Friday, February 6, 2015

Phantom pains

There's this phenomenon that occurs to people who have lost a limb; long after the limb is gone it will generate pangs of pain. The pain is generated in the mind, but is felt physically in the missing limb. This is called phantom pains.

I thought about this after a fellow leaver emailed me writing about unresolved anger towards his dad and the family business. He had left a year or so earlier, but was still trying to find his way in life. From his perspective he was failing and that feeling was creating pain.

I'm guessing you've experienced this at one time or another, being thrown back to painful emotions you thought you had left behind...

For me it is usually brought on by belittlement—it awakens the pain felt by a criticizing dad/boss. But it's a phantom pain; the lacking self-worth I had grown up with is gone, I've defeated that dragon. Yet, the memory of it exists in the mind and every now and then is felt in the "limb".

Recognizing this is the first step in overcoming it. Once you do, the anger will subside, clarity will return and you will regain control. It's not an easy process, but you stand to learn so much about yourself if you choose to try.

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