeching, painful halt in a stressful, unpleasant environment full of 'triggers' and antagonism. I've been there, and that piled up some new injuries on top of my older ones.


When I started to confront my childhood emotionally, I lived again with my abusive parents, was out of a job, was eventually out of income and had to face daily threats of being kicked on the streets. So I wonder what your current situation is that makes it hard for you to be hesitant about facing up your childhood injury. I like to think that if you have made it to adulthood, then you are now stronger than when you were a child and can therefore be more confrontational towards old and current abuse.

Harigata wrote:
since trauma is a result of interactions between people, it seems appropriate to me that healing should also be based on interaction.


I like to say: based on HEALTHY interaction. But that's the sort of loop adults-abused-as-children end up in - or being stuck as you call it - that they keep choosing toxic relationships (re-creating the struggle). Here you can read a great description of the difference between a real and unreal person.

And have you read the case study of Nathan in Janov's Primal Healing?

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:23 am 
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Hi harigata, I came over here from Daniel Mackler's site (just recently joined) and I wanted to offer a few thoughts.

I have been looking for people to do mutual 'therapy' with, without success so far - the best I'm able to do is find friends who are sympathetic about various issues and sort of 'trade' with them. That is, I try really hard to balance out *my* need for talking and being heard with being sure I listen as well as I can when it's *their* turn to tell a story. And I also make an effort to draw them out on things I know they've been worried about or struggling with. This actually seems to work pretty well, but there's still some deeper stuff that doesn't quite get touched. For that work I've had best luck with an energy worker. I could tell you more about that if you're interested.

Mainly, I wanted to respond to a couple of your comments that resonated with me:

harigata wrote:
I got so used to getting from therapists who don't feel comfortable when confronted with raw human emotions in a primal session. And no, not to 'keep saying' but rather to say very little, no more than is needed to asset the fact that one is, in fact, not alone in a room but with somebody who 'cares'. For some reason, most therapists feel the need to confront patients about various insane stuff that comes up during therapy, not realizing that letting it run it's course is what they really need to do in order to FACILITATE HEALING.

I've struggled with this with therapists too, and have basically fired every single one of them for their failure of empathy. I haven't read all your comments yet, but if you haven't yet read Alice Miller (and I think Dennis already suggested this?), her idea of 'enlightened witnessing' is what you're really talking about. For someone who actually *cares* enough to get into your emotional space with you, and give you a safe 'container' to do your work in.

In fact I was just looking up a link on 'attunement', which is the idea of sort of resonating with another person's emotional state. It's about facial expression, tone of voice, touch, body language - very kinesthetic, not just a passive verbal thing. Here's a link if you want one: http://www.uktherapists.com/articles/lifestream/2000/2/02.htm

The first couple paragraphs are sort of annoying techy gobbledygook to make the shrink stuff sound all science-y and 'valid', but the fourth paragraph gets into the meat of the thing.

Quote:
What I'm saying is that I can be a darn good buddy for primal sessions, and receiving this kind of help will put me in a mental state that will enable me to reciprocate in kind. When you're stuck in repressed pain and are not doing anything about it, you become frustrated, you grow weak, you fall pray to your repressed pain. When you are unburdening yourself in regular sessions you start feeling better - you might say your mind begins to breathe. And you are able to start giving to others. I feel that I can, in any event. Do you see any problem with that? Is that neurotic?

Aside from the specific *method* of using primal, which I have no experience with, I personally agree with you on this, at least in theory. I feel the same, that the ability to release *my* stuff will free up emotional space for me to be open-minded to somebody *else's* stuff. In fact, I *know* it works because that's how it works with friends.

The one caveat I would offer is that you not try to do the 'exchange' or 'trade' at the same session - I think it's good to take turns. But that's just a theory, and since I've never actually found someone to do it with, I don't really know. I just have a sense that it might work best, given the intensity of the emotions and all, to have each session be devoted to one person, then switch the next time. But that might just be *me*. :-)

Quote:
Hah, but repressed pain is an anchor to neuroses. You touch pain, you become irrational. That's how it works. It may cause you to ask yourself the wrong questions, give yourself the wrong answers, or simply become confused or overwhelmed (the exact nature of this depends on one's personal primal burden) and eventually either abandon therapy, invent a neurotic form of 'therapy' or just start moving around in circles, doing 'primal therapy' without really confronting any of the major issues in your subconsience. And this is what the majority of people in PT are actually doing, in my humbla opinion.

I don't know how primal works (maybe talk about this in another exchange if you're interested?) What little I've read actually kind of scared me away. But I don't want to go into that just this second, though happy to talk about it, just want to stay on your current topic.

I think what's needed to do this work is to be with someone who's done *enough* of their own work to be able to sort out their stuff from your stuff. Which may be a tall order, and might take some work. Like, you might have to say to the person, "Wait, I think that's *your* stuff, not mine." I've had to do that with therapists, and it's exhausting, becuase it interferes with my process, and it also pisses me off to be teaching them how to do their job when I'm paying them outrageous sums of money.

