Last week in the “This isn’t me, or is it?” series, I shared an example from a client’s experience of traveling back and doing inner child work to heal the part of herself that still felt that she “needed” alcohol. 

This week, I thought I would I would share an example of this healing work from my own life. 

I recently went through a break up, and though we weren’t together for very long, I love(d) this person deeply. 

Shortly after our separation was finalized, I started to feel incredibly anxious. I was having trouble sleeping, I was jumpy, it was hard to breath. I would feel okay in the mornings with my morning practice or when I was focused on my daughter, but as soon as I had to leave my house, I would literally feel like I was in danger. 

I felt most anxious at the thought of seeing him unexpectedly and terrified at the thought of seeing him with someone else… This was hard because he lives three houses over from my dad’s, where I am often (especially during the holiday season – I have family members and friends arriving every week from now until Christmas). 

My brain started making up the craziest stories, that he was involved in these elaborate schemes to keep secrets from me, that he had started seeing someone new and other people knew about it and somehow all of these people were conspiring to keep it from me. 

Part of me was thinking – this isn’t me!!! I know this isn’t trued! I do all of this work on myself! I can be forgiving. I shouldn’t feel so insecure. I should trust him. Where on earth is all of this anxiety and fear coming from? 

But I couldn’t deny the fact that those feelings were there. 

I felt like I needed to communicate this to him but I was having a hard time articulating… partially because even having the conversation felt unsafe for me (something I experienced as a child was that it wasn’t okay to express my feelings because they had a negative impact on everyone else in the family, so I learned at a young age to “stuff my feelings”). 

I was also judging myself that I somehow should have it more together, that I have all of these tools and resources and I’ve done so much healing work on myself and have dedicated my life to supporting other people’s healing. 

“I don’t feel safe” I said to him. 

“What do you mean you don’t feel safe?” he replied, looking genuinely confused and concerned. 

It was hard to explain. I knew I wasn’t in physical danger. I also knew he would never do anything intentionally harm me. I even knew, in my intellectual mind, that the reasons for the relationship not working had very little to do with me and everything to do with two people being on two different paths and the timing being off. 

Yet my body was telling me another story. 

I realized that there was a very deep wound being triggered. As a child, we depend on the people who take care of us (usually our parents) to keep their promises to us. Our survival depends on it. When a parent doesn’t follow through, (it doesn’t matter what they say, it’s what they do and how we perceive that as children) it creates a deep sense of insecurity ie, if I can’t count on my parent or caregiver to show up for me, the person whose entire job is to protect me (child’s view) then how can I trust anyone else in the world? 

This happened to be with my father first, then my mother.* Both made promises they didn’t keep, and both made choices that led to my younger self feeling that they were choosing and prioritizing other people over me. With my father, it was about promising visits then not showing up, or if he did finally show up, he came with a series of girlfriends, and eventually a new family and a “replacement” daughter. With my mother, it was her choosing her relationship and partner’s needs over mine, which eventually resulted in me having to move out of the house while still in highschool. 

That deep pain was compounded by the fact that my first ride-or-die true love in highschool was having an affair with my best friend through our entire relationships, and all of my friends knew about it. I found out after I graduated and it made me feel like my entire last 1.5 years of highschool were a reality that was different than the one I experienced. This embedded the belief in me (though I was unconscious of it at the time) that I wasn’t worthy of love, or being told the truth, and that I was easily replaceable. 

Because our breakup triggered this old pain of someone who cared about me choosing something else over me, I literally felt unsafe. I had never felt this in a breakup before, I think because I had never been broken up with so abruptly with someone I was still in love with and had been making life plans with. It was like an arrow into this deep wound that I didn’t know I still had… which led to what felt like completely irrational “this isn’t me” fear and anxiety. 

The pain was so strong that I literally wanted him to GO AWAY. (As if that would “fix” the problem. It’s a lot easier to look outside of ourselves and say “YOU did this to me” versus doing the hard work of being with the pain and taking responsibility for my own healing.) 

When I was sharing my fears with him and he teased me by saying “I thought you were supposed to be wiser than me” I immediately burst into tears. He took it back immediately, apologizing. I know he was trying to lighten the mood and help me ease up and get out of my fear. 

My reaction showed me that this too, was a trigger. This is similar to my client being so hard on herself for over-drinking in certain situations (see part 1 of this post). We both felt confused by our reactions and behaviours. 

THIS (unwanted behaviour) wasn’t US (evolved, mature, “got it all together” women). 

