What do we do when we have been through enough trauma in childhood and have created a need for a coping mechanism like food to deal with all the unresolved feelings and trauma? What is one of the biggest common denominators for so many of us? We think somehow we must have deserved to be treated the way we were treated, it just feels so well, personal. We end up hating ourselves and usually denying our feelings or "stuffing them" as a coping mechanism. It works pretty well and helps us to survive as children but of course as we get older it starts to be pretty tough to feel good when we don't have access to our feelings. It can be the cause of so much stress, pain and suffering. The coping strategy that helped us survive becomes a thick heavy coat we wear in summer.
I see this in terms of emotional eating and using food to cope with this kind of suffering and really all feelings that feel overwhelming, even joy eventually.
In our society we also often develop a lot of beliefs about our bodies that can help to perpetuate the problem as well. This lack of self worth, coupled with the societal pressures and beliefs often overlap.
Example of the issue at work and how to release it:
I recently worked with a woman who shared with me her earlier childhood traumas having to take care of her very dysfunctional mother at the early age of 5 years old. As a child she had taken this on as something wrong with her and felt very bad about herself that she couldn't do all that was required of her. In her current life she is using food very obsessively binge eating and has an expresses a lot of self loathing. Of course, how could a 5 year old do all the laundry, cooking and shopping? We know this in our adult minds, intellectually, but she was still carrying this fear, trauma and low self worth it seemed once we began tapping.
The beauty of EFT is in the reversal statement.... "I love and accept myself."
Why is that so important? Why do we need to say it? Why does it help to "un-reverse" us? Because I think so often when we are "stuck" with a negative belief process or trauma, what keeps it so locked in place is our lack of acceptance and love. When we shine the light of love and kindness through acceptance on an issue, it is like the sun burning off the clouds. We realize it is not our fault. We can look at it and move on.
What we resist persists... with EFT, we stop resisting and therefore begin to release stuck emotional experiences.
We tapped on:
Even though I feel worthless and like I have to always take care of everyone else first... what if I could love and accept myself now?
I have to take care of everyone else first.
I am worthless if I'm caring for others.
I come last.
My worth is in what I can do for others.
Nobody cares what I need, and neither do I.
I had to do everything for mom.
I can't love myself or feel worthy.
Then we added in a few rounds of tapping using the "what if" statement.
What if I could?
What if I am?
What if I am worthy just because I exist?
What if it is not my fault?
What if I was just a little girl and shouldn't have had to do all that for adults...?
What if I am worthy now?
We did several rounds of this using the "what if" statement and what was under the worthlessness was all this fear- the constant fear she felt in her childhood.
Even though I've always been scared from the time I was 5 and I had to take care of mom... what if I could love and accept myself now?"
I've always been scared.
I've lived in fear.
I've been living in fear for forever now.
I'm used to this fear.
All this fear.
I have been living in fear all my life.
After several rounds we added the choice statement:
What if I could love myself now?
Even though I'm scared, what if I could love myself?
What if I could love and accept myself now...?
By the end of several rounds of tapping and peeling back the layers, she felt much less self loathing. It was a great relief to her. The self loathing is often a huge thorn in our sides that perpetuates binge eating. When we pull it out, I often see binges subside.
Using love and acceptance is absolutely key to healing trauma and food and body issues. I can't imagine how we would ever heal without it. Combined with tapping on energy centers such as meridian points is a way to super charge the process.
San Francisco, California, US
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published October 1, 2011.