Anger = Loss of control. You have lost control of almost everything in your life and you have not been given a clear direction on how to solve your pain and the associated problems. Anger and pain are closely linked in your nervous system and they feed off of each other. Working through this stage has had the most impact on my patients’ level of pain and quality of life.

  • Letting go of your legitimate anger is the “Continental Divide” of chronic pain.
  • If you feel you are not angry in the presence of unrelenting pain you are just not connected to it—most of us hate feeling angry and we despise being in pain.
  • This stage outlines a lifetime practice.

 

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Step 1—Understand the Impact of Anger on Your Life

Abraham Maslow was a renowned psychologist who focused on normal human behavior as the basis for his theories.  He developed a “hierachy of needs” with air, food, water, and sleep at the foundation. What he didn’t list as a basic need was “not being in pain.” Maslow’s Miss

Step 2—Acknowledge Your Disguises

Disguising my victimhood is one of my most highly developed “skills”. Remaining aware of this tendency is a daily practice.

Step 3—Admit Your Victimhood

There is a genealogy of anger/frustration:

  • Circumstance over which you have lost control
  • Blame
  • Victim
  • Frustration/Anger

Many people, especially me, are not aware of being in the victim role. We don’t like the word or the implications. It is universal and it is important to understand your style of dealing with it. What you are not aware of can and will control you.

Step 4—Choose Not to Remain a Victim

You simply have to make a choice to give it up. Being a victim is the most powerful role in the human existence and no one wants to let it go.

Step 5—Forgive

This step is where you have an opportunity to change your life, including minimizing or ridding yourself of pain. Remaining upset, regardless of the reason, keep your body full of stress hormones with significant consequences. Conversely if you cannot move on, you truly are stuck. You must forgive the person or situation that has treated you the worst.

Step 6 – Play 

Pain pathways are permanent but so are play pathways. Switching over to these circuits is the most powerful way to solve your pain. You cannot do this intellectually but with the right sequence, becoming free of pain can happen quickly.

RESOURCES

  1. Forgive for Good by Fred Luskin
  2. The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello
  3. Unlearn Your Pain by Howard Schubiner

Consideration of a pain psychologist

  • Letting go of deep anger is extremely difficult and support is helpful