How EFT Can Increase Compassion for Oneself
Dear EFT Community,
EFT Certified EFT Practitioner, Zoe Zimmerman, offers an example of using EFT tapping to address unresolved issues from childhood and how they often influence your entire life until you resolve them.
EFT can be very effective in resolving family of origin issues, which can affect our adult relationships profoundly. I’ve found that negative family patterns powerfully influence how we as adults interact at work, with spouses and friends, and with our children, as well as how successful and happy we are in our lives.
I worked with “Jim,” on difficulties he had in romantic relationships. His issues stem from what happened with his mother, starting when he was a baby. Everything he was and did failed to fit in with her idea of how a child should be, and she let him know regularly that he was not good, that he did not fit into the family, etc.
Beginning at a very young age, he felt completely alone and scared; later he became angry and still later he became cold with others and also hated himself, and he felt that he was innately “wrong.”
He had great difficulty in romantic relationships, alternately feeling abandoned and feeling and acting cold and shut-down toward his partner, and also disconnecting from and hating himself.
Here’s how we worked on this:
We worked with a number of specific incidents, as well as more general family dynamics sessions.
Each time, after the “even though” statement, we tapped on similar statements. Sometimes, when things became very intense, I tapped on him and repeated statements instead of having him do it.
Here are some excerpts from more general sessions:
Even though I feel so alone, and could have been much happier, I deeply and completely accept myself and I’m staying right here with me.
Even though I have nothingness inside me, that’s always around, and I’m afraid of going into nothingness … I love even this in myself, and I’m staying right here with me.
Jim usually felt isolated and completely different from others. After a number of tapping rounds, Jim felt that he was really there with himself and heard a voice inside himself saying that he is not alone.
In another session we tapped:
Even though I feel unstable, and that life is meaningless, and I lose connection with life, I deeply and completely accept everything about myself.
Even though I feel desperate and disconnected…
Even though I am so angry… (These two statements are moving toward connection because they have feeling in them, rather than just feeling empty).
Even though I’m broken-hearted and hanging on with my fingernails, I deeply and completely love myself and I’m staying right here with me.
Even though my parents shut me out until I finally shut myself out from myself, I deeply and completely love myself and I’m staying right here with me.
At the end of this session, he felt compassion for himself and for the women that he has been in relationship with over several years. During the beginnings of an argument with her, he was able to really see her point of view, and say that, and still feel that his view was also “right.”
In another session we tapped:
Even though my mother attacked the very core of me…
Even though my mother blasted her own anxiety onto me, obliterating me…
His usual response would be to become hard and angry.
But now it changed to:
Even though I feel sad and vulnerable, like a sapling, I have deep compassion for myself and am staying right here with my feelings.
Because Jim rejected himself so completely, he also tended to have a lot of ambivalence about staying connected with anyone that felt deeply attached to him. It was intensely frightening. He felt that, if someone loved him, there must be something wrong with them. At the end of this session, he felt he was eager to have his friends see who he is and was feeling his strengths and his ability to handle his feelings.
In another session we discussed when Jim was a baby, his mother left him alone in the crib for hours, even when he was hungry or needed his diaper changed. He felt such a threat that he went into a frozen, numb, slowed-down state. This kind of state is a sign of trauma. Over time, this became his way of protecting himself when he felt threatened in relationships. The feeling of threat was often triggered when nothing threatening was actually going on in the present.
Even though, as a baby, I learned to shut down when I felt my life threatened, and some part of me is still living from that time, I consider the possibility that I can trust and move out into the world.
Even though a part of me has been protecting me from threat by shutting down, I deeply and completely love this part of me. I thank it and hold it with compassion. And I now give it a different role: to help me build my career and to stay connected to my friends, colleagues and myself.
In another session we discussed how Jim was never held, and his mother did not look into his eyes with love. He realized that the feeling from her was that he was “trash.” This was very painful.
Even though I have been taught that I’m trash, and have always assumed this is true… and I’m staying right here with me.
He became very sad and nauseous (a sign of trauma arising in the nervous system). He noticed and stayed with the feeling while I tapped on him until it ebbed and disappeared.
Jim had always identified with being the one who is detestable. He had believed, at the emotional level - even if not totally on the intellectual level - that his mother’s reaction to him was about him. But he started to realize that this is not true.
Even though this was never about me; even though my mother felt alone and deeply unhappy in herself and took it out on me; even though I took this into myself and still somehow believe it’s who I am…
Even though I am contemptuous or disrespectful of people to whom I get close…
Even though I feel that they are trash because I am trash… He became sad, spacey and heavy (trauma experience arising again)
Even though I am deeply afraid and I cover it over by becoming spacey and heavy…
Even though I want to run away, and always want to run away from what I’m feeling…At this point, his back locked up, at a level of 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.
Even though I’m afraid of getting close and even though I’m afraid of opening up… His back loosened up totally, to a “0” after some tapping on this topic.
He started really feeling who he is, and felt free from what he had absorbed from the childhood atmosphere. We also did a round on forgiving his mother so that he could separate out even more and be just himself.
After these sessions, he had much more compassion and love for himself, was able to perceive himself more accurately and to stay with whatever he was experiencing instead of shutting it away. He was increasingly able to relate to what his girlfriend and other friends were feeling and experiencing. He started being able to notice when he was feeling threatened and to notice whether anything threatening was actually happening.
And rather than shutting off from others, he was increasingly able to just let them know what he was feeling and thinking.