Our Flaws Make Us Interesting: EMDR Makes Them Funny

From Chris Roberts-Antieu, Monsters and Misfortune Collection, http://www.antieaugallery.com/browse/

Maybe our flaws even make us lovable.

My Flaws

I have a few characteristics of which I’m not proud. Most of them fall into the category of “uptightness” . . . fear and shame and rigidity. Before EMDR, I would not have written this post for fear of public ridicule.

First, I have this judgmental tendency that
springs up when I feel threatened or disoriented. I sometimes
pathologize, trying to make sense of something that
hurts or scares me (or that resembles something that hurt
me in the past). My job is a bit of a risk factor for this.

Second, I build walls that protect me from shame and
(imagined) physical and relational danger. The walls
started appearing back around 1970, but
I’ve reinforced them for the last several decades. They’ve kept me from having any broken bones, but they’ve prevented me from enjoying things like water sports or blowing a whole day on Outlander episodes. I always need to be productive.

I’d love to lose the uptightness. Just let it go, so I can be fully present to enjoy whatever’s happening in the moment. Then I’d be more like normal people.

But what if my shame and uptightness makes
me more . . . me?

Can defects of personality be lovable? Or at least

Could something you loathe about yourself actually be the thing another person finds attractive in you?

People I’m very close to sometimes laugh at my uptightness – and they’re laughing WITH me. About how I’m reluctant to throw my shoes in a
big stinky pile with everybody else’s dusty
clodhoppers at the bowling alley. My true friends
like me even though I can sometimes be too driven
and exacting – and even though I have a hard time
winding down for fun (how I’d have to be dragged to the bowling alley in the first place). They love me even though I’m awkward.  Maybe they
love me partly because of all my awkward trauma residue. They
say, “It’s okay that you have a stick up your ass. We know why it’s there.” From these people, I learn self-acceptance.

Their Flaws

Then we laugh at THEIR flaws. And I love those
those dear flaws. They’re frickin’ hilarious. The one who interrupts – literally has to bite his lip to keep from talking over you, but then you know how exuberantly he cares for your conversation. The one with the “checkered past” who is so brave to share all her humiliating sexual moments with the rest of us, so we can feel better about ourselves. The one with no self control over food, and the one with a touch of agoraphobia, and the one who can’t touch public doorknobs or poop anywhere but at home.

I’ve spent too many years trying to appear flawless, and maybe I’ve fooled a few people. But I’m starting to think my embarrassments and scars, bad hair days
and unresolved hurts and relationship failures might actually
make me more interesting . . . At least to the right

Oh, and EMDR helps moderate all of this: it changes my physiology around fear and shame, makes me kind of laugh at myself.

Contact Deborah


Affirmations for Healing Spiritual Abuse



Spiritual abuse includes any kind of religious teaching or practice that diminishes your human rights, isolates you from the wider world, or systematically places you in positions of low power. I modeled these affirmations for healing spiritual abuse on those found in Jessica and Nick Ortner’s The Tapping Solution courses. Say them aloud or read them silently as you tap your body, gently, in a left-right-left-right motion: on the outsides of your knees, the outer edge of your eyes, your temples, your collarbone, and under your arms. You can also watch a tapping demo here.

  • Even though I have hurt places inside; and even though this old hurt causes me pain today; I love and accept myself.
  • Even though I still carry old hurt from my childhood; and even though I still feel this old hurt in my anxiety, my depression, my shame, my difficulty with relationships; I love and accept myself.
  • Even though old teaching made me feel I wasn’t good enough, I see goodness in me and I know I am enough.
  • Even though that old teaching made me feel shameful and unlovable, I now know I am good and lovable.
  • Even though the old message taught me not to make myself a priority, I now realize I need to first be aware of my feelings and my needs – so that I can care for myself. I now realize I must care for myself first.
  • Even though the old message made me feel insignificant, I now see that I matter.
  • Even though the old message taught me that I wasn’t inherently lovable, I now know that I am lovable. I deserve to be loved and nurtured.
  • And even though I still sometimes feel ashamed of my needs, ashamed of my feelings; I know that my need for love, touch, validation, rest, emotional expression, and understanding are an essential part of being alive.
  • I don’t always know what to do about the part of me that still hurts; I worry I will always have this pain; I wish I could be the person I’ve always wanted to be, but the fear and anxiety keep me stuck in old ways of seeing myself, stuck in old ways of feeling and moving about in the world.
  • Maybe I can let go of the fear.
  • Maybe I can trust my inner wisdom.
  • Maybe I already have the solution to all that old pain inside me.
  • I now open my awareness to Divine wisdom and love.
  • I open my awareness to who I really am.
  • Even though I’ve been so busy trying to be someone else’s version of me; I start to recognize my true self now.
  • My true inner self loves unconditionally.
  • My true inner self knows everything about me, and still loves me.
  • My true inner self knows what I’ve been through and understands my pain.
  • My true inner self helps me grow.
  • My true inner self connects me with Divine love, wisdom, and creation.
  • I accept my true inner self and I allow it to become more and more familiar to me.
  • Even though I haven’t always been in touch with this part of me, my true inner self keeps me company and nudges me toward higher consciousness and calm.
  • My true inner self helps me move toward greater awareness and creativity.
  • My true inner self understands me completely and knows the wisdom of every part of my life and being.

