Although someone can be carrying a lot of pain, it doesn’t mean that they will realise this. The reason for this is that their brain can generally keep this pain out of their conscious awareness.

Along with this, there can be a number of things that they will do, secondary defences, to keep this pain at bay. When it comes to what they do, these can be things that typically take place automatically and without them realising what is going on.

Held In Place

If they didn’t do one of these things, they might soon come into contact with a lot of tension and be deeply irritable. As to what they do to make sure that what is held outside of their conscious awareness doesn’t enter their conscious awareness, there could be a variety of things.

In general, they could spend a lot of time doing things and rarely if ever take the time to just be. Being on the go, then, as normal as behaving in this way is likely to be in their society, will be a way for them to unconsciously make sure that deeper level pain doesn’t break through into their conscious awareness.

A Number of Options

To be more specific, some of the ways that they keep their pain at bay can include: eating, drinking, smoking/vaping, exercising, achieving things, watching TV, having casual encounters and volunteering. Regardless of what it is that they do, these options will help to allow them to keep what is going on at a deeper level at bay, and while some will also allow them to release tension, the outcome is that they will be able to keep it together and function.

Ultimately, out of their compulsive need to do things in order to handle life and not fall apart, they will be a human being in name only. Unknowingly, they will be carrying far too much pain for them to simply be and relax.


But, if they live in a society that is also full of people who are also in varying degrees of pain, there will be no reason for their behaviour to be classed as abnormal. Of course, some people will notice that something isn’t right but many of their fellow human beings are going to be in the same boat.

The general philosophy of this society could be that life is too short to sit around or something similar and that life is to be lived. The alternative to being this way is likely to involve being lazy, wasting time and not contributing.


This way of living is going to take its toll on the citizenry and the average person can complain about being stressed and overworked but it will be unconsciously serving them. This can be seen as an example of how dysfunctional societies are unconsciously created and sustained.

It will then appear as though those at the top are the problem yet there will be far more to it. On one level, living in this way will be seen as a problem but, on another level, it will be serving a very important purpose – to keep pain at bay.

An Artificial Boost

Anyway, as one is in an unfeeling, disconnected and shut down state, they will have lost their ability to experience both pain and pleasure. Therefore, for them to feel alive, a number of different options are likely to be sought.

As has already been mentioned, they can drink, eat food and have casual encounters, and they can take drugs and drink alcohol. Whatever it is that they do, it can momentarily make them less repressed and able to feel somewhat alive.


Another consequence of being this way is that they won’t be able to truly connect to others and experience intimacy. They will be able to share their mind and body but their emotional self won’t be available.

Their relationships, and their life as a whole, are then likely to be unfulfilling but the feedback inside them that would shed light on this is unlikely to be available. Still, there could come a point in time when they are unable to continue to live in this way.

Rock Bottom

What this may illustrate is that they have recently been through or are going through something traumatic. Perhaps they lost their job, had a breakup or experienced a loss.

Either way, what they have done for so long might no longer be as effective at keeping their pain at bay. Furthermore, their brain's ability to keep this pain at bay might have also weakened.

What’s going on?

At this point, they could wonder why they have been so shut down and why they are carrying so much pain. What this may show is that their developmental years were anything but nurturing, with this being a time when they were deprived of the love that they needed.

They may have regularly been physically harmed, verbally put down and neglected. To be mistreated by one or both of their parents, the person or people who were supposed to love, protect and care for them, would have deeply hurt them.

A Sitting Duck

But, as they were powerless and totally dependent, they were unable to defend themselves or find another family who could love, protect, and care for them. Their only option was to automatically disconnect from themselves and shut down, gradually becoming an unfeeling being in the process.

Naturally, with so much pain and hurt inside them, it would have been a challenge for their brain to keep their pain and hurt at bay, which is why they needed so many secondary defences to allow them to keep it together and function. Their brain’s ability to repress pain may have also been undermined thanks to the harm that they experienced and the love that they missed out on all those years ago.

It Takes Time

So, for them to gradually reconnect to themselves, no longer be shut down and become a feeling human being, they will need to work through the pain that is inside them. As this takes place, their need for secondary defences is likely to decrease and there will be less pain for their brain to repress and this should allow it to function better.

This is something that will take courage and patience and persistence.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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