Header Graphic
Anna's Blog > EMDR Makes Sense of my Nonsense

2 Dec 2009

OMGOMGOMG!!  I had that dream again--the one where I'm playing with my Dad in a sandbox and my Mom comes after me with a rolling pin, and I woke up terrified.  So terrified I couldn't move for a long time.  So I told my therapist about it and we did EMDR with the dream and I was terrified for a few long seconds and then it switched to feeling sick again, and I was feeling so disgusting again, and then an image came to me of my Dad "playing doctor" with me in my bed in the dark.  It was light enough that I could see him, and I remembered this happened!  I saw his face smiling at me, and he smelled like alcohol, and he was touching me with his finger and I was terrified and felt disgusting, and felt disgusted with him, and so confused!  My therapist kept tapping and I was starting to hyperventilate, and she said to watch the scene as if I were looking at it on a tv screen, and I had the remote, so I could stop it, slow it, speed it--whatever I wanted.  That made me feel more in control, and she told me to take a deep breath and let it out really slowly, and I felt more relaxed.  Then I went back to the scene with my father and me, and she tapped and I kept feeling like I was disgusting, and trapped, and disgusted, and I hated him and loved him and it felt terrible and it felt good, and it was so incredibly confusing and I just wanted it all to be erased!  I kept telling my therapist I'm disgusting, I'm disgusting, and crying, and she asked me how old I was, and I looked and it seemed like I was about 5 or 6.  She asked me if I knew any girls that age, and I told her my friends have a girl I babysit sometimes who's almost 5.  She asked me if I would think the girl would be disgusting if someone touched her vulva, and I felt sick again and angry and said "NO!  The asshole who touched her would be disgusting--it wouldn't be her fault!  It wouldn't mean anything about her!  He's the adult--he's responsible!  He wouldn't be acting responsible!  He'd be abusing her!"  So then she pointed out that when I was 5, it was the same.  I was an innocent little girl who loved her Daddy and he did something that hurt me very badly.  She asked me if I thought I had any responsibility for it at all--was there any way I thought I'd caused him to touch me.  I said maybe I sat on his lap too much.  She asked if she'd blame my friend's 5 yr old for getting touched by a man (she doesn't have a Dad; she has two Moms) the family trusted--under any circumstances.  Of course I said "NO!" I don't believe 5 yr old girls are to blame for men touching them no matter what they do.  She asked me if it was normal for 5 yr old girls to sit on their Dad's laps, and I said of course.  But then I said I was disgusting because it kind of felt good in a way, and I didn't make him stop--I just froze and didn't move.  She told me it was a normal, physiological response to feel pleasure when vulvas are touched gently, and that it was normal to freeze when I was terrified, and normal to feel confused and conflicted and powerless when my own Dad I loved was doing something that felt disgusting.  She told me the shame was his, not mine.  So I sobbed, and she tapped, and in a minute or two I felt calmer.  The scene seemed far away, and not charged with emotion anymore.  I felt mad and disappointed in my Dad, but I saw that I was innocent--not disgusting.  I had felt disgust about what he did, and I thought that meant I was disgusting.  I saw how wrong I was about that, because I was just a little girl, and I didn't know what to think about this bizarre thing happening.  She asked me on a scale of 1-10 how much I believed I was disgusting now, and I said a 1--not at all.  So she told me to go back to the dream and I started to feel scared again, and I realized I was terrified that my Mom would find out and punish me, or do something terrible to me because she was jealous that he touched me.  My heart started racing and I remembered that she walked in when he was doing that, and she started screaming and yelling and they fought, and she chased him into their room, and they closed the door, and I could hear her screaming and screaming at him.  I never felt more alone in my life.  I sobbed and sobbed again, and my therapist kept tapping, and again I felt calmer in a minute or so.  I realized I was always afraid after that that my Mom would do something terrible to me.  She always seemed mad at him and disgusted with him after that.  I was so scared of her!  Pretty quickly after that, I realized she never had hurt me or punished me for that, and I was grown up now, and she certainly wasn't going to punish me now, if she didn't then.  Then I felt much calmer, and my therapist asked me how much I believed my mother was going to punish me because my Dad touched me when I was 5, and I said 1--not at all.  I felt totally exhausted, and yet peaceful and light in a way I don't remember ever feeling.  It was like I was carrying around a 15 lb necklace all my life, and now it was gone!  The whole thing was so so weird!  So I went home and took a 4 hr nap!  When I woke up, and each day since then I've felt lighter and happier and more relaxed.  I hardly know myself--could this really be how it's going to be for me now???



Email: CynthiaLubow@yahoo.com 

 Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT

 For 30+ years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.

 San Francisco East Bay Area Therapist

I can work with anyone who lives in California through Skype

Including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, San Diego, Ukiah, Marin...