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Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine
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#1 Way to Ruin Relationships
Dear EFT Community,
We often block good relationships with our negative feedback. In this article, Dr. Lake reveals how to use EFT to neutralize this kind of interaction, especially criticism, that keep us from connecting in our relationships.
I know of the number one way to ruin your relationship: Be a critic.
Of all the relationship poisons, this is the deadliest.
Over time, it is guaranteed never to improve the quality of your life.
I believe that EFT can be a useful antidote to this relationship poison. Using EFT initially doesn't solve the problem. Instead, it helps you to get straight emotionally first. When you can be more neutral, both parties can confront and negotiate the truths of any situation more evenly.
The urge to criticize and blame comes from deeply-felt ideas about the world and how it should be.
There are two kinds of people in the world, those that can tolerate crumbs in the bed, and those who can’t (actually, it’s those who think there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t). As such, the hurt feelings are your own, and are triggered off by others—not caused.
Criticism doesn't work because of the amount of hurt feelings that it stirs up in both participants. The price for being a critic is often a lack of appreciation, lack of acceptance and lack of a solid friendship inherent in any good relationship.
Here’s how I would use EFT personally, both for the criticizer and criticizee.
I think it has more leverage if you focus on the negative and “hot” aspects of a problem, especially the irrational and awful/terrible/horrible ones. I use a light touch with the affirmations because I find this helps. Make these personal for your situation.
If you are the doer, you might feel the need to right a “wrong”, and to restore your sense of order in your inner world about excess chaos—typically caused by another (often someone you “love”).
You could say:
"Even if I feel like I can’t let this go…I’m going to do the best I can."
"Although I can’t put up with this any more….and I shouldn't have to anyway…and he/she should know better by now…I am going to find a way to deal with this."
"Even though I know I’m right about this…so he/she must be wrong, I’d rather be happy than completely correct."
"Despite this personal insult…I won’t let it get in the way of our friendship."
"Even though I’m so upset about this I don’t even want to tap, I’ll do it anyway to keep the faith."
"Although this is the last straw…and homicide is against the law…I suppose we both make mistakes."
"Even though this makes life harder/more work for me, which I don’t need, I will work hard for our friendship."
"Although this reminds me of a whole lot of other bad stuff, it’s only Monday; I’m going to handle this."
"Even if this is proof that I live with a criminal/fool/idiot/dolt/hopeless case, he/she is my idiot—and I love him/her dearly, the last time I checked."
"Although he/she promised to love, honor and cherish, so did I—and I’m going to do it right now."
Blocking thoughts to treating the frustration about the “crime” include the following:
I would say“I accept myself deeply and completely, even if…”
Nothing will ever change around here
I could become a doormat/martyr if I don’t speak up
Things have to be done correctly…the right way (my way)
They don’t do it, and they don’t care…so I don’t matter to them
They will never learn
I do things better
It’s deliberate on his/her part
It’s serious/important to me and I must prevail
I’m with the wrong person
I can’t respect someone who does this
If he/she loved me they wouldn't do this
I feel/am helpless
Very often we lose sight of the awful fact that we are just as much a bother to our partner. Naturally they will remind us in due course. You become the criticizee, the receiver.
When you cop the lot (Australian for receiving criticism) you could use EFT like this:
"Although I’m really hurt and upset…and he/she shouldn't have said those things, I’ll settle myself the best I can."
"Even if he/she is really angry, soon we’ll discuss this like friends."
"Although I don’t think this is so bad, I’ll fix it if I can, just for her/him."
"Even if this is a storm in a teacup…it’s our teacup, and I can help out here."
"He/she obviously hates me…and two can play that game, but I’ll do the tapping and prevent World War 3."
"Although it’s ridiculous for him/her to get so upset…and upset me as well, I’m going to hang in there, despite everything."
"Although I’m guilty until proven innocent…the trial is today and the hanging tomorrow, I can weather this storm."
"Even if technically it’s not my fault, I’ll stay calm and apologize if I’m part of the problem."
"Although he/she’s not blameless, I’ll find the useful reaction here."
Blocking thoughts: “I accept myself deeply and completely even if…”
My good deeds have gone unnoticed
I can’t live up to his/her standards
I am a bad person to him/her
Here we go again
His/her crimes are worse than mine
This whole thing is useless
He/she hates me
This is just too much/over the top/the end of the line
I can’t help it if I’m not perfect
One objection to using EFT for these common hurts is that it could lead to feeling relaxed about a legitimate issue of abuse or bad boundaries. This is possible, but in my opinion only if there are severe personal problems to begin with; this would manifest as a poor sense of self in a damaged person.
I would still use EFT in this situation as it is very likely to lead to greatly increased self-esteem over time.
Here, the relational aspects of good therapy are as important as Energy techniques. When EFT does it’s magic to our dysfunctional feeling-reactions, there’s little danger that we will become too saintly or forgiving for the wrong reasons; we lose neither our common sense nor our time-tested ability to say or do the wrong thing from time to time.
Persistence and more persistence is the key in treating the deep anxieties and fears underlying our critical actions.
Of course there is much to do in negotiating the compromises of partnership. Some habits and faults are never going to change. If we criticize, in essence we have forgotten the Golden Rule with respect to forgiveness. My daughter once said to me “I know I did the wrong thing, but why are you so upset?” Exactly.
If you can imagine a world where you are treated so well, so kindly, so graciously, by someone who thinks the best of you, then naturally you will reciprocate. Nelson Mandela said in Sydney last week “If you treat people with impeccable integrity and honesty, then that is how they will treat you”. Do we really have the right to criticize others?
Use EFT to help yourself and others to move beyond our limiting negative beliefs about the world. Start at home.