Autoimmune diseases are disorders of the immune system. They arise as a result of a malfunction in the human immune system. Due to the malfunction, the immune system begins to excessively attack its own cells, destroying them. Normally, the human immune system is designed to protect the body from foreign elements (microbes, bacteria, viruses), so it can distinguish “self” cells from “foreign” ones. However, for some reasons, there is a failure in the immune system, and it begins to treat cells of a certain organ of its body as foreign. As a consequence, it starts attacking and damaging them. The immune system can attack any organ, including the heart and brain, leading to autoimmune diseases.
Medicine attributes the following to autoimmune diseases:
- certain thyroid diseases,
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- Behcet’s disease,
- systemic vasculitis,
- multiple sclerosis,
- antiphospholipid syndrome,
- type 1 diabetes,
- systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.
Studies have revealed that, regardless of which organ is damaged, autoimmune diseases have common primary causes: unhealthy gut, gluten, toxins (mycotoxins and heavy metals), infections, stress.
Psychosomatics of Autoimmune Diseases
To uncover the psychosomatics of these diseases, we must answer the questions: Why does the immune system suddenly start treating its cells as foreign? What is the nature of the immune system’s failure?
According to psychologist E. Lebed, such a failure in the body occurs as a result of a deep intrapersonal conflict in a person. Typically, autoimmune diseases occur in families where parents feud with each other, attacking opposite ancestral lines (“your lineage is so-and-so, but mine is good”). Remember, a child is a whole, both physiologically and spiritually, consisting of parental genetic and spiritual ‘materials.’ He or she contains both sides (father and mother), even if they are feuding.
Caught between them, on the very front line of conflict, the child not only sees this struggle but painfully experiences it as if the unity within him is being torn apart. He starts feeling like a stranger among his own (for dad – a stranger because he contains part of mom, for mom – a stranger because he exhibits dad’s traits).
Usually, this intrapersonal conflict occurs in the early stages of life and, to close off from painful experiences, is repressed into the subconscious. As soon as an event occurs in a person’s life that recreates the conditions of this ‘forgotten’ conflict (repeats the situation), an autoimmune disease appears.
E. Lebed believes that this disease indicates that there is a deep conflict in a person’s soul, destroying both his soul and his body. At the same time, the patient cannot find protection, support, either externally (among loved ones) or within himself. However, feeling his inner vulnerability, weakness, and loneliness, such a person does not show this to others, but tries to appear strong.
Numerous studies by doctors and psychologists have found that patients with systemic autoimmune diseases have similar personality traits and characteristics: high levels of anxiety and depression, difficulties in expressing their emotions (including aggression), pronounced vulnerability to stressogenic factors.
According to some authors, people suffering from autoimmune diseases lose the ability to distinguish people and situations, seeing everything in a distorted way (perceiving the good as bad, and vice versa). They love to generalize (this official is bad, so all officials are bad), are biased, unable to be tolerant and indulgent.
Psychologists believe that autoimmune diseases are characteristic of people who say ‘no’ to everything. Such people are too fixated on their identity: they know what their ‘I’ is, but they feel that others want to infringe on their ‘I,’ to impose something foreign.
Their ‘I’ is typically characterized by intellectuality and detachment from reality, when a person does not accept other aspects of his personality, thinking that he is not like that and cannot be like that.
As for such a person’s relationship with the world, here he also differs in non-acceptance, aggression, striving to change the world (‘the world is not perfect’).
Psychological Causes of Some Psychosomatic Autoimmune Diseases
Polymyositis is a systemic autoimmune disease of human muscles. According to authors on psychosomatics, muscles symbolize what enables a person’s movement in life. Louise Hay believes that muscle problems indicate a person’s reluctance to accept new impressions.
Liz Bourbeau argues that muscle problems indicate that a person lacks motivation and will to realize their desires (due to their inner weakness).
Systemic vasculitis is a group of diseases characterized by inflammation and destruction of the walls of vessels (arteries, veins, etc.). According to some authors, this disease is associated with the fact that a person loses the desire or completely refuses to fulfill his duties at home, in the family. Or the disease indicates that the person is tired of the home in which he lives.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease affecting the spinal and brain. It arises as a result of inflammation of the myelin sheaths of nerve fibers. Louise Hay believes that the psychological cause of this ailment is rigidity of thought, hard-heartedness, iron will, lack of flexibility, as well as fear and anger.
Liz Bourbeau writes that a person loses his sensitivity and flexibility because he cannot adapt to the situation or to another person. Such a person feels that someone is playing on his nerves, and from this, anger grows in him.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a systemic connective tissue disease that manifests on the skin. Women are more likely to suffer from this ailment.
According to Louise Hay, this disease indicates defeatism, where a person lives from the position of ‘better to die than to stand up for oneself.’ Such a person is characterized by anger and self-punishment.
Psychologist Liz Bourbeau links the cause of lupus to the word ‘wolf,’ believing that this characterizes the patient’s behavior. The patient thinks that he behaves cruelly and mercilessly towards loved ones, and therefore hates himself.
