I first learned about EFT from reading Sue Johnson's book "Hold Me Tight" and during my quarantine in Hong Kong, I started reading her new book "Love Sense". Attachments are all about emotional attunement. From the trainings I attended, I know that I have both anxious and avoidant tendencies. It's like I'm craving closeness and love but that closeness is kind of scary and I need to withdraw because it's too much. I'm watching an old training video from Sue Johnson "Broken Bonds" and how I wished I fit neatly into a withdrawer or a pursuer role. Ultimately, communication and mutual understanding is key. Not just talking about whatever is on our minds, but explaining how we experience the relationship, how it feels to be you. Emotions are not irrational. Even when reactions are induced by historical trauma, that emotional reaction is not irrational. It makes sense given the history.
My coach recommended that I read this book "What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry. It is a heavy book. Of course I read a lot about trauma and am also proficient in processing trauma via EMDR. However, EMDR is for erasing the emotional reactions to trauma to help you process the traumatic episode but it does not teach skills. If you don't know how to love, EMDR cannot help you.
Chapter 6 specifically focuses on how neglect is traumatic. What didn't happen to you is as important as what did happen to you. The love you did not receive can really mess up your relationships with others. The most ideal upbringing is to have safe, stable, reliable, nurturing relationships with a few close caretakers. It builds a sense of belonging and knowing deep down that you matter. Full engagement and attention from your caretaker ensures you know that you are important. Dr. Bruce Perry says "You cannot love if you have not been loved."
A cold, disengaged, partially attentive caregiver can have immediate, and potentially lifelong, toxic effects on the developing child. This child may grow up feeling inadequate, unlovable. Even with many gifts and skills, they will feel they are "not enough" as an adult, and that can lead to a host of maladaptive behaviours including. unhealthy forms of attention seeking, self-sabotaging, or even self-destructive behaviours.
A grown man cried in front of me and it made me all kinds of crazy. His emotions were so raw and so real. I sat there watching him crumble into pieces. I could not save him. The words he used to describe his pain I cannot forget. He’s crying and he’s hurting and there’s nothing I can do. His pain is so deep rooted, it was too much for my heart to handle. All I knew is that he needed love. I wish that he had all the love that he needed growing up, then he wouldn’t be like this. The rawness of his emotions cut me, too. I cannot forget his pain. What kills me is the realisation that he is incapable of being the man I thought he could be, knowing full well that he was floundering at his limits. His personal growth has to start much further down than I had anticipated. I felt sad for all the emotional abuse and injustice that he must have endured, how much he must’ve suffered alone, all the knowledge and information that he does not know and appreciate, the dots he couldn’t connect. He is so flawed and he’s coping the best way he knows how. In many ways, I witnessed something beautiful. It’s the humanity in him. I got to experience his suffering firsthand and see how his very unique mind worked. I was already emotionally invested in his journey. I wanted him to succeed and get whatever he wanted in life. How much I wish he would use this as an impetus to take ten steps forward, adopt a take no prisoners approach and milk everything else that God has given him to his advantage. I hope he doesn’t just sit on his laurels and feel sorry for himself but light a fire under his ass to go for shit that he is more poised to achieve. Some cards you’ve been dealt with sucked but it’s no excuse to play small and pull yourself back from the good cards. I’ve always respected him for his intelligence. His mind is so brilliant and the way he thinks is kind of sweet. That beautiful mind of his I hope he uses to re-strategise and go fucking kill and be a winner.
The last few weeks it’s been difficult for me to stay grounded. I knew I was flooded and needed to ground myself but my mind was blank. Like a deer caught in the headlight, I was at a loss about what to do. I thought maybe I could just wait it out? Eventually the ground will find me, no? Cos I was floating, all kinds of thoughts and feelings were swaying me left and right and I was getting dragged along. If only I had remember that the antidote to fear is love. What I needed to do was to pump extra love onto myself. Give myself the extra compassion and understanding for the situation I was in. When in doubt, always be kind, warm and loving.