Reasons You Shouldn’t Fuck Kids

Reason #327: EMDR is some heavy shit
February 24, 2015, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I began EMDR therapy a few months ago. Holy shit is it ever some hard stuff! Unlike ‘normal’ therapy where you go into the therapist’s office and talk about whatever you feel like that day, this is a very trauma-focused therapy. The idea is that you focus specifically on the trauma until you come to resolution, and then you don’t have PTSD anymore. Voila!

The first session was a get-to-know-you. The second session she said “Ok, tell me all about what happened to you. Tell me your trauma(s).” So I told her everything. The babysitter. My Dad. My brother. The sexual abuse. The physical abuse. The marrying the love of my life that we both thought was a man who ended up actually being a woman on the inside, and now on the outside too. It was nice getting it all out with the therapist in the very beginning. No sitting there wondering when I am supposed to tell her all this shit.

She spent the next few sessions after that ‘strengthening me’. Those were her words. Basically, she had me imagine the little girl part of me and begin to establish conversations with her in a safe affirming way. Also, she began helping me understand how everyone has parts of themselves, but the adult part is the one that should be running the show.

Session 5 was when we started some actual EMDR. It’s some heavy heavy shit. We started with a thing that happened when I was 3 or 4: me witnessing my dad hitting my brother because my dad was mad at himself because he accidentally dislocated my arm. He didn’t know how to handle it, because that’s my dad, and when I got home from the hospital, he picked a fight with my brother and hit him. I have felt guilty about my role in that my whole life. I worked it out with her in EMDR. While we were working on it, I was crying and I felt so terrible. And then I came to resolution and it hasn’t bothered me since!!!  Isn’t that amazing???

The next thing though was my new memory of my dad sexually abusing me when I was 5. This is way harder than the thing above, because it is so multi-faceted. Unlike the incident where he hit my brother, that only had one facet for me (my own guilty about it). But sexual abuse is never one facet; it’s a multi-faceted web of betrayal that takes a while to uncover, figure out, and resolve. We have now spent 4 sessions on it so far, and while I have gained some clarity as to the memory, I have not come to resolution about it yet.

It’s a difficult treatment. Remember that episode of the Office, where Michael Scott fucks everything up by trying to resolve employee complaints out in the open? He compares it to shiatsu massage, and he  – wait – let me just link to it here

So anyway, it’s like that. It’s really painful and it’s really hard but at the end, hopefully, I will feel much better and stop being plagued by my own PTSD.  That’s my hope, anyway. 36 years is a long time to be afraid.

Meanwhile I keep eating and eating. I am a hot fucking mess. Sleep is difficult. Having to do this therapy sucks serious shit. Not as bad as having to be sexually abused when I was a child, I suppose, but still sucks. This is of course why you shouldn’t fuck kids. I don’t want to spend my time like this, going to therapy, crying, eating, etc. I want to enjoy my sweet beautiful son, and learn to love and trust a man again, and enjoy my life, and go for walks, etc. But right now, my life is this, and I accept that. And I live it with hope for a better life to come.

The therapist has tried to impart two things to me, which I wanted to share with you guys, my loyal readers. 1) She said that when all that stuff was happening to me when I was a kid, I was alone and I was powerless. I am neither of those things now. While I am healing, I am not alone, and I am not powerless. 2) She said that I was a child when all this happened to me. I am an adult now. I have a whole range of choices open to me that I didn’t then. All of that was news to me, and was so empowering that I thought maybe you wanted to hear it too. 🙂

4 Comments so far
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Hi Butterfly, glad you posted, you’ve been quiet for a while. I’m excited for you that you are making progress with your therapy! I really admire your strength; the path to healing has not been easy for you, but you know what you want out of life and you keep pushing for it.

