What Should I Do With My Painful Feelings?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
June 21, 2021

Do you have a hard time knowing what your pain is about and what to do with your painful feelings?

managing painful feelings, compassion, self-compassion

Jane asks: Like so many others, I am disconnected from my feelings much of the time. When I do experience my feelings, I typically do not even know what emotion I am feeling and instead have tears from my eyes and trembling in my voice when I allow the feelings to come, regardless of what the emotion might be. Is crying truly releasing the feeling/energy or is it another form of resistance and still blocking the feeling? Is it necessary to identify the actual feeling I am experiencing or is it sufficient to just feel the sensations, whatever they may be and allow the energy to flow so it can be released and resolved? I was shamed very early on for crying and in fact my mother boasts that I was such a good baby and rarely cried. Obviously, I quickly learned crying was counterproductive for getting my infant needs met. Then there is the issue of what is appropriate behavior for functioning in this reality. Being in the world and conducting the business of life doesn’t exactly lend itself for having my feelings in the moment, especially with tears seeming to always flow and getting choked up no matter what I am feeling. I would so appreciate your input on this.”

What I would say to Jane is that, for now, let go of trying to name the emotion.

It’s far less important to name the emotion than to be lovingly present for it.

As a baby, you were not seen, valued, connected with and attuned to. This is very traumatic for an infant. In fact, the opposite happened and instead of being lovingly held when you cried, you were shamed. So I would guess that now, the baby in you cries from the heartbreak of this. It’s also possible that you learned to treat yourself the way your mother treated you, disconnecting from yourself. This could be causing even more deep pain.

Whenever you can, even if you have to go into a bathroom stall at work, take some time to hold your inner baby with kindness and gentleness, rocking her as you would rock an actual crying baby. Just as an actual baby can’t tell you why she is crying, your traumatized infant can’t tell you why she is crying. So, instead of disconnecting from yourself, take a little time to hold yourself with love and compassion. In order to do this, you need to open your heart to spirit and bring love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and tenderness to the crying infant within you.

If, when these tears come up, you can arrange to be held by a loving person who knows what you are trying to heal, and can “mother” you through the tears, this can be very healing for you. Do you have a friend or relative who is a motherly person who can give you some of the holding that your mother didn’t give to you? It’s not always easy to find, but if you recognize that you need this, you might be able to manifest it in your life. Sometimes, a therapist can provide this.

It is not enough to just cry and allow the energy to be released.

This would be like just allowing an infant to cry rather than holding and comforting her. The pain gets released and healed not only by crying, but through the feeling of being held, accepted, nurtured, and loved.

You might also want to seek out some trauma therapy, as the trembling indicates there may be blocked trauma in your body. I have found EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique – which you can learn online and do yourself) to be very helpful in releasing trauma, as well as TRE (Trauma Release Exercises). Many have found SE (Somatic Experiencing) or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to be helpful as well.

I have done many forms of therapy, but none have been as healing for me as practicing Inner Bonding and learning to show up as a loving adult holding myself with love and compassion, and receiving the mothering I didn’t receive as a child.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

Image by Jackson David from Pixabay





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