Displaced pain of earlier myths

Discussion Post I submitted for my Atlantic University TP6140 Course – November 4, 2020

Like any physical pain, such as my current aching left knee, emotional pain is usually symptoms of broader issues. Interestingly, I thought it was arthritis initially with my knee, and it turns out it has nothing to do with the knee itself. It’s the IT Band, which is the tissue that runs along the outside of the leg, so to ease the pain in my knee, I need to do stretches that center on my upper thigh and hip areas. Similarly, personal myths, particularly those that begin at a young age to defend a person from abuse or other traumatic situations, may show pain symptoms in unrelated areas. For example, the story of “Frank” and the encounter with a boy who punched him in the stomach over a train set in his early school years in David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner’s Personal Mythology is very telling. As an adult, this myth is now playing itself as Frank’s constant need to second guess what might offend others, ultimately stifling his spontaneity and leading to a fear of being around others (2008, p. 69).  I’m sure this earlier myth has led to loneliness and a feeling of not belonging in Frank’s life. 

Before someone can even rewrite an old myth into a new one, the first step is to recognize it exists at all. Pain is a good symptom, but its cause can be due to a completely different circumstance like with my knee. Once the old feelings surface, labeling is a common technique that helps. I feel this way because of x,y,z. This approach is enough for many people.  An old personal myth that’s come to the surface as I’ve read through the material is my feeling of scarcity. Both my parents were Depression Babies, and with the financial struggles at home growing up, it’s now a powerful storyline in my life. Again, recognizing the root cause, which was due to an event that occurred 90 years ago, makes it easier to put it into perspective. Re-experiencing and/or re-writing an old wound to heal it is a personal issue as to its effectiveness and appropriateness. For some, just recognizing its roots and discussing it with others is enough. I’m not particularly eager to wallow in my past hurts, yet I know others benefit tremendously from such an approach. When I received my hypnosis training, we discussed various methods for allowing people to view their past hurts.  For example, one involved visualizing sitting in a movie theater and watching the unpleasant scene unfold as if it were a movie.  The trick was to provide some distant and objectivity for hte viewer to see that it wasn’t their fault since they were just a child. There were numerous warnings, however, from our instructors since this approach is not without its critics. Again, for me, it’s entirely up to the comfort level of the individual.


Feinstein, D. & Krippner, S. (2008). Personal mythology. Santa Rosa, CA: Energy Psychology Press/Elite Books

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