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The Paralyzing Power of the Past: When Trauma Keeps You from Living Your Life

Many years ago a new client came to me for help with overcoming extreme anxiety in the workplace. In fact, she wasn’t just anxious about work, she was terrified.

The reason for this was that the bank where she worked had been robbed, and the man who robbed it had singled her out as the one who would take him into the room where the safe was kept.

He held a gun to her head as he forced her to open it and fill his bag with the money that was inside of it.

As you can imagine, the terror that she felt during this experience was intense. And because of the nature of trauma, the terror didn’t stop when the experience was over and she