“I Wish You’d Never Been Born” – EFT for War Trauma

EFT for War Trauma

“Jane” had a very unhappy memory. She’d been through talk therapy and EMDR, which took the edge off, but within minutes of describing what had happened she was crying.  

She’d come to me to try EFT and with her intensity level so high we started right in tapping, first on fear and then for sadness.  As Jane calmed down a bit the story came out:  When Jane was about three and a half, she woke up from a nap on a beautiful spring afternoon.  Dad was sleeping on the couch and when she woke him up he flew into a rage.

He literally threw her across the room where she hit a wall.  Adding insult to injury he screamed at her “I wish you’d never been born”.

After a bit more tapping Jane was calm enough to begin Matrix Reimprinting work.  We began by freezing dad like a statue. This made it safe enough for the younger self to focus on Jane, who stepped into the scene, introduced herself and took the little girl’s hand. When asked what she was feeling, Jane’s younger self told us she was scared and confused. She also had physical pain in her back and head from being thrown up against the wall.

I had Jane take the little girl’s pain away, just by waving her hand over the problem areas.  We then asked what the little girl had learned about life from the experience and got a very literal answer - she shouldn’t wake daddy up from a nap!  Probing a bit deeper the learning seemed to be that it wasn’t safe to upset people. And since you never knew what would upset them it’s probably best to just not bother anyone and not to ask for anything.

I asked Jane if this was a belief she was still running today and the answer was yes!  Very much so.  I guided Jane through tapping on her younger self and the fear and confusion cleared rather quickly. I added reframes for the little girl that it wasn’t her fault – something was wrong with her daddy and she hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve being treated that way. Daddy didn’t really mean what he’d said.  He was just having a really hard time for some reason.

Soon the little girl was feeling much calmer so we asked how she’d like the picture to change.  Immediately she told us that when she woke up daddy he’d smile at her and they’d go outside to play.  This answer absolutely surprised Jane.  She’d been thinking that mom could come in and take care of the girl.  Jane couldn’t imagine her father doing anything nice like that at all!  She told me this was nothing she would ever have come up with.

But this was definitely what her younger self wanted.  So I had Jane go to her father (he was still frozen, with a very angry look on his face) and take his hand, then we unfroze him and asked “What are you feeling? Why did you treat your little girl that way?”

He told Jane he didn’t know why – he’d been worried about money, and worried about being sick, but he felt extreme self-hate and shame for what he’d just done. I had Jane ask him when he’d first begun hating himself.  I fully expected this question to lead us into dad’s childhood – some terrible encounter with his own dad.  This is very common.  I was surprised then to hear Jane say “It’s WWII! He’s a soldier and he’s terrified to do what he needs to do. He just watched his friend die – he couldn’t save him”.

Freezing that scene, I had Jane step in and begin tapping on her father’s younger self, who was experiencing extreme terror in the heat of combat.  He was also feeling intense shame and guilt that he hadn’t sacrificed his life to save his friend (even though it wouldn’t actually have worked).  We did quite a bit of tapping on this terror and his guilt and shame, and as he began to calm down a new layer emerged - he didn’t want to kill anyone!  

Shooting at and killing the enemy soldiers went deeply against his nature and was totally overwhelming him with horror.  He saw himself as a coward and this only deepened his self-loathing.

It really took only a few minutes to tap away most of his distress and reframe that his feelings were humanitarian and compassionate rather than cowardly.  That is was acceptable to not want to kill other human beings.  When we asked him how he’d like the picture to change I was certain he’d want to get the hell out of there and go home.   Once again I was surprised.  Instead he wanted to have a way to serve without killing anyone – a way to feel proud of his service to his country and fellow soldiers!

Very quickly the scene changed and he was a medic, helping carry wounded men off the battle field.  Bullets were flying and he was still terrified, but was mastering his fear to save lives.  There was a powerful feeling of valor in this scene and we re-imprinted this new picture for Jane’s dad.

Following the timeline forward, we came back to the scene of Jane’s three and a half year old, waking up dad on the couch.  Dad awoke smiling and pulled the little girl to him for a big hug.  He asked her if she was thirsty or wanted a snack.  She said no, she wanted to go out and play.  So he took her hand and they walked out into the beautiful spring afternoon together.  Our little girl was feeling incredibly happy. So important and grown-up. And this was the picture we reimprinted for Jane.

While sending the new picture out from her heart, I had Jane imagine a timeline flowing from that wonderful moment all the way back to her birth and then all the way up to where she was now and on into her future.  She told me she could see her father holding her as a new born – gently telling her it was okay she wasn’t a boy!  And as she brought the picture into the future Jane could hear her dad saying he loved her and would always be there for her.

Jane told me this was the first time in her life that she’d ever felt connected with father.  And that now she knew he was actually a good man.  She felt peaceful and a new sense of confidence.

Copyright Rob Nelson 2015

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