Pin It

The Voices of Pain: Unraveling Judgments and Finding our Feelings and Unmet Needs

“The crucified give pain because they are in pain. But the redeemed give joy because they have been healed of pain. Everyone gives as he receives, but he must choose what it will be that he receives. And he will recognize his choice by what he gives, and what is given him. Nor is it given anything in hell or Heaven to interfere with his decision.” – ACIM

I wanted to address two comments that I received in response to the Entropy and My Kitten post. When I received these comments, I immediately thought of a post I wrote way back when about the importance of not labeling people. These comments feel like what I’ve done myself many times, which is to wrap up a lot of assumptions in a few words, and go from zero to 100 mph in five seconds flat.

These commenters are in pain. How do I know that? Because the comments are filled with judgments, and whenever we (myself included) get into the realm of judgment, we are in pain. No, I am not going to equivocate on this one and say something like “well, everyone is on their own path.” That is true of course, but it is also true that judgment of self or others leads to one place, and one place only: a place called Pain.

Let’s first take the comment from Anonymous:

good lord what a charmed life you’ve lead. this is your “huge trauma”? Try getting brain cancer doing radiation and chemo… you have no idea what real trauma is.

I don’t know anything about Anonymous. Anonymous is posting anonymously (presumably) because he or she is scared to reveal him or herself. Which is fine. I appreciate all of the anonymous comments (well, almost all of them ;-).

Notice how many assumptions are in Anonymous’ comment:
1. Assumes I have led a “charmed life”
2. Assumes that whatever I’ve experienced in my life is less painful than “brain cancer doing radiation and chemo”
3. Assumes I have no idea what “real trauma” is.
4. Assumes because I wrote a blog post about my kitten that this particular episode is the most painful thing that has ever happened to me.

Let’s dig a little deeper. What does “charmed life” mean? Does it mean “has experienced less pain than other people”?

What does “real trauma” mean? Do we measure it in decibels or years? Does the kitten episode count if it blocked me from having an intimate relationship for most of my entire life, or does that not count as pain? Are some people entitled to feel their pain and others not?

And now what about cancer? Does Anonymous realize that cancer is caused by exactly the sort of trauma I wrote about — unresolved emotional garbage that festers so long it turns into disease? Does Anonymous know that I nearly died a few years ago in an incredibly painful way?

Now I’m going to make what we call in non-violent communication an empathetic guess about where Anonymous was emotionally when making this comment:

Something in my post triggered pain for Anonymous. Perhaps it is very painful for Anonymous to see me express my own pain and have it be heard publicly because Anonymous has pains that feel enormous to him/her that have never been heard or received any empathy.

What I hear behind Anonymous’ words is this:

“I’ve felt so much pain in my life, and I have seen others be in so much pain, that it hurts when I read your words. It hurts because your pain is being seen and heard and witnessed by others. My pain feels so much larger than I imagine yours to be, in part because my pain has never been expressed or witnessed. I am not able to acknowledge the enormity of the pain you experienced because my own pain has never been acknowledged. I am in so much need of empathy myself that I cannot give empathy to you.”

That’s what I hear. I may be off base, we don’t know because we’re not in a live conversation with Anonymous. What I hear from Anonymous are a large number of unmet needs: for empathy, for acknowledgment, for healing, to be seen and heard.

Okay, now let’s turn to SMoKeLioN’s comment:

“Is it brave to go hungry for years waiting for a feast that might not come? The idea that you can deny yourself and your urges to reach a greater satisfaction… a very disgustingly catholic thing to do.”

