Where We Put Our Pain

by Mark Ivar Myhre on August 2, 2010

Life can be tough.  It tends to generate a lot of pain for people.  Especially during childhood; when we’re all victims to one degree or another.

And nobody wants to feel that pain.  In fact, we go to great lengths to NOT feel the pain.

When you’re a child, and painful situations come up, you have to do something with that pain.  Certainly, much of it is felt.  But not all of it.

Some of it – maybe the majority – has to be put into some kind of container.

Yes, it ends up in the shadow.  Without a doubt.  There’s a ton of shame and pain and fear and many other things that end up in the shadow.  Locked away… waiting for you to deal with.  And when you’re ready, you will.  When you’re sick and tired of dealing with the same old issues; when you’re REALLY sick and tired.

When you’re ready, you WILL forgive yourself, and perhaps even go to your shadow, rather than waiting for it to come to you.

But for now, I want to talk about HOW we containerize our pain, so that it can even drop down into the shadow in the first place.

Bottom line:

The pain and emotion and issues we don’t want to deal with have to be put into some sort of container, or receptacle.  We have to ‘bag them up’ if we want to avoid them.  Just like we’d have to bag up anything else we didn’t want to deal with.

I’m tempted to use the example of bagging up your garbage, but this pain is most certainly NOT garbage.  This pain is a part of you, and it holds so much of your power.  You NEED that power.

(That’s why you have a ‘shadow self’ – to hold the pain for you until you’re ready to take your power back from it.)

Anyway, you have some sort of container. And that’s what I want to talk about.

So what do you suppose your container consists of?  What does it look like?  Where does it come from?  How does it work?

Well, it’s made up of your six raw materials.  (Obviously!)  Your beliefs, your thoughts and feelings, and the other three.

These raw materials come together to form a story.

You weave your raw materials together into a story.  Like weaving a basket, or knitting a blanket, or making cloth on a loom.

The ‘yarn’ of your story consists of your six raw materials.

And what is your story?

I don’t know.  But you do.

It consists of the most basic assumptions you make about life. The assumptions you never question.  It’s the story you tell yourself every day.

It’s the explanation you give yourself.  About ‘how life is’ and about ‘how MY life is’.

Why I can’t be happy.  Why I can’t get ahead.  Why I can’t have a loving relationship. Why I can’t…

Because I’m too fat or too thin or too young or too old or too broke or too rich or too…

Because I’m not good enough, or else I’m too good for everybody else…

Because the world’s out to get me… I really am a victim…  I really am helpless… I really am unloved…

My problems really are worse than everybody else’s… my childhood really was worse… I really am special…

And on and on it goes.

For most people, it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning.  Then they repeat it to themselves all day long.  Then it’s the last thing they think about before they drift off to sleep.  And it’s also what wakes them up in the middle of the night.

We’re like a fish, and our story is like the water we live in.

Sadly, because we’re so immersed in it, it often does unrecognized and unacknowledged.  And besides, the story is a major part of our foundation for life.  It often goes unquestioned; for to question our story is blasphemy.  Just bumping up against it can cause a severe emotional reaction of anger and hurt and pain.

Every story is unique.  And yet, every story is the same.

I know I had a good one going.  Hey, I LOVED my story.  And I would have gotten VERY angry if someone had dared suggest I even had a story.  Maybe even hostile.

I NEEDED that story.  (That’s part of the story!) And attacking someone else who might dare suggest I even had a story, well, that’s just my survival instincts kicking in…

Because to give up my story would surely be the end of me.  I would die without my story.  (Again, that’s part of the story.)

Parts of it are still with me today.  That’s how insidious this is.

The story has many chapters.  And you can only deal with it one chapter at a time.  But keep this in mind:

Your story serves a valuable function.  It holds your pain.

And you absolutely needed a container at one time in your life.  For so many of us (certainly for me) we just had too much pain.  We couldn’t possibly deal with it all.  We HAD to put that pain somewhere.

So we wrapped it up in a story of shame and pity and martyr and judgment and blame and righteousness.  We needed a way to make sense of the pain.

So, for me, I had to tell myself I wasn’t good enough.  I had to believe I was only getting what I deserved.  I had to blame myself.

I would have gone insane otherwise.  Or worse.

My story saved my life. It gave me freedom.

Now, it’s become my prison.

I’ve outgrown my story.

The walls of my prison stayed the same.  The story never changed.  It’s still the same old line of bullshit that I told myself as a child.

But I’m grown up now.  I’m trying to be an adult.  I’ve grown too big for my story.

So, like a patchwork quilt, I look at one part of my story at a time. That’s how I work with it.  That’s how YOU can work with it.

It’s too threatening to try to end the story completely, all at once.  Or it was for me.

So I just took bite-sized pieces and worked with them.

And I always start from where I am. (Now there’s some profound advice!)

In other words, what’s pissing me off right now?

Let’s take that one source of irritation or frustration, and dig down into it – deeper and deeper – until we get to the root of the problem.

Don’t scatter your energy.  Just focus your energy on what’s in front of you.   If you look at the whole story, you’ll get overwhelmed.


Now, there’s nothing wrong with writing out the whole story – in fact I suggest you do.  But when it comes time to work with it, and END it, you have to take it piece by piece.


Take the SMALLEST piece you can get your hands around, metaphorically speaking.  Take the smallest piece you can chew.  Take one patch of that patchwork quilt.  Take one piece of that yarn.

And don’t lose sight of why you’re even doing this in the first place.

Your story HOLDS your pain.  Your pain holds your power.  Your lost power keeps you stuck.

Also – when you separate from your power, that in itself creates pain.

Keeping the story in place INCREASES the pain.  That’s why pain always spreads.  Because it feeds upon itself.

Left unattended, pain always grows.

So the stories have to grow.

Eventually it kills you.

That’s why it’s so important to work with the stories.

As you unravel and work with your story, yes it will be painful.  But that pain comes up and then goes away.  It no longer lingers around, contributing to a slow painful death.

When you unravel your story and get to the root of a part of it, I call it ‘hitting a gusher’.  The emotion gushes up and it’s a little intense for an hour or a day, but then it all settles down as the emotion and the pain bleed off.

And YOU are smarter, happier, freer.  You see things a little more clearly.  You’re a little more powerful.  And you’re a little better equipped to deal with the next part of the story.

See?  It does get easier!

Starting is the hardest part.

I’ll be glad to help you.  As you might imagine, I’m somewhat of an expert on shame and pain and suffering and misery.  More importantly, I’m an expert at ENDING that shame and pain and suffering and misery.

I had to fight and claw my way out.  I know what works and what doesn’t work.  I know the short-cuts and I know the dead-ends.  I know how to help you. And I don’t sugar-coat anything.

If you’re ready to get some help from someone who healed himself, then just click the link below to get started –


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