3 Types of Pain You Deal With and How to Heal

Jun 24, 2018

For those growing and for those who help them, the call is threefold. First, do not refer to pain and suffering caused by character patterns as “growth pain” Unless you can use this pain as a wake-up call. It is worthless. It is not legitimate suffering. It is the fruit of a lack of growth.

Not long ago I ran into a friend of mine, who caught me up on someone I hadn’t seen for ten years. His was a sad story. He basically was stuck in the career misfires he was in the last time I had seen him. What stood out for me was a particular character pattern. Literally every conversation I had ever had with him was dominated by his talking about how someone else was to blame for whatever was going on in his life. It was never him. Never. I never once heard him say that any of his problems had anything to do with his performance, his procrastination, his lack of initiative, or his lack of action. It saddened me that he had not learned his lesson, and it did not surprise me that he was still stuck ten years later. None of the pain and loss he had experienced for the last ten years was redemptive.

None of the pain and loss he had experienced for the last ten years was redemptive. None of it had taught him anything. But it could have, just like Dan’s, if he could have seen the lessons his troubles could teach him. Part of the blame probably belonged to the people around him, including his wife, who were not pointing out those lessons to him.

The second call is, help people own worthless pain so that it can be redeemed and turned into ”good pain.” If people can see the character patterns causing their pain, they can redeem and change them. If a pattern can be owned, a pattern can be changed. But as long as we mistakenly see it as legitimate suffering by a victim, nothing good can happen.

This kind of redemption happens frequently in codependency movements. When codependents recognize that they are suffering from lack of boundaries and poor choices, they often join a group where group members can help them confront their codependent patterns and own them. Then they go into the legitimate sufferings of making difficult changes in themselves and their relationships. When they do that they can transform their worthless suffering into the suffering of growth, and good things happen.

This brings us to the third call: Help convert worthless suffering into redemptive suffering. In other words, help them resolve the issues. Help others see that they are not just victims. Help them to see instead that their suffering is coming from trying to avoid the legitimate suffering of growth, and help them with there issues. It is a very human trait to try to avoid the suffering of discipline and growth. We all do it. But the wiser we become the more we value the pain of growth and despise the avoidance patterns in our lives. Help them face what must be faced and deal with it.