I worked with a client last week, let’s call her Jenny (not her real name). She started the call talking about feeling anxious and overwhelmed about the things she has on her plate because of the anxiety she feels about her debt. I thought that debt is something that most of us can relate to so I’d like to share.
Jenny is a professional woman in her late 50’s taking on an extra part time job to make ends meet. During the training for her new part time job she’ll be working 12 hour days and she’s afraid of how exhausted she’ll be. As she talked more about it she mentioned that she can’t seem to have money AND time. She said, “I’m scared for my health” and she got emotional. She said she could feel it in her chest. It was an 8 in intensity (0 = no emotional charge and a 10 =an extremely high emotional charge).
We started tapping at whatever feeling made her emotional… (the following is the highlights of what we tapped on)
- Even though I have so much debt and it makes me feel powerless…
- Even though I’ve created this situation myself…
- I feel completely regretful because of the bad choices I’ve made…
We kept tapping and unpacking her emotions….
- I’ve always made bad choices:
- Even though it was a bad choice to leave my relationship, there was a lot of financial security there…
- I guess I have to be miserable in order to have financial security
- That’s the way it’s gone ever since I went back to school
- I’ve been so unhappy ever since I acquired all of this debt
- The biggest reason is because I chose to make a career change
- Another bad choice…
As we continued to tap I asked her what that feeling in her body about making bad choices reminded her of… and she immediately responded:
- Getting pregnant at 15 was a bad choice.
- I have to punish myself for the rest of my life
- I have to keep punishing myself until I die.
We tapped a bit on her feelings about the unwanted pregnancy…..
- I’m open to the possibility that maybe 15 year olds make bad choices, that’s why they have parents to guide them to make better choices.
- But I didn’t have parents that could do that for me
- So I’m beating myself up because no one was there to teach me.
- I choose to release it and let it go now it’s not serving me at all anymore
- I’ve punished my 15 year old self enough
- I chose to give her a break
- I chose to forgive her…
- She was only 15. She did the best she could under the circumstances
We stopped tapping to check in. When she repeated out loud that she made bad choices the intensity level had gone up from an 8 to a 9, (I recognized that we tried to tap into the positive too soon) so we kept tapping.
- Even though it got higher, I have all these regrets that I’ve been going over and over in my head for so long now
- I can’t love and value myself because I’m so angry at myself I deeply and profoundly accept how I feel
- I’m so angry at myself because I’ve made so many serious errors in judgement
- I never deserve to be forgiven because what I’ve done is soo bad, it’s in the same category as abandonment.
We followed the thread and kept tapping…
- I abandoned my child (gave it up for adoption) just like my parents abandoned me.
- and for that there’s no forgiveness
- Part of me can never forgive my parents for not guiding me appropriately
- Part of me is so angry at my parents but I’m not supposed to be because they are my parents. So I have to be angry at myself.
When we stopped to check in on the feeling in her chest, it was a 9 before, I asked what is it now?
- The abandonment feeling was a 10… so we kept tapping…
- Even though I feel abandoned. My dad left me too young. He died when I was only 35…
- This abandonment feeling…
- He abandoned me and that reminded me of a time when I was young..
A fuzzy memory came to her. She started telling me about a time, “When we were supposed to go to a father daughter dinner at my school. I think he didn’t show up.”
We kept tapping…
- Even though I felt abandoned by my dad
- I love and value myself and accept how I feel
- He didn’t show up for the dinner
- I was only 7
- I deeply and profoundly accept how I feel
- I was just a little girl
- He didn’t show up
- I thought it must mean that I didn’t matter
- My dad didn’t show up for me and I thought it meant I didn’t matter. I was only 7.
- I’ve been feeling that feeling in my chest ever since that day
- I’ve been repeating that pattern…
- No wonder I’ve made all those bad choices.
- I made those bad choices from a wounded 7 year olds perspective. That feeling that I don’t matter isn’t serving me at all anymore.
- My dad didn’t show up probably not because I didn’t matter but because he was an alcoholic and he had a disease that was more important than anything to him, including me.
- I chose to forgive myself for believing that I didn’t matter because I did the best I could with the tools I had when I was just a 7 year old little girl.
- I’m all grown up now so I chose to release that pain and let it go, what a relief.
She took a deep breath and slowly and thoughtfully said, “The intensity is now only about a 5. It could even be a 4.” [Sometimes we are able to find the specific thing to tap on relatively quickly and also bring the intensity down quickly. Other times we have to keep tapping while doing some detective work, going through the layers, until we hit the specific emotion that is holding us hostage. Once that happens we can feel relief pretty quickly, many times instantly.]
She continued speaking as the awareness was coming to her, “It feels less constricting in my chest. Less of a heartache type thing. When the feelings were escalating, oh my god, it was such a heartache over all of this! It’s feeling like forgiveness of my dad now — just knowing he was an alcoholic. Now it’s really more about the disease than it is about me. How I see and feel it now is that my dad didn’t really have very much control over HIS choices. I think the disease had such a hold on him that he just didn’t have a lot of control over those choices.”
The intensity came down quite a bit so she was able to see things from a completely different perspective. More from her adult self rather than her wounded little 7 year old self who, because of her fathers alcoholic behavior, thought she didn’t matter.
She gave the remaining 4 or 5 in intensity the label of sadness. We tapped some more on her sadness…
- Even though I learned to be angry and make bad choices because that’s what I saw my parents do so of course that’s what I too!
- I wanted desperately to matter just like all little children do.
- All this sadness….
- I deeply and profoundly love and value myself anyway and completely accept how I feel.
- All this sadness in my body…
- These are my parents beliefs and behaviors, they aren’t serving me at all anymore…
The session was about over and we had been able to make quite a bit of progress in only one hour.
Her biggest Ah-Ha: “About the role my father played in all of this. We’ve focused a lot on my mom in past sessions and how my mom made me feel but I haven’t spent that much time thinking about what I learned from my dad through all of this… a lot of it is about choices I’ve made that I’ve felt really pulled to do because I was hoping to have an inner need fulfilled. Things were done to me — from that 7 year old little girls perspective– and I thought I had the choice to do something different, and I just chose to make bad choices, but maybe I didn’t.”
This is a good example of how EFT works when we have a lot of emotions stacked on top of one another (which most of us do) and they “daisy chain” together. We tap one aspect or layer at a time and then they all start collapsing. We went from debt, to bad choices, to regret, to being angry at herself, feelings of abandonment, and feeling like she didn’t matter and finally sadness. There is probably more to tap on, however, we simply start where we are and systematically “unpack” the “sting” attached to every emotion allowing for some permanent relief.
If you are carrying extra emotional baggage about debt or anything else, and it’s keeping you stuck from living Your Strongest Life there may be a way to calm your fears and quiet that critical self talk that is keeping you beating yourself up so badly. I invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org NOW for your complimentary 30 minute chat to see if we are a good fit to work together and so you can get some emotional relief!
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