Have you ever seen someone “blow their top” over something you thought was insignificant?
Or have you noticed that that “thing” that drives you crazy, but has no effect on your partner or other friends? Just as we prefer different foods, colors, or lifestyles, we have our individual pet peeves, things that agitate, upset, or anger us.
Road rage is a perfect example. How many times have you witnessed an angry driver screaming at someone because they felt as if they had been “cut off” or “their” parking space was taken by an innocent or “sneaky” driver? Have you ever had an angry reaction that surprised you because of its intensity?
What’s behind the differences in our reactions?
We have been taught that there are two basic emotions: love or fear. (A friend recently redefined them as “love or searching for love.”) In truth, every emotion we experience is fundamentally a subset or expression of love or fear.
Fear and any of its related feelings (anger, angst, anxiety, stress, worry, or other negative emotions) create a constriction or contraction in the body. If we are afraid of losing an object of love or the experience of feeling loved, rather than reveal our vulnerability, we often act out from that place of fear.
The underlying premise of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is that “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”
These “disruptions” are most often caused by traumatic experiences that impact the flow of the life force (chi or ki) energy that moves throughout the human body. This is the same energy that acupuncture accesses with needles at various meridians or gateways.
Often referred to as emotional acupuncture or acupressure, EFT (aka Tapping) allows us to access the energy system by tapping on the meridians while acknowledging the emotions that arise when recalling a traumatic experience. Traumas, in EFT-speak, can be minor or little ‘t’ traumas, i.e., not life-threatening vs. major or life-threatening Big T Traumas.
Gary Craig, who is credited with developing EFT, describes these disruptions metaphorically, comparing them to shorts or zaps to the electrical wires that run through the walls of our homes and offices. When there is a short in the electrical wiring, nothing functions as it should until the short is repaired.
We are, in effect, tearing down virtual walls with Tapping, and “fixing the short” by removing the adverse effects of traumatic events or experiences. When the energy system that runs throughout the body is repaired, and the negative effects are eliminated, we are able to experience life with more energy and joy. We discover ourselves freed from our painful bonds with the past.
So, how can EFT/Tapping calm anger and other negative emotions?
Given that our emotional patterns are largely established within the first six years of life, the experiences we have during that time greatly influence our perception, our perspective on life, and our place it in. Greatly simplifying the many aspects that influence our growth, if we felt threatened, abandoned, or abused at a young age, we may grow up to become wounded, angry adults. On the other hand, if we grew up in a home where we felt safe and respected, we are more likely to grow up with a greater sense of peace and respect toward others.
EFT, at its core, is based on the universal desire for peace. For love. For good health and a certain degree of success in our lives and relationships.
Ultimately, we all want a fulfilling and happy life; a life that matters. The issues that EFT addresses are the patterned behaviors that get in the way of having those things.
Concerning anger (or other negative emotions), and how to calm it, the goal of EFT is to get to the root cause. To do that, a practitioner will explore their clients’ current experience of anger and follow that feeling all the way back to their first memory of experiencing intense anger. For the most part, this is where the pattern and the disruption began (it’s usually not hard to find).
We explore that felt experience and, while naming the emotions that come up around the memory of the trauma, tap on specific meridian points. As stated earlier, the work of EFT is to discover the cause of the disruption and repair it. Once the issue is resolved, the energy system will return to its original healthy state. Having said that, I hasten to add that “one-minute miracles” are not guaranteed, but can and do happen.
Anger, like most negative emotions, can stem from a multitude of causes.
From bullying to other forms of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse, thus requiring several sessions before the underlying disruptions are healed.
One wonderful advantage of EFT over conventional therapy is that most practitioners “model” the tapping so that clients can tap on themselves when they experience situational upsets or discomfort.
When or if momentary anger, pain, or other negative emotions arise, they will most likely be short-lived and cause no harm to anyone, including the one tapping!