In my relationship, I felt a noticeable pang of guilt almost every time I took a step towards freedom, for being selfish, claiming space, taking boundaries, exercising my independence. And I was so tired of feeling it.
We are used to thinking of guilt, at least here in America, as having done something wrong, ie, we feel guilty about a wrongdoing. But I’ve learned that guilt is something entirely different. In the Intuitive Energy Divination deck, the Guilt card reads: Guilt is an argument between who you think you are supposed to be and what your True Self actually wants.
It’s the perennial “should”: I should do/want/be something different than I DO or I AM.
That’s guilt. An argument between who you think you should be and who you truly are.
NOT committing a wrongdoing, since there is no judge and jury in Spirit.
Doesn’t this make more sense, in your experience of guilt?
So, I noticed I’d been periodically experiencing deep pangs of guilt for being ME. Every time I took a step toward taking space, autonomy and independence, I worried that my relationship would suffer from disconnection. I worried that my partner would feel betrayed, abandoned or rejected. I became highly sensitized to any hurt feelings he might have, anticipating them, and sometimes consciously fought the urge to caretake his feelings.
I felt guilty for wanting what I wanted. I felt guilty for claiming space, boundaries, freedom. I felt guilty about his emotions.
Is any of this healthy? No. Not at all.
But I hadn’t yet figured out a way to stop experiencing the guilt, so every time it came up, I still took those “self-ish” steps I wanted and needed to take… sometimes these were steps my partner didn’t want, and argued with, and sometimes these things I was feeling so guilty about didn’t faze him one bit…and regardless of how he felt, I continued to suffer guilt.
So far, I’d been allowing myself to feel the guilt arise, and breathe with it – not knowing what else to do.
Then, one night, after feeling guilty for going to bed early (!) I thought “this has got to stop.”
I started tapping, using EFT. Here’s what came up. I began tapping on: I feel so guilty about doing what I want, or putting my needs and wants first. I don’t want my partner to feel rejected or abandoned when I take space, or freedom.
After a few rounds, a light bulb clicked: Oh. THIS was my childhood conditioning from being raised by an adult child of an Alcoholic, my mother. Children of adult alcoholics are disallowed boundaries, sovereignty, identity and independence, classic ACOA family dynamic “symptoms”. My mother’s energy was coming through me, every time I felt this guilt.
After this became clear, I flashed on a memory. I had just left home for the first time. I was drawing boundaries. I was taking space. I was being true to myself. I was expressing anger for the first time. I was no longer taking care of her feelings. And she did not like any of it. Every time we spoke, she pleaded, manipulated, cried. I felt her feelings… of rejection, betrayal, abandonment! My twenty-year-old self was so confused; it was supposed to be a happy time of self-expansion, but she (I) was being overwhelmed by a swampy mess of my mother’s unprocessed pain.
In this journey, I introduced my present-day wise self to her, and asked to tap with that younger self of mine. She agreed. The script went something like: Your mother cannot support your independence. She is simply not capable. It’s not her fault. It’s not your fault. But you are doing an amazing job at embracing your authentic self. Every time you draw boundaries, take a risk on growing and expanding, and asking for what you want and need, this must be celebrated!
There are a few more steps I went through on this journey back in time, too. It was important to identify that the rejection and abandonment she (I) experienced from mom was actually not her own energy…but her mother’s unresolved wounds. Those were mother’s feelings, not hers. I wasn’t being rejected or abandoned; I was feeling her feelings of being rejected and abandoned – which originated in her family of origin. This was a revelation for her (and for me, especially since I realized I was, in present day, unconsciously looking for those same feelings to arise from my partner).
When I asked my younger self what she most needed, she shared the heartfelt and honestly, kind of heart-breaking, plea “I never want to have to take care of another’s emotions or reactions to my independence and boundaries again.” I gently told her that people will have uncomfortable emotional responses to her throughout life, and these emotional responses are not caused by her actions but their own conditioning and wounding. Yet she does not have to take any of it on. I also introduced her to the idea that she is an empath; she is really good at feeling other people’s feelings. I taught her how to view other people’s feelings as energy bubbles simply passing through her field, and to observe, feel, and let them go instead of absorbing them into herself. We did an exercise where I had mom call her on the phone, and she got to experience mom’s abandonment, betrayal and rejection wounds as bubbles floating through her field.
In all, it was quite a tapping session for me. All this was accomplished in under 45 mins.
The guilt disappeared. I imagine it will stay away for a very long while, and I’m open to it not returning ever again!
Honestly, none of this story is new for me. I have been on the healing journey for a looonnnnggg time.
But I’m sharing this story with you, now, because the big patterns repeat; and they will come up again as many times as it takes for us to wholly integrate and heal. It’s never the same as the first time, or the last. We are always changing, unfolding new levels and layers, reclaiming aspects of Self that are ripe for reclaiming, healing, yet again. When I asked myself what I was reclaiming, this time, I imagined one of those word diagrams, the kind you are instructed to notice the first word that jumps out at you. The word that appeared to me at the end of this session was Trust. Trust in myself.
This form of EFT so profoundly gets to the root of any repetitive emotional blockage or issue. I liken it to going to the dentist with a symptom or complaint, and then discovering the true source, but describing it doesn’t do it justice; you really have to experience the freedom. By session’s end, you just feel… freer, clearer of conditioning, and have more access to who you TRULY ARE. It is one of my favorite tools – and I’ve tapped with clients, friends and even my partner! It If you are interested in having an experience of EFT, try it out for yourself. I plan on offering EFT sessions again in 2022.