Reply To: how to tap feelings of guilt?
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Hello Peter and Jeff,
thanks for answering me.
Re 1: The guilt is still a negative emotion that needs removing even if it was “induced” into your innocent childhood by bad people. You are still carrying that guilt even though it was not your fault. The guilt is still affecting you as if it really was your fault.
Can you now recall those early abuse incidents and the guilt without triggering the OCD or other PTSD like symptoms? If you can then the simplest advice is to use PSTEC Click Tracks 2015 with the wrapper track and work directly on them. If this is still not possible then perhaps working on the further complications with the failed therapy if those memories also have associated guilt etc. .
I can recall a lot of them, I don't think I remember them all, but that doesn't matter, because there is a pattern.
My problem with tapping that stuff was just that I as an adult refused to take the blame for something that was not my fault. But the child I once was had to take that on for sure. I had to set that straight first, that guilt, fault and blame or feelings of guilt are not the same. And that making a child feel guilty for abuse is indeed part of the abuse.
I'll try the surrogate tapping approach. There was an interview with someone named Cynthia on the PSTEC website some time ago and she described how she did that. I tried surrogate tapping on multiple occassions, when I wanted to get rid of something that did not belong to me or when I wanted to understand someone better. Now I'll do that for a younger version of me.
What I do right now is imagening the situation as it was back then and figure out where the guilt came from, why I had to feel guilty and who forced me to do so. Only then I can tap it away. And yes, I used PSTEC Click Tracks 2015 a lot.
Alongside the guilt do you also feel indignant at this unjustified blame being put upon you. Do you also get angry about it? Do you feel betrayed by others? If you get angry then it would be entirely understandable however it is not a helpful emotion even if more than justified.
It makes me angry, for sure, but there is an other important aspect.
As far as I know I am biologically not the child of the mother's husband. As I child I just wondered why they always tried to exclude me, why they were that mean, they even invited people who were not part of the family to participate in what they did.
I was the scapegoat and I had to take on everything, every problem, whatever they wanted to get rid of, I had to take it on or they acted it out on me.
They threatended to send me to foster care or to not giving me food any longer.
As bad as the abuse was, I was really afraid of being sent to foster care and so I specialized in taking on other people's emotional baggage, I'll sort it for them and give it back in small, manageable portions. That's exhausting and is a huge part of my OCD stuff.
Whenever I had achieved something good, I had to share or give it to them, if I refused to do so, they'd destroy it and hurt me.
For years and years I thought I have to be responsible for everything,do everything and disrespect my own boundaries, so that they'd finally accept me and stop hurting and hating me.
With a “strategy” like that, it's not really a surprise that I found at lot of NPD people ready to take advantage of my “services” during the years, even as an adult.
I've been reading a lot about healthy boundaries during the last month. A few years ago setting a boundary or even say no to something I did not like, was threatening to me.
It took me a long time to realize that I was a person have a right to exist without acting like instand supply / surrogate for their needs.
I am me and I have the same right to exist as everyone else. Being an abused child is just a part of my identity.
I think what I am getting at is another way of nibbling around the edges of the problem and working towards the center. This by Click Tracking other surrounding associated negative emotions.
It may sound strange, but this week I tapped that guilt stuff for the very first time, even though it's obvious that guilt and blame and fault is a big part of my OCD. I just couldn't do it before. Guilt and shame always paralyzed me before.
Anger is probably the one to start with as it is so damaging. So what gets you angry? Not just about your past history, but what triggers it now? Anything? Click Track any recent event or news or story that made you angry. This may not seem to be answering your question but it is certainly related to your past history and as such worth trying.
Therapists blaming me and taking advantage of my kind of makes me angry and very sad. They get paid for helping people, not for telling a patient “it's all your fault”, not for demanding that the patient listens to the therapist's problem and certainly not for yelling at a patient. And I am angry at the health insurance, telling me that it's not the therapist's fault, and my symptoms are certainly not caused by the trauma, the symptoms were there before the trauma, so I can't blame therapists or trauma for my OCD.
The abuse and mistreating started when I was very very young, so the problems I have must be a result of a past life. I have to joke about that, otherwise I'd get trapped in anger and resentment.
I just recorded an interview with someone (with Tim also contributing to this interview) who experienced abuse as a young person as well. One of Tim's approaches you could call a core belief and mine as well is that when events occur it's not our “fault.” Especially when we are young, we do not have a choice about our abusers… it is a situation that we are thrust into.
What is important is how we respond … what is the level of our responsibility.
How you responded when you were young matters not, but how you respond NOW is the key.
I struggled with that for a very long time, your words sum it up pretty well.
Now I'd like to respond in tapping it away and accepting that the child I once was had it really bad, but I am an adult and I am able to handle things in a way that suits me.
So, be sure to address not only the emotions surrounding the abuse, both in your youth and by your former therapists, but also be sure to address your beliefs with PSTEC Negative and PSTEC Positive. Acknowledge and make it a core belief that you have done your best and that you will continue to do your best and improve and learn as you move forward AND that you only improve WHEN you move forward!
that's a great idea. Now that I found a different approach to that guilt-shame-problem, my next goal is to tap that stuff away as far as possible and then use PSTEC negative for “it's all my fault” or “I am guilty” and afterwards find a nice suggestion for PSTEC positive.
I am sure that said interview will be a good thing, I hope to listen to it some day soon.
Sidney is not my real name, so it's ok to write Sidney or Sydney.
No need for saying sorry.
As PSTEC therapists we believe that only you can solve your own problems. PSTEC provides the tools and us therapists the support and guidance. Whatever you believe is important and we just help you get to where you want to go with the minimum of input. This is empowering for you, giving you the control. As such a situation like that with your past therapists is unable to happen because you are responsible for you. If you believe and feel that you are still controlled by your past then that is a belief that needs changing.
I like that, I like doing my own therapy.
I stopped all therapy a few months ago, and guess what?
My OCD got a lot better since doing so.
Your paradigm of mind which forms yourself is ever growing and changing and not “set in stone” This flexibility extends backwards in time, what happened to you happened, but the way you feel about it can change and the way you feel now change as a result, and quickly, like a chain of dominoes falling. As a default we generally suggest working by removing emotions from past events first, but that chain of dominoes can fall the other way from the present backwards just as easily. By focusing your efforts on feeling better now you will change the way you feel about past events. In your case this means you would not have to spend your time immersed in your past terrible events which support and trigger the OCD and PTSD.
that sounds great to me, but I have to get used to that.
During the last years with all that OCD and the therapist abuse etc, I thought that was all I get, that was my life, being abused as a child, as a patient, I won't get out of this trap ever again. The more I tried, the more it was like quicksand. Those therapists demanded that I'd stop EFT, PSTEC, self help books and all self help immediately, if I wanted to keep my therapy. They either yelled at me for using self help, belittled me or demanded to know where/how they could get it for their own problems.
I try my best to imagine a good life, more than just existing, but it's not easy. Some days it's better than others, but I hope I am heading into the right direction.
a heartfelt thanks to both of you