In our therapy session last night we continued with the EMDR. This time we did it with anger. All week I tried to come with something that makes me angry that is on the lower end of the scale. I couldn’t think of anything. When I thought about anger I could only come up with really intense stuff.
Since I didn’t have anything in mind my T suggested road rage. Perfect, why didn’t I think of that myself
This will be a loose telling of what happened since so much went on I probably don’t remember it all. First we went through a series of questions.
She asked me to think of my road rage and where I would feel it in my body. Ah…nowhere. After giving it much thought and some guidance from her, I feel it in my legs plus I grind my teeth.
She then gave me a list of statements that were in two columns. One was negative and the other positive. I had to give one negative statement about how I felt when in the road rage. I came up with “I have no control”. I also had to choose a positive statement to eventually replace the negative one. Picking the positive one was much harder. Finally I decided on “I did the best I could”.
After a few other questions that included a few 1 to 10 scales that she knows I hate. I have a hard time rating myself in this way.
Then came the pulsar part and the interesting part. First for two minutes while I held the pulsars she asked me to sit with how I feel when road rage is happening and to just let my thoughts go wherever. This is where it gets interesting. I started smelling cigarette smoke. Now sometimes I have a real problem with smelling cigarette smoke. It can get so bad that it chokes me; I even have a hard time speaking because it catches my breath and I feel like I can’t take a deep breath. It can continue for only a few hours to a few months. It is a frustrating experience for me.
After the two minutes she asked me what came up for me. I told her about the cigarette smoke. As she turned on the pulsars once again she asked me to sit with the cigarette smoke and let my thoughts happen.
It continued like this for a while, sitting with what came up for me with the pulsars on for about two minutes each time.
But as I was thinking about the smoke a memory emerged. I was sitting in the back seat of our car with my siblings with my parents sitting in the front seat. Both my parents always smoked in the car and at the same time. I couldn’t breath.
As the EMDR progressed more details of the memory emerged. I would ask if I could open the window. If I was lucky they would let me open it just enough to stick my little nose out. But usually I wasn’t that lucky. I always felt like I was suffocating.
Going further into the memory I could see myself pleading with them to let me open a window and I was very angry. What I find interesting about this is that I actually don’t ever remember being angry. That could never be for many reasons.
After all this I had to do the pulsars with the statements I chose ending with the positive, about two minutes each as well.
I made a few unexpected connections here. I had no control as a child. I have no control when I need to get somewhere and I am behind someone who is driving painfully slow or painfully bad. I really hate being late.
I did the best I could. I tried to get some fresh air even if I wasn’t allowed it.
So now when I am driving and feel the rage coming on, my T wants me to remember the positive statement.
As for the anger in my memory, I wonder if somewhere deep down as a child, I was actually angry or if I started to feel some anger about what happened to me in that car. Maybe a bit of both.
This session felt like a lot of work and I was exhausted. But my T also made it clear that I could stop at any time if I felt it was too overwhelming or just plain didn’t want to go on..