Again, what are the assumptions here:
1. “hungry for years” – what does that mean?
2. “waiting for a feast that might not come” – again, what does that mean?
3. “deny yourself and your urges” – what does that mean?
4. “to reach a greater satisfaction” – all right, yes I do plan to continue reaching greater satisfaction in life from here on out … I’ll give you that one.
5. and the judgment of all judgments (lol, SMoKeLioN, I hope you are able to laugh with me about this one): “very disgustingly catholic thing to do”

Okay, now if I take an empathetic guess at SMoKeLioN’s feelings and unmet needs here, I come up with this (remember, I am willing to be wrong, I’m guessing based on very limited information, but this is my guess):

“I, SMoKeLioN, grew up in an environment where it was not okay to enjoy the moment and where gratification was always deferred. Perhaps I had a lot of people around me telling me frequently what I ‘should’ or ‘should not’ do, and it felt very constricting. Thus, when I hear you talk about ‘not being willing to settle for something halfway,’ it pains me because I assume that means you are not living in and enjoying the present moment for all that it could be. I assume that you are waiting for some future satisfaction, and I feel pain when I hear that because I identify with it.”

That’s my guess.

When I hear other people judging me, I don’t feel heard or seen. I’ve decided though that I’m going to try to hear or see the people who are judging me, even if I end up being off-base, because offering empathy, even off-base empathy, feels way better to me than internalizing the judgments.

Remember, all judgments are false by their very nature. All judgments are painful by their very nature.

“Judge not because you cannot.” – ACIM

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

If you liked this article, you will LOVE Erika's EFT tapping video products and coaching ... Get Started Now:

« « Previous Post: More on Push-Pull (and, btw, Eight has reignited my love of the Game) | Next Post: Exploring the Edge: Soft Vulnerability or Loving Toughness » »

Comments

  1. Poetry of Flesh says:

    Ah, thank you for clarifying. I have a hard time understanding your operating baseline because it is so very different from my own. It’s good to be able to hear where you are coming from and actually have it make sense to me.

    I do agree with you, now that I understand exactly what you were getting at, about people in pain actively communicating pain to others via their words.
    <

  2. Erika says:

    hi Random Stranger,

    Thanks for rolling through and commenting …

    I agree with you at the highest level of course. All words, thoughts, and concepts are judgments, so until we move beyond them into silence, there will be “judgment.”

    I disagree with you though about what I am doing. I appreciate the opportunity that you have given me to clarify.

    In a

  3. Poetry of Flesh says:

    Hey Erika,

    Random stranger rolling through, hope you don’t mind the (what I’m sure is going to be overly long) input.

    Before I start my commentary, I want to let you know that I’m enjoying your blog, and the ideas/driving force behind it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop for you, and learning about the different principles you are going to be applying to

  4. SMoKeLioN says:

    “SMoKeLioN, in general, I’m with you. I have lots of guys in my life who are friends or flirtations or teachers or connectors or whatever. We enjoy each other without any deeper commitment. The difference between you and me is that I don’t have sex with them. Otherwise, it’s probably similar.

    My point is that sometimes a connection is so amazing that “leaving all the options open” is

  5. Erika says:

    “I dont think relationships that dont have marriage in their future are necessarily wastes of time. Thats as long as the person keeps their eyes open for what they want more and doesnt forget that fact or hesitate in going for it.”

    SMoKeLioN, in general, I’m with you. I have lots of guys in my life who are friends or flirtations or teachers or connectors or whatever. We enjoy each

  6. Erika says:

    Actually, Anonymous 2:00 pm,

    I feel pretty good about the exchange with SMoKeLioN. I made a “guess” and was willing to be wrong. SMoKeLioN clarified. Now I feel like I have a better sense of where he was coming from …

  7. Daria says:

    That is true, they are not necessarily a waste of time… as long as it feels good!

    If it doesn’t feel good, it’s worse than a waste of time…

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Okay, now if I take an empathetic guess at SMoKeLioN’s feelings and unmet needs here”

    … Erika proceeds to make a vast sweeping judgment… then tells us judgments are wrong and she makes no judgments.

    Erika is sooooo egoless.

  9. SMoKeLioN says:

    “What I don’t hear you acknowledging is the value of empty “space.” Sometimes in my life I have stayed in a relationship situation despite it not being what I wanted, and wasted a lot of time. Whereas empty space tends to be a vacuum that pulls in a new guy or a new situation.”

