Monday, February 14, 2011

My EFT Story: A Mother & an Infant

How EFT saved my sanity and my relationship with my son.

When a baby will not stop crying, it is best to help the parents first. If you had told me this a few years ago, I would have been a bit confused. In tapping through my own issues, however, my son had a complete turnaround. This is my story, and my inspiration for becoming a tapping professional.

I experienced tremendous emotional challenges during my son's babyhood. He was the proverbial "difficult baby".  He had gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is like colic to the tenth power.  He had significant food allergies and cried all the time, no matter what we did. I remember at his first visit with the pediatrician, my husband and I laughed hysterically at a poster on the wall that said newborns slept 18-20 hours a day. Our son only slept about six. He had about three naps the first six months of his life, and we tried everything. My nerves were frayed. I was completely exhausted, and most importantly, I could not enjoy my sweet little baby.

The only thing I could do to comfort him was to nurse, literally, all day long. I felt like I was a prisoner or a cow, shackled to the couch, watching TV and staring out the window. If I needed a bathroom break or a meal, I faced heart wrenching, frenzied fits of hysterical crying, like he was going to die. I got very creative about carrying him around with me, still attached. Since he was a big boy and growing like a weed, that was no small feat. When he was about nine months old, I eliminated all traces of dairy from my diet, and then he was able to go an hour on and an hour off with nursing.

So what in the world was wrong? It started our first night in the hospital, so it could not have been anything behavioral that we did or did not do. The pediatrician could find nothing wrong, and assured us that he was healthy and normal. We tried numerous things: GERD medicine, chiropractic, elimination diet, and NAET. I read a dozen books. The only thing that helped was eliminating dairy, but that was not nearly enough.

Being a healer, I was especially horrified that I could not help my own baby. He did not want to have anything to do with my efforts. He just wanted to nurse. He fought any time we brought him to a practitioner. Leaving the house was a traumatic ordeal. My friends and family did not seem to understand how difficult it was, and so I did not get nearly enough support. Instead, I heard the standard platitudes over and over again: “It will get better” and “All that matters is that he is healthy”. With my husband's help (i.e., taking the screaming baby out of the house at just the right moment), I was able to hang in there.

When my son got a bit older, his behavior improved a little. However, instead of the crying resolving into happiness like everyone assured me would happen, it changed into continual whining, alternating with shrieking meltdowns. There was no apparent cause to the meltdowns. They happened out of nowhere, at any time and any place, and went on for any length of time. I tried different behavioral ideas, as the world is full of advice, but nothing worked.

I had learned EFT several years prior and had used it to amazing success with myself and clients. I was reluctant to try it much on my son, however. I was holding it in reserve as a last-ditch effort.  I felt that if I really tried EFT, and it failed, I would have completely run out of options.  When I did try a little EFT with him, it did not seem to work. I felt like he knew that I was trying to "change" him, even as an infant, and he seemed to get even more upset.

When he was about two years old, I was teetering too dangerously on the edge. I could not take the continuous, daily struggle anymore. I had finally come to my last ditch effort. I knew I needed someone objective, so I found an EFT practitioner and scheduled some phone sessions.

To my surprise, we focused on my OWN issues, not my son's. After a couple of sessions, tapping on my own frustration, embarrassment, and anger, I felt much better and a lot more human. I was better able to handle my son's crying and meltdowns. After my third EFT session, I had a breakthrough.

All along, I had thought that the problem had to be his: food allergies, his reaction to something that I did wrong, his very difficult birth, or some underlying health issue. But the major issue was not his "stuff" at all. It was actually my own!

What set me off was actually my EFT practitioner suggesting to me, as so many people had since my pregnancy, "you need to do something different”. Oh no, not again. She started to give me advice. She suggested more behavioral changes that I had already tried and had not worked. I had tried time-outs, setting limits, not giving choices, scheduled nap times, all natural food, distraction, toddler-eese, limiting stimulation, making sure he was never hungry, etc., etc. Very little helped, no matter how consistent I was. I had studied psychology in college, and even did a good bit of research on conditioning, so I know very well how reinforcement works. That was NOT the problem. I was insulted that yet another person was suggesting it was my own fault.

After that conversation, I did a lot of EFT by myself on my out-of-proportion anger. She did not get it either! It was only with tapping that I realized how much anger was inside of me. I had no idea. I was angry at everyone who had ever given me advice or thought that I was doing something wrong. I was angry at everyone who was not helping me. I was pretty much angry at the world. I felt that the world was judging me and my failure as a mother. I SHOULD somehow be able to fix it. It was my own fault that my baby was so difficult.

