Strong aversion against blue veins

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
trefobe
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Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by trefobe » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:38 pm

££££&&&&@&@

Hello everyone,
I feel a strong aversion against blue veins (the "normal" ones, not "spider veins"). More specifically, I am a Caucasian male with a Caucasian wife and a Caucasian child. We all have relatively fair skin and three years ago I noticed that blue veins are visible on the backs of my wife's hands. Since then, I "discovered" more blue veins on her temples, arms, legs, feet, etc. I also found many similar veins on myself, our child (albeit in both cases to a lesser extent) and on many other people.

It bothers me so much that I often don't look at my wife because I fear that seeing such a vein would trigger an unpleasant emotional reaction. Or sometimes I "seek" these veins, yet feel strong aversion when I "find" them, especially on my wife and child. I also ruminate daily about it, and even fantasize about divorcing my wife and finding a partner with very dark skin.

But that course of action seems not rational/sensible to me because
a) I myself have these veins
b) most people I know have these veins
c) most people don't seem to care about these blue veins as much or at all
d) it would break up my little family
e) because I'm worried that in a new relationship I would "find" something else that upsets me (e.g. body hair, wrinkles, etc.)

I talked with two psychotherapists about it and they couldn't help and basically said nothing can be done about it. However, based on everything I've learned about psychology, Buddhism, etc., I don't believe that.

Therefore, I started working on this issue myself several days ago. Firstly, I acknowledged that it's not a sign of disease, that most people with fair skin have visible blue veins to some extent, that these veins fulfil a vital function, that even people on whom they are invisible still have them and that most people don't seem to care much about them. Secondly, I realised that using aversion doesn't help and that fearfully looking away is not the solution. I therefore started to continue looking at them until my feeling of aversion has grown weaker. I feel that these two methods have already worked to some extent but may either need more time/practice or require additional methods/insights.

Can you help me with this issue?

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:22 pm

when you are seeing the body as it is you will be repulsed by it, and thats not just veins, it's head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, all of it is not only repulsive but impermanent so sorry you are worried about your family but dispassion is a good trade-off
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mikenz66
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:55 pm

Hi trefobe
trefobe wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:38 pm
Secondly, I realised that using aversion doesn't help and that fearfully looking away is not the solution. I therefore started to continue looking at them until my feeling of aversion has grown weaker. I feel that these two methods have already worked to some extent but may either need more time/practice or require additional methods/insights.
That sounds like a good approach. I would suggest that in cases like this, where aversion/fear/etc arises, you try to focus on the feeling of aversion itself, rather than the object of aversion (which can just make it worse). What does the aversion/fear/etc feel like? Where do you feel it? Somewhere in the body? Just in the mind?

You could also use this as an exercise if you have a meditation practice. After developing some calm, try bringing to mind something you don't want (such as the images you describe), and ask the above questions (what does the aversion feel like, etc). Then, after a time, bring to mind something you want and ask the same questions about the feelings of attraction. Compare and contrast the feelings. Where do they send the mind? What do they do to the body?

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budo
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by budo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:03 pm

Blue veins are simply the lack of red light waves returning to your eyes.
Blue light does not penetrate human tissue as deeply as red light does. As a result, veins that are close to the surface of the skin will be more likely to reflect blue light back to the eye.

The oxygen-depleted blood that veins carry also tends to absorb red light more than blue light. When the dark red blood absorbs more red light, blue light is more likely to be reflected back to our eyes.
Your emotional reaction is not grounded in logic and reality. Blue veins have nothing to do with health..

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rightviewftw
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:20 pm

Afaik for the most part it is due to a lower bodyfat % that one sees the veins. There is nothing intrinsically attractive about veins but perhaps you can get rid of the aversion by cultivating perception of equanimity.

dharmacorps
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by dharmacorps » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:22 pm

Contrary to what you may have heard, or been told, I think this is something that can be helped by psychotherapy or other treatment.

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pilgrim
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by pilgrim » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:19 am

Another thing you can do is to observe the aversion when it arises. Experience how it feels , where the feeling manifests in your body, its shape, tightness, how it feels. Aversion arose because your eyes came into contact with the veins. But when you direct the mind at the aversion itself, the stimulus is cut off. In addition, by consistent and repeated application of this awareness, the reaction will weaken over time.