Yet the triggered reactions point to a part of ourselves that does still exist, the wounded, hurt, child or teenager. For awhile, it wasn’t the me of today that was in control. It was 17 year old me, hell-bent on trying to convince myself that the pain was the same as the profound betrayal she experienced… and this reaction was her form of trying to protect me/us from even more hurt.  

When I realized what was going on, I apologized for trying to make him responsible for fixing my pain and for making me feel safe. I know that is my job. It is not his responsibility to heal that insecure and untrusting part of me, that doesn’t believe that the people who love you will keep their promises. We were able to agree on some boundaries and ways to be respectful of each other moving forward during this transition. 

I also thanked him for allowing me to express my fears and insecurities. And he thanked me for expressing them and for being good to him through this whole process of separation. 

Throughout the following week, I focused my morning EFT tapping sessions and conversations with my coach and therapist about healing and reframing the story from one of inevitable hurt and betrayal by the people who are supposed to care about me, to a more aligned story that I have started to choose people who will respect me by telling me the truth – even when it’s not exactly what I want to hear… and even more important, that I am keeping promises to myself by consistently showing up for myself, taking responsibility for my own healing, and not staying in situations that don’t feel good for me (or for my inner child). 

We often ask of others what we ultimately need to learn to give ourselves. 

“I need you to make me feel safe” becomes “How can I give myself that feeling of safety?”

“Prove to me that I can trust you” become “How can I learn to trust myself?”

I also started sharing with people close to me, instead of pretending that I was “fine” and cool with everything. (Pretending to be “okay” was another survival strategy I learned early). 

And guess what? By the end of the week, I was feeling loved rather than abandoned, safe and supported rather rather than fearful and anxious. 

I had taken responsibility for myself, acknowledge the hurt part of myself and worked on shifting that story. I also worked on releasing the pain, anxiety and fear that had been stored in my body. 

It would have been really easy to stay stuck in blame. Or to ban him from my neighbourhood or town (in all honesty, I did cross my mind… and I maayyyy have blurted it out loud to him). 

But the thing with trauma or pain is that eventually it needs to find its way out. This was a wound that I didn’t realize I still had and if I hadn’t spent the time or been able to identify the root, I wouldn’t have been able to heal this part of myself. 

I’m sharing this personal story for several reasons. 

One, to show that deep healing IS possible AND is also an on-going journey. And that there is NO SHAME in that – aka you don’t need to have this all figured out. 

Two, to show the awareness and healing available to me (and YOU!!) when alcohol, drugs and distractions (aka work, other people/relationships, being super busy or going into helper/rescuer mode, etc) are out of the picture. In previous breakups, I’ve always used many techniques to keep myself from feeling deeply or being with myself and whatever needed to come up. 

Three, sometimes there will be surprises, especially when a different part of you is being triggered, and it’s important to stay compassionate and loving towards yourself . To be honest, I was shocked at my brain for a few days and its ability to create some fairly elaborate conspiracy theories. 

Four, there are so many tools available!! Something that I love about about both neuro-transformational coaching AND emotional freedom technique is that they are what I call “yes.. AND” tools. They acknowledge the source of the trauma or pain and then provide the possibly for release and a powerful shift in perspective. We do have the ability to CHOOSE, every day, how we want to feel… and you have the tools to CHANGE YOUR BRAIN accordingly. It isn’t about “waiting to see what happens,” or for “time to pass until the pain subsides” or for circumstances to change before you can you feel better or differently. 

You can take control of how you want to feel, now. In fact, it really is the only thing you CAN control. 

Five, while you CAN commit to this work and do a lot of it alone, I recommend having a team. Really!! You deserve to feel supported as you dive deeper into this work of healing from the inside out. And it’s amazing what can happen when you make the choice to change something, and then have the support system to do so. Just look at my client who I shared about last week. She said she feels like a different person then when she started working with me 4 months ago. 

And I feel like a different person than I did while I was “deep in it” (overcome with anxiety and fear). But I didn’t do it alone. Since deeply committing to this work (and launching my business), I’ve worked with 4 coaches, I see my therapist for our regular bi-weekly session, and I currently have a peer EFT/tapping buddy tapping.

If you’d like to find out more about these tools or to understand what kind of support is available to you, please do set up a time to talk asap!! I have a couple more spots open for private coaching and I would love to share all of these tools for transformation with you. 


*Regarding my relationship with my parents – I have a really good relationship with them now. I have been able to understand the difference between intention and impact, and this has helped transition. I know that it wasn’t my parents INTENTION to make me feel the way I did as a result of their actions. However, I can still acknowledge the IMPACT that certain events and behaviour had on me, both as the imprinting I received as a child, and now as an adult.