I tapped for a good 90 minutes, ranting and raving about all the things that were pent up inside of me. Then I stopped and realized, the anger was gone. I was absolutely relieved. EFT cleared out those feelings, and I felt light and clear. I trusted myself again! I did not care about other people's opinions, and could finally trust my own instincts.

That very afternoon, without consciously changing a thing, my son had a huge turnaround. He woke up and did not scream. He spoke nicely to me. He stopped being whiny and clingy. He stopped having unpredictable meltdowns over nothing.

He became the sweet, confident child that I knew was in there. Again, I did not change a thing in my behavior! He just became happy and more manageable. Most importantly, I started to really enjoy him. It was not perfect, and I still had some tapping to do, but the change was palpable. I shudder to think where we would be if I had not finally tried EFT.

He still has his moments of course-- he is a child! I still have mine, and neither of us is near perfect. He is still sensitive, willful, and too smart for his own good. He is also loving, well spoken, and quite often, a pure joy. The dramatic change that made life fun again came from healing something within myself-- something I had not even known was there.

It took me way too long to learn that the best thing for a parent at wit's end to do is to take care of herself first. Take care of her own needs. Trust herself. Our little babies feed off of everything. They respond to our guilt for not being perfect, our anger at our own helplessness, and our fear that we are doing something wrong. Processing and resolving those emotions through healing methods such as EFT can release the negative cycle of crying/guilt, crying/guilt, crying/despair.

We are told that when we become parents, we will know what to do. Then we are given advice upon conflicting advice. Then we are thrown to the wolves. Our society sends the message that raising our child is completely our responsibility alone. Mothers are reluctant to seek help, or even to admit that they are having trouble. We do not want to admit that we feel anger about all the freedom we have lost. It is taboo to say anything negative about having kids, other than “you'll find out” to expectant parents.

Our society has set us up for a fall, because as wonderful as having children is, it is not all sunshine and roses. There are moments when you doubt your own sanity. Expressing your concerns and your regrets and doubts should not be taboo. You should not have to hide that in the shadows, along with all of your guilt about your perceived failings as a parent.

Being a parent is HARD. Getting support for it should not be.

Healing those fears, doubts, uncertainties, regrets, and angers makes it a lot easier to find joy in a squirming, bawling, helpless infant who looks amazingly like you. Thanks to EFT, I have come out on the other side, into joy. I love helping others do the same.

New Year Challenge

Lately many of my clients have been exhibiting a profound resistance to healing. They make the appointment. They show up. Therefore, they must all want the healing work, right? But there is something in them that does not want to “go there”, even though another part of them recognizes that the time has finally come. Before we work on the issue that brought them in, we must first deal with that resistance itself.

Clients come in patterns. I am not sure if the patterns have to do with my own energy, something happening in the world, or both. So in this case, what is the universe trying to tell me? If I give an honest look at myself, I can see that I have been resisting healing and self care lately. We get very used to where we are. We get comfortable with our limitations and our goals on hold. The Law of Inertia applies to our own lives: People at rest tend to stay at rest.

So I want to issue a challenge and an invitation for the New Year. Allow yourself to rest and reflect for a little bit, and then get moving. There is something in your life calling for your attention, and you know what it is. Let this be the year that you heed that call. What would make this year the best year of your life?

Make yourself a priority. If you aren't, then you probably aren't doing much good for anybody else anyway. Schedule time for yourself, without the guilt. Make good boundaries with those demanding of your time (family, friends, work) and enforce those boundaries. You deserve to live a good life, on your terms.

Above all, be patient with yourself. Sometimes change happens overnight, but most of the time, it takes time. You don't have to do it all in a day. Take your time. But whatever it is, make sure that you do something.

In honor of the New Year, and my clients who need some TLC before moving forward, I am making a commitment to myself. I will schedule “me time” every week. That is tough to do for a working mother of a three year old! If something else comes up, I will tell others, “no, I have a very important appointment at that time.” I will honor my own deserving, so that others can learn to honor theirs. I will honor myself so that my son can learn to honor himself, and my clients can learn by example. We all do so much for other people. It is high time that our selves got the same courtesy.

Once I realized what was going on, I did some tapping and have already already enjoyed some “me time”. Wow, what a difference! Thank you, my wonderful clients, who taught me this about myself!

To get you started, please enjoy the tapping script below. For general directions on how to do EFT yourself, including the tapping points, please visit and download the free e-book.  Page 12 includes the tapping points.

Let's Get Started!
Pick something you would like to do this week for yourself, but that you feel resistance to doing. List in your head all the reasons that you don't want to do it, or feel that you can't do it.  Rate that resistance on a scale of up to 10 with how strongly you feel it  (You can't or don't want to do it this week).  Fill in the blanks below with whatever is appropriate for you, and begin.

