Dear EFT Community,
Art therapist and EFT practitioner Marilyn Poore offers a personal account of using EFT to clear the trauma of her severe childhood abuse. Where she has arrived after clearing many of her memories provides hope to others who suffered similarly severe childhood trauma. When memories are triggered now, she can clear them quickly. “What started out as several hours and sometimes days of tapping has now become just minutes,” she says.
By Marilyn Poore, MS, ATR, BSW
I am an art therapist who has been in business since 2002. I have worked with the addiction population from 1991 to the present; have treated individuals with domestic violence issues as well as volunteered at shelters; worked with individuals of childhood trauma, divorce, complicated grief; and provided support groups for survivors of childhood trauma/couples of victims of childhood trauma.
When I thought about sending in an article about my childhood abuse and how EFT has helped me, at first I didn’t think I could do it because it might cause some unresolved memories to surface. That, of course, would be painful. I realized, though, that I was experiencing the “fear of the fear” of these memories surfacing. That is, because of EFT, the chances are the charge on these memories would be reduced, or nonexistent. I would simply experience the fear that they would show up again in their usual full-scale intensity. So I wrote this article and thus have even more awareness of how fantastic EFT has been for me.
I was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by both of my parents. Yet I had no memories of this until I had moved away from my family of origin in my 30s. I did have some awareness that I was constantly on guard around my father. I moved from Kankakee, Illinois, to Topeka, Kansas, in the spring of 1983 with my boyfriend who later became my second husband. I was divorced and left behind three children: my eight-year-old son (I had given custody of him to his father) and my 13-year-old daughter who I also left with him, and my oldest daughter, who was 15 and living at my previous residence.
I felt terrible about leaving my children yet felt that my hands were tied at the time. I thankfully had my girls living with me by the next year. I started attending college in Illinois and continued in Kansas to get BSW/BA degrees. I attended school part-time working full-time with four teenagers at home: my second husband’s two sons and my two daughters. It took me eight years to complete my BSW in social sork and BA in anthropology, and I loved every minute of it. I started getting emotionally triggered during this period for a variety of reasons. I ended up in traditional therapy, which is all I knew at the time. My second husband died shortly after I started therapy.
The therapy provided me with memories of abuse that were so overwhelming that I felt at times that I was going crazy. I had anxiety attacks almost daily, which triggered asthma attacks that at times put me in the hospital. I began to have problems with high blood pressure, for which I still take medication. Traditional therapy was like opening a Pandora’s box that you just had to live with. I truly understood why addicts who had this issue kept using.
Some of the memories have been about my so-called father (who constantly told me I wasn’t his) physically and sexually abusing me for my mother’s habit of sexually seducing me. He also had the habit of torturing and killing baby kittens that I brought into the house to play with. He did these things from the time I was two until I was eight years old.
The worst memory I had was of him beating me so bad at eight that I almost died. That memory involved me lying in a basement for 10 days with broken ribs, a broken arm, a mangled face, and broken jaw. I don’t remember how I got out of there, but one of the other memories that caused me intense emotional pain was seeing my mother on the steps, looking at me then just walking away.
There were other memories of being sold by my mother to strangers, both men and women, at a roller rink. These individuals abused me sexually. There were memories of sexual abuse by doctors, nuns, and priests. By the time I was 13, I was choosing to stay away from home, which left me with feelings of guilt about younger siblings I left behind. I was married by 17 and pregnant with my first child. Of course he was abusive too; that’s all I knew at the time.
How I found EFT!
As a counselor, I wanted to find an easier way for myself and my clients to release the past. I started by learning Reiki, eventually receiving the second-degree Reiki training. The Reiki helped me enhance my intuition. I started to trust myself to know what to say to my clients to help them. Reiki would help temporarily when I did get triggered but never released any of the traumatic memories for me. I tried massage to help possibly bring up the body memories to release them but would get so overwhelmed that I would stop going.
Recently, another friend and I started using EFT to release the memories and thus I chose to use it as a counselor. Finally, I had found my answer. I attended a workshop in Chicago. A presentation done by Carol Look at that workshop triggered some of the memories. I worked to release some of those memories of my father’s abuse with the help of B. Marianne Niebauer. I knew then that I was meant to teach EFT to other counselors/professionals/individuals who want to allow trauma to be released.
EFT has been my miracle. I no longer have just to endure the memories like before. I have released enough memories with EFT to be able to feel forgiveness for my parents. The EFT has helped me release rage/explosive anger that I was so afraid of. EFT has given me clarity that actually started in Chicago to begin to address my victimization/martyr role.
I have tapped on current issues like communication with my children and grandchildren: my daughters are 38 and 36, my son will be 31 later this year, and I have eight grandchildren: six grandsons ages 18 thru 9 months, and two granddaughters ages 20 and 10. My recovery has progressed at least 75% more with EFT over traditional therapy.
When memories did get triggered (before EFT), I did not operate from my rational/logical mind. I became reactive, operating from my limbic system, which for me was immobilization. I became like that small child who was so terribly abused in childhood. There are still times when it is not easy for me. Yet, with EFT, I am realizing more and more each day that I have fewer episodes of this happening. I am able to tap the rest away in a shorter amount of time. What started out as several hours and sometimes days of tapping has now become just minutes.
I continue to tap daily on the mental “writings on my walls,” which are directly tied to those memories. I tap on not being enough, don’t deserve to live, will never be loved enough, being abandoned, and can’t be myself. I know that, eventually, I will finally get to that place with the tapping and learning/ teaching EFT to be done with the painful body memories. It is because of Emotional Freedom Techniques that this is finally a possibility.