From Pain to Power

By Keith Ablow, MD

Human beings have a kind of psychological Achilles’ heel. We don’t like to experience pain. Sigmund Freud called this reflex to pull away from suffering the “pleasure principle.” Again and again, we candy coat reality, telling ourselves lies about our relationships and our childhoods, as if burying the pain we lived through will make it go away. It never does, of course. It just fuels all the bankrupt strategies human beings employ to try to keep emotional reality at bay—alcoholism, sexual addiction, overspending, getting lost on the World Wide Web.

Buried truths are the roots of depression and anxiety. Ultimately, we all need to be authentic, to look squarely at the complications in our lives, many of them painful ones. It makes us human, connects us to the challenges others face and gives us the insight to make real and lasting changes.

Burying painful facts by using psychological defenses like denial or booze or cocaine or one tumultuous, distracting relationship after another is no different than trying to treat an abscess with pain relievers. The trouble is that the infection gets worse and worse, spreading silently, under cover, until it invades muscle and bone and seeds the bloodstream, then the heart itself. Then a cure is much harder to achieve (if not impossible) and requires far more aggressive measures, like multiple IV antibioticsa, or even surgery, to cut away diseased, dying tissue.

Americans--taken as a whole--have the same tendency, it turns out, to want to avoid economic suffering. After all, seeing our economic circumstances for what they really are would mean having to experience the pain of big businesses—institutions we consider part of our life stories—dissolving. It would mean coming to grips with the fact that decades of non-competitive practices and products from huge companies that have left major industries on life support, when they have no real pulse, anymore. It would mean acknowledging that there are limits to the benefits companies can offer workers. It would mean admitting that politicians ignored timely cures for pathologies in our economy that have now spread to the muscle and bone and, yes, the heart of our great country. It would mean watching neighbors and friends and family members losing their homes because they, the banking system or both lost sight of reality and decided to get “high” on loans that should never have been made, loans that transported home “owners” and mortgage lenders into a euphoria of fake affluence that was as removed from the truth as any high induced by heroin or Ecstasy. It would mean not pretending that 9/11 was anything but what it was: the most horrifying evidence that millions of murderous people in faraway places see our love of liberty and our embrace of compassionate religions as abhorrent to them and, therefore, want to destroy us. It would mean acknowledging that the struggle against such dark forces must be unrelenting and will cost us dearly. It would mean simply this: experiencing pain. And the avoidance of pain is now not only part of our psyches as human beings, but an undeniable part of our national character.

If we are bored, we turn to our iPods or Wii machines to distract us. If we are depressed we rush to take antidepressants to feel happier. If we are panicked we take anti-anxiety agents to feel more secure. When self-esteem eludes our young people, they turn to their bodies for sexual gratification or YouTube for intoxicating glimpses of staged antics. When our own lives worry us, we shift our attention to the PR-driven, fake highs and lows of celebrities.

The path out of the economic and cultural trouble in which we find ourselves lies in resolving to not turn away from the pain at hand. It means inspecting all our actions—including government bailouts of banks and industry and homeowners—to make certain they aren't attempts to simply avoid reality and suffering (which many of them are). It means finding true American character again in our ability to face our problems head on, with open hearts. It means learning again that we can survive anything we do not run from.

If we do less than this, if we luxuriate in medicating ourselves with one economic and political fantasy after another, we will drift further from credible solutions. More, we will create an opening for those with very focused, very real and potentially very destructive, intentions to achieve genuine power in America. Because dodging pain weakens us as individuals and as a people and emboldens those who seek to subjugate individual thought and freedom.

Our battle to face reality is now an internal one we can win by deciding to stop evading it. But reality will have its due, one way or another. The truth always wins. If we cannot wrestle in earnest with our own demons—economic and cultural—we will have to dig deep to find our best selves when we are in worse pain, in even more perilous times.

Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist and Fox News Contributor with offices in Boston and Manhattan. Contact him at info@keithablow.com

On Friday's radio program, Bill O'Reilly joins Glenn Beck discuss the possible outcomes for the Democrats in 2020.

Why are former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama working overtime to convince Americans they're more moderate than most of the far-left Democratic presidential candidates? Is there a chance of a Michelle Obama vs. Donald Trump race this fall?

O'Reilly surmised that a post-primary nomination would probably be more of a "Bloomberg play." He said Michael Bloomberg might actually stand a chance at the Democratic nomination if there is a brokered convention, as many Democratic leaders are fearfully anticipating.

"Bloomberg knows he doesn't really have a chance to get enough delegates to win," O'Reilly said. "He's doing two things: If there's a brokered convention, there he is. And even if there is a nominee, it will probably be Biden, and Biden will give [him] Secretary of State or Secretary of Treasury. That's what Bloomberg wants."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.


On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings, explained his newly filed lawsuit, which seeks the records of contact between Ukraine prosecutors and the U.S. Embassy officials in Kiev during the 2016 election.

The records would provide valuable information on what really happened in Ukraine, including what then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were doing with Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, Solomon explained.

The documents, which the State Department has withheld thus far despite repeated requests for release by Solomon, would likely shed light on the alleged corruption that President Donald Trump requested to be investigated during his phone call with the president of Ukraine last year.

With the help of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Solomon's lawsuit seeks to compel the State Department to release the critical records. Once released, the records are expected to reveal, once and for all, exactly why President Trump wanted to investigate the dealings in Ukraine, and finally expose the side of the story that Democrats are trying to hide in their push for impeachment.

"It's been a one-sided story so far, just like the beginning of the Russia collusion story, right? Everybody was certain on Jan. 9 of 2017 that the Christopher Steele dossier was gospel. And our president was an agent of Russia. Three years later, we learned that all of that turned out to be bunk, " Solomon said.

"The most important thing about politics, and about investigations, is that there are two sides to a story. There are two pieces of evidence. And right now, we've only seen one side of it," he continued. "I think we'll learn a lot about what the intelligence community, what the economic and Treasury Department community was telling the president. And I bet the story was way more complicated than the narrative that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] has woven so far."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

Watch the video clip below for a preview of the full-length interview:

The full interview will air on January 30th for Blaze TV subscribers, and February 1st on YouTube and wherever you get your podcast.

Want to listen to more Glenn Beck podcasts?

Subscribe to Glenn Beck's channel on YouTube for FREE access to more of his masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, or subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.