But, say you find someone who's pretty savvy, and who's open to learning and doing a kind of back-and-forth thing (that would be so cool, I'd *love* to find someone to do this work with in real life!)

Say you find that person. What I think is that the *only* way to finish the unfinished childhood business is for the other person to essentially agree to do their best to be your 'parent', temporarily, for the course of the session. People always say, "nobody can do that, you can't go back, once the damage is done you're screwed."

But I disagree. *I'm* willing to try it, *I'm* willing to do my best to fill that role for somebody, so I'm guessing there are others out there too who'd be willing to experiment. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? So it doesn't work. Well, yeah, that can be frustrating and you could get re-traumatized. But you sound self-aware enough to be creating your own path in the first place, so I'd trust your own instincts about what's helping you and what's not.


Quote:
while having his therapy come to a screeching, painful halt in a stressful, unpleasant environment full of 'triggers' and antagonism. I've been there, and that piled up some new injuries on top of my older ones.

Ugh - been there, done that. I'm just glad I have *enough* of an emotional support system to survive it intact, and have done enough of my own self-therapy to trust my instincts as to when to give an ineffective or destructive therapist the boot.

Quote:
Oh, and one more thing: since trauma is a result of interactions between people, it seems appropriate to me that healing should also be based on interaction.

I TOTALLY and absolutely agree with this!!! I've been saying this myself for years now, and keep looking for others who agree. Looks like I've found one, yay!

I guess I probably didn't offer any useful advice, but I hope you at least feel that there's someone out here on a similar path that's cheering you on, and hoping you find what you need.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:32 am 
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harigata wrote:
Where can I find people I can work with? Not discuss and theorize and feel compassion and reach understanding and shit, but actually express pain, feel it, scream, bang on the pillows etc? People who are willing to consider buddy sessions over the phone?

I'm looking for this too. Though I'm really looking for someone to do it in person with, because I think much of the most important communication is non-verbal. Although in a pinch I have vented over the phone to one friend's answering machine in moments of duress - I have two people right now who are ok with me doing this. And then they call me later when we both have time to talk it through. But the ability to vent on the spot has gotten me away from the edge of the proverbial cliff a number of times now. So I guess the phone can work for some things.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:48 am 
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Sorry my first post is so long and rambly - looks like I can't edit it, unfortunately. When I saw harigata's comments I got all excited thinking, "hey, this person thinks like ME!" and just jumped in, with a thousand thoughts going all different directions at once.

Anyway, Harigata, I hope you come back to this thread, because I'd be interested in 'talking' more with you about this subject.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:45 pm 
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Hi harigata,

Well, whenever you feel like 'talking', let me know :-) And as far as wading through my first post, *I* even find it largely incomprehensible (no, not a self-slam, just acknowledging that when I write while both tired *and* over-excited I become incoherent). So don't feel compelled to read it, if you don't want to. Just know that your ideas are receiving some support here, and that I'd be interested in discussing them if you feel like it. Sounds like we might have some similar notions.

Best wishes,
~mimsy


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Daniel wrote:
What healthier people? As far as I can see, the best chance to find people who would let me express harsh repressed emotions are people who are involved in some sort of regressive therapy themselves.


This is an important issue you raise here. What I think goes on in situations like that, is that these people have the need to re-create the struggle they have experienced as a child. The struggle to make our parents into good parents, and hoping for that constantly. In 1994 I had contacted people through an ad in a large (Dutch) newspaper who would understand the books of Alice Miller. I was still struggling finding other people who would validate what I went through so I was hoping to find that in enlightened people. Even though back then I would have said that I was just curious how other people who are familiar with these issues and who have started confrontations with their childhoods, lead their lives. I got 20 replies, half of them immediately showed no understanding in Miller's work (also they had only read her first book). From the remaining 10, half of them didn't want to start a correspondence about this (resistance towards feelings of pain with still too much shame). From the 5 left, 5 correspondences started, from which 3 ended within a few months because they felt they weren't ready for this. We mutually and respectfully ended the correspondence. With one sympathetic woman, I became friends and she called me (unexpectedly) by phone. The first time I just started to shiver while talking. Eventually I visited her several times. Until the point came that my insights overgrew hers, and she was confronted with her own repressed issues because I was expressing my own. She rejected me instantly. Almost at the same time, one of my other trusted friends turned against me because of a similar situation: I was feeling more then they did and I became a threat to them. She rejected me as well. Then I got into an episode of feeling these rejections by feeling immense pain and confusion. I reached rock-bottom. I had no choice but to re-directed these feelings to my own mother, and it felt afterwards I had burst through a wall, and I realized I was projecting my needs of a healthy, good mother, on damaged women who would be able to see my pain. That was a decisive moment in my life. However, I was still writing with the last remaining pen friend through that ad, in total 13 years and hundreds and hundreds of handwritten pages. Until the point my own insights about myself became a threat to her and she rejected me instantly. This is bound to happen when you communicate with damaged people. What is much harder is to make yourself search for healthier people, and deal with upcoming issues alone or with others (not just one person). You are bound to fall a couple of times along the way, but the moments you get up again, count. And if there are people nearby that can help you when you're down, that's great, but ultimately it's up to you that you confront your emotional past.

