In the last few weeks, I have received a couple of teenagers whose parents felt they needed help to overcome feeling overwhelmed.
Today I am going to relate the story of M. whose parents called me worried.
M. had been the witness of a traumatic and aggressive event a few years back. They thought that M. had dealt with the whole thing and had been functioning normally until that point. However, during a tense altercation with his good friend, M. seemingly broke down. He was in a state of shock and was not snapping out of it.
We organised a rushed meeting for M.
M. was polite and soft spoken. He did not have any problem with the whole EFT method, but acknowledged that he was not sure it would work, because the problem was a problem of trust and he did not think that anything could help him.
So we started tapping immediately on the trust issue, globally at first, then I asked him to tell me who specifically he could not trust. He said sadly: “Actually everybody, really. You trust them, and then you don’t know why, they snap and they hurt you.”
I asked why he would say that, he shrugged and said: “It is obvious. Everybody says they care about you, and then they turn around and betray you.”
I asked M. to grade the feeling of betrayal. He shrugged again and said a 7. We did a couple of rounds on betrayal. But it was not moving down. I asked if his good friend had betrayed him.
He said “no, he did not.” I asked “Who did?”
He said “My brother.”
From his parents, I knew that he is quite close to his brother, I asked: “Why would you say this?”
He sighed and went on. “He does care, but then he can hurt me by accident.”
I asked what he meant a little worried. He said: “He is abrupt at time and his behaviour is unpredictable at time. And he is stronger than me.”
I asked him if he would tap while telling me the worst case he felt that way. While tapping, he went on to tell me about the traumatic experience he witnessed. I asked him about the intensity of the memory. He said: “10. it is always 10.”
I asked him to give a name to that event, he said: “He did it!”
We did a couple of rounds and I could see his pupils dilating widely. I asked what was happening, he remained silent and started breathing fast and shallow. I asked again and decided to continue tapping while he dealt with this emotion. He remained silent but I could tell he was struggling. After a few rounds, I asked him what came up.
He said almost surprised. “I don’t know. It is very strong, like a bolt in my throat. Like I will always be exposed. That I will always be vulnerable.”
I asked him how strong was that feeling. He responded that it is was very strong. We did a couple of rounds and then I guided him through the 9 Gamut procedure then continued tapping on the emotions of feeling vulnerable and exposed.
His anxiety was still apparent, so I asked him to tell me what was happening for him while we continued tapping. He told me that he had never felt strong, and that he had always had friends and people to make him feel safe, but that with his brother being inconstant, he felt really exposed now and he knew he could not defend himself, despite the fact that he was a black Belt in Judo.
The contradictions were striking.
I asked him how betrayed he felt by his brother. He said 10.
We tapped along with that emotion and the others he mentioned about his brother. Feeling vulnerable and exposed. After a few rounds, I could see that he was starting to move his shoulders and moving in his chair. I asked him what was happening.
He was feeling sad and threatened, but he was also confused because he knew that it was always accident with his brother. “He is ignorant of his own strength most of the time. He does not intent to hurt me.”
I said: “Ok, how does it make you feel?” He shrugged and said: “Weird because I am scared but I know that I should not, but I can not control that reaction…”
We decided to tap on this feeling weird. After a couple of rounds I could see him getting distracted. He was tapping but he was not present. I asked if he had something he wanted to share. He said, “I feel guilty for what I just said. My parents would not be pleased. They always want to protect him.”
We tapped on this feeling of his brother being protected by his parents at his expense. I could see once again the emotion going very high and him being extremely tense. I asked him what came up. He said, “I feel a lot of discomfort, like I am the one that is betraying people now.”
We continued tapping for a while, just focusing on this intense feeling. At some point again, his shoulders went down and he relaxed.
I asked what was happening now. He sighed and said: “I feel drained. I know that he does not hurt me intentionally. And I know that my parents are doing the best they can and they are also looking out for me. It’s just that I don’t think I can please everybody, and I really try very hard.”
I asked him how intense was his desire to please everybody. He said with strong head nods, “A 10”. I asked him if he could please everybody, rationally. He thought about it, and said: “Well I guess I can’t. But the people important to me, I should be able to.”
I asked if he was asked to do so by his brother. “Yes,” he said, “even if he does not say it in so many words.” “His parents?” “No, not really, but they have so much problems already, I don’t want to add mine to them…”
We had a short discussion about the role of parents, and the role of kids. Then we tapped on the feeling of wanting to please everybody and being disappointed for not succeeding. The feeling went down significantly and he was surprised. There was still some guilt remaining, so we continue tapping for a little longer.
The hour was up and it was time to conclude the session. I revisited the first point of the conversation: The trust issue. He considered the question and said, “Actually, I can not trust my brother but I know that I have a lot of people that I can trust. So it is better.”
When he focused on the feeling of betrayal, he said. “It is still there but it is so less intense. I know that life is unfair at time, and that everybody is doing the best they can.”
He was smiling when he was saying this.
On feeling vulnerable and exposed and unsupported, he lifted his shoulders, saying “I am not sure why I thought that. It is silly to say that. I know I can defend myself now. Not before maybe, but now, it is not true at all…”
All in all, it was a very positive session. We continued working together for a couple more sessions, just to stabilize his emotions.
He went on to become a strong member of a group in school and his relationship with his brother improved. He was said to be less apprehensive around his brother. He would act blasé around him, which was a marked improvement.
If you are faced with a teenager who is in need of some similar help, then reach out.