The Tormented Soul

I joined the Openhand community last week & I've been looking for discussion threads on the subjects of suffering & torment, couldn't find any so am starting a new forum topic.

I've been consciously following a spiritual path for nearly 10 years, & have also done a lot of work on myself through therapy & personal growth groups.

I am happy with my present life in many ways, especially in that I am now living authentically & I am consciously choosing how I spend my time, whom I spend it with, what I do, where I live, what is & isn't acceptable to me, etc.

However, I'm aware that I am frequently in an internal state of what I would describe as tormented or tortuous, & this causes me great pain & suffering.

It seems that the principle "theme" of my present incarnation is to work with, or experience, the energy of torture. I appreciate that this is a very "dark" area to explore & discuss.

My grandfather, whom I am named after, was tortured during WW2 by the Soviet NKVD, & at a soul level, I agreed to take on his unresloved traumas in order to find resolution. I have done masses of work on this, both spiritually & therapeutically, & believe that I have put his traumas & the effect they have had on me, to rest as far as possible. However, the experience of torture seems to keep coming back into my life in different guises.

Since I started my spiritual journey, I have always had a sense that I am a "tormented soul" & that there is nowhere for me to truly rest here on the Earth Plane.

From my therapy & "inner child" work, I know that I experienced states of torment at the hands of an abusive mother, & that I haven't yet fully forgiven her for that.

In my present life, the torment I experience manifests itself in obsessive, demanding, judgmental & critical thoughts - mostly directed at myself. I have tried numerous techniques to calm my mind, or distract myself from these thoughts, but often it feels like a losing battle in that the more I "effort" to counter these thoughts, the stronger they become.

I also believe in the power of surrender, & I'm wondering if the best way forward for me might be to accept, allow & embrace my experience of torment rather than to fight it. Perhaps there is a "greater good" to my experience of torment & torture.

Does anyone have any identification or constructive feedback on this?



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Elisabeth Kubler Ross in discussing the natural flow - response of emotions suggested natural anger as a response to something lasts 15 seconds, long enough to 'evaluate' and say 'No thank you'

(although I guess these days what you did express Starhawk, is more common ;)
Does it mean the same thing though?
Thanks for offering (your perspective, advice, command, response, request, action etc), but I'e scanned my own energies and ... no thank you! (or what you said)

EKR said anything longer than 15 seconds and the authentic response is to turn the flow of 'no thank you' into something else - might be energy flows or loops of rage, revenge, denial, lies to self and others, contempt etc etc etc

No choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience.

You can revert to saying 'No thank you' (or your own version) anytime.


It's absolutely fine to express Starhawk - and if you feel angry, why not let rip.

And I have to agree Reka. Let the anger out, yet where can it be channeled? - because directing it at someone is not necessarily going to serve!

Anger contains within it an authentic response - a truth that in some way has been repressed so it bubbles over. Maybe you don't like people telling you your truth? Maybe I was a degree 'guilty' of that - I didn't fully express my view as a 'point of view'. Even though I always meant that - just my perspective.

Are you sure Alex that the therapy was not repressing you in some way? Were you encouraged to fully let it out?

Chris :smile:

this "FUCK YOU" just made my day...
hahahhahahahahahaha :-D :-D :-D
its soooooooo funny the way it came out!
this is my truly spontaneous response
hahahahahha im just cracking up really.

Congratulations to all!
Im not laughing at anybody's expense...

Just one thought, Starhawk, and please know I really appreciate your honesty and self-digging, and I do feel with your pain, and even more your anger, I do empathise, I feel it, i don't just "understand" it...

so two things: 1.) it feels like under your pain there really is quite a volcanic anger... that you turn against yourself as pain and self-torment...

and 2.) after 20 years of therapy (you're not the only one) anyone would be so intimate with whatever they've worked on (the pain) that it's almost like a marriage, you and your pain thingy - anger thingy...
Can you somehow divorce in a friendly way...? Or any way?

And channel this energy (called pain, more i more i feel it's not that...) in the direction it really wants to go? And just ride it like a wave? What would it do to you if you did? I feel so much power there, where does it want to go? What does it want you to do?

And what would happen to you if you did not have this wave anymore? Serving you as it did (in a way) all these years?

Just a bunch of questions. I thank you again for such a laugh!

