Tips from a chronic pain recovery therapist
A theme I’ve noticed with clients is that they want to start using expressive writing as part of their chronic pain recovery, but they feel so much resistance to the activity that they just can’t get themselves to write.
When we peel back the layers of their resistance to writing, often what we uncover is a fear of the emotions that writing may bring up: Specifically, anger.
It’s no wonder that many of us feel afraid to unearth feelings of anger. There are plenty of good reasons for this. For example, were you taught that your anger is “bad”? And how was anger modeled for you by elders when you were growing up? Did you have a parent who always suppressed their anger and never let it out? Or did you have a parent who let their anger explode in destructive ways? Maybe all of the above?
Very few of us have had healthy expressions of anger modeled for us. Maybe that’s because we live in a hierarchical culture where we are trained to do as we’re told and never express anger.
But anger is an emotion that our nervous systems are designed to produce. We need anger for survival. Anger is fuel ⛽️ for self-protection. Anger is how we know that our boundaries are not being respected. Anger calls us to assert ourselves, shake off stagnation and set our life energy free!
When we are trained to suppress our anger, we are made vulnerable to boundary violations. Suppressing our own survival mechanisms is a form of self-abandonment.
We can suppress our survival mechanisms, but we can’t turn them off — our body won’t allow it. So when we suppress anger, it condenses inside of us until it becomes explosive and threatens to chaotically burst 💥 through our tight grip of control. It wreaks havoc on our insides with symptoms like chronic pain. And it can wreak havoc externally too, through destructive behaviors.
WHAT IF we stop fighting ourselves? What if we stop suppressing anger? Here’s what:
When we ✨accept✨ our anger, honor it, welcome it, respect it, listen to it, love it… it no longer needs to explode chaotically to get our attention.
When we listen to anger respectfully and with curiosity, it can speak to us freely and clearly. It can alert 🚨 us when things are not okay, giving us choice about how to respond, and it can fuel ⛽️ assertive and intentional action in service of our highest well-being. ❤️
Anger paired with acceptance and love can transform into assertive energy that does amazing and wonderful things. Things like…
👉 Breaking free from an unhealthy relationship
👉 Following a passion that turns into a new career path
👉 Tackling years of clutter and transforming your home into a haven
👉 Breaking the cycle of overwork and making time for fun
👉 Setting yourself free from patterns of learned helplessness and taking back your power!
A WRITING EXERCISE
Are you curious about how to listen to your anger with love and acceptance? Here’s something you can try:
With pen and paper ✍️ ask, “Dear anger, what are you feeling? What would you like me to know? What are you trying to protect me from?”
And see what flows onto the page. 📄
You may also want to try the prompt:
✍️ “Dear fear/distrust/dislike of anger, what are you feeling? What would you like me to know? What are you trying to protect me from?”
Sending loads of acceptance, love and encouragement to you and to the beautiful, generative, wise and life-serving potential of your anger. 😍💖
➡️ If you need support with chronic pain and anxiety, take my FREE QUIZ called “Why the *bleep* am I still in pain?!” so I can help you get some clarity.
And follow me on instagram for healing tips, inspiration and encouragement.
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