680 Park Ave W, Mansfield OH 419-528-5993
6434 E Main St, #201, Reynoldsburg OH 614-762-2847

EMDR Story

Yesterday, I woke up and started thinking…about my girls. About how little time I have with them during the course of a normal day and about how I wish I had the option to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve wanted that for so long, but I can’t afford not to work outside of the home. I love my girls, and they are growing up. My oldest daughter starts school this year. Really? How did that happen so fast? All the time they had growing up, the formative years, where I can have the most impact and I had to work – drive an hour each way. Spending ten to eleven hours away from them, I feel robbed and hate that I am missing out on this special time with them. Do they miss it too? Do they feel deprived because I’m not with them as much as they want me to be? I want to make sure they have no doubt of my love for them. I want to be with them, play, read, snuggle, kiss their hurts, and cheer their victories…my hearts desire has been robbed from me.

WHAT IS GOD UP TO? That He would lure me in to trusting Him, in believing in the seeds He has planted in my heart and then that He would steal away those desires and not allow me what would make my heart most happy. I just don’t see how God is working for me and that I can trust in His plan…God cares for me…bullshit.

My mind, body, and heart are at war. I went into work and kept to myself…telling everyone I was grumpy. I felt near the edge of tears and hopeless. Why even bother if there isn’t any hope that this situation will work out and I will have what I want most? Why aren’t I worthy enough? Why can’t I have what God has given to others?

That is when it was recommended that I give EMDR a try. It was explained to me what EMDR was, how the process works, and what the goal of the experience is. Though, a little unsure of how the EMDR experience would benefit me, I needed something – anything – to help rid myself from the feelings of despair and hurt.

What I believed to be true?

The day I was born just happened to be on the same day as my father’s weekly bowling league. I’ve heard the story many times growing up, that my dad, though initially at the hospital with my mom, left to go bowl and was at the bowling alley when I was born. The doctors told my parents that there was time for him to go bowl and return before I was born, but that was not the case and, when I arrived into the world, he wasn’t there.

This story, though always retold in a jokingly way, left me feeling unworthy and unimportant and has shaped so much of what I have believed about myself. After all if an important event, such as my birth, wasn’t important enough for my father to miss bowling…then am I really important? Do I really deserve to be loved? Do I matter to God?

Those feelings of being unloved and insignificant were further supported in my mind throughout my childhood. My dad worked hard to support his family financially, but that meant he wasn’t around much; he missed school events and sports events and just wasn’t around to be involved with me personally. While in college and still living at home with my parents, my father announced to my mom that he was involved with another woman and wanted a divorce. Even though my dad was divorcing my mom, it felt like he was yet again abandoning me. Shortly after my parents were separated, I graduated from college. My dad choose not to attend my college graduation ceremony because he had to work, which, again, felt to me like another rejection.

With EMDR, I was led through a series of questions, which guided me through recalling those past traumatic experiences of feeling abandoned by my father, paying attention to the thoughts, body sensations, and emotions that I observed. For example:

  • I remembered the past experiences of being told about my birth story and felt the sadness and grief. Going bowling and taking the risk of missing your child entering the world seemed so unimaginable to me.
  • I felt the sobs heavy in my chest as I remembered, but tried to just observe, the emotions as they came to me.
  • Memories flooded of other events in my life, those listed above, all with the same feeling of sadness.
  • As we continued my body began to relax and different thoughts began to come to my mind – memories of those who did love me, memories of those who have been there for me.
  • Something started to change. Instead of being defined by my dad’s absence, I felt pity and sadness for him. It was his choice to not be there, and he missed out on so much. I would never miss that opportunity to be with my girls and will always do everything within my control to make sure they know how much I love them. I began to see that this was his loss and not mine.
  • My processing of each of those events began to change, and I found myself rewriting how those events affected what I believed about myself.

I came out of the EMDR session with a greater understanding that those past events did not define me, that I am so much more than that. Instead of feeling unloved, unworthy, and unimportant, I ended the EMDR experience with an understanding that I am loved and that, yes, even God loves me.

And something else that I didn’t anticipate began to surface – the possibility, in my mind, of writing to my dad and sharing this with him, telling him I forgive him, and giving him a chance to make different choices in the future and even possibly say he was sorry. The possibility of having this reconciliation feels both a bit scary, but also very exciting…this thing that I never before even thought was possible.

Prior to EMDR, there had always been this barrier in my relationship with God. I wanted to “accept” God’s love but felt so unworthy, so unimportant. And although my situation hasn’t changed, what I believe about myself and God has started to change. I now know that I am a child of God and that He has always been with me, even when I couldn’t see Him and didn’t feel Him. I no longer feel unworthy.

I am so glad that I went through EMDR. It’s like someone has flipped on a light switch and I’m no longer sitting in the dark. This experience has forever changed the way I see myself, my relationship with my dad, and my relationship with God.