Letting go of shame – embracing the future

This is the story of one of my clients, who wishes to stay anonymous. She was sexually assaulted on her way home from a party one night, and spent three years feeling deeply ashamed of it. Here she shares how she learned about tapping, how it helped her in an unexpected way – and how we succcessfully dealt with her trauma.

I’m very grateful that she wants to tell her story, hoping it will be helpful for other women sharing her chocking and painful experience.  // Iréne

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I need to see it before I believe it!

I read a book called EFT for Weightloss by Jessica Ortner. (EFT = Emotional Freedom Techniques.)

After trying many diets over the past years,  all with limited effects, I decided to give this a shot. I started reading the book during a holiday on Gran Canaria over the Christmas Break 2021, a desperately needed vacation to get away from the cold and stormy weather in Sweden. Every day I read a few pages while implementing the exercises described in the book.

I felt a little sceptic at first as I am a real ”I need to see it before I believe it”- kind of person. However, I felt good doing the exercizes on my own in the hotel room and I noticed my sleep had improved from the day that I started  – even though I did not want to admit at first that it was because of the tapping-on-my-head thing, I mean it would be ridiculous to think that, right…?

Ligher and easier …

I came home to Sweden after two weeks in the sun and went back to work. It was then that it hit me big time, every thing felt lighter and easier and I felt more calm, more at ease, more myself. The difference was so big for me that I had to put my sceptic-me in the closet of my office as she was no longer heard.

What had happened over the break? How could everything be so different from before? The discomfort I always felt towards my boss at work had suddenly vaporized and we actually started to work on new projects together rather than separately. It was just flowing! My relationship with colleagues improved, I had more fun in my work and was better at setting boundaries rather than getting dragged into that work slur. And all I had done was work on my body image and my weight!

The attack

Pleasantly suprised by all this I ordered more books about EFT, I felt hungry for more details, and an explaination of why I felt so good after only tapping for two weeks on my own with just a book as a guide.

While I was reading more about tapping, I started to feel the urge to work on my trauma. The trauma that I persistenly had abandoned in my mind, covered up with layers of denial and superficial, positive thoughts ( the ”what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”- kind of hype”), but I knew that buried under all that was the trauma, anxiety and fear related to the attack.

I don’t want to talk about it!

The attack happened nearly three years ago, when I was walking home from the subway station, through a little park. Suddenly a man  threw me on the ground, pulled me into the bushes and sexually abused me.

Part of me froze in that instant. I survived and I went back to work a week later and tried to ignore what had happened to me, out of shame and out of fear.

There were a few therapies offered to me by the hospital but I didn’t feel anything for talking with a psychologist. How was talking about it going to help me? I just wanted to move on!

But I might tap …

Until that holiday in Gran Canaria I had no thoughts of wanting to work through my trauma. But feeling the effects of EFT after those exercises that I did by myself made me feel curious about what else tapping could do for me. I came in contact with Iréne Ödmark-Hall through her web page and we scheduled an in-person session in February 2022.

I felt nervous on that need while on my way to Irene, was she going to ask me to tell what exactly happened? Did I have to go through the horrible nightmare again in my head? I nearly hyper ventilated just thinking about it.

Meeting Iréne was a pleasure, I felt comfortable with her calm presence right away. During the first session Irene asked me what I wanted to call this man. The words that came out of my mouth! I wish he could have heard them …

Iréne also guided me into imagining how I wish I had reacted during the attack, as I felt a lot of anger towards myself for freezing while I wanted to fight. (Irénes note: Collapsing is the body’s way of survival when the danger is overwhelming. No matter how strong and capable we are, the body makes its own desicion. Nothjing shameful about it. Acccessing the memory in a safe way while tapping and using slow movements is a way to release the freeze response.)

We tapped together on all the emotions coming up. I felt so relieved and light when I came outside an hour later. My husband was waiting for me and said right away ”You look good! How was it?

Safety, trust and art work 

In the three sessions after that we worked on the event and the feelings that it brought up in me. It felt really safe that Irene let me say in the beginning of each session what I want to work on specifically. It gave me the feeling that I am in charge of my healing process and responsible to actively listen to what my body is saying to me.

Iréne implemented drawing into the tapping sessions whereby I translated my feelings and emotions into colour and patterns on a paper to acknowledge the different parts of the event. We tapped on this together. It felt so good to give my feelings a space to exist and express themselves without adding words to it.

I feel self compassion now – and excited for my future

Throughout the sessions I gained new insights on the event that contributed to me being more understanding, accepting and loving towards myself. I became more and more free from the event. I can still remember what happened but I no longer feel any strong emotion related to it.

I learned to be more self-compassionate, listen to my needs and focus on what I want in life. I have started setting up my own business and my husband and I are currently looking to buy our dream house. I feel happy and excited for my future

EFT experts do not recommend to work on trauma on your own. I have taken this advice serious and searched online for an EFT professional. I feel so happy that I did and that it brought me this great experience in working with a trained practitioner.