How Can We Numb Pain Without Numbing Joy?

It’s impossible to ignore or numb our pain without also numbing out joy...So if we’re feeling like we’re walking around in a fog of indecision, or numbness, or closing our hearts to avoid risking getting hurt again, or being disappointed again, then we are also blocking out the opportunity for joy and deep connection.....Often feeling detached or avoidant of connection comes from childhood messages we got from our parents or what happened to us. For instance, Tom’s parents split up when he was young and his mother and society told him “boys don’t cry” and his mom was not emotionally available or fact she punished him for his outburst by washing his mouth out with soap, so he never processed his anger and he still blocks out that pain, and he prioritizes his work over his love life. And he has trouble expressing his emotions. He tries to be in connected relationships, but anytime there is conflict, it triggers his fear of commitment and instead of working through it and addressing his old wounds, he projects his anger and distrust on his partner, blaming her, criticizing her, and withdrawing or running away. He has a deep fear of commitment that blocks his potential for deep connection, sustaining a longterm relationship, and sustain joy. If he got counseling and faced his shadow, he could truly open his heart to committing to a relationship, even through it’s ups and downs. Another example is Tina: Tina’s parents split up when she was young as well. Her father kidnapped her for a period during the nasty divorce and told her “You’re mom doesn’t really want you” when she asked to see mommy. Tina got the message the she was “unlovable” from her dad and that “people who love you will ultimately leave if you’re not perfect” and that if she behaved in a certain way maybe she would get the love she needed. So Tina gets scared when her partner is away for long periods of time that he doesn’t love her. Her partner Tom also has a fear of commitment and he gets triggered by Tina expressing her needs for connection too much, he calls her “needy” and says she should be more “self-sufficient” and so Tina often doesn’t express her needs for connection; she stuffs them down and tries to be super emotionally independent to a degree of self-neglect, numbs herself out until sometimes she feels despair and anger bubbling up....and usually she drowns those feelings in work: including working hard on home-making and on her partner’s career—-to prove her love to him, unconsciously hoping that this type of devotion will work to break through her partner’s fear of commitment. It doesn’t work. Instead her partner takes her efforts for granted and doesn’t address Tina’s needs for connection, affection and quality time. If Tina and Tom got counseling, Tom’s fear of commitment and Tina’s fear of abandonment would be addressed, they could work through it, and both feel deeper love and connection; unblock themselves from joy! If you are in need of support around un-blocking yourself from joy, contact me. As a healer and therapist I help people every day find access to more joy in their lives, and how to work through the tough feelings without running away or numbing them out. UNBLOCK YOUR JOY. For a Free 20 min phone consultation: call me at (206)701-0236 or submit a contact form at