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An uncontrollably sobbing client--"my mother didn't love me"

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

by Gary Craig


Hi Everyone,

Sometimes a client will exhibit major emotional pain (tears, anger, anguish and the like) at the mere thought of a troubling issue. While no one welcomes pain like this, it is often a blessing for EFT'ers because, at that moment, THE CLIENT IS OBVIOUSLY TUNED INTO THE ISSUE. What better time to start tapping?

Even if the client is so distraught that they are unable to speak, this is usually an ideal time to tap. Why? Because they are so tuned into the problem that they don't need to put words around it. Further, the important aspects of the problem are usually front and center and so finding them doesn't require a lot of detective work. Thus, in cases like these, I usually just start tapping and leave the language and reframes until later. A recent case illustrates this procedure.

A few months ago I was invited by my friend, Chris Hegarty (an internationally known public speaker), to present EFT to an audience of 350 people (my presentation was a small part of an 8 day personal improvement seminar). It went over very well as about 90% of the attendees reported noticeable results during my two hour presentation.

A few hours later I was walking on the grounds outside the meeting room and noticed an elderly woman sobbing uncontrollably under a tree. She was accompanied by two young men (her sons) who seemed perplexed at this high emotion. They motioned me to come over and, of course, I eagerly offered my assistance. This unexplained sobbing had gone on for a full 20 minutes and no let up was in sight.

Let me pause here to ponder what may have triggered this lady's intense emotion. Did it surface during my EFT presentation or was it an inevitable consequence of attending this 8 day personal improvement seminar? Was it something someone said to her or did she just happen to recall something? We will never know for sure but let me hasten to say that IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT TRIGGERED IT. "Triggering" merely means that a troubling issue is now on the surface and is ready to be resolved. To my way of thinking, that is good. Otherwise the issue remains in the psychic shadows doing its damage as part of an impaired self image. This, of course, results in "limits" and poor decisions. When it is triggered, however, it displays itself in all its glory--a perfect healing opportunity.

To resume, I approached the lady and asked what was troubling her. She couldn't tell me because her sobbing was so intense. Sob, sob, sob, sob, sob, sob, sob, sob.... She was obviously tuned into the problem even though I had no clue what it was. So I just started tapping on her. I must have done 15 rounds or so (including the fingertips for good measure) over a 4 or 5 minute time span. Gradually her sobbing subsided and, when it was completely gone, I asked again what was troubling her. She said....

"My mother didn't love me" and began sobbing again (although less intensely).

How's that for a great big global issue? This "mother/father didn't love me" problem is fairly common and I have often observed healing practitioners erroneously approach it by trying to convince the client that their mother/father really did love them. This is often useless, or even counter productive, because in many cases the real truth is that their mother/father DIDN'T love them. This has to be addressed head on if we are to have meaningful, lasting shifts.

Many parents, it turns out, aren't capable of loving their children (or anyone else) because of their own unresolved beliefs, fears, guilts, angers, traumas, etc. The real problem lies within the "unloving parent", not with the "unloved child" (although the unloved child does not perceive it this way). Thus the unloved child is in big need of a cognitive shift if they are to be appropriately helped. It is critical that we provide an effective reframe along these lines because immeasurable client freedom depends on it.

To assist in this regard, let me go back to the sobbing lady under the tree. Since her ability to speak was impaired, I resumed tapping on her while providing a reframing narrative. In my experience, by the way, reframes are far more likely to land while using EFT (because the resistance fades). The reframing narrative went something like this.....


[while consistently tapping on the EFT points]

"A mother's love is something we all cherish. It's what mothers are supposed to do. [she nods yes].We see evidence of the importance of a mother's love in movies, television and books....and we assume that every mother is capable of loving her children just the way our society portrays it. [she nods yes].

But we know that is not always true. Mothers are people, just like you and me, and sometimes they make mistakes, just like you and me. [she nods yes]. Sometimes they have a lot of personal problems and they are not able to love someone else...even their children. Sometimes they feel so fearful...or guilty...or angry about their own childhood or their own circumstances that love has been crowded out. Some mothers have experienced so little love themselves that they don't know how to give it. How could they give something they know so little about? [she calms down...then sighs...and nods yes--we are on target].

I don't know about your mother but my mother's grandmother...didn't know how to give love either. She was a bitter lady whose husband left her with 4 young children, including my mother, during the depression. She had no education and had to raise 4 children by scrubbing floors. She was resentful and angry. There was no love within her to give to someone else--only anger which showed up as statements to her children...including my mother...such as, "I wish you were never born." To top it off, she was later diagnosed as schizophrenic.

Was this my mother's fault? What do you think? [she nods no--the reframe is landing]. Did my mother feel unloved? [she nods yes]. But does that mean she was unlovable...or....does it mean her mother didn't know how to love? Important distinction. Do you think my mother was unlovable [she nods no] or was it that her mother didn't know how to love? [she nods yes].

Sometimes we feel unlovable simply because our mother didn't know how to love [she nods yes].But the real issue here is being able to love our mother BECAUSE she was unable to love. Our job is to appreciate her for all her problems and to know she was trying--even though her efforts weren't very effective [she nods yes]. Can you imagine going through life without this understanding? [I smiled as I said this and she smiled back knowingly]"


At this time her sobbing had completely subsided, her posture was more erect and she was all smiles. She spoke with a spanish accent and told me of the parallels between my grandmother and her mother. We giggled a time or two at the absurdity of some of our misperceptions--both hers and mine. There was understanding (effectively reframed) within her words and noticeable freedom on the issue.

Did we eliminate the problem completely? I doubt it. Global issues such as this tend to have many influences within our mental archives and usually require more sessions. But we did establish a major reframe--a foundation from which further freedom can be installed.

Hugs, Gary


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.