Today is the 8th birthday of my smallest daughter, and we are going to have fun.
I send some your way there in Glasto!

thanks for your comment, chris. in reading what you wrote, i had a mixed reaction, & in the interests of being "spontaneous" i thought i'd immediately write a reply, rather than doing my usual of mulling it over a bit first.

a part of me (perhaps it is the soul, maybe it's my intellect) agrees with what you've written & resonates with it. another part of me (which could be my ego, or my inner child, or maybe even my "authentic self"), feels angry & misunderstood.

writing this response is heightening my sense of pain & frustration, & makes me want to rebel or do something destructive. however, with all the therapy i've done, i can immediately spot a "game" i'm playing with myself & others, which i think is called "see what you made me do" when faced with challenge or frustration.

to be honest, after 20 years of "working on my pain" therapeutically & spiritually, i am mightily fed up with the whole process, & i'm more than ready for a return to lightness & normality/ordinariness.

as to my birthday, if i decided not to celebrate it at all, & nobody remembered it either, then of course a part of me would feel unloved & unimportant, but i've done so much therapeutic "work" on feelings around being unloved & unimportant, that I don't believe it would "phase" me very much.

so, i am choosing to celebrate my birthday this week as it brings me pleasure & it brings pleasure to those i invite and/or attend my celebrations.

i can sense some anger inside me as to being challenged by you in respect of my birthday, & my desire to celebrate it, & i am completely ok with that anger.

if i was being truly spontaneous my reply to you would be:


hope it's ok to express anger in this way on this forum - please let me know if otherwise...



Hi Starhawk,

An interesting set of experiences indeed - great that you've shared.

You said...

    "i'm often aware that there are 2 sides (or more) to any experience i am having. this morning, i am aware of a great deal of emotional pain inside me, and i'm also aware of a desire inside me to have an experience of joy or "lightness".

I'd say you're experiencing the conflicting pulls of the ego and soul. So you wrote about being aware of a "desire" to experience joy or lightness. So could this be a part of you not accepting the emotional experience?

I'm not saying we shouldn't experience joy and lightness, I'm saying it's about aligning yourself with how the soul wants to be. What is meant to be experienced now.

You also said...

    "it will be my birthday on thursday, & a part of me at least, is determined to put aside my pain as much as possible this week, & to enjoy the experience of my birthday week."

I'm sorry if I might burst some bubbles, but in my knowing, the soul does not celebrate birthdays as such! That's the ego too. The soul considers the possibility for every moment to be special, whatever is experienced. A birthday is celebrated because its a given date. How can that be spontaneous and in the moment as the soul is?

You've already decided how you want it to be. What if the soul wants it to be another way? What if it's not celebrated at all and no one remembers your 'special' day. How would you feel? Lost, abandoned, not cherished, not loved? Again, these would all be ego issues.

When we step onto the path, there are no 'sacred cows'!


thanks for everyone's comments. i'm still trying to process/understand some of them. i can't seem to get my head round the concept of expectation/reality...

i'm in a great deal of emotional pain today, so i thought that now would be a good time to write about it on this thread.

i've been "working on myself" & my emotional issues/traumas for 20 years now, both therapeutically & spiritually, so i have masses of self-awareness & have developed (or be shown) many techniques to express, sit with, move through, understand the pain that i am experiencing.

one technique i often "fall back" on is journalling, or in my case i do a series of drawings using coloured felt-tips to externalise what is going on in my thoughts & feelings. i've just done a series of drawings & would like to share the contents of one of them on this thread.

i'm often aware that there are 2 sides (or more) to any experience i am having. this morning, i am aware of a great deal of emotional pain inside me, and i'm also aware of a desire inside me to have an experience of joy or "lightness".

i took a piece of a4 paper & drew a dotted line down the middle.

on the left hand side i wrote the words:

desire to torment
keep doing the same thing -> get same results
pain addict

on the right hand side, i wrote the words:

doing things i enjoy
pleasant fantasies
birthday celebrations
good food

it will be my birthday on thursday, & a part of me at least, is determined to put aside my pain as much as possible this week, & to enjoy the experience of my birthday week.

perhaps the 2 lists of words above describe my dilema/conflict/struggle.

how much is it helpful for me to go into my pain, sit with it, find a way "through it", & how much is it helpful for me to put it to one side & find things that lift my mood & give me pleasant, joyful, happy, "light", experiences?

i guess it comes down to a question of balance, & indeed the tarot card i drew today (i frequently do "1 card readings" for myself) was Temperance, which for me means moderation, a balanced viewpoint, fruitful combination, the right mixture.

i guess that, if i'm honest, i feel rather stuck & trapped today, not knowing where to turn, whether to turn towards my pain or towards my joy.

i'm going to go to chris & trinity's "ascension exchanges" evening in glastonbury tonight, & i'm sure that will be a useful experience for me.

as i finish writing this posting, i suddenly feel a surge of anger inside me, & i am completely ok with feelings of anger...



Thank you for that Marianne Williamson quote Reka, it resonated for me along the same lines as a section in Melissa Etheridge's Fearless Love - "I am what I am, and I am what I am afraid of, oh, what am I afraid of?"

