I Feel Your Pain Too!…….But, Its Not My Pain………I'm Experiencing Sympathy Pains.

Sympathy pain is a term that refers to feeling physical or psychological symptoms from witnessing someone else’s discomfort. Such feelings are most often talked about during pregnancy, where a person might feel like they’re sharing the same pains as their pregnant partner. Apr 14, 2563 BE

tierneytherapy

2021-08-17 3 min read

I am hopeful that people are beginning to understand why we are treating Past Trauma Memory and PTS all wrong. The client is not presenting something that happened to them, but sympathy pains they are suffering for a past aspect of themselves.

I love to repeat this truth over and over again:

We cannot be in two places at once

We cannot be in two different time zones at the same time

We cannot change any part of our HISTORY

We cannot live our past in the now, trying to do do causes the present to become unmanageable

Attempting to heal another’s pain will drive us insane

Attempting to process another's pain will drive us insane

Medicating ourselves for another’s pain will affect our moods and drive us insane.

I recall playing in the captain’s prize qualifying round at Coolattin golf club, in county Wicklow, Ireland. I was playing off 17 handicap, and for some unknown reason, played like Tiger Woods. On the 17th tee, my playing partner pointed out that i was 2 under gross. I almost blew up but managed to get into the clubhouse at 2 over gross, if I remember correctly.

Two weeks later I go out in the actual captain’s prize ,my handicap cut to 11[10.6] and having great intentions of repeating the feat, fell apart. I realized in that moment, I would never be able to recapture or recreate a past event in the same way. One might come close, but that game of golf was gone from me forever, I would always have the fond memory of how that 29 year old version of me played, but it certainly wasn't this 60 year old golfer who shot 2 over gross in Coolattin golf club all those years ago.

In the same way I am 60 years old today, married to my beautiful wife Pawarisa, with our two young adults, Khareena and Kevin. I cannot be the 12 year old aspect of me; who suffered the trauma event; so am carrying sympathy pains for this younger version of me that I care deeply for.

For the reader, before joining me here you might have felt I should be locked up; that I am not a clinical or licensed professional; you are just waiting for me to hang myself with my words, and suddenly, your perspective of PTSD has changed; you are looking at it from a different angle, you are thinking of a veteran you work with who has been through the mill of different therapists and despite all your best efforts; you are making no headway in helping him break free on the nightmares and flashbacks. This idea of Sympathy Pains resonates with you and you believe this might just work with your client. You are now changed, you are no longer the person you were before you started reading this blog, you have newfound wisdom and a different outlook that has changed how you look at treating PTSD patients. I don't believe its possible for you to go back, you are a new creation.

Or

On reading this ,you find yourself more angry, more adamant that what I am sharing is poppycock and you are going to do whatever it takes to stop me. Before you were concerned, now you are committed to taking action. You can’t go back to just being concerned; that is no longer who you are; that is an old aspect of you [even if only 5 minutes ago].

In the same way each client who presents with a Past Trauma Memory or PTSD is not presenting their story; but a part of their History, belonging to a past aspect of themselves; and the feelings they are presenting with are Sympathy Pains.

I cannot feel your pain in my body

I cannot take medication for a pain in your body

I cannot have an operation for a pain in your body

I am only alive today, yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery.

I cannot change the past in any way

I can feel the pain of a younger aspect of me… but I cannot own it for them.. what I find myself doing is experiencing Sympathy Pains for them.