Comment by Nev

I use EMDR therapy as my primary psychotherapy treatment and I’ve also personally had EMDR therapy for anxiety, panic, grief, and “small t” trauma. As a client, EMDR worked extremely well and also really fast. As an EMDR therapist, and in my role as a facilitator who trains other therapists in EMDR therapy (certified by the EMDR International Association and trained by the EMDR Institute, both of which I strongly recommend in an EMDR therapist) I have used EMDR therapy successfully with panic disorders, PTSD, anxiety, depression, grief, body image, phobias, distressing memories, bad dreams, and many other problems. It’s a very gentle method with no significant “down-side” so that in the hands of a professional EMDR therapist, there should be no freak-outs or worsening of day-to-day functioning.
To me, it sounds like you need more grounding resources to help during your EMDR processing! One of the initial phases (Phase 2) in EMDR therapy involves preparing for memory processing or desensitization (memory processing or desensitization – phases 3-6 – is often what is referred to as “EMDR” which is actually an 8-phase method of psychotherapy). In this phase resources are “front-loaded” so that you have a “floor” or “container” to help with processing the really hard stuff, as well as creating strategies if you’re triggered in everyday life. In Phase 2 you learn a lot of great coping strategies and self-soothing techniques which you can use during EMDR processing or anytime you feel the need.
In phase 2 you learn how to access a “Safe or Calm Place” which you can use at ANY TIME during EMDR processing (or on your own) if it feels scary, or too emotional, too intense. One of the key assets of EMDR therapy is that YOU, the client, are in control NOW, even though you weren’t in the past, during traumatic events and/or panic/anxiety. You NEVER need re-live an experience or go into great detail, ever! You NEVER need to go through the entire memory. YOU can decide to keep the lights (or the alternating sounds and/or tactile pulsars, or the waving hand, or any method of bilateral stimulation that feels okay to you) going, or stop them, whichever helps titrate – measure and adjust the balance or “dose“ of the processing. During EMDR processing there are regular “breaks” and you can control when and how many but the therapist should be stopping the bilateral stimulation every 25-50 passes of the lights to ask you to take a deep breath and say just a bit of what you’re noticing, anything different, any changes. (The stimulation should not be kept on continuously, because there are specific procedures that need to be followed to process the memory). The breaks help keep a “foot in the present” while you’re processing the past. Again, and I can’t say this enough, YOU ARE IN CHARGE so YOU can make the process tolerable. And your therapist should be experienced in the EMDR therapy techniques that help make it the gentlest and safest way to detoxify bad life experiences and build resources.

Grounding exercises are essential. You can use some of the techniques in Dr. Shapiro’s new book “Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR.” Dr. Shapiro is the founder/creator of EMDR but all the proceeds from the book go to two charities: the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program and the EMDR Research Foundation). The book is an easy read, helps you understand what’s “pushing” your feelings and behavior, helps you connect the dots from past experiences to current life. Also gives lots of really helpful ways that are used during EMDR therapy to calm disturbing thoughts and feelings.

Pacing and dosing are critically important. So if you ever feel that EMDR processing is too intense then it might be time to go back over all the resources that should be used both IN session and BETWEEN sessions. Your therapist can use a variety of techniques to make painful processing less painful, like suggesting you turn the scene in your mind to black and white, lower the volume, or, erect a bullet-proof glass wall between you and the painful scene, or, imagine the abuser speaking in a Donald Duck voice… and so forth. There are a lot of these kinds of “interventions” that ease the processing. They are called “cognitive interweaves” that your therapist can use, and that also can help bring your adult self’s perspective into the work (or even an imaginary Adult Perspective). Such interweaves are based around issues of Safety, Responsibility, and Choice. So therapist questions like “are you safe now?” or “who was responsible? and “do you have more choices now?” are all very helpful in moving the processing along.

You might want to take a look at a description of EMDR therapy:

Comment by Patti Levin

I agree; that IS exciting! I’m so happy for you, Butterfly! I remember how it feels to start making those connections, to have those “ah-ha” moments.

Not to sound cliche/platitude-ish: Yes, it is hard work and it can be exhausting, but it’s worth it.

You absolutely deserve the peace that you’re working toward.

Comment by All Time Love

Think of you often and hope you are well … ❤

Comment by All Time Love

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