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Back pain can be linked to "carrying" stressful situations. As Mary carried the burden of caring for her husband who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, her back pain was constant. And then she tapped.. 

John has moved to a home specialised for Alzheimer's patients a coupe of months ago. His wife Mary is visiting him as much as she can. She got used to noticing small evolutions of the disease now and then. But during the last visit, she was quite shocked to find him bent at nearly 90 degrees.

During our EFT session the next day, she mentions she has a back pain too. It's a pain that comes back on a regular basis. However, when I ask her to locate it, she says "it's just where he indicated he was suffering". As she describes this, she realises that it does sound like a "solidarity pain", an unconscious way to lighten his own pain.

She had already reduced her pain down to 3-4 by tapping on it on her own. We tap on it together, this time focussing on this "solidarity aspect". After about a few minutes, the pain is barely a discomfort.

The pain was only a symptom though. We really want to clean up the source of the pain, in this case, the shock she received when she witnessed her husband's pain.

Hopefully, not all of us witness "big T Traumas" in our life. However, we all experience difficult situations which might (or might not) end up as "small t traumas". There are many definitions of "trauma". I favour the one which says that a trauma results from a threatening situation we can't control and to which we don't know how to react. Naturally enough, our subconscious "puts the shock aside", so we'll "deal with it later", when we find a solution. Unfortunately, the solution rarely appears on its own, and that trauma might come back out, sometimes years later, as a physical or emotional symptom or disease.

We couldn't possibly eradicate all source of shock from our life, but we can learn to deal with them as soon as they happen, as much as possible, and therefore avoid transforming them in traumas, as small as they could be.

Back to Marie, while tapping, I ask her to think about the time she witnessed John's condition, visalise the shock overwhelming her, as a giant wave, and breathe strongly through her mouth to let it out immediately. It takes a few breathes before she can visualise the scene peacefully.

Once the shock is gone, a new aspect appears: a deep sadness in witnessing this suffering. Still tapping, I wonder about the need, quite understandable, but maybe not mandatory, to feel sad.

  • - "Could your sadness help him?" I asked.
  • - "Yes, because it could provoke a reaction in him. One example is when I tell him to stand straight. When he thinks of me, he might straighten up. It worked for a long time." is her answer.
  • - "Was it your sadness that helped him straighten up then?"
  • - "Not really, no."
  • - "Imagine you're not well; he comes beside you, and you see him getting really sad. Would that help you?"
  • - "Certainly not!"
  • = "Could it be possible that you might not NEED to be sad?"
  • - "Yes, of course."
  • - "Would it be possible to increase your love and compassion instead of your sadness when you witness his suffering? Maybe visualising your love as a ray of light coming from your heart to his?"
  • - "I did just that, but when I was alone with him, the sadness overwhelmed me again."

Once again, considering the long term care of a loved one, it's not always easy to reach peace on our own. We kept tapping until Mary could think about that event without this deep sadness. There were other schocks before, and there will be more in the future, but at least this one is now in the "no intensity" category. It can be "put away" peacefully in her memory, and will not reappear as a trauma later on.

Mary chose to use EFT to lighten her load and to support her husband, and herself, with love instead of sadness and worry.

What about you? How are you supporting your loved ones emotionally?