Bypassing Our Pain

Bypassing Our Pain January 5, 2021

“Let me be crystal clear; if you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life.”  Tim Lawrence

For years, these types of responses to other people’s trauma were the default for the religious system that I was in.   I have since come to the conculsion that these types of responses never helped anyone and only drive the trauma deeper inside us.  They produce shame and shadow and do not do anything to promote healing.

Religious people of all persuasions have been absolutely dismal at helping people heal even though that was at least one of our main objectives.

We longed for magical solutions, like miracles: and while miraculous things happen every day, having that as the default obscures reality and promotes the opposite of what we hoped for.

Because the church is busy maintaining the organization and in modern times, just surviving; it does not have time to do the hard work of healing from trauma.  So, along with the religious groups, we talk to each other this way.   We bypass the hurt and search for easy answers.

It doesn’t work.  It has not ever worked.  It never will work.

The ONLY WAY to heal TRAUMA is to FEEL it!

Eugene Gendlin said, “What is split off, not felt, remains the same.  When it is felt, it changes.  Most people don’t know this!  They think that by not permitting the feeling of their negative ways they make themselves good.  On the contrary, that keeps these negatives static, the same from year to year.  A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change.  If there is in you something bad or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be and breathe.  That’s the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs.”

As Tim Laurence explains, grief comes from many sources including death, but also things like relationships, illness, failures and the actions of of others.  Using catch phrases to get us past the pain only makes it worse.

When well meaning people say things like “there was a reason,” they freeze the trauma within us as they encourage us to just drive it deeper instead of feeling it.  They are essentially saying, “We don’t have time for that now,” so just hope for a miracle and ‘we’ll understand it better by and by.”  (Insert your religious and cultural catch-phrases)

We should be telling each other, “You have a right to feel how you feel.”  This is one of the few encouragements that will allow people to experience grief and process trauma so that it has a chance of gettting better.

Laura and I do focusing sesssion with really only one purpose.  To let people feel what they are feeling.  When they do this, often the stuck places shift within them and they can continue on the journey toward healing and well-being.

I told all of my children several times that ignoring something never makes it better.  I was talking about the taking out the trash, but I discovered later that it applies to almost everything, especially grief and trauma.

Be where you are, be who you are, be at peace,

Karl Forehand


Quote from Eugene Gendlin –

Support us on Patreon  *   The Desert Sanctuary Website

Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and the soon-to-be released Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary and Too Many Podcasters podcasts. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!

Browse Our Archives