My novel, Wife Material, tells the story of one girl who exits spiritual abuse and says yes to her true inner self . . . which changes everything.

Read Wife Material


I’m a Total Failure: Transform Multi-generational Guilt and Shame

Multigenerational Guilt and Shame

It’s My Fault.

I’m a Failure.

If I weren’t so lazy, I’d be more financially stable.

If I was a better daughter, my parents would still be together.

If I were thinner, my husband would have sex with me.

If I weren’t so angry, I’d have friends.

If I’d worked harder in my 20s, I’d have a great career now.

I should’ve listened to my parents.

I should’ve gone to graduate school.

I should’ve practiced more.

I shouldn’t have married her.

I should have taken better care of myself.

If I had been a better person, he would still be here.

If I was a better person, God would hear me.

If I weren’t so nervous, I’d be more fun.

If I were a better mom, my child would do better in school.

If I were a better dad, my daughter wouldn’t have a drug problem.

If I had asked more questions, been a better listener, said the right things, he would still be alive.

I attended an EMDR workshop by Laurell Parnell, who said, “children absorb their parents’ emotions and take them directly into the nervous system.” When she said this, I instantly knew it was true before reading any scientific proof. I knew countless depressed adults who blamed themselves for the aching misery experienced by their parents…..and I knew I had been one of them. This made me wonder how much guilt and shame belongs to us as individuals, and how much belongs to our parents.

Think about it. Here’s an exercise to help you explore the guilt you may have inherited from generations past……and what to do with the smelly old trunkfulls of disappointment.

  1. Make a list of your parents’ regrets: Unresolved conflict, Failed careers, Disappointing Love Relationships, Bad treatment of their children……Allow yourself to guess, speculate, fictionalize, even if you don’t know for sure.
  2. For each of your parents’ regrets, jot down the emotion you
  3. Now make a list of your own regrets. Again, think about your relationships, your parenting, your young adult adventures, your failures. Notice why these experiences seem so negative to you now.
  4. If each piece of shame on your list was a pebbly stepping stone toward greater maturity, notice how different the world would look.
  5. Imagine what your parents were trying to learn when they were most upset. Developing empathy? Learning to let go? Learning to adjust their efforts? Finding a connection with their higher power?…..
  6. Imagine yourself standing on the shoulders of your parents, seeing more of the world than they could see. Imagine past generations of your family underneath your parents, holding them up. Think of how important their failures have been to each successive generation, allowing children to grasp more things in the distance than their parents could perceive.
pink mini

We keep evolving.

I imagine…..if every sin, mis-step, failure, crazy relationship, breakup, drunken fit, or lapsed exercise regimen was part of your becoming the complex individual you are today…..

…..you could relax a little.

…..you could look at your list as a series of learning experiences.

…..you could see failure as a search for your true self.

…..you could trust yourself and your struggles a little more.

You already know I’m a proponent of misbehavior. Breaking the rules and failing helps us become who we truly are. So, It’s My Fault can become, I Learned From It. And, I Should Have Known Better can become, I Did The Best I Could….And Look Where I Am Now!

Contact me if you’d like to talk about your guilt list. I’d love to see you transform it into the rich, multi-generational life history it was meant to be.

Contact Deborah