If you refer to someone as “a pain in the neck,” enough times, you might develop neck pain when you have to deal with him, due to the sometimes excessive literalism of our subconscious minds. This is called “organ language,” by Leslie LeCron, and this example of how our use of metaphor can stab us in the back is enough to make your head spin!
Some people claim that these negative affirmations generate plenty of psychosomatic illness, mostly because we’re at our most suggestible at times of powerful emotion, and if we claim that someone makes us sick every time they do something that upsets us, over time this can become literally true.
If you do this to yourself, it’s a successful piece of self-hypnosis (congratulations!). If someone else utters the fateful words, it’s still hypnosis, however unintended. The solution is to get yourself dehypnotized, which can be done through hypnoanalysis, which traditionally looks for organ language as one of the likely issues, or through other hypnotic techniques that don’t look for organ language specifically, but still ask the unconscious mind to go back to the problem and find better alternatives.
So now all I have to do is train myself to say “Live long and prosper” instead of swearing. So if you hear someone saying weird stuff like that around Corvallis, it’s probably me.