The Importance of Laughter and Tears

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2005-03-10 15:23

Laughter and tears are great gifts that allow us to release our feelings in healthy ways.

Ron grew up in a household where laughter and tears were never expressed. Anger was the main feeling expressed by his mother, while his father was mostly withdrawn. By the time Ron was eight years old, he had managed to shut off both his laughter and his tears to avoid feeling rejected by his parents and controlled by his mother. Shutting down was his way of protecting against being invaded by his very controlling mother. He became a serious child - a controlled and controlling child.

Ron grew up, went to college, became a successful lawyer, married and had three children. Yet nothing, not even his deep love for his children, managed to break through his rigid, controlling way of being.

Ron reached out for my help because he was not only very unhappy, but was often in physical pain. All he could say about the physical pain was that he hurt. "My body hurts. My chest hurt, my stomach hurts, and my back hurts." He had been thoroughly checked out by a physician and learned that nothing was physically wrong. The doctor told him it was stress.

Ron told me that he spent much of his non-working time daydreaming because when he was present with himself in the moment, all he felt was pain. He had learned to daydream to avoid the pain.

However, Ron was now 48 years old, and the daydreaming was no longer working well. The pain was breaking through, especially in the form of debilitating back pain, so Ron decided he needed some help.

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