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What If Letting Go Of The Pain Means Losing Everything?

by Karen
(United Kingdom)

I have been trying to put my thoughts into words since you asked me to tell you my story. I started reading about anger management and wrote 4 pages about the things that happened in my life, but I still have not managed to get to the heart of it.

I've been trying to look at my emotions to find out what I really feel. I find it hard to get to the bottom of it all as it seems that underneath almost every emotion there is another emotion. Where does this end?

*Do I want a happy and healthy relationship? Yes.
*How do I feel when I think of getting into a relationship? Scared!
*How do I feel when I think that I don't have to get into another relationship? Relieved. I don't think it would work anyway.
*How do I feel when I think of letting go of the love I feel for the last man I was with? I feel like I'm betraying him.
*How do I feel when I think of some of the things he's said and done? It makes me feel angry and guilty straight away as he's done more good things than bad things. He's a good guy. I don't want to be angry at him, but I don't understand the bad things.
*How do I feel when I think of some of the things I have said and done? Guilty, but I'm trying to justify.

I want to be able to let him go so he can stay in my life, but as soon as I finish this thought my internal voice starts screaming in agony. I scream a lot when I'm in a relationship, silently most of the time. I'm trying to keep my pain to myself.

I don't want to scare the man off. I'm afraid to say what's on my mind because I know I won't be short of sarcastic comments. I'm afraid he will reject me if I tell him about my thoughts. I'm scared that I will lose the man that I'm with. I usually do. Unless I'm not in love with him, then he wants to stay.

I don't hit people, I don't lose it on a regular basis, but I can constantly feel my emotions raging inside of me. I can feel it in my stomach and in my throat. I want this to stop.

He said: I know it's frustration, after listening to my sarcastic comments for a while. He knows it is the pain I'm feeling that is causing my behaviour. He can see behind the wall I've put around me. Not many people have managed to do that. He takes my words patiently. Seeing him like this makes me feel even worse. I feel guilty for not being able to handle this differently. I'm watching myself and I keep thinking that I need to stop, I need to shut up. But I sometimes just can't.

When it's really bad and I'm by myself, the wall is even higher. It feels like nobody can reach me and I cannot escape. I don't want to be in this place. It is dark, lonely, painful, scary and destructive. My thoughts circle around the pain I've been feeling since we stopped seeing each other and how I can get rid of it. When it gets really really bad I even think about getting rid of myself. It's not what I want, but it seems to be the only option at times.

I am confused but also hopeful since I've started reading about anger management. If this is my problem then it should be possible to do something about it. I just don't know where to start.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Karen, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you are very motivated to learn what's going on, and to heal. I will try to help.

First, in response to the question in your story's title...when you let go of the pain, the only thing you lose is the pain. As a matter of fact, holding onto the pain will keep you separated from your true love, and keep you in turmoil. See the link below about grieving for more on this and how to let go of the pain.

You said you don't know where to start--you've already started. Here's what you've done so far:

1) You reached out for help

2) You followed my suggestion

3) You started writing

That's a great start!

It is great that you've begun writing. Keep going, and write until all of the stories are told. Focus on all of the important relationships you've had, good and bad. Look for patterns. It takes a while to get to the depths of your own personal story, and your relationship history goes all the way back to the womb.

The journaling exercises described on this page will guide you.

You asked, "Where does it end" regarding the depths of your emotions--good question. The deepest emotion in you is love--the need to love and be loved. Next is your pain, hurt and sorrow. After that is your fear, and then your anger. If you imagine it as concentric circles, the anger is on the outside, then the fear, then the pain, and the heart of the matter is your need to love and be loved. You will find that diagram described in detail in this book.

You can do this, Karen. I can tell you're an intelligent, good person. You mentioned your internal struggle about being in a relationship or not--the most important relationship at this point is your relationship with yourself. There is a wise, good woman inside you, and it is time for you to get to know her and start listening to your own inner guidance. To do this, you may need some space and distance from the man in your life, that is for you to decide.

Believe in yourself and the goodness in your heart.

And never, ever give up on yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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