Karate Chop (KC): Even though I have all of this resistance to ____________ (doing something good for myself) this week, for whatever reason, and I don't want to let it go, I deeply love and accept myself anyway.
Even though I can't give myself permission to _____________ this week, for whatever reason, and I don't want to let it go, I deeply love and accept myself.
Even though I feel ________ (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.) when I think about doing ___________, that I'm wasting my time,, and I don't want to let it go, I love and accept myself anyway.

Eye Brow (EB): All this resistance.
Side of the Eye (SE): I don't want to do it.
Under the Eye (UE): This feeling of (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.)
Under the Nose (UN): I refuse to let it go.
Chin Point (CH): I just don't have the time!
Collar Bone (CB): I have too much to do.
Under the Arm (UA): I don't even really want to.
Top of the Head (H): I have to ________ instead.
EB: This feeling of (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.) about taking time for me.
SE: What if somebody gets mad at me, or thinks I don't deserve it?
UE: I don't deserve that time for myself
UN: It's too hard to schedule.
CH: I really should _________ instead.
CB: What if somebody judges me.
UA: I don't deserve that time to myself.
H: It's just too hard, cause there's is too much to do.
Take a deep breath.

Go back and assess your resistance to your chosen activity. How strong does it feel? If it is at a 7 or higher, go back to the top and start again. Feel free to use your own phrases as you feel inclined, personalizing it for yourself. If a specific memory comes up, such as your parents telling you that you are too selfish, tap on that very specifically. (For example, even though I feel all this sadness that my mom gave me a guilt trip about doing yoga instead of having lunch with her, I deeply and completely love and accept myself). Don't worry about getting the words right. You can just vent, and great releases can come from that.

When it drops to a 7 or below, continue below.

KC: Even though I still have this resistance to spending the time to ___________ this week, for whatever reason, I want to allow myself to enjoy doing good things.
Even though I still can't allow myself to __________________ this week, for whatever reason, I want to love and accept myself whether I do it or not.
Even though I can never put myself first, because other people need something from me, and I just don't have any time, I do want to put myself first for a change.

EB: This remaining feeling of _________ (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.) about wanting to ________
SE: I don't want to let it go.
UE: Maybe I could let it go.
UN: No, I can't.
CH: Part of me would like to let go of this ________ (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.)
CB: But another part is afraid of the repercussions.
UA: What if I could let myself do it.
H: But what if something bad happens?
EB: But maybe I do deserve something good.
SE: But I just can't make myself do it, and I don't want to.
UE: I deserve something good for myself.
UN: But I don't know how I'm going to find the time.
CH: I would like to learn.
CB: All these things that are getting in the way.
UA: I could choose to release them.
H: It would feel good to release them.
Take a deep breath.

Repeat the steps above, using your own words if you like, until you are down to a 2 or 3. Then continue:

KC: Even though I still can't completely give myself permission to __________ this week, I choose to do what's best for ME.
Even though some part of me still doesn't feel good about __________ this week, I choose to listen to the part of me that knows it would be great for me.
Even though I still have some resistance to ________ this week, for whatever reason, I choose to be kind, patient, and gentle to myself, and to let myself take care of me.

EB: This remaining resistance and feeling of _______.
SE: I choose to let it go.
UE: Any remaining reasons not to _________.
UN: I choose to let them go.
CH: I can't let them go.
CB: It would feel good to let it go.
UA: remaining _______ (guilt, sadness, anger, fear, etc.) about _________
H: I can just let it go.
EB: It's so hard to find the time.
SE: I bet I could make the time
UE: I may feel guilty.
UN: I could give myself permission.
CH: I don't know how to make the time
CB: I could choose to feel good about it.
UA: Any remaining doubts or resistance.
H: I choose to honor myself this week, and to feel great about it.

Tap until your resistance and unpleasant feelings are at a 0.

EB: I choose to make time for me.
SE: It's so brave of me to do that.
UE: This is going to feel so good.
UN: I really deserve this.
CH: I get to be a priority.
CB: I can be a great example to others to take care of themselves too.
UA: I choose to honor myself.
H: I bet this will even give me more energy.
EB: I feel so good about this.
SE: I can't wait to ________.
UE: I feel so good about this.
UN: I'm so proud of myself.
CH: Way to go, me!
CB: I totally deserve this.
UA: I'm going to completely enjoy it.
H: I love that I'm going to ________ this week.

Now congratulate yourself for getting started!

If you are unable to get relief, then there may be a deeper issue involved. A professional session of EFT may help get to the root of the problem.

Disclaimer: By reading this page, you are agreeing to take charge of your own health and accept complete responsibility for the results that incur. EFT is not intended to treat or cure any disease or disorder, and is not a substitute for professional medical/psychological advice. Always consult a qualified health provider regarding any medical or psychological condition. This page is not medical advice.