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“I want this pain to go away…”

A brief overview of how I encourage clients to choose to live, even with pain (or anxiety or whatever the chronic complaint is.)

Question from client:

“The more I try to be present with the pain, the worse it seems to get. Why is this happening? Is a part of me resisting this process of being non-resistant to pain?”

Dr Cat’s Primal Trust Inspired Answer:

“Yes, your chronic pain symptoms may be a result of an unconscious psychological attempt to keep you safe. When you start going against your unconscious habit of avoiding pain, resisting pain, or trying to fix the pain, there can be an increased activation of an old limbic system cross wired protection strategy (aka increase the somatosensory pain response), to get you to emotionally respond in the old ways of resistance/avoidance. Ultimately, this gets you back into ruminating about how to ‘fix it’, which traps you in the cycle of “there’s something wrong with my body and I need to fix it”.

I encourage you to first, keep your decision to go forward in life, with or without your pain/symptoms. You are learning to choose how to be somatically present with pain because you know that it is ultimately in your highest good to become an embodied consciousness. And you know by now that your old strategies for recovery from chronic pain are not working. So what do you have to lose by the practice of non-resistance of your body while deciding to live anyway? Yes, your pain cycle may feel worse until you truly become single minded and decide that you don’t care if the pain is there. In other words, you start to teach the subconscious that you have decided “there is no problem with me or my pain”.

Coming to this place of deep certainty of “I am okay, I choose to live even with pain”, is how we begin to dismantle the somatosensory pattern of chronic pain.

Why? Because in my experience, and in the research of the psychology of chronic pain, we often see that the pain cycle is ultimately cross wired with some type of underlying core belief such as “I’m not okay, I’m not good enough, I’m unworthy, undeserving, imperfect, unloveable, etc” that has been enmeshed with our core identity. Chronic pain is often an unconsciously created psychological strategy, that brilliantly creates a distraction from that deep emotional pain of feeling inherently flawed. The focus on fixing the pain is also a scapegoat to fix something, because we fear we cannot ‘fix’ ourselves. If you decide to say “pain is okay”, it’s like saying to your unconscious mind that you are okay with being unlovable/imperfect and your ego will FREAK out when you do that, initially. The ego never ever wants to submit or surrender to these negative self ideas and it feels like the ultimate humiliation to do so. So ‘it’ will spike your pain symptom to get you back into resistance. In my experience, and in much research in chronic pain management, I see that if you can choose to stay in your undivided decision to move forward in life even with your pain (ie imperfection), then over time, the ego will submit to your conscious choice to live with or without pain, and the pain signaling will shift, because the inner threat of inner ‘not-okayness’ has shifted.

Another key understanding of the ‘healing crisis’ reaction of when we let go of resistance to chronic pain and other stressful ailments, is that we can initially feel WORSE.

This is an important physiological component to understanding the transformation process. For those of us with chronic health challenges, we all know what happens when you find something that starts to ‘work’. First, you feel relief and hope. The danger signal (limbic system threat response) goes down. And when that happens, there is often a cortisol drop in the body (if you have been in a prolonged stress response, cortisol is often heightened, as the body’s attempt to handle the stress) Often, people don’t realize that cortisol is an anti-inflammatory (think like making natural hydrocortizone), and initially your body is low in this anti-inflammatory if the stress response decreases which suddenly plummets your body’s cortisol level. If cortisol drops rapidly, this can make you feel a lot WORSE, physically, as you get out of fight or flight. Whatever has been suppressed by the cortisol, will flare. This is called a healing crisis. So you will feel more inflamed, even more pain at times, as you are relaxed and get out of sympathetic dominance in your nervous system, ironically.

The key is to STAY relaxed and let your body readjust its chemistry. And yes, the pain or other symptoms often spike from this cortisol drop after finding a period of relief. This uncomfortable spike can then throw us back into that fear/fix-it loop as we resist our body once again… The vicious cycle.

I always teach clients that you have to start seeing your transformation progress as independent of pain levels. Your progress is how much you are in your confident conscious ‘adult self’ and following through on living your values, while letting your body/ego resistance mechanisms do what they will.

If you can get to the place where you can truly let go of “needing the pain to go away to have a great life”, you are sending a radically different message to your unconscious/ego. And as you keep living this decision, this ego aspect will eventually say “hmmm, she doesn’t care if I fix myself, or she doesn’t care if I’m not perfect. She seems to be enjoying her life either way… Maybe there is nothing wrong with me after all.” And then watch miracles happen.

This leads back to the formula I teach in my 3 month online Primal Trust Mentorship.

True Self alignment (there’s nothing wrong with ME)


Primal Trust (the courage to live an embodied life of purpose)


Transformation (freedom and miracles)

Want to learn more about finding the roadmap of your freedom from chronic pain, illness or trauma?

Join us in the Primal Trust transformation today.

Recorded mentorship with live forum access available now! Next live mentorship is fall 2021

Check out the YouTube video here.

Cathleen King, DPT

I'm an expert on chronic illness, chronic trauma, relationship/attachment repair, and inner child healing. I’ve got the rare combination of in-depth doctoral-level education and training as a physical therapist, and many years of coaching others in wellness and lifestyle education. And, I have been through my own heroine’s journey of spending nearly 2 decades of my life navigating through deep, debilitating illness and finally found my way out!

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