Some authors write that lupus indicates a loss of spiritual connection with the World, a loss of vital forces, as well as a refusal to develop.
Systemic scleroderma is a disease affecting various organs, associated with changes in connective tissue with a predominance of fibrosis. The skin in this case thins and as if ‘sticks’ to the bones, turning into a rigid carapace. It mainly affects women.
Louise Hay believes that the cause of this disease is shutting oneself off from life. At the same time, a person cannot take care of himself and be where he is.
According to Liz Bourbeau, a person suffering from this ailment wants to close himself in his carapace. He becomes so callous and embittered that he stops expressing his feelings and emotions. Although inside he is tender, he wants to seem rough.
Thyroiditis is an inflammatory lesion of the thyroid gland.
Authors of works on psychosomatics assert that this gland is designed to protect a person from auto-aggression – aggression directed against oneself.
As psychologist S. Kolesha notes, the thyroid gland is also a gland of sensitivity, subtlety of feelings, acuteness of perception, and creative expression of thought. The psychologist also asserts that this gland is energetic, as its secretion is a regulator of the pace of life.
Therefore, at the base of thyroiditis is ‘self-devouring’ (anger at oneself and other negative emotions) as aggression against oneself.
Each person reacts differently to internal problems. It seems that depending on which extreme he chooses – being overly active or falling into passivity – he gets one or another disorder of the gland.
Hyperthyroidism as an overly active thyroid gland indicates an overly active lifestyle, when a person lives the necessity to prove or achieve attention.
The psychosomatics of hypothyroidism explains this ailment as a consequence of passivity: a person wants to be active, but cannot, as he is constrained by fear. Insufficient activity of the thyroid gland indicates that the patient is afraid to manage his own life, that he lacks independence.
Among autoimmune liver diseases, cirrhosis, hepatitis, cholangitis are distinguished.
The autoimmune nature of cirrhosis means that a person has an internal problem – self-hatred (of one’s body, its needs). This weakens detoxification processes, and the body is poisoned by its own products of life (its suppressed anger and dissatisfaction, malice, hatred).
According to Louise Hay’s table, the liver is the center of anger and rage. This author believes that the basis of hepatitis is an unwillingness to change anything, as well as fear, anger, hatred.
Cholangitis as inflammation of the bile ducts, according to Liz Bourbeau, indicates that a person lives in irritation. And external irritants (food, change of weather) exacerbate the problem.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis in which the disease affects joints on both sides of the body. Louise Hay believes that the basis of this ailment is the complete overthrow of authorities, whose pressure the person feels.
Famous author on psychosomatics F. Alexander believes that rheumatoid arthritis arises in connection with the authoritarian role of the patient’s parents, as well as with characteristic personality qualities. Thus, the patient is characterized by an inability to express emotions, an impoverished inner world, high muscle tone, masculinity and an increased sense of guilt (due to excessive independence) in women.
Paths of Healing Psychosomatic Autoimmune Diseases
The specificity of autoimmune diseases lies in the fact that they all originate from the same cause – auto-aggression (self-directed aggression). Psychologically, this manifests as self-flagellation, self-devouring, anger and rage at oneself, self-punishment, etc. The sphere of life in which a person experiences these destructive emotions against themselves determines which organ will be affected.
Understanding the cause of the autoimmune disease is half the path to healing. The next step is to remove this cause.
How? Especially if a person has lived with these negative experiences for a long time, when self-flagellation has become a habit for them.
In reality, it’s not that difficult to do, provided that the person:
- really wants to heal;
- has fully understood, realized, and accepted the cause of their ailment.
If a person understands the problem, would they really want to continue to suffer and destroy their one and only, faithful body?
Admittedly, this happens when a person chooses suffering.
Well, everyone makes their own choice, for which they will later be accountable.
A person who chooses health will do everything to heal:
• they will monitor and analyze their negative thoughts and emotions towards themselves or the world;
• having ‘caught’ such a thought or emotion, they will seek its root cause (usually, it’s the fear of something: fear of the new, fear of vulnerability, fear of not being perfect, fear of making a mistake, etc.);
• understanding the essence of the fear, they will work with it (what is connected to this fear, when and under what circumstances it appears, what its purpose is, whether it is beneficial, etc.);
• of course, some fears have been with us for a long time, from early childhood, but if we work with them well and honestly, we will understand that they are outdated, that there is no reason to keep them inside us. Understanding means to let go, to release, to replace them with positive feelings (a sense of one’s own worth and dignity, knowledge of one’s strong positive sides and qualities, confidence, inner peace, a feeling of one’s own inner strength, etc.);
• a person on the path of healing understands that they came here to learn (to learn to live, love, forgive, create, etc.). And if so, then mistakes are inevitable.
• the main thing is not to get stuck in this, not to scold oneself, but to move forward and correct the mistake made.
It seems that such an approach is natural, simple, and wise, and there is no need to complicate it (which is what negative emotions do).
I wish you the realization of your value and uniqueness, as well as self-respect and belief in yourself. Become a support for yourself (inner support is within each of us, it just needs to be found).