The client’s name and some of the details have been changed to protect client confidentiality. I’m very grateful to Lizzy for her permission to tell this story.
Lizzy has spent most of her life looking after other people.
As a young child she was given the role of being the one who looked after everyone else (including her parents).
As a social worker she listens to other people’s other people’s distress, and as a friend she is always there to help.
Now in her forties she was finding that helping everybody comes at a cost. Even if she was at the end of her tether she had to help. If she didn’t or couldn’t she would feel guilty and give herself a very hard time about how she had ‘failed’ her clients / colleagues / friends.
After a particularly difficult couple of weeks tending to other people’s needs she told me she had realised that there was a little child in her saying “What about me?”
Helping struggling younger selves to be free is one the things Identity Healing is designed for.
I asked her to imagine that the little child who was saying “What about me?” was out in front of her.
I asked Lizzy: “How does she look?”
“She’s very young, perhaps four years old and she’s trying hard to keep everyone else around her happy, especially the adults around her who are stressed and anxious.”
At this point we started tapping for the distress of that younger self.
Lizzy said: “She’s a brave little soul, looking after everyone else. Nobody is looking after her, but she doesn’t know that.”
As Lizzy spoke we tapped for each of the thoughts and feelings that her younger self was holding.
As we tapped Lizzy was aware of waves of sadness that came over her for her younger self, we added Lizzy’s distress into the tapping.
“She’s so empathic, she’s in tune with others, especially her mother.”
“Her mum and dad need her. This is who she is and what she does.”
“On the outside, she’s is happy and willing but she’s not in touch with her feelings which are underground, hidden in a deep well.”
I asked Lizzy: “What is in the well that she can’t feel?”
“There is alone-ness, sadness, overwhelm and depression.”
As tears trickled down the face of the adult Lizzy, we tapped on all the feelings the younger Lizzy was not aware of.
Lizzy said “That’s interesting, she was originally looking at her mum now she is more looking at me … she’s very far away … I can see her silently mouthing the words ‘Help Me!'”
We tapped for the younger self and for the sadness that Lizzy felt seeing this.
Lizzy looked at me, saying: “I told her ‘I see you’ and let her know I can reach her … now we’re both tapping together.”
After a while and a few tears, Lizzy told me she felt a fullness in her belly rather than the emptiness that had always been there before.
Her younger self had ‘asked’ Lizzy for permission to tap for herself which Lizzy gave. It is a terrible predicament to be in when you are expected to look after everyone else but not allowed to look after yourself (and there is no one to look after you).
After tapping for a while, Lizzy told me that her younger self was looking happier and alive.
“She was an enthusiastic little girl, very pretty but she doesn’t know it.”
I suggested that Lizzy let her know that.
We continued tapping as Lizzy had that ‘inner conversation’.
Lizzy told me that her younger self was fine but she wanted to tap for her mum and dad to help them.
I suggested they both tapped for her mum and dad until they felt that it was enough.
After a few rounds of silent tapping, Lizzy stopped and looked at me.
I asked how the ‘younger Lizzy’ was getting along, Lizzy said that she looked calm and happy.
Now the stress and distress had been relieved we could give the younger Lizzy what she needed at that time but never got.
I asked Lizzy “What does she need?”
Lizzy told me “She doesn’t know what she needs.”
We can send all sorts of things as resources and capabilities for our younger selves. Since the younger Lizzy needed to know what she needed I asked the adult Lizzy: “What is the colour of knowing what you need?”
Asking about the colours is an invitation to the client’s unconscious mind to come up with a way of ‘transmitting’ the resources needed to the younger self.
“Green, pink and blue.”
I said: “Send her all the green, pink and blue knowing what she needs that she needs.”
I asked “What does she need now?”
“She needs a big book so she can write down her needs!”
Lizzy is a client who is very adept at using metaphor so I suggested that she ‘send’ younger Lizzy the book.
“What else does she need?”
