By Tunde Makun
Paula (not her real name) had an issue around being easily triggered by sarcasm, which gives her the feeling that those people do not really care about her. This was triggered by a recent specific event earlier in the day when her hubby asked if she noticed the presence of the lawn mower in the patio, even when he was aware she knew it was there. This frustrated her and made her heart feel heavy at SUD 9 level.
The significant aspects of the event were… “I looked at my husband’s face and I was like are you serious; you are asking me if I saw the mower?” (SUD 8) and “Looking at the mover brought back the image of me standing in the kitchen, while tasting a protein drink” (SUD 9).
After two rounds of the Basic Recipe, the aspects went down to 0.
At this point, I attempted to trigger a cognitive shift when I asked her why she thought sarcasm was such a big issue, knowing that people could choose however they wished to communicate provided they were not being overly offensive or insulting?
This led to the recollection of Paula’s earliest painful childhood sarcasm experience of how she was indeed surrounded by sarcastic family members–dad, mum, brother, and more. She recalled that in her teenage years, her mum had weight issues and thus was very weight conscious. Paula, on the other hand, had a sweet tooth and a passion for junk food. Her mum therefore often turned on her, poking fun and generally making her life miserable with her sarcasm. In her own words, “I recall my mother in my teenage years saying to me, ‘My poor girl, why don’t you just put it straight into your ass? Don’t bother eating that junk food” (SUD 8).
We then started tapping using the Tell the Story technique with the story title “In the midst of my sarcastic people.” Starting at the neutral point of when she first noticed how sarcasm felt negative to her and going two to three rounds on each of the crescendos, making sure to rewind to the neutral point before the subsequent round, a couple of aspects showed up, the two most important being: “Don’t put your crap on me, Mum; I don’t have your weight problem” (SUD 9) and “I knew she was right about what I was eating although I thought it was her problem, not mine. It felt like shaming to me” (SUD 7).
After three to four rounds each, the SUD levels went down to between 0 and 1.
Reflecting further on how this childhood experience connected with today’s reality, it became clear that sarcasm was not the real problem. The problem was her associating sarcasm with what she perceived as an act of meanness toward her, and it appeared that coming from close family members was unforgivable. Now marrying a husband with such a familiar tendency made it even worse. That was a cognitive shift.
I asked if she were open to healing by an Invisible Counselor. Realizing she had indeed had this emotional association with sarcasm from her youth without understanding the reason why she was easily triggered, she answered in the affirmative.
After a short EcoMeditation, she visualized being in a serene and safe place in nature, with her back against a tree. Approaching her was an Invisible Counselor, an old male wizard with long hair. He handed a gift of a glowing ball of light to her. After pulling some painful dark material out of her throat and jaw, she put the ball of light to this black material and felt a definite pleasant reaction. She then thanked the old wizard as he departed.
She thereafter buried the ball of light in her body so the glow could recycle all the black stuff stored in her body. At this point, she felt an instant relief in her throat and jaw regions from where the dark material came out. She was visibly very excited that someone out there really cared enough about her.
Then appeared the cognitive shift when she said, “What is popping in my head now is I never knew I had a belief around those sarcastic things being said to me, that is, by the people closest to me who I thought should have my best interest. That is where it hurt. Apparently, I was more concerned about the way they communicated, rather than what was being communicated. Sarcasm was more of a trigger to some other things I found offensive about the way they acted toward me. Now I apply the same reaction to my husband, what came with me from my youth.” She concluded by saying, “I never connected that with the event of this morning. I think I need to look at that because now I see how I tend to associate sarcasm with feeling unsafe.”
We then used Vivid Imagination to test the recent event with her husband and Pointed Questions about the childhood experience where it all started, together with all connected aspects. All the SUD levels remained at no higher than 1. We closed the session with Happy Tappy, using Paula’s own words, “My interpretation makes the difference,” to reinforce her positive affirmation.
Was there any core issue underneath the presenting issue?
Certainly, yes–why sarcasm produced that huge of a negative charge, which was getting close to ruining her marriage. At that time earlier in her life, whenever she felt convinced about a position, anyone who held a contrary opinion was mean to her and any sarcastic comment was interpreted as being mean and uncaring. Sarcasm therefore turned out to be a trigger for something deeper. That was a huge surprise for her.
So much more from our past impacts on our present and even the future than we ever imagine. Ultimately, it was Paula’s interpretation that made the difference. That was profound.