A client recently came back from a visit to her parents and reported that, just like all through her childhood, she again felt that her mother didn’t like her. Now just imagine her going back home during the holidays, when everything is heightened!

A Negative Family Pattern in Action

If one of the family patterns you dealt with as a child was disapproval by one of your parents, or a feeling that one of them didn’t love you, when you go back home for the holidays, that feeling is bound to surface again. I’d like to give some EFT Tapping suggestions that could help decrease your anxiety.

Recognizing the Family Pattern and How You Fall Into It

Let’s say this is about you and your mother, as with my client above.

  • Think about what your mother says or does that makes you feel unloved or disapproved of; be as specific as possible
  • Notice your reaction: do you feel angry, hopeless, sad, worthless…what? If there’s more than one emotion, which one is the strongest right now, when you’re thinking about it?
  • Imagine something specific that might happen during which your mother might do or say this thing that makes you feel unloved or disapproved of.

EFT Tapping on the Family Pattern

Now begin tapping on the outside part of your palm (karate chop point) as you’re saying:

“Even though I feel worthless when my mother’s eyebrows go up when we’re having breakfast and I reach for the orange juice, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.”

“Even though this same family pattern has happened since I was a little kid, and I always feel worthless; it’s a habit now, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway. When I was a kid, I was small and powerless, but now I’m an adult. I have my own life away from my family and maybe it doesn’t matter so much if my mother raises her eyebrows at me.”

“Even though I have this habit of feeling worthless; I learned this way back when I was a kid, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway. I consider the possibility that Mom was dealing with her own stuff all along, and maybe it doesn’t have a lot to do with me. And anyway, there are ways I now feel really worthwhile.”

Then tap on the other points, using reminder phrases such as “I feel worthless when I think Mom might raise her eyebrows at me,” “It’s a habit of mine to react by feeling I’m worthless.” “In my life now, I feel really worthwhile in some ways.” Etc.

It could be that other emotions will arise; just use EFT Tapping on each one as it comes up.

EFT Tapping Points Resource

If you need directions on tapping points you can e-mail me at zoeric@comcast.net, tell me you saw this article on my blog, and I’ll e-mail the points to you.

For more information on EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), and my work, please check out my home page and my EFT Case Studies pages. You can also get information on my Family Therapy work and Relationship Counseling.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,


*Denver EFT*Boulder EFT*Colorado EFT*EFT Wherever You Are!


Making Family Roles More Fluid

As you may have noticed–:)–around the holidays, entrenched family patterns get really powerful. I think that that’s partly because we automatically drop into  family patterns in our family relationships  even more than usual. That’s to be expected– when we were kids, the same things happened over and over, and we reacted similarly over and over, until the whole family—kids and parents together—unconsciously created a rut as deep as a canyon. And it’s really hard to climb out of a canyon!

Entrenched Family Patterns

In family therapy, it soon becomes clear that, whether we’re talking from the point of view of the “child” in a family or the parent, most of the time people come only from their own experience of what’s happening, their own point of view. “My mother never trusted me—after the age of 12, my daughter always shut me out.” “Beginning when he was 14, my son hated me and did the opposite of anything I told him—something changed when I reached puberty; my Dad criticized everything I did.” Etc., etc. You get the picture. Often, the family patterns that started at a certain point in the family’s life become routine and entrenched.

Entrenched family patterns often start because each person is interpreting the other person’s actions, without checking out if the interpretations are true. We don’t know we’re doing it, because we’re assuming we know what’s going on with the other person—and we’re basing our own actions on our assumptions. That’s what creates emotional pain that can last a life-time.

Changing Family Relationship Patterns

As I said, we usually get stuck in our own interpretation of what’s going on, which creates stress and anxiety, emotional pain and even sometimes physical illness, especially around holidays—with family rites come automatic family patterns. I see this in my relationship counseling practice all the time. But how about looking at it from the opposite point of view? I think of it as moving over to the “other side” of how someone is behaving to get at what might really be going on.

Critical Dad?

For example, with the Dad above, who seemed to criticize everything you did when you reached puberty, you might want to imagine into Dad’s life when he reached puberty. Was his family poor and he had to go to work in a factory? What might that have been like for him? Did he enjoy that or did he have other dreams that were thwarted? Did he have to go to night school and work at a drudge job for years to get where he is now? If all that’s the case, why would he be constantly on your case? Could he dread the idea that your life might turn out to be as hard for you as it was for him? Might he want a better life for you? How would you react to him knowing that?

Hateful Son?

Another example—the son above, who seemed to hate you, Dad, and did the opposite of everything you told him. Maybe you can feel into the “other side.” Think back before he became a teen. Was he getting good grades in school? Did you and he do things together? Did he sometimes show you projects he’d done? What was your response? Did you praise him or encourage him to do more? Could it be that he thought, by suggesting what more he could do, or by asking why he’d gotten a “B” on a test, he thought you didn’t think he was trying hard enough, and he started feeling not good enough? Could he have given up on trying to please you? How would you react to him knowing that?

Mother and Daughter Conflicts

In family therapy and relationship counseling in general, I try to help people move around in family roles, to become more fluid in their point of view. You can try it on your own with the mother/daughter problems above—do your own conflict resolution. Or think about your own family and try it!

By the way, this method of going to the “other side” for conflict resolution works for all kinds of relationships and groups, not only for families. I’ve done conflict resolution in businesses as well.

Relationship Counseling

If you’d like to know more about how I work with family dynamics, relationships and individuals, check out my Family Therapy, Relationship Counseling and home pages, or contact me.

Wishing you a free and joyous life,