How do you tell parents that their elementary school child was just shot to death at school? That was the challenge facing Dan, one of first responders at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that tragically took the lives of twenty children and six adults on December 14, 2012. Although trained to deliver this kind of news, Dan’s memories of that day had haunted him in the years since.
When Dan first sat down with Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, they began tapping on the trauma of that day. Dan was suffering from a mental replay loop he couldn’t stop – images from the school that day, as well as the looks on parents’ faces when he delivered the tragic news about their children.
After a few rounds of tapping through those traumatic memories, Dan recalled a pivotal moment from his early childhood. It was the day when his mother had sat him down to tell him that his brother had been killed in a car accident. He’d never forgotten the look on his mother’s face that day. It was the same look he’d seen on the Sandy Hook parents’ faces.
While tapping, Dan realized that he’d made a promise to himself very early in life – that he would do anything, including abandoning himself and his emotions, to avoid seeing the look he’d seen on his mother’s face on anyone else, ever. As a result, when he’d seen that same look on the Sandy Hook parents’ faces, it had re-ignited the trauma of his brother’s young death.
As Dan continued tapping through these traumatic memories, he realized that the anger he’d been holding in since his brother’s death had been limiting his ability to feel joy. All these years, his energy had been consumed by keeping that anger inside, and as a result, he’d experienced ongoing challenges in his marriage, and in his relationships at work.
Once Dan had tapped through his anger, he no longer felt burdened by repressed emotions. He soon began to open up to the idea of feeling more love and connection with his wife, and with the children who had been lost during the Sandy Hook shootings.
Even as adults few things limit us more than unresolved childhood trauma. When those deep wounds are finally healed, the transformation that happens is profound and sweeping. Relationships improve, careers take off, and most importantly, people’s sense of their own value and worth returns. As was the case for Dan, daily life becomes an entirely new experience, and in all the right ways. J
So often, though, people get stuck before they take that critical first step – reaching out for help in releasing trauma. If you or a loved one is struggling to seek support in overcoming a childhood (or adulthood) trauma, here’s a short tapping script that may prove helpful:
First, take 3 deep breaths and notice how much resistance you feel around seeking out support in overcoming the trauma you or a loved one survived. Give that resistance a number on a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 being the highest intensity resistance you can imagine.
We’ll begin by tapping three times on the Karate Chop point:
KC: Even though I don’t want to face what happened, it’s just too terrifying, I accept how I feel.
KC: Even though I can’t seek out support to overcome this trauma, I just can’t face it, the pain is too great, I accept how I feel.
KC: Even though I can’t face this, it’s too excruciating and I really can’t look at it too closely, I accept how I feel.
Eyebrow: I just can’t face this
Side of Eye: It’s too much
Under Eye: I can’t look at this
Under Nose: I need to push it away
Under Mouth: This is too terrifying for me to look at
Collarbone: So many emotions I can’t face
Under Arm: This trauma is bigger than me
Top of Head: I just can’t face it
Eyebrow: There’s so much tied to this trauma
Side of Eye: I feel paralyzed when I think of it
Under Eye: I just want to push it away
Under Nose: But pushing it away isn’t working
Under Mouth: I can’t seem to get rid of it
Collarbone: I know I can’t release it on my own
Under Arm: But I’m so scared to seek out support
Top of Head: I’m so scared what will happen if I face this
Eyebrow: I know I need to, though
Side of Eye: I know I can’t do this on my own
Under Eye: I know I need help
Under Nose: I want help
Under Mouth: But it’s so scary to seek it out
Collarbone: Maybe that’s okay
Under Arm: Maybe it’s normal to be afraid
Top of Head: Maybe I can seek out support anyway
Eyebrow: Maybe I can face what happened
Side of Eye: And my first step can be to seek out support
Under Eye: It’s okay that part of me is resisting this
Under Nose: I can still seek out support
Under Mouth: I can seek out support for overcoming what happened
Collarbone: I can allow myself that opportunity to let go of this
Under Arm: I don’t have to let this fear stop me
Top of Head: Allowing myself to feel safe in seeking out support now
Take a deep breath and check in with your resistance to seeking out support from overcoming trauma now. Where is it on a scale of 0 – 10 now? Continue tapping, if you like.