All Contents © 2007, 2013 David S. Guseman, LCSW  
Tossed on the waves of our emotions, we forget that we are the sea.

Overcoming Emotional, Physical or Sexual Abuse

I don’t really know what to say about abuse.  It stretches my belief that people really are doing the best they can at any moment.  Stories of people being tied up and put in closets and the trunks of automobiles, of being beaten and starved... those stories tear at my insides. Yet abuse of much more subtle kinds, the emotional abuse of “put-downs” and “make-wrongs”, the constant messages of “you’re bad” or “you’re worthless”, often accompanies the more obvious “physical” abuses... and often creates the greater part of the emotional damage.

Survivors of abuse have to deal with a number of issues:  physical damage to themselves; painful and frightening memories (even “flashbacks”); pervasive fear or sadness; “dissociation”, or a separation of self from emotions (“numbing”); or even, in severe cases, an extreme dissociation of the self into multiple parts or identities.  And underlying all is a sense of worthlessness, guilt and shame.

Unraveling all that seems that it would take years, if not decades, on the analyst’s couch.  Fortunately, it is not as hopeless as it seems.  Here’s a short story to illustrate how EFT can impact the effects of abuse.

Just last year, a new person moved into the office just across the hall.  The room was small, with no windows and a single entry.  When I got a break in my schedule I went across the hall to introduce myself.  When I came into the office and closed the door, I noticed my new neighbor (let’s call her “Sue”) became anxious.  Sue explained that she was claustrophobic and couldn’t stand to have the door closed.  She always kept a door or window open in her own home, even in mid-winter.  I opened the door, of course, and we talked some more.  It seems that Sue’s parents would lock her for extended periods of time in a wardrobe that was just big enough that she had to remain standing.  (There was more abuse going on, which I won’t go into here.)  No wonder she was claustrophobic!

I explained that I thought I could help her, and arranged to come back later.  I left the door open this time, and showed Sue how to use the EFT for her fear.  After a round or two of EFT, I got up and closed the door.  Sue sat there, marveling at her lack of reaction.  We tried “open door” and we tried “closed door”.  Sue’s response:  “It doesn’t make any difference if it’s open or closed.”

Sue took what I taught her and ran with it.  Hardly a day passed that she wasn’t telling me another “miracle.”  In the span of very few days following her “breakthrough” with the claustrophobia, Sue recovered a large part of her sense of self, and she gave up being abused, absolutely and definitively.  When I last heard from her, she was in the throes of fighting an employer who had unjustly fired her.  I’m glad I’m not in that employer’s shoes!

Ready to overcome your abuse?  Click here.

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”
~Herbert Ward
Most people who have survived abuse have great strength.
~John Bradshaw
You may trod me
in the very dirt
But still,
like dust,
I'll rise.
-Maya Angelou
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer
~Albert Camus