How do you dull your emotional pain? How do you hide from hurting?

Time for Exercise: five to 15 minutes

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  1. Identify any strategies you use to dull, deny, avoid, or suppress emotional pain. The first step for healing emotional pain is to allow yourself to feel it.

    Once you have identified what the pain is and where it comes from, you can take action to heal it at its source. Common pain-avoidance strategies include: improper/excessive/addictive use of drugs; other kinds of addictive behavior (e.g., with food, sex, power, and violence); obsession with control; wild outbursts of anger, disproportional to the events or circumstances that triggered the anger; excessive talking; avoiding socializing with family, friends, and neighbors; quick judgments about the inadequacy, incompetence, and insensitivity of others; excessive shyness; avoiding all emotional discomfort; seeking pleasure above all else as the only important aspect of life; rigid inflexibility on issues where there are different points of view; trying to win at any cost; never admitting you are wrong; never admitting you made a mistake; never admitting when you don’t know; and never allowing yourself to cry.

  2. Identify your pain avoidance strategies, including when and how you use them, and what you use them for.
  3. Once you have identified pain avoidance strategies, the next time you are tempted to use them, stop yourself, and make a conscious decision to allow yourself to admit to yourself that you are hurting, afraid, or in pain. Allow yourself to feel these sensations fully.
  4. Look to the trigger, source, or cause of the pain and ask yourself these questions:
    “How can I heal the cause of this pain?”
    “Is there any change in behavior that is required on my part?”
    “Is there some apology I need to make to someone?”
    “Is there something I need to ask for from somebody?”
    “Is there some way I can relinquish my attempts to control the situation?”
    “Is there someone I need to forgive?”
    “Do I need to forgive myself for something?”
    “Do I need to allow myself to cry?”
    “Do I need to talk to someone?”
    “Do I need to seek some form of therapy?”
    “Do I need to record my struggle in a personal growth journal?”
    “Are there changes I need to make in my life?”
  5. Expand on answers to the last question above by considering specific areas of life: where I work, where I live, who I live with, who I socialize with, how I spend my free time, and how I take care of myself (eating, sleeping, drugs, alcohol, hygiene, bad habits, watching television, exercise, meditation, prayer, memberships, volunteering, helping others, handling money, saying “no”).


Although pain and hurt are unavoidable for anyone who is really alive, suffering is unnecessary and avoidable. The cause of suffering is the failure to deal with the cause of pain. Suffering only exists in the absence of healing.

We encourage you to allow yourself to feel everything—not only the good feelings but the bad ones as well. The way to deal effectively with bad feelings/negative emotions is to heal the cause. It is neither helpful to suppress or cover up your hurting nor to pretend you are well when you are really in pain. Denial of pain only increases your suffering.

Author's Bio: 

Al Link and Pala Copeland own and operate 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra. They regularly host lover’s romantic weekends near Ottawa Canada, and weeklong retreats in exotic locations. For more information call toll free from Canada or USA: 1-800-684-5308 International long distance: 1-819-689-5308. Visit their website and their blog or send email: They have four books published including Soul Sex: Tantra for Two, New Page, 2003; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Supercharged Kama Sutra, Penguin, 2007; Sensual Love Secrets for Couples: The Four Freedoms Body, Heart, Mind and Soul, Llewellyn 2007; Tantra Step by Step: 28 Days to Ecstasy, Llewellyn 2007.