What about me?
During my EFT training we were asked to come up with a memory that perhaps held a bit of an emotional charge so we could use it in learning a particular technique. I instantly brought to mind a memory of from when I was 4 that had often come to mind and I imagined there was some emotion attached to it. I don't think I had ever told anyone the memory but in my head it was quite insignificant.
I remember being upstairs in my bedroom putting on a new underskirt. My mother had told me to go and put it on and was going to follow me upstairs in a few minutes to help me get dressed for an evening out. After a while I wondered where she was. It seemed strange that she hadn't come to me yet - it felt like it had been ages since I had gone upstairs.
I came out of my room and started walking down the stairs. I was struck by how quiet it was. At the time my cousins, Auntie and Uncle were staying with us so there were 4 adults and 4 children in the house, but as I came down the stairs I couldn't see or hear anyone. I was a little scared and confused. Where was everyone? As I got to the bottom of the stairs I heard some muffled noise from my father's study. The door was closed but not latched.
I pushed open the study door and saw not just the seven members of my family there but also two or three other men. My sister was lying on the study floor with blood on her face. A paramedic was on the floor next to her. There was a very good reason my mother hadn't come to help me. My sister had been playing with my cousins and a ball had rolled out of the gateway onto the road. My sister (only being 6) had run after it and a car had collided with her.
As I tapped (used EFT) about this memory, for the first time I actually was able to connect with my feelings as a child - not with those I imagined as an adult. I was really struck that amidst this scene, my thoughts as a child were "what about me?" I felt abandoned and left out. I felt forgotten and couldn't understand why everyone was there but no one had remembered me or wondered where I was.
The training was about a year ago now and I have done lots of therapeutic work since (as well as before) but for me this went from being an incidental memory to realising this was a key moment in my life where I started to believe that I wasn't important, that I couldn't trust myself, and that hospital was the only safe place to be.
I find it really fascinating that a seemingly trivial memory can hold so much emotion and clues as to how my internal narrative about my world took shape. It is probably very significant to me because of what happened in the weeks which followed.
My sister went to hospital and had broken her femur right near the hip. She had to remain in hospital for about 7 weeks as she needed to be in traction. Back in the seventies parents didn't get to stay in hospital with their children so my mum went to hospital every day to see my sister, help her eat, and generally spend time with her. For the first couple of weeks my Auntie, Uncle and cousins were around so i was looked after by them much of the time. My dad was working (although his hours weren't prescribed as he was a vicar) so he wasn't available to me much.
Once my relatives had returned to their home I remember going to the hospital frequently. Apparently I liked to dress in my nurses uniform when I went and I even helped a little boy with a broken arm eat his lunch. I can remember many times lying on the back seat of the car with my legs up against the window at the side telling my parents I thought I had broken my leg and needed to go to hospital. But I have realised recently that I really did want to go to hospital, because my home had become unsafe.
One day, when my mum was visiting my sister in hospital, my dad was driving me and a few other children on a sunday school trip. I was safely strapped in a car seat in the back, but this was a time before seat belts were compulsory and many cars didn't have rear seatbelts fitted. There was a girl in the front who was probably about 11 years old. She wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
My dad frequently drove places using back roads. We were living in a Norfolk village and the back roads were often preferred by some as they didn't have speed restrictions and were generally very quiet. On this occasion my father did his usual trick of not slowing down at a junction because nothing was ever coming - only this time there was. I probably closed my eyes as I don't remember the impact. I do remember the car facing a wall or a hedge and there being a big hole in the windscreen. Yes, that girl in the front seat was no longer in the front seat. She was getting to her feet outside the car and her face was just rivers of blood.
You remember I was strapped in? Everyone got out of the car and there was a lot of noise but I was just left there. Yet again I was abandoned and a voice in my head was asking "what about me?" I had seen car crashes on television. crashes where cars exploded into flames. I sat in that car, trapped and unable to move, imagining that at any minute the car was going to explode. After what seemed like a long time my dad got me out of the car, but rather than give me any attention, he told me I was going to someone else's house and that he would collect me later. I was being sent away. Abandoned.
Obviously as an adult I understand entirely why these things happened, why I was not the first thought in either situation. I was, clearly, safe and my whereabouts was known. But our experiences as children are not being experienced with logical adult understanding. They can have a huge impact and, for me, this was setting the foundation of my belief of not being important. That, along with an understanding of Christianity where everyone came before me, started the diminishing of who i was.
When my dad collected me more horrors lay in store at home. That was the moment the abuse began. And I knew that hospital was safe. That if I was in hospital this wouldn't be happening.
Perhaps that is the reason I have so often been in hospital in my life.