How Could You Possibly Forget that Trauma?

In sessions with my clients, I’ve heard them say, “I didn’t even remember that until today! It’s been years since it happened!”

Dreaming my new life

I’ve experienced that same forgetting, myself: I was raped several times between the ages of 13 and 19 when I lived in New York City. But if you had asked me before this last year if anything at all like that had ever happened to me, I’d have emphatically said no.

How could that be — 60+ years of forgetting???

It’s so strange, isn’t it? Because once you remember the incident, it can have you on the floor in tears and shock and major upset.

Our minds are ultimately kind.

Knowing what you can handle emotionally, your mind might ‘think’ it’s too big/intense an issue to deal with, so it keeps you from remembering it. It wants to protect you from seeing/feeling memories you cannot process or handle, because you have had no emotional training yet.

So you just — *poof* — forget.

Blanking out . . .

Many women I have spoken with or worked with who were abused repeatedly say that they blanked their minds out during the incidents so they’d avoid feeling or witnessing. It seemed less painful. I have a friend who told me she used to put all her attention on a small pine knot in the wall by her pillow until her father was ‘done.’

When you don’t pay attention to something, your mind makes it fade from memory.

I used to pass out when I tapped.

When I first started to use EFT/tapping, I would quite often simply pass out as I began a tapping session.

I would start to say what I was feeling or remembering, and I would just *flop* go right to sleep — in a snap-fingers instant — right in the middle of a sentence. I learned very quickly to do my sessions lying down in bed!

When I came to, I would sometimes be so disoriented that I wouldn’t know what I had been doing, or even where I was. At the time, I was living in New Zealand, serving as Artist-in-Residence for the art council in a tiny town down at the bottom of the South Island. I’d wake up and think I was back in the US. It was quite confusing. Only after looking at my notes would I remember what I had been doing.

I was determined to change my life.

It happened so many times. It would have been so easy to say ‘this stupid tapping doesn’t work for me!’ and give up. In a life full of perceived fails, it would just be one more thing to be disappointed in myself about.

But I desperately wanted to be done with feeling so terrible about myself and my life all the time. So I’d go right back to the issue and take up where I left off. I knew my system was trying to prevent me from re-visiting the old hurt, but I was committed to carry on and heal it.

I decided to be extra-strong with myself, and no matter what, say yes to continuing, because the pain of stuffing the memories was way bigger than the temporary pain of re-visiting them.

Thank you!

One day it occurred to me that I could tap on thanking my system for its concern, and tell it that I was OK, that I’d rather clear these things than carry them around anymore. After I did that, I didn’t fall asleep anymore.

The best reason

The best reason for forgetting the original incident or feeling that you were tapping on can be that you’re done! Clear! Finished with that aspect or that particular issue.

How do you know? You rated the intensity of your pain at the start of your session, right? Maybe it was a 6 out of 10, with 10 being so painful it would be impossible to bear.

As you think about the memory, notice carefully whether you’ve yawned deeply or taken a big sigh, or if you’re breathing more deeply, or now feeling lighter or more energized. Those are all indicators of internal energetic shifts.

If so, check to see what your rating is. Maybe it’s now 0 out of 10, or even 1 or 2. At that rating, the upset is either completely gone or close to it. So if you’re done, stop! No need to go on tapping!


What I love about tapping is that, yes, now I can think about that incident that used to be so painful, and feel no charge on it anymore. I’ve noticed that it’s actually unusual to forget an incident after tapping — most times you can recall the incident, but the horrid feelings around it are now gone.

You have choice now, to revisit the memory, or not, without emotional or mental pain. You’re free.

The core

The big constant in all the tapping I’ve done on myself and with clients has been what I like to think of as the Core Being of the tapper. We have what seems to me to be like a concrete-block-strong inner resilience, a reservoir of THIS-IS-ME, that is so strong, so pure, so powerful, that nothing I have seen yet can destroy it.

It can be covered in emotional and mental tangles — for years, even. We can be abused, molested, hurt, tortured, humiliated, beaten to near death —  and yet it is still there.

The very, very coolest thing? 

Once uncovered, our Core Being shines so bright that it brings a new joy and intensity of delight to life that we sometimes have never experienced before. 

(I’ll tell you in another post how I found my own, even after 35 years of suicidal ideation.)

Tapping helps us get clear mentally and emotionally, so we can keep on keeping on, with joy and delight.


How Could You Possibly Forget that Trauma?
Image: Dreaming 

© Angela Treat Lyon 2021
text: © Angela Treat Lyon 2023


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