“She needs a dog … so she doesn’t feel lonely or on her own.”
I asked: “Does she feel lonely?”
“Yes, she does. There’s no room in her family for her.”
Since we’d uncovered another level of distress we tapped for her feeling lonely until that was soothed. Then we returned to giving the young Lizzy the resources she still needed.
I asked: “What else does she need?”
“She needs pink joy.”
“OK, send her all the pink joy she needs.”
“What else does she need?”
Lizzy said: “What she needs is coming thick and fast now, what she needs is excitement which is green)”
“OK, send her all the green excitement that she needs.”
I asked: “What else does she need?”
In turn we sent her ‘movement’ (red), ‘being in nature’ (brown and green), ‘purpose’ (orangey yellow), the ‘great joy of music’ (silver notes), ‘spiritual connection’ (sea, moon and stars), a ‘bonfire of courage’ and a ‘pebble of sincerity’.
I asked again: “What else does she need?”
“To be able to see clearly and trust herself to see clearly … it’s like blue and grey eyes.”
I invited her to send the younger Lizzy the ‘blue and grey eyes of seeing clearly’, then asked: “What else does she need?”
Lizzy told me: “Hands and fingers, touching kindly … giving and receiving love … pink hands.”
“OK, send her the ‘pink hands of giving and receiving love’.”
Lizzy said: “Hey, I’ve just noticed that before her hands and fingers were looking dead and grey, now they are alive and pink!”
“What else does she need?”, I asked.
“For it to be OK to feel happy, that’s a big sunflower.”
I said: “OK, send her the big sunflower of being OK to feel happy … What else does she need?”
“The blue cloak of confidence.”
“OK, send her the blue cloak of confidence … What else does she need?”
Lizzy said: “That’s everything.”
“Great”, I said, “Let young Lizzy be surrounded and transformed by all those good things, and you might not know what’s going on but will know when it’s done.”
Lizzy spent a few moments processing those instructions, then she turned and looked at me.
Sometimes our younger selves have valuable things to give us, so I asked “Is there anything that the younger Lizzy wants to share with you?”
Lizzy gave a big smile and some tears “She wants to share it all with me.”
“OK” I said, “take a few moments to share those things.”
I asked, “Would you like to bring that younger you back into yourself?”
Lizzy opened her arms and drew the image of that younger Lizzy back into her self.
She said it felt like ‘coming home’.
It’s not fair to leave the job of looking after everyone to a four year old. So when ‘they’ were both settled, I invited Lizzy to ask that younger self to grow and evolve to take advantage of all the wisdom and experience that Lizzy had gained since.
As her adult self, Lizzy will be much better equipped to decide how and when to help others, and how to look after herself.
After she had finished that processing I asked Lizzy how she was.
She told me that it had been deep work, she felt good and very tired.
I suggested that since it was deep work she might like to take a nap when she got some so she could to allow those changes to continue at an unconscious level.
After a big change the rest of you needs time to catch up.
Some clients do a lot of processing after the session while the rest of their system rearranges itself to a new configuration. They may feel out of sorts for a few days while this is happening, it’s just a sign that a lot is changing.
At the next session Lizzy told me she had taken the nap, slept very well on the night following the session and woken up feeling vulnerable and out of sorts the next day. This continued in varying degrees for the next four days. On the fifth day she felt that the changes and realignment had been completed and she felt ‘at one with herself’.
Even though things had been a little difficult to start with she told me she had noticed some interesting and profound changes since we did the process.
Now, when she is asked to help out she notices that the first thought that comes to her mind is “What do I need?” rather than an automatic attempt to fulfill someone else’s need. This is a complete reversal of the old pattern where everyone else came first and she came last.
She also noticed that she could say no to requests without feeling the crippling levels of guilt and self-condemnation that she used to feel.
She didn’t feel any less caring of her clients, friends and colleagues, but she didn’t feel an overwhelming need to help them if she couldn’t or didn’t want to.
She said “I feel free.”