I used this to reduce my unusual fear of heights to a normal level. I say normal because I think we all should have a modicum fear of heights for our personal safety :D

BKh
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by BKh » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:58 am

trefobe wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:38 pm
I therefore started to continue looking at them until my feeling of aversion has grown weaker.
This technique is called exposure therapy. It is possible to do on your own, but having someone trained in it can be helpful. The effectiveness rests on being exposed to the trigger until the negative reaction subsides. Having a helper can make sure you stick with it until the feelings go away.

The therapists you talked to are wrong. You probably want to be looking for someone trained in cognitive behaviour therapy with a speciality in phobias. In the mean time you can just google exposure therapy and read information that comes from a trusted source.

Good luck and good for you for asking for help and being committed to overcoming this.
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trefobe
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by trefobe » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:15 pm

Thank you for all your replies so far. I appreciate it!

@ Dhammarakkhito

I can see how developing repulsion may intially be helpful for a monk who was previously overwhelmed by sexual desire, but for a married layperson it seems harmful to me (being repulsed by my veins and my wife's veins does not help).

@ mikenz66 & pilgrim

Why do you think that it is more helpful to focus on the aversive reaction instead of the object of aversion? Do you recommend to look away from the stimulus (veins) and focusing on the aversive reaction or to continue to look at them but focus on the aversive reaction simultaneously?

@ budo

You are right, I know these scientific/logical facts. They have helped me somewhat but logic alone has been insufficient so far to overcome my aversion.

@ rightviewftw

Yes, low body fat percentage also seems to play a role, but as far as I know it is not nearly as strong a factor as skin colour. I agree that one can take the position that there is nothing intrinsically attractive about veins but being repulsed by them has caused me considerable suffering.

@ dharmacorps

Yes, I think that too. Do you have any more specific ideas or recommendations?

@ BKh

I am somewhat familar with exposure therapy and used it several years ago to reduce my arachnophobia (phobia of spiders). Finding a therapist with such a focus seems like a good idea.

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mikenz66
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:32 pm

trefobe wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:15 pm
@ mikenz66 & pilgrim

Why do you think that it is more helpful to focus on the aversive reaction instead of the object of aversion? Do you recommend to look away from the stimulus (veins) and focusing on the aversive reaction or to continue to look at them but focus on the aversive reaction simultaneously?
Because it's the reaction that's the problem.

It's not so much "looking away" as focussing on a different part of the total experience.

Did you try examining your reaction?

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trefobe
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by trefobe » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:13 pm

Thank you mikenz66, that makes sense. I will start to practice it daily and tell you how it goes.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:01 pm

Realise that you come into contact with far worse things, on a daily basis, without knowing it. How many parasites live in your gut? How much dried and vaporized dog-sh*t did you breathe in with all the dust today? There's really no getting away from gross things.
Rahula Sutta wrote: "Rahula, develop the meditation in tune with earth. For when you are developing the meditation in tune with earth, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind. Just as when people throw what is clean or unclean on the earth — feces, urine, saliva, pus, or blood — the earth is not horrified, humiliated, or disgusted by it; in the same way, when you are developing the meditation in tune with earth, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind.
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mikenz66
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:57 pm

trefobe wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:13 pm
Thank you mikenz66, that makes sense. I will start to practice it daily and tell you how it goes.
I hope it proves useful!

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Mike

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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:19 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:01 pm
How many parasites live in your gut? How much dried and vaporized dog-sh*t did you breathe in with all the dust today?
Gawd, something else to worry about. :tongue:
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LG2V
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Re: Strong aversion against blue veins

Post by LG2V » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:22 pm

Try blue kasina meditation. It helps you to develop beautiful perceptions of blue objects. You'd be surprised at how effective it is, even before you reach absorption. Here's a link to a pdf that explains it: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 3nsW6qjW_e
Here are some excellent sites for giving free Dana (Click-Based Donation):
http://freerice.comhttp://greatergood.com/www.ripple.orgwww.thenonprofits.com

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