Monday, July 14, 2008

Emotional Freedom

Emotional Freedom Techniques
Energy Tapping
Meridian Energy Therapy
Energy Psychology

Call it what you will. My T is a huge believer in the mind/body connection. Sometimes I'm on board with her and other times pretty skeptical. The longer I work with her, the more I can't deny the solid connection of the two. We met on Saturday and I was a bit scattered when I arrived. I sat back on her plush couch and tried to center myself with some pleasant imagery. But it was not to be. There was a photograph I'd seen the day before that kept attacking my mental happy place. It was a photo of my brother holding my daughter when she was 4 months old. First time he'd met her. We went to his house for a holiday get-together at my mother's strong prompting. I simply could not rid myself of this image since I saw it. His face looks so evil to me. The way he's holding my DD looks like he's going to violate her. My T suggested we do some energy tapping around this image. She asked me for my level of distress associated with the photo on a 1-10 scale. Eight, I said. Tapping, tapping, tapping on my meridians. Distress level? Four, I estimate....the photo isn't holding as much power for me. But I'm being plagued by this repeating thought: "I can't believe I let him touch her. I can't believe I let him touch her." Tap on that thought....tap, tap, tap. Level of distress? Two. And guess what? With that, I realized what the actual underlying issue was that was causing that image to be so powerful. And the tapping stripped it of it's power.

I can't deny that the times I let down my "this is ridiculous" defense and I actually try it with an open mind, it WORKS. It is effective, it is FAST. And it requires no talking, no dredging up old memories, no conscious thought really. Just a couple minutes, concentration, breathing and tapping. When it was done and we discussed the underlying issue (which incidentally was not even a big deal!), I asked my T "WHY am I so resistant to doing this when I see how well it can work?"

I suppose it's my defense. I worry that in stripping away the paralyzing anxiety of a memory or image then I open myself up to the firestorm of unpleasant feelings surround that event that I've basically "locked" into my brain in a particular way. I fear that if I remove this from my brain in the way it's always existed there, then I may lose some sort of defense against it. I could become vulnerable. God help me....I may have to FEEL something!!!! But the beauty of the tapping is that it actually releases the trauma, or at least a certain level of it. It breaks down the power of that event or memory so that you don't have to feel it so intensely. Feelings are actually stored in your body energy. When you remove the energy patterns connected to certain events, you open yourself up for deeper, and quicker, healing.

This is an excerpt from one of MANY books on the topic:
Your body is comprised of energy pathways and energy centers that are in constant motion, a dynamic interplay with other energies and with your cells, organs, immune system, mood, and thoughts. If you can shift these energies, you can influence your physical health, your emotional patterns, and your state of mind.

Helps you to:
- overcome fear, guilt, shame, jealousy, or anger
- change unwanted habits and behaviors
- enhance your ability to love, succeed, and enjoy life

The energy approach can help bring about significant change in your life. With this strategy, stubborn phobias often fade in minutes; the lifelong effects of an early trauma can frequently be reduced or completely eliminated; uncontrollable anger can rapidly become manageable; even elusive physical problems may respond where other treatments have failed. Energy psychology is an amazing tool that puts the ability to effect change directly into your hands, and finally gives you control over your fears, pain, and destructive behaviors.

Such is apparently what happened with me and this photo. There was an initial subjective distress. T had me focus on the image and removed the power from it. Then we peeled off the next layer to see what was under it all which was an old news issue and easily dealt with. I still don't care for that picture but it no longer causes me to feel like vomiting and having a panic attack (in no particular order :o)

I'm trying to be more open to it. I'm hoping to use it to free myself of certain cycles I'm caught in. And my long term goal is to use it to help rid myself of my eating disorder. Stick with me for that journey!! I'll need all the support I can rally.

I read T my last blog post about my mother. We discussed it at great length. And T said something which she prefaced by stating "This may be very hard for you to hear. I don't think you would have survived without your Mother."

Ugh. Yes that was hard to hear, alright. Really??? After all this that I wrote, she wants me to be thankful for my mother???

T goes on and I listen quietly because I have a deep respect and trust in her. There was a time I would have tuned her out after that first statement but we've worked together for many years now and I know better. I don't always agree with her....but I always hear her out. She explains "she saved you on some level. You would not be the person you are today if not for her. She was your only source of warmth and of love. This, in NO way, negates her neglect, her poor decisions. It is simply to broaden your perspective, to possibly take in what is there and is hard to see." I told her that I have a very hard time with that statement because it may well be true in ways. I mean....I wouldn't be who I am today had I not had any of my experiences, good or bad, so I don't particularly feel like I need to throw her a parade for that one. And how can I say she "saved" me when she was, in fact, the one who kept me in a home with an abusive father and brother?? Yes, she gave me more on an emotional level than the men of my family but she also could have saved me by taking me away from them.

My mother's abuse of me was the act of neglect. And not in a broad sense but rather in a very specific way. The ways that she neglected my well-being were a direct reflection of her past. This was her woundedness coming through in her actions and blinding her to the right choice to make. I realize she was incapable of thinking that choice through. Let's face it....there is not a human being alive who is not going to make some choices based on their old baggage. Sometimes they are irrational choices.....bad choices made with all the best intentions.

My mother was a neglected child of an alcoholic mother. Her mother married five times. Which, in those days, was nearly unheard of. My mother's father killed himself. My Mom and her two brothers were split up and sent to live in different homes while my grandmother lived her life, partying it up and getting married left & right. So my mother grew up with a solitary goal: Keep the family together. An admirable sentiment. But her goal overshadowed her ability to evaluate the family and see who was being served or disserved by staying together.

I told T about what I said at the end of my post.....that I feel if I absolve her of her role in my past then I have to then consider doing the same to my father and brother. They were both abused in their own ways. Not true, T assures me. I have the right to a UNIQUE resolution of each relationship in my life. Consider where my mother is in my life right now compared to my brother and father. My father denies anything ever happened. I'm out of my mind according to him. And my brother? Well, his perspective is that it's just something we crazy, curious kids did together. There's no culpability. There's nothing. There's no attempt at a relationship, at amends. My mother can't grasp the full scale of what happened even though I've told her. She's too mired in her own pain to let it all sink in. But she took in what she was able and she said she was sorry. And she shows me that she loves me day in and day out. I don't need to generalize that if I forgive one I have to forgive all. I need to resolve where I can resolve and make peace with the people who have earned it.


Enola said...

Sounds a lot like EMDR - but easier, in some ways.

I really like what your T said about having the right to have unique resolution to each relationship. That's a powerful statement. I get so caught up in being "fair" that I often overlook what is right for me.

Tamara said...

I have done some EFT on myself and found it somewhat helpful but didn't keep it up because it felt so weird to be tapping like that. Usually I have a more open mind so I don't know what is up with me exactly. Maybe I should find a practitioner and try it with someone who really knows what they are doing. I found your post very interesting. I am glad that it is working for you so well. The trick does seem to be that you have to keep it up until you work all the way down to the underlying issue. Anyway, you have motivated me to give it another try and try to be a bit more open about it this time.

It took me a while but you are now added to my blogroll. ;-)

Take care,