    I dont think relationships that dont have marriage in their future are necessarily wastes of time. Thats as

  10. Daria says:

    Haha… I feel amused.

    I feel entertained by the witty discussion going on here…

    Erika I sent you an e-mail… I’m feeling concerned about whether or not you got it… the address starts with my first name and is from hotmail…

  11. Erika says:

    Lol :-)

    Great … This is like in Matrix III when Agent Smith (Broseph) starts multiplying like crazy.

    Honestly, when I go on Rev31, it feels like I ended up in the part of the Matrix movies where all the programs that were scheduled for deletion went to hide ;-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sup, the comment about Entropy and your brosephroll above is not mine. It’s probably from Bluegrass.

    Apparently there are several brosephs posting here.

    I am the original anonymous broseph, the one who pushes your buttons, calls your brosephina and dedicates you gay songs from George Michael.

    :o)

    - Anonymous Broseph TM

    By the way I’m not the

  13. Erika says:

    Anonymous “Broseph,”

    Lol :-) You are kind of endearing, and you are also a bit of a troublemaker, aren’t you? I liked having Entropy on my blogroll. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts you ;-)

    SMoKeLioN,

    Thank you for clarifying. It seems like you have a concern for my well-being and whether I’m living life to the fullest. And I like your point about

  14. SMoKeLioN says:

    “”I, SMoKeLioN, grew up in an environment where it was not okay to enjoy the moment and where gratification was always deferred. Perhaps I had a lot of people around me telling me frequently what I ‘should’ or ‘should not’ do, and it felt very constricting. Thus, when I hear you talk about ‘not being willing to settle for something halfway,’ it pains me because I assume that means you are not

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the inconvenience…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2-SLaeGWfY

    - “Anonymous” Broseph

  16. Erika says:

    Lol, Dan, “the tall poppy” … that’s a good one. Ok, I’ll percolate with it.

    I wanted to add that “traumas” don’t have to be deaths or huge tragedies. I grew up in a house with parents who had intense pain-bodies, and where very violent communication was used. A number of my more significant traumas were seemingly insignificant events that nonetheless caused a lot of unresolved

  17. Anonymous says:

    I can tell you, Mr. Broseph, that I have nothing but love and affection for Entropy.Which, of course, is exactly why you took him off your blog roll…..

    ::rolls eyes::

  18. Dan says:

    I’m not too sure what I’d like to hear about specifically actually. Maybe more about the nature of illnesses (i.e., blaming the body when we can instead blame the mind) and how you’ve specifically improved and healed yourself.

    As for the choice words for me, hey sometimes the tall poppy gets cut. As you know Erika, our chemistry and flow is hard to replicate!

  19. Erika says:

    hi Cancer Patient,

    Thanks for your latest response and for being so honest. Yeah, taking 10 supplements after vomiting does not sound like a lot of fun. Nor does it sound fun to get walloped by cancer from out of nowhere.

    I gotta say … you may be the first person I’ve ever heard of who never had anything upsetting ever happen to them. So obviously I don’t have all the

  20. Anonymous says:

    Erika, cancer patient here, feeling far more centered. No I have not heard of Gary Craig, but I am familiar with that theory of cancer treatment.

    The “you had deep seeded emotional pain pre-cancer”. I don’t think its necessarily total nonsense. I personally know someone who benefited from this therapy, currently alive and strong 8 years after dx of stage 4 cancer that didn’t give

  21. Erika says:

    Lol, Dan :-)

    yes, Anonymous can be a bit touchy when it comes to healing. LMAO. In fact, in the comment that I did not publish, Anonymous had some choice words about you also, Dan. Perhaps Anonymous feels a little jealous? ;-)

    Anyway, sure, of course, let me know what you’d like to hear more about, specifically.

