Returning from Vietnam
One major trauma that most of my Vietnam Veterans share is how they were welcomed home after a long and often horrifying deployment.
They cry when they talk about being spit at, called “baby killer”, how they were blamed and shamed for the horrors of Vietnam.
Clearing this trauma is important, and can open the doors to better trust and healing. As EFT practitioners is is important that we understand that when tapping on this trauma, we symbolize “the tribe”, the community that welcomes the warrior back with respect and gratitude.
It is important for us practitioners to understand that for a warrior, this kind of welcome is a huge betrayal of the tribe. It is beyond anything imaginable. The pain of it never goes away, it haunts, infuriates and saddens those who have endured it. It leaves them feeling forever cut of from society, from their tribe, from those who they thought they were fighting for.
Asking about the homecoming is one of the first questions I ask many of my Veterans. I most often find a lot of rage there, and this can be a great way to start the healing process.
Naturally, since there is a lot of very raw feeling there, we often use strong language, whatever works and fits.
Before we start tapping, I ask how he or she wants to feel about this. I want to help the person feel the way he or she wants to feel, – not because it was right to be treated this way, but because it happened a long time ago, and it is over now – we deserve to find a way to be at peace with it.
The homecoming stories are often heartbreaking, and our compassion and confirmation that injustice was done can be incredibly important.
Here are some tapping suggestions that might give a good start:
KP: Even though I am outraged! How could they spit at me and call me baby killer??! – I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I am furious, they let me down after all that I have been through, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.
Even though I will never forgive them for betraying us like that, and dishonoring my friends, my brothers who died over there, I allow myself to feel surprisingly calm and peaceful now.
TH: I am outraged!
IE: How dare they calling us names after all that we’ve been through
OE: I can’t believe they spit at us!
UE: I am so furious, I will never forgive anybody!
UN: This was way beyond anything I would have ever imagined
UL: I never thought we would be welcomed like that
CB: I didn’t even know what was going on over here
UA: I was stuck in the jungle and had no idea
TH: I am so furious, and I refuse to let it go!
TH: What if there was a way that allowed me to move forward anyway
IE: After all, it happened 40 years ago, and there is nothing I can do to change it
OE: I wonder if I could imagine finding peace inside even though they did that
UE: And I wonder what would change if I found a way to move on that truly works for me
UN: I realize that I don’t have to condone what happened
UL: I don’t have to excuse it to move on
CB: It happened the way it happened, whether I am at peace or not
UA: But there is a good chance that I am the only one who is still suffering from what they said to me
TH: Even if I hold on to my rage, they might not know it, and there is nothing they could do to make it undone
TH: I can allow myself to consider finding peace in a way that I find appropriate
IE: I can see that I deserve to let go of the rage that holds me hostage
OE: I am giving them and the memory a power they should not have
UE: I can claim that power back now and find peace and relaxation in a good way
UN: I don’t have to excuse or condone what happened
UL: But I can open up to the possibility that some of them might deeply regret what they said
CB: And I can receive their apology with dignity and honor
UA: Understanding that they lived in heated times and this is what they knew
TH: They didn’t know better. That doesn’t make it right, but it can allow me to move forward.
TH: I allow myself to relax now
IE: I allow myself to realize that a long time has passed
OE: I can see now the lives that I saved, and I know they thank me for that
UE: I can see that after all these years I deserve peace
UN: I chose to respect and appreciate myself
UL: I chose to receive the respect I deserve
CB: I chose to find the peace that’s good for me
UA: I am who I am today, I can let go of what they did and said
TH: It’s a long time ago, and I chose to be OK and at peace now.
Take a deep breath and notice if this made a difference in how you see yourself and what was said and done to you. If new aspects, memories of what happened, specific thoughts or feelings come up, we address them in a new round of tapping.
Sometimes, when a warrior is too upset, I just tap with him or her, silently confirming all the grief, rage, anger and sadness for as long as it takes to let it go.
The sense of peace that comes eventually comes is usually lasting. Weeks, even moths later, my Veterans report that they now hardly ever think about this, and if they do, it doesn’t bother them.
I am grateful for this powerful way to use EFT.