Miss Understood: How Pain Follows Me

Miss Understood: How Pain Follows Me

When I’m alone at night I reflect on everything I’ve been through in life.

It’s not so much that I’m holding onto the past, I’m simply realizing how much I’ve overcome.

Arlene Grau

Arlene Grau

My pain lies deeper than just that of my conditions. I not only hurt physically, but I’ve been hurt emotionally and mentally.

I was molested as a child, starting at the age of 4. It ended when I built up the courage to speak up about it, at age 13. But even after speaking out, I was met with disbelief by some.

I was also in an abusive relationship as a teenager and young adult. To me, it was okay to suffer because it was all I had known growing up.

When I was first diagnosed, I thought I was being punished for being a “bad seed”. Since I was damaged, I deserved to be in even more physical pain.

When all you know is pain, whether it’s from an illness or other factors in life, you tend to have moments when your strength isn’t enough to get you through your bad days.

If I say I’m angry at my situation, people jump on me about needing to be positive and strong. I am that person 99% of the time, but why am I not allowed one moment of weakness to say exactly how I feel about my life?

I’m only human and break just as easily as anyone else.

I’ve met many people who suffer from one or more of the conditions I have, usually while I’m in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. Although our stories are not exactly the same, many of them have suffered traumatic pasts.

These people are all positive like me, but when they share their stories I see anger in their eyes. It’s almost as if they are reliving their past in that one brief moment.

I can only wonder how many others who suffer from chronic pain have a traumatic background. It may be possible there are more of us out there than we may think.

The first step towards healing is realizing that it may not have been in our control then, but it is now.

Arlene and girlscropped1Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Very insightful. I was molested as a child and in my 30’s went through some group therapy. Everyone in the room thought the suffering of the others in the group was worse than their own. That was very instructive to me, how we all learned empathy through our experiences, but we also learned to minimize our own pain.

We were also better at grieving for the other person than for our own loss of innocence and childhood. I think truly grieving can help with the anger.

This was a brave column.

Don’t ever think you are suffering all this misery because you might have been a bad person & now being punished. I some times think we are the ones chosen to carry this burden because of our strong will & character. Have you ever really listened to some of the people who think they are ill or in pain ?? They really wouldn’t have any idea of what real pain is.That’s why we suffer in silence, we don’t advertise the fact that we are in constant pain & taking a few Panadol or something similar, does nothing to relieve it. We are constantly told how “well” we look, as if keeping yourself well groomed shouldn’t be done if you are “ill”..
You do have to have a bit of self esteem & dignity. When you are having really bad days, you just stay in bed, not because you want to, but because you can’t get out. FM & CFS are little known & less tolerated by all, including some Doctor’s who should know better…Take care…


I suffer from chronic pain and, was abused as a child. Mentally, physically and sexually by my step father. I can only wonder what mental toll it has taken. My sister and I were terrified. We never spoke up until a few years ago. I am now 35 and she is 33. My mother never even knew anything happened. He was good at hiding it. I was also bullied and teased in school. So, my home and school was terrible. I had no reprieve. I can only wonder if things would be just a bit more tolerable if I had not suffered during childhood. If maybe my memory would be better, or my ability to focus. For years, after the pain started and the repression stopped working, I wondered why am I here. What did I do to deserve this life. Did I do something in a past life? Did I purposefully pick this life for something?

Yet there is a bright side. Sad, but there is. My trauma growing up has given me the ability to ignore a large amount of pain, and still press on. My pain is excruciating, yet I can still semi function. My keeping it all in when growing up has made that an automatic response. I wouldn’t know how to turn it off, even if I wanted to. I also think I know why I chose this life, why I have it. My middle child has behavioral issues. He was born with mild sociopathic tendencies. If he was to be raised by someone with no experience of abuse, with any less of a fuse, he would likely end up in jail. My life, my trauma, has readied me to raise him the right way. This is confirmed, to me, in a bond that I share with him. I am the only one able to fully keep him in check. In check with no violence, no yelling. I don’t know how, but I can. That is what keeps me going.

Almost ALL pain and disease has been created by trauma and stress. It’s actually a physiological reaction that’s absolutely normal and we can’t get away from it any more than we can change the colour of your eyes.

The best part is that we can reverse the process at the cellular level, which means that once we’ve cleaned up the emotional toxins our bodies are carrying, it can go on its business of healing itself, as it was intended.

Pain is really like a big arrow that points out what needs to be addressed.

Louise Hay has a great book called Heal Your Body that literally points each dis-ease to the emotional link. It helps me enormously when working with clients to remove their pain and suffering.

No matter what you’re experiencing physically, in my opinion, it can be reversed.

In the meantime, big hugs for being brave and courageous through it all.


Angela Welch

You have just touched my heart! You have made me realize I am not alone! I can’t thankyou enough!!! <3