Tatiana Yevtushok

Psychotherapist. Gestalt coach

Psychological pain, and the boundary situations

  • psychotherapy

Due to the fact that each event of our life is the result of our interaction with the world at the contact boundary, for each individual this contact and the way it is carried out is individual, which is characterized by features that have developed in the past, often childhood, experience, and therefore, each feels his boundaries differently. But there are also situations in the life of each person associated with the reality of being, which were introduced by Karl Jaspers under the name of “limit-situations”, i.e. those that can not be changed.

These are:

— the finality of life,

— the inevitability of suffering,

— the need for struggle,

— the inevitability of chance,

— the presence of guilt.

Sooner or later, each of us is faced with these situations under the guise of losing loved ones, diseases, various kinds of impossibility, unpleasant coincidences and painful unbearable feelings of anxiety and fear. They are often the root cause of seeking help from a psychotherapist. But even these givens, when coming into contact with our feelings, though do not disappear, but paradoxically become the resource that contributes to our growth and development, which opens up many opportunities to live life with a sense of completeness and fullness.

In the course of therapy, a person with the help of a specialist can look at the flip side of the coin.

For example, the awareness of the finality of life, accompanied by the fear of death, is nothing more than a signal of the presence of yet unfulfilled potential of a person, it is actually an inverted desire to live your life as useful and full as possible, the desire to come into contact with the world to perceive it and to perceive yourself.

The inevitability of suffering for various reasons indicates the existence of limitations that can be learned to overcome, whether it is to go through feelings of grief, sadness, sorrow, or to create a more acceptable reality through ingenuity, creative adaptation, art, science, social activities.

The need for struggle calls for the growth of personal strength and power over oneself through active actions towards satisfying one’s needs, taking into account the overcoming of conflicts with the outside world with the greatest benefit for all participants in the situation, respect for oneself and others, with the need to make choices and control one’s aggressive force for common development.

The inevitability of chance involves accepting our powerlessness when we do our best without expecting the outcome, without falling into accusations, getting into the position of victim and without excuse – do what is right, come what may.

And the presence of guilt: whatever choice we make, being free and not free in it at the same time, it always implies the presence of many other opportunities that will still be missed because of the temporary linear limitation and perception, which entails an existential sense of guilt, which turns first into despair, and eventually – into the motivation to transform the world around for the better.

Overcoming each of these limit-situations is accompanied by psychological pain. I see human pain as an unfilled space. Under the concept of pain, I mean any suffering, both psychological and physical (bodily), associated with tense, stressful events occurring in our lives, associated with relationships with other people, losses, with all sorts of impossibilities to enjoy life, with unfulfilled expectations, as well as the resulting fears, resentments, guilt and loneliness.

Often people suffer precisely because they run away from this pain, not understanding what need it appeals to, while in fact it just hides the clues, and only this pain can give answers where to go next. Sometimes this process is accompanied by panic attacks, when a person seems to disappear, but it signals the disappearance of the old and calls for the emergence of the new.

Pain speaks with us, but turns into a monologue when dialogue with the world becomes impossible, a dialogue that helps a person understand his desires and see the vector of development and realization of his potential as a spiritual, being, which composes and creates his world. When we speak about needs, we speak about being aware of them and about actions taken to meet them. I prefer the English version: they say “to meet one’s needs,” which literally translates to “to have a MEETING with your needs”. And so our psyche and our body with the help of pain pushes us to this meeting, invites to it – to meet with different self, new, with one who lives inside, but so far in a higher, more subtle, space of meanings – this is a meeting with ourselves.

Therefore, I consider pain as an empty space, this is why it is so important not to run away from pain, but to connect – create from it, create a new, better reality from it, fit your picture of the world into a diversified one, fill this empty space of pain with yourself overcoming and making effort, transcending the boundaries of object reality, thus creating own immortality as a proof that the life of the world will continue in time and space.

If something is hurting, body or situation, try to create something good out of these feelings: play, write, draw, sculpt, create, at first simply, metaphorically, like children. Over time, this will develop into a more real activity and will be embodied in your life by the beauty of its sound and contemplation.

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