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    Member JFrombaugh's Avatar
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    Default Question about somatization defense mechanism

    I read that Somatization is defined as "The transformation of negative feelings towards others into negative feelings toward self, pain, illness, and anxiety". So that makes me wonder...

    When you're feeling hurt about something that's happened and you're thinking about it and then you start to feel those pangs of hurt in your "heart", is that a form of somatization (negative thought transforming into physical pain)? Or is it just the abscence of any defense mechanism?
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    Rainy Day Woman MDP2525's Avatar
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    I would say that the "pangs" you feel are just feelings. Essentially, human reaction. Somatization disorders occur when the patient has complaints of physical ailments but no biological reason for having them. They are psychologically derived and cause the patient to function abnormally. Basically, your "pangs" are not debilitating or abnormal in any way to your functioning.
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    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    I prefer to use the term retroflection to describe the ego defense process of turning negative feelings towards others that cannot be expressed openly back towards oneself. Somatization is specifically associated with the expression of physical symptoms; I think it muddies the waters of comprehension to be looking at outcome before process.

    Retroflection can take place whenever feelings are not openly expressable for some reason, this does not mean that somatic symptoms inevitably follow.
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    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Anxiety disorders often cause physical symptoms.
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    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFrombaugh View Post
    When you're feeling hurt about something that's happened and you're thinking about it and then you start to feel those pangs of hurt in your "heart", is that a form of somatization (negative thought transforming into physical pain)? Or is it just the abscence of any defense mechanism?
    From what I know about somatization, it's often associated with 'thinking' we have pain but subconsciously not being able to distinguish between the two, psychologically. For instance, in phantom-limb pain where people will 'think' that their limb is in pain, even act like it, but they're not in pain. It's a dissociative type disorder.


    With feeling pain in the heart when we're hurt, I don't think it's an absence of defense mechanisms, but more so with our heart/our head not being able to actually 'dis'associate between the two. Both are connected, neurologically. I think it's about letting go of attachment we feel physically, mentally, emotionally/or spiritually.

    Ex- when a loved one dies or we separate from someone, we feel pain in our heart because our memories are still active/alive. As long as our brain's functioning normally, then areas associated cognitively to our emotions will actually send those responses to the heart, I think.

    It's hard to separate our thoughts from our feelings, because feelings contain thoughts, and thoughts can also be a result of feelings (ex- feeling when something's out of 'consistency'- therefore, we 're-examine' our thoughts and investigate even more). Vice versa.

    I think somatization relates to being 'unconscious.' The opposite of somatization is 'consciousness,' being able to cope with our raw true emotions, 'actual' physiological/psychological responses, hence, it hurts or feels good (like butterflies in our stomachs or hearts fluttering).

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    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    I thought I was having weird somatization problems and it turned out that I had 2 infections and was dehydrated. I think it may work the other way around, too.
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