EMDR #3: Shame and Forgiveness

Throughout recounting these sessions, I reveal a lot about my own thoughts and emotions, and I’d like to remind anyone that reads these, that these are my own thoughts and the ways I interpreted things that happened in my life. It is no fault of anyone else that I reacted, felt the way that I did or thought a certain way whenever something took place.
We are all flawed and that is what makes us beautiful…

Recount of sessions: April 25 – May 2.

Continuing on from my last session of feeling undesirable, we started off by talking about my former relationship with ‘The Angel’ that left me feeling worthless and useless and ultimately unlovable. I had to recreate the feelings I had about her. I took a deep breathe and closed my eyes…

The first feeling I experienced was a feeling of betrayal. I felt as though in my relationship with the Angel, I was just a tool. I was used as a means to get her out of her current life which was becoming more and more unpleasant as time passed. I felt like I gave my heart to someone who just needed some extra strength to get out of horrible situation and once she was out of that situation I was not needed any longer and discarded.

My anger then bubbled up as my inner voice began to say,
“That wasn’t right of her.”
“I deserve better than that.”
“I deserve respect, especially from myself.”
“I am worthy of respect.” (this from a nice new voice that I awoke from my first EMDR session).

I let that sink in for a few moments then my anger washed away, and in my head, I forgave her, and more importantly I forgave myself. I gave everything I had in that relationship and I learned a lot. I matured more than I could have imagined in the relationship and I experienced something new in life and even though it caused me pain, it allowed me to grow.

We continued the session with something that happened to me earlier in the week. I was required to take an advanced road test for work and I failed it and I felt so ashamed of myself afterwards.

Closing my eyes and going back into that feeling of shame invoked a physical response. When thinking about that failure my head all of a sudden grew extremely heavy and I had to open my eyes as my head started to fall. I told my therapist of what had happened and was told that the physical response was from a deep sense of shame that I have been holding on to and my brain was putting up mental walls that physically manifested.

I needed to go back into that feeling and explore it… And so I closed my eyes again.

I thought about failure and I felt fear. I was afraid to fail, I was afraid that I wasn’t living up to the expectations of others as well as myself (I was a perfectionist). When I failed I was ashamed of myself because I felt I should be better. I felt like when I failed, it’s because I wasn’t good enough, I was a disappointment. Memories of my stepdad flooded in. I was told I was useless and lazy and in the past I felt so ashamed that I had struggled with forging myself a path in life. These thoughts caused me to feel dizzy and like I was on the edge of a cliff about to fall down. I was afraid, very afraid that I wasn’t good enough, that no matter what I did, I would fail and that I should feel ashamed because I was a failure.

My inner voice rose again in this feeling of pain and I defended myself. I was doing my best in figuring things out myself. I did not get the support or help that I so desperately wanted and needed and so I did the best I could with limited experience and figured things out all while being told I was useless and lazy. I was told something over and over and I started to believe it. I was no longer just fighting what someone else was saying about me, but I was then fighting myself as well. It’s tough to win a war on two fronts.

Again my mind was able to find some peace as I reflected on my past and forgave myself. I made the best of a tough situation in my life. Looking back, I feel like if I could go back, I could have done more, but I have much more experience and support than I did back then and I know at the time I did as much as I could, even if it didn’t look that way to others.

I did the best I could with what I had and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The goal of sharing my story is to raise awareness of mental health problems that all of us experience and to break the stigma surrounding mental health. ‘We are all flawed and that’s what makes us beautiful’ This line to me means that we all have issues that we’ve developed and issues that have developed us into who we are. Those developments are what make us different and what make us beautiful, however a lot of these developments have caused us to carry with us negative views and thoughts of ourselves. By allowing ourselves to heal past these negative thoughts and views we can become our true beautiful selves without the burden of negative mental thoughts and feelings.

If you are looking for a start in your own journey of self healing, the best way to start is by talking to someone: If you are in Alberta there is a mental health helpline found at http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/amh/amh.aspx or in the US, http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help. Usually a quick google search for help in your location will bring up a toll free number you can call. I also have a friend that practices hypnotherapy and has an affordable pay model for anyone seeking help. here is a link to his website, Healing Self. And if you’d like to contact me personally for any help or direction, you can use my contact page to reach out and I will keep anything confidential (aside from if you’re planning to commit a crime) and help to the best of my abilities.

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