When something causes us pain the only thing we want is to make it stop. We want something to make the bad feelings go away and we’ll use whatever works to make that happen. It’s just how we’re wired and it’s been that way since birth.
For example, if Toddler You learned that throwing a tantrum made her feel better, Adult You probably has a tendency to come uncorked and maybe even lash out at whoever or whatever triggered the unpleasant feelings.
Or, if you were given a toy or food as a distraction or to make you stop crying, you’re probably going use that same strategy as an adult. The same pattern could involve TV, shopping, sex, complaining, you name it. Of course, another popular choice for dealing with unwanted feelings is stuffing them down and pretending nothing’s wrong. Whatever the case, if the strategy worked for you at all, you used it again.
The same goes for physical issues too, of course. How many routinely take pain killers to mask headaches and soreness rather than asking why they keep getting them? If you’ve read my ‘Menopause at 32’ story in Living the Life You Love, you know I had a whole list of strategies to avoid dealing with the reason for my own pain and I stayed in a tail-chasing cycle for years.
So, yes, distractions, diversions and denial can work for a while, but it’s kind of like accruing interest charges. It may not seem like that big of a deal at first, but the longer you let it go, the bigger the bill gets—and it’s going to come due in one way or another.
So, what do you do when the pain comes?
First and foremost you recognize it. Through simple awareness, you create a shift. You create a moment between the trigger and the reaction that gives you time for choice—the choice to not automatically react as you always have.
That’s it. You don’t have to have all the answers in that moment. You just have to know that you have choices. As young Captain Kirk said in Star Trek Into Darkness, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I only know what I can do.”
What you can do is simply not do what you’ve always done in the past. And that changes everything.
I really love your style Paula. You look great!
I have a real issue regards to being over protective of grown kids & a situation which I don’t see my little 17 mos old grandson very much at all. I love that little fellow and find that not seeing him and dealing with the issues of my daughter in law have been way beyond stressful. I believe she is jealous of the baby and my own son. If we’re getting along it won’t be long until she gets my son and I pitted against each other. I’m working hard on sending her birthday cards etc., but I can’t please her no matter what I do. Maybe for a short time and then she goes into fighting mode. I go into defensive mode. Not sure how to handle this situation. I love all 3 of my kids and their families. but it’s painful when someone uses a child like what is happening here. In fact, my side of the family have not even meant this baby yet. My son has a business and is gone a lot but she is with him too which is good from time to time. I just want them to take good care of that little angel and be safe & they do that. But it hurts my feelings to not be needed and its been like that since the baby was born. HE loves me and I love him. When together He knows I’m his Grandma. WE’re bonded. Still….this has caused me grief big time. And many times of defending myself for what? Not sure. Can’t get a straight answer. Accusations but no facts. I work in a job that requires FACTS & that’s my story. I am so blessed with my kids, my 86 yr old mom and the rest of my family and friends. Praying for change of hearts on those that keep the baby away from me. How sad for him, how sad for me. Thank you for your wisdom. You’re one in a million. Oh, how do I stop pain. Letting dr’s give me meds that are bad for me for anxiety. Allergies to most which is dangerous. Need to stay off those and working to do so now. It’s a band aid for pain for sure.
I feel your anguish! As much as we may want something, there are times when we just can’t seem to make it happen. I know what I am going to say may seem a little odd, but it really does work–you have to step back from the situation, give yourself some breathing room and do some really intense work on yourself. As impossible as it may seem, when we change ourselves, everything in our world changes with it. When we are no longer sending out the same vibes, we won’t get the same reactions. That said, everyone else still has free will and choice, but getting clear on why you’re having the feelings and reactions you are will help you see options you can’t now when you are in the middle of the situation. It is really important that you focus your efforts on yourself. When you become happier, so will others. It sure happened that way for me and my youngest daughter. She was really struggling and I was engaged in the same old cycles with her over it. Once I healed myself, it freed her from the cycle and she was then able to begin her own path of self-discovery and healing. It has been so amazing to see that unfold and to feel peace and joy instead of fear and drama. You can do this! Let me know if I can help.