    My theory on this is that as guys (and girls) heal,

  22. Dan says:

    I would like to mention that I would love to hear more about healing on this blog – I know it can be a bit touchy because of Anonymous but consider this feedback a +1 for it.

  23. Erika says:

    I wanted to add this link:

    http://courseinmiracles.com/urtext/chapter_19/section_10.htm

    When I first got deep into ACIM two years ago, chronic pain was just one of several chronic issues I was dealing with. They are all but gone now, my body restored to near-perfect health.

    This passage in ACIM talks about the “Incorruptible Body,” and says this:

  24. Erika says:

    Hey Daria,

    Let’s talk more about it — I’m at erika.awakening@gmail.com.

  25. Daria says:

    Hi Erika it’s me Daria…

    I was wondering if you wanted to “do EFT with me” that is help me with it. Sometimes I can do it on my own, and I worked with this therapist last week, but now I feel a little uncomfortable working with him on some issues… I get the feeling he’s attracted to me (I Am a Goddess after all) and I’m feeling triggered by that.

    What do you think?

  26. Erika says:

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for a great question.

    Sometimes my initial response to a comment is “ouch.” And sometimes a tendency to shut down. Sometimes a comment has a weird ghostly quality to me, like it sounds like some horrible thing my mom would have said, lol :-)

    That’s when I address them. Honestly, when I wrote this article, as soon as I started looking at all

  27. Matt (Halffull) says:

    Hey Erika,

    Could it be that those comments caused pain in you as well?

    While I love the analysis of pain and it’s consequences, does your point by point analysis do anything to alleviate others pain, or does it make it worse?

    One of the most startling things I have found about the pain body-ego is it’s ability to see so clearly in others what it so effortlessly

  28. Erika says:

    Hi Cancer Patient,

    Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting.

    It sounds as if you hear my words as saying: “if you get cancer, it’s your fault and you deserved it.” I can certainly see how that would give rise to anger and frustration. That is NOT what I am saying.

    Who knows how we end up having the traumas initially? I’m not here to blame anyone. I’m

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hey Erika,

    Yes I’m in pain, yes I’m bitter and miserable. Pray you never know what this is like.

    As far as this “you get cancer because you were emotionally uncenetered” – a huge FUCK YOU. This “you attract everything into your life” is disgusting. Go tell a 4 year old kid who’s parents died in a car accident that he attracted that into his life. Then tell me I attracted

  30. Erika says:

    Lol, Michael :-)

    I had an intuition who my “anonymous” commentator was last night, and it turned out to be right. He claims he was trying to “push my buttons.”

    What’s an empathetic guess for “pushing someone’s buttons” — here’s one: “I wasn’t feeling seen or heard by you, so I decided to see if I could provoke you into paying attention to me …” Perhaps ;-)

  31. Michael says:

    It can be very enjoyable to deny these urges as this greater satisfaction is building while doing disgusting catholic things.

  32. Erika says:

    I received a comment that I’m not going to publish. It was signed “Entropy’s broseph” and suggested that my talking about pain was “patronizing.”

    Again, staying with empathetic guesses, I’m going to guess that “Entropy’s broseph” is feeling the following:

    “Wow, I do not like staring my pain straight in the face. It feels very uncomfortable. Not only that, how can I trust

  33. Erika says:

    What, exactly, do you want me to verbalize, honey? lol ;-)

    “You can generally tell alot about a person by the statements they make. If you pay close-enough attention, whenever someone is talking, they are giving subtle clues about how they percieve themself and their role in the world.”

    Yeah, totally. This is what I mean when I talk about now being able to see a guy’s

  34. Eight says:

    Do me, Kirababy, do me. Verbalize my pain!

    I’m not sure I can take it, though, so be gentle…

    This is like a free psychic-hotline coldread. I love it.

    You can generally tell alot about a person by the statements they make. If you pay close-enough attention, whenever someone is talking, they are giving subtle clues about how they percieve themself and their role

Speak Your Mind

*