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Your Pain Management System

By Phyllis Stein
April 05, 2010

Inner Bonding is about replacing the old pain management system that you created to survive with a new one that is designed so that you can thrive.

There is often a lot of baggage around the terms "being in your wounded self." "trying to control," etc.  Although at this point, when I notice that I am doing these things, I can quickly move into the intent to learn about how I have been abandoning myself, there is still a certain "Yuck" factor at the moment that I notice that this is happening.  So I am wondering if it might be helpful to say, instead, "Oh, I am using my old pain management system."  Doesn't feel quite so yucky does it?

We all needed to create a pain management system.  It is our intrinsic nature to feel, both pain and pleasure. This has been true since birth or even before.  Few of us were received by loving parents who saw who we really were and valued us for it.  We knew that.  We felt that automatically, even as tiny babies, and the pain was unbearable.  So even if there was no overt neglect or abuse, this pain was overwhelming and we needed to learn to manage it in order to survive.  We began to create our pain management systems.

Things happened.  People's hearts were closed.  People left or died.  We feel lonely and scared.  We were treated badly and in some cases horribly beyond belief. And our pain management systems grew in size and complexity, based on the tools we had available, and often copying the pain management systems of the people around us.

So here we are learning Inner Bonding and one question we are really asking, as we open to learning about ourselves is "What is my pain management system and how well is it working for me?"  Is it helping me feel peace, joy and love or leaving me feeling empty and miserable?  All of what we call our wounded behaviors is about nothing more than using our old systems for managing pain.  The rest is details.  Control, judgment, caretaking, scaring ourselves, addiction, all of these behaviors are part of the pain management system that we created.  Even not feeling our own feelings and knowing we are in pain is about our particular pain management system.

In this context, Inner Bonding can be seen as an extremely powerful way to create a new pain management system, almost from scratch.  Inner Bonding gives us a choice to systematically replace our old system with this new one.  When we notice that we are using our old pain management system, we get, immediately, that there must be some internal pain that we are trying to manage using the automatic ways that we used to survive.  This is the most essential realization of Inner Bonding, the realization that allows us to choose a new pain management system of love and compassion instead of doing thing that cause us misery or trying to fix things on the outside.  Once we get that, we are able to choose to tune into that pain and heal it.  Instead of using the old tools of judgment, or control or shame or blame or addiction, we can consciously choose the new system of bringing guidance, love and compassion to the pain and to the old ways that we coped with it.  We also understand that everyone else is using their old pain management systems too and that is the entire reason they are acting the way they do.

Clearly, this does not happen overnight and it is something we have to choose.  But maybe you can just hold to these fundamental principles: "The reason this uncomfortable thing is happening is that I am using an old pain management system. It has nothing to do with anything else. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic worth.  I know that there is a much better way to manage my pain and I am committed to learning it,"  That might make it easier to stay out of self-judgment and open to learning about how your particular pain management system works and what new and exciting choices are coming into your life now. 



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