December 25th, 2012, by Shelley Riutta
When you were little, if you experienced pain and your parents were too caught up in their own world to comfort you or they were the ones causing you pain–you developed methods to block the pain. To feel the pain and have no way to process it 0r to have someone comfort you is very overwhelming for a child. Kids will begin to block painful feelings very early on if they are in this kind of environment. The part of us that does this is our Wounded Adult Child—meaning a protective part of us that had to intervene and protect against pain.
We all have different methods of protecting against our pain–over thinking, overeating, overworking, being obsessed with being perfect, over-focusing on others, daydreaming, watching TV, or reading etc. The last two I mentioned, watching TV and reading can either be coming from an intention to block pain and avoid—or they can be a healthy form of enjoyment. For example you can watch a movie to avoid some painful feelings you are having and you want to escape—or you want to have some enjoyment and fun by watching the movie—same activity but different intentions.
As an adult–blocking our pain ends up getting in our way. The methods we use to block pain can get in the way of us feeling deeply connected to ourselves–and our capacity to connect with others. Our feelings are part of us—and if we are blocking them–we are missing a deep connection with ourselves.
The truth is that you are an adult now and you have the capacity to process your feelings, comfort yourself—or get support and comfort from those around you. You aren’t alone with your pain anymore. The Wounded Adult Child part of you needs to be reassured of this—these parts of you are locked in the past and feel like what was happening back then is the current environment—they are tirelessly blocking your pain, your feelings because they feel they need to for your survival! It can take time for these blocking mechanisms to relax and acclimate to what is truly happening. These protective parts believe that if you feel pain—it will be overwhelming and that you might even die. Reassure them that you can handle the pain now–you can share with others how you are feeling, you can journal your feelings, you can seek the support of a therapist.
You are now fully capable of feeling and processing your pain—both from the past and pain from the present.