And one more thing: your pain is not a burden to others. The burden lies upon those who have caused you that pain. If you are in pain, you have every right to express that.

Primal Therapy is about feeling worse before you can feel better, because it's the repressed pain that needs to be felt, bit by bit. Anyone in his of her right mind - I was no exception - would not go through with that. Only those who reached rock bottom, or had met an enlightened witness/ therapist, were able to pull themselves through such intense periods.

Dennis

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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 11:10 pm 
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Hey harigata,

Quote:
I'm 35 years old, and have been dying, a minute at a time, for 35 years.

Of course it's ok for you to say this, it's what is true for you. For each of us, our own experience is our only real truth.

As to whether it's ok to say it here, I guess that's up to Dennis.

My perception is that Dennis is not responding to you the way you need - with compassion and understanding. Instead he appears to question you, which (I'm guessing) is a re-play of your past experiences.

I think you are engaging Dennis in a way that repeats the power struggles with your parents. You see him as an authority figure (even if only in a small way) because he runs this blog, and you know that he could cut you off if you anger him too much.

You also really NEED to be angry, because in the past your anger has always acted to destroy your relationships. (I'm guessing here, based on my own experience. If I'm wrong, please ignore.)

Healthy relationships have room for anger and conflict, and your instincts know this. Your anger is telling you to seek people who allow you to be angry, who continue to talk to you even when you're really pissed off.

So you're trying to resolve the old pain/anger/frustration from the parents by engaging with someone whose behavior reminds you of them.

The tricky part is that if you attack someone with your anger, you can provoke a rejecting response from nearly anyone, even people who care for you quite a lot.

This is something I'm working on learning myself right now, so again if I'm projecting and am off the mark, please ignore my comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 11:27 pm 
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to harigata again,

Last comment too blabby again.

I think I know where you're coming from - the wish for death being about making the pain stop.

The pain doesn't stop because nobody will LISTEN to your pain, you can't find anyone who will let you speak about it as much as you need to.

So you're looking for a place to do that. I hope Dennis will encourage you to speak your pain as much as you need to.

*I* encourage you to speak your pain as much as you need to. I'm 45 and I *still* struggle with that pain on a daily basis. I recognize that the only way to heal it is *through* it, as they say, and that requires the 'enlightened witness'. We can't do it alone.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 12:31 am 
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It looks like you've reached rock bottom, Daniel. Of course it's okay to say that you're tired and feel like dying. Because you have that feeling for such a long time, this forum probably won't turn that around instantly. I know it probably feels like it's too much for you but no one forces you to get better all at once. Focus on small steps. When it comes to feeling the agony of death or dying, I believe as long as you allow yourself to feel it, it won't turn into a destructive act where you will physically hurt yourself. Such feelings may be very intense and painful, you even may scream, or cry, and having trouble breathing, or vomiting, you may get cramps, even may lose consciousness. In such cases, allow your body to trust it. I know words won't do it in a situation like that and often the mind loses any analytical thought, but feelings can never hurt the body, they heal them.

Harigata wrote:
Reality proves the opposite. There is a certain emotional reserve we draw upon when we repress pain. Having to do so all through childhood can result in a very unhealthy, often dysfunctional adult. Oh, he may be genetically strong, but he'll be very neurotic and helpless.... there are so many people who have only partially survived growing up, spending their adult years leading broken lives....


I'm not familiar with the term 'genetically strong'. But an adult is stronger than a child, even if the child consciousness tells him he's not. That's why - as adults - the formerly repressed feelings are sipping through, one way or the other.

Mimsy, what I write to Daniel is in the context of Primal Theory/Therapy. For an outsider who is not familiar with that, it may look strange. Daniel doesn't say much about himself or his situation so I cannot get very personal to him. A lot of people contact me with problems and I'm not a professional, I cannot provide people the help they deserve, simply because I don't have the time for that. What I can do is tell them what they are able to do on their own and write on the forum about my opinion and my own experiences (it's not a blog by the way). And I can understand that people feel angry and the anger is justified, but the direction is wrong. It shouldn't be directed to yourself or random people, but to the people who have raised you. Again and again. That's not going to last forever but it's essential that it's felt towards the right people.

A good friend of mine, while dealing with suicidal thoughts - started to write a letter to himself, and then to his parents, and it brought him eventually closer to his pain and he could finally feel it. It's one example that worked for this particular person, maybe it works for other people.

Mimsy wrote:
We can't do it alone.


I know this feeling and I've said it myself many times, but I was really afraid of doing it alone, of going through it. As a child I couldn't and therefore I kept saying it to myself many times: I cannot do it alone, I need someone. Until I reached the point I let go and expressed the anger, agony and pain alone, fearing I couldn't do it alone. Nobody can feel the pain for you.

Dennis

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