Humor is Healing... Or Part Way to Healing
by Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABHM, The Official Guide to Pain Management
The Can of Peaches (Email passalong):
80 year old woman was arrested for shop lifting. When she went before the judge in Cincinnati he asked her, "What did you
She replied, "A can of peaches."
The judge then asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches, and
she replied that she was hungry.
The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can.
She replied, "6."
judge said, "Then I will give you 6 days in jail."
Before the judge could conclude the trial, the woman's husband spoke
up and asked the judge if he could say something.
The judge said, "What is it?"
The husband said, "She also
stole a can of peas."
- From Martin Brofman
Unspoken resentments can build up in relationships. We may hold
our tongues from anxieties about hurting the other person; angering them; being rejected by them; because our family, religious
teachings or social culture discourage this; and for countless other reasons.
In some cases, silent resentments may
be forgotten after a while - time being a reasonable healer. In other cases, buried resentments grow rather than diminish,
particularly when they are repeated. Accumulated irritations tend to build up like pus in a boil, to the point that they are
discharged in one way or another. Humor can be a harmless and accepted way to do this.
Festering resentments can come
out in nasty ways. The unconscious mind may seek to discharge its tensions through open anger or passive aggressive attacks,
as in the can of peas.
There are many better ways to handle unspoken angers and other feelings that we hesitate to
The first, of course, is to not swallow them down in the first place! When we are upset, hurt or angry with
another person, it is probably best to take a deep breath or two before opening our mouth and venting raw feelings. By pausing
for that brief time, we can let the first wave of our emotions pass, so that we can consider the best ways to respond.
might respond by being silent and letting the issue pass - between us and the other person. We can then deal with our feelings
as our own issue rather than as an attack to which we defend or counter-attack, which often leads to escalations and worsening
of the feelings on both sides.
If we do respond, it is a healthy policy to use 'I' statements, such as "I feel hurt/
upset/ angered by what you said." Better yet, if we can speculate or acknowledge we may understand why the other person said
or did whatever upset us - before we let them know how we feel - they are more likely to listen with compassion for our feelings
rather than responding with further hurtful statements.
Donna, mother of two teenage children, was hurt by her own
mother's sarcastically humorous criticism about how Donna was dealing with some challenging teenage behaviors. This was in
the context of her mother having been critical of Donna all of her life. Taking a deep breath to postpone any reflexive, angry
retort - which Donna knew would only lead to bitter arguments - she gave her mother a little hug, acknowledging she appreciated
her mother's concern. Using 'I' statements, she explained her plan of action, mutually agreed with her divorced husband, and
promised to keep her mother's observations in mind if their behavioral program did not succeed.
"I know you're as concerned
about the kids' misbehaviors as I am, Mom. George and I have been following a plan of action that seems to be working, although
I certainly wish it would work quicker! I'll let George know what you've said and we'll let you know if we decide to go in
that direction - if our current program doesn't work out."
Realizing that no one can 'make us angry or upset' is another
helpful awareness. If someone's humorous but biting or critical remarks raise negative feelings, we can ask ourselves, "Now
what pot of buried angers, hurts or other feelings is being stirred here?" When someone is poking fun at us it is their way
of saying something they are not comfortable saying more directly and openly. If we focus on the message that they are giving
us, ignoring the 'how' of their expressing it, we can leave them to sort out thier discomforts while we address the issues
at hand. We don't have to get tangled up in their emotional hangups.
Donna's calm response was facilitated by several
weeks of therapy, in which she had vented and cleared many years of accumulated angers towards her mother. Using WHEE, she
was able to do this surprisingly quickly, following which she installed positive feelings and awarenesses about the fact that
her mother's way of demonstrating caring was to nag and criticize. It was also helpful to Donna to be able to release some
of her feelings in her mother's presence with discreet uses of WHEE - by tapping her feet on the floor - as she was calming
herself down following her mom's biting remarks.
Much of what tickles our funnybones relates to buried emotional skeletons
in the closets and caves of our unconscious mind. Humor helps us release some parts of these issues, and can raise our awareness
to work on them further.
My bio summarizes my ongoing search for ever more ways to peel the onion of life's
resistances, to reach the knowing (with the inner knowing of truth which has the feel of rightness) that we are all cells
in the body of the Infinite Source.
While my unique area of expertise is spiritual awareness and healing, my principal work is through wholistic healing
– addressing spirit, relationships (with other people and the environment), mind, emotions and body. I am using WHEE,
a potent self-healing method, with children and adults who are dealing with PTSD and other forms of stress, psychological
and physical pain, low self-esteem, cravings and other issues.
Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM, is a wholistic psychiatric
psychotherapist who blends in his therapy elements from intuitive and spiritual awareness, spiritual healing (as in Reiki
and Therapeutic Touch), WHEE - Wholistic Hybrid derived from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional
Freedom Technique (EFT), transactional analysis, gestalt therapy, hypnotherapy, meditation, imagery and relaxation (psychoneuroimmunology),
dream analysis, and other approaches. Dr. Benor has taught this spectrum of methods internationally for 35 years to people
involved in wholistic, intuitive, and spiritual approaches to caring, health and personal development.
Dr. Benor founded
The Doctor-Healer Network in England and North America. He is the author of Healing Research, Volumes I-III and many articles
on wholistic, spiritual healing. He is the editor and publisher of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Healing and Caring - Online
and moderator of WholisticHealingResearch.com
, a major informational website on spiritual awareness, healing and CAM research.
He appears internationally on radio
and TV. He is a Founding Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, Founder and Immediate Past Coordinator for
the Council for Healing, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of spiritual healing, and for many years on the
advisory boards of the journals, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Subtle Energies (ISSSEEM), Frontier Sciences,
the Advisory Council of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychotherapy (ACEP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
and the Advisory Board of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine (UK), Core reviewer for BioMed Central, Complementary
and Alternative Medicine Online.
click here to send me an e-mail about anything you want to ask or say!