In terms of the difference between pain (actual immediate experience interacting with elements) and suffering (response in perceived thoughts about 'what is') I've noticed a thing about a journey between expectation and reality. When expectation (good or bad) is at a distance from reality there needs to be a shift in one or the other in order for them to come back into harmony. The expectation is the 'overlay' by individualised interpretation perspective.

In 'changing' things the journey is one of bringing expecation and realty into accord, rather than dischord. this is the 'going through' process (for me).
It acknowledges the wider picture and perspectives of all things to this point of experience have brought the expectation to 'here' and all things to this point have brought the reality to 'here'. (simultaneously 'here' yet at a distance in interpretation / perspective only).

It does involve degrees of awareness of
- which can be changed/moved - so in a sense that speaks to Chris' warrior nature of not just accepting realities that can be changed, but pointing to ways in which they can.

It is assisted by understanding the whole picture ethically & respectfully, and with awareness of response ability. It also seems helpful to recognise that within the process of 'going through' there may be multi layered expectations at odds with the realities in terms of who or what is able to respond and to what degree, given that all things led to 'here'.

Starhawk... this notion of torture coming back to you even in some processing of your grandfather's experiences... could it be that there is some 'expectation' vs 'reality' journey that has been missed? As in particularly in extreme trauma situations the expectation most held onto is that it 'shouldn't' happen, or shouldn't have happened, that there was someone to 'blame'. The reality that it did happen is at a distance to the expectation, and within that distance is the 'torture' of suffering.

In terms of the notion
"I do believe that "the way out is through", but sometimes this can lead to wallowing in pain & difficulty, unnecessary & useless suffering, & can become counter-productive & self-defeating."

If you are wallowing you are not moving / changing anything in perspective or reality in any direction..(?)

The unnecessary and useless suffering is the insanity Einstein spoke of - doing the same thing the same way time after time and expecting a different outcome.
(see there it is again :) expectation ~ reality)

That you would want to carry this down generations is absolutely your choice. ... is it your aware choice?

I also agree that the urge to 'travel to' externally, more peaceful, lovingly accepting places may be in a response to run away from the internal journey / processing. The thing is, we take ourselves with us ;)

Every participant in every situation is doing the best they have with what they have and know, to this point. They learn not from what they know, but the journey in the distance between that and understanding what they did not know.

The difference in the 'oneness' aspect is that all things are collapsed in equilibrium across the wide spectrum of individual experience - it's not 'personal', although it is personally experienced.

One huge realisation for me in a very 'stuck' expectation-reality journey was that a murderer & victim were one, sharing two pathways of one experience, whereas I continually wanted to keep them separate from, and in opposition to, each other. Of course based on my own expectations and knowledge to that point.

Lovely Reka.
And I especially liked this...

    "It is time to ease into accepting pain for what it is: a useful medium, but only that, but also, no less than that."

Chris *OK*

... then my place is here!!! :)

you see i can laugh about it now. I feel so much for you Starhawk, and thanks Zac for the lighter tone, and Chris you're laser sharp as so often.

You see, I come from a country with the highest suicide rate in the world and a country whose melodies (like Gloomy Sunday) created an epidemic of suicide (Werther syndrome it's called) in the West in the 40'ies. How symbolic...
Yes it is the East-European heavy heavy karma, and clearly I chose to be here to heal through it.

From an East-European perspective I often found (still find) Westerners a bit "light", but then when Westerners come here, they can't cope with the denseness here... Compared to what is a normal way of existence here for most, people from the West it seems difficult to go right into the heart of this pain thingy... So I always cherish when I meet anyone facing bravely their tortures.

But then, and this might be to you Zac, ;-) we East-Europeans don't know how to get the hell out of all that pain... we're so good at going into it but then we get lost somewhere on the way and wallow in those muddy feelings of tortures, and sorrow which gives us an almost masochistic bliss. (Half-joking.)

It is an interesting side comment too, Starhawk, about an attachment to painful experiences. I think somewhere along the way (i mean in human history, or at least the last 2000 years) the idea of pain got muddled with the idea of deep spiritual experiences, something like: "no pain no gain". So I noticed often how there can be a kind of internal program turning itself on whenever an ecstatic, or just a plain everyday spiritual experience dawns on me or others, a pain creating mechanism jumps in - to justify the experience so to speak... this is no place to go on about it here but it might be worth sometime to look at where exactly that particular, clearly witholding-controlling program entered the collective human karma and process of ascension...

So what I'm saying here is that whether East or West, or even: whether cultural, personal or collective, there is plenty of layers to shred in relation to painful experiences.
It is time to ease into accepting pain for what it is: a useful medium, but only that, but also, no less than that... One really good (fast, and honest) vehicle to take us to our core. with no pretense, no games...
And ignoring the benefits of pain would be just as unwise as falling and getting stuck in it helplessly.

So saying that, I really cherish the ideas of travel, though to me it seems like suppressing an authentic need to go into pain, and instead of trying to find light at the depth of it, attention goes outward to find relief in the external world.
I'm not trying to describe you personally Starhawk, it is simply what I used to do for many years... I went into the pain as long as i could and when i couldn't take it anymore, i found techiniques for how to ignore it...

But at that point in my life I did not yet really go "through" it... you know, like through-through... like when all the layers of pain peel off like skins of an onion and all there is left to realise is the light in-through it...

To meet this light to me was much harder than baring the pain...

This reminds me of this quote by a woman (of course) called Marianne williamson...:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


Hi Starhawk Im Zac cool name
I felt I had to say this when I read your forum.

Why so serious starhawk?

Must life be so serious? Or can it be "Let go,hold on to your seat and enjoy the ride).
Yes those trying must clear many nuero pathways, lift the veil of identity and experience this space as the consciousness we are.
Isnt that enough?
I dont understand why you would "take on his unresloved traumas in order to find resolution."
Maybe you have a different take to me but cant only the individual experiencing the trauma resolve it?
Also "for many years" you've been deepening painful experiences?
Why starhawk why!?
You seem quite confident but are you certain there isnt rumenating in there somewhere.
Chris' technique to disidentify thoughts/feelings/emotions is the same technique I used and for me it was kinda obviously the only way to effectively get the job done.
Anyway enough from me.
Enjoy your travels, within and without!

Thanks for your comments, Chris. I resonate with most of them & feel challenged by some of them.

For many years now, I've been following a path of exploration & of deepening (or intensifying) painful experiences or resistances, in order to allow my soul to grow & evolve. This has been most beneficial in so many ways, but I believe this has also encouraged/re-inforced my attachment to pain & self-torment, or masochism, & I'm not sure how healthy that is.

At present, my focus has changed to NOT digging, deepening or intensifying, in order that I may revert, at least for a time, to the more "ordinary" or surface/superficial aspects of life.

I do believe that "the way out is through", but sometimes this can lead to wallowing in pain & difficulty, unnecessary & useless suffering, & can become counter-productive & self-defeating.

At present, I am more interested in "following my bliss". I have always had a passion for travel & being in nature, & I'm making preparations to leave the UK at the end of April for several months. I feel pulled to go trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal, then possibly travel around India, Thailand & Indonesia, & then to join my fiancee in Taiwan, & hopefully live with her there for a while.

In having these plans, I am open to Spirit leading & guiding me elsewhere or to do different things, on a moment to moment basis...



Hi Alex - I feel for you. Welcome here on Openhandweb.

Most traditional therapy is only going to take you so far. That's because they still regard our 'conditions' as something that need fixing. Without realising that, by the Law of Attraction, we created them ourselves in the first place in order to discover something.

What we're looking for is to realise the self: to know ourselves as pure presence in and through all things. Even torture.

At your core, you are pure presence. It's a sense of everything/nothing. You are crystal clear clarity, which however, can only be experienced through the sense of separation. It's the ultimate paradox.

Whilst we are fighting to cure our 'condition' or whilst we're struggling for some kind of outcome - peace for example - we will always be separated from the pure presence we are. This is the state most people exist in to some degree - resisting, denying and fighting. If it's not the torture of pain their fighting, it's the torture of attachment to something they like and desire.

When you say:

    "I am now living authentically & I am consciously choosing how I spend my time, whom I spend it with, what I do, where I live, what is & isn't acceptable to me, etc."

I actually don't feel that you are living authentically, or have truly realised what authentic really means. Often people confuse it as 'the path of least resistance'.

Actually the authentic path takes you right into the very heart of your resistance. It does so in order that you may let go of the need to take the pain away. So that you surrender the need for any kind of outcome.

When you fully surrender, the path will unfold through you as a sense of 'rightness' - this is the way to go now. This is what to do now. This is how to be now. Your choices are growing supported by synchronicity - a flow of energy appearing as a pattern through the events of your life.

Interestingly when we ask a question from the soul, the soul always answers and generally in our own words immediately. Here's what you said at the end...

    I'm wondering if the best way forward for me might be to accept, allow & embrace my experience of torment rather than to fight it. Perhaps there is a "greater good" to my experience of torment & torture."

Bingo. This is the path to freedom. This is the authentic path.
This article should help further...Mastery of the Expanded Self

Chris *OK*