By Patricia de Avila
In February 2009 I started to notice what looked like an insect bite on the middle finger of my left hand. I was on holiday with my three children, after six months of upsetting litigation with their father for domestic violence. During these six months, I worked seven days a week (partly due to financial needs, partly to avoid a reality that overwhelmed me, as I disconnected from my emotions as a means of defence against the constant psychological harassment I was subjected to). I was prescribed cortisone, and the dermatologist didn’t think it was serious. The diagnosis was microbial eczema.
In July, a serious situation occurred. I was extremely stressed and, in less than a week, the whole of that hand and part of my right hand were completely deformed with abscesses that burst, and my index finger was numb. I felt overwhelmed and as if a grenade had exploded in my hand. The pain and itchiness were unbearable. I work with the public in financial services and, after finishing that job, I would do pedicures and reflexology, visiting clients in their home, which I had to give up as the possibility of causing damage was tremendous. Being unable to see my patients implied that my children’s father had to take charge of expenses, which I had been covering for the past year. That made me feel awful.
When I met Martin Jones and we started to work with EFT, we addressed several matters, but each of them had so many aspects that I thought we would never be able to manage them. Normally, I tend to analyse everything and I break circumstances down as if I were a forensic investigator looking for invisible clues to solve a case. The more Martin advanced on the matter we were working on, the more my hands itched because, apparently, I didn’t have any control over what was happening to me.
That was one of our greatest discoveries: I related to a sick, compulsive, highly controlling person, because I also had problems with control. The body is so honest, and this technique so effective, that when Martin helped me with a key phrase, for example, I immediately felt a strong pain in my ear if it was something to do with beliefs that I had been hearing about myself for the best part of 17 years, until I had completely validated them. Or I would suffer vertigo/nausea when he spoke to me about “taking off,” separating myself from the floor, of the ability I had to solve situations without needing that man to take charge of my life. My level of self-esteem was so low that I couldn’t even acknowledge any of my most obvious achievements. I didn’t give Patricia credit for anything at all.
It helps me a lot to know, at each stage, what is happening and Martin explained to me that my emotional responses related to a battered woman, even though I had never suffered physical violence. Psychological violence doesn’t leave bruises, but in my case it left marks on my skin, not to mention on my soul, those of the psyche. This is why I feel so strongly about writing about it. I know that there are a lot of people in this community who feel guilty and ashamed at the same time, and I want to tell them that it is perfectly possible to get out. It’s only about making a different move.
Anyway, in September the eczema became infected and I couldn’t work for 15 days, during which I used cortisone and took antibiotics. The doctor carried out all sorts of tests, but everything came up negative. There were no bacteria or fungus and the microbiotic test was perfect. When Martin spoke to me about emotions, I understood the tremendous effort that my organism had made to carry on functioning. When each adrenaline surge caused by confrontations completely collapsed my whole system, and it happened on a daily basis, I became aware of the strength it took not just to stay on my feet, but to look for help. Something inside me was still healthy. (Martin couldn’t touch the side of my hand point because it was a mess of one abscess on top of another. He worked on all the other points but didn’t know how to touch my hands.)
We looked for the hidden benefits of the situation which, obviously, had to do with “negative caresses.” This mental trait sought only financial help from my children’s father, which I felt was my right to demand. It was a complete contradiction that I should be able to stand up thanks to my strength and resources, yet feel on the edge of an abyss, alone and weak. I went to another doctor. I stopped eating dairy products and flour and the more sacrifice involved in the treatment, the better I responded. My attachment to suffering, originated by a traumatic birth, and nourished in a Catholic school, was similar to the cases in the newsletter that explain how these beliefs operate. Also, reading through the newsletters, I realized that I didn’t believe that these techniques would work for my hands, even though I was resolving loads of aspects every week.
So I started to tap using statements like: “Even though I acknowledge that I don’t believe I can heal my hands with tapping, I forgive myself and accept myself just as I am.” As I could remember my dreams, which were quite intense, I started to write them down to discuss them with Martin. At first, we did an analysis which seemed to be a translation of what appeared to be a very rich symbolic language, simplifying it to be able to express it in words, a little bit like what happens with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), where our filters retain the essence of the information and we verbalise only a minimum expression of what we really what to transmit. I have been an NLP practitioner since 2005 and I had already applied several techniques to help with the separation and the legal issues that I would have to face, but I was still stuck as far as my beliefs were concerned.
I’m glad that this has happened because it has inspired Martin to suggest I tap on my dreams, just as I perceived the scene and the associated emotions which immediately came up. As I am a very visual person, it is no effort at all to relate my dreams as if I were remembering a film. I invite you all to try this experience. It’s like putting EFT into the tunnel that goes from our consciousness towards the immensity of the subconscious and once there, operate on anything it comes across!!! I started to practice this kind of tapping, without forgetting to use the phrase I have mentioned, and in less than ten days, I had almost 100% relief.
The first thing I noticed, was that the itch lasted no longer that 10 seconds, as if a switch turned the sensation off once it had warned my system of a “danger” that threatened me. I started to feel love and gratitude for how perfectly my body works. It only wanted to protect me from those messages. But also, one of the aspects I was most reluctant to address, because I thought it impossible to face my ex-husband and talk to him in a normal way, manifested without me even thinking about it and it allowed me to check that not only did the resentment not surface when I had to speak with him, but I couldn’t even remember how intensely I had felt that emotion up until very recently.
Today, I look at myself in the mirror and I love what I see. I wouldn’t change myself for anyone and if I had to live this all over again, to learn what I have learnt, I would only want to know EFT to make the process shorter, simpler, and with less useless pain. I’m halfway there, but I know that the worst of it is over.
I wish you all as good a year as the one I’m designing for myself!
Translated from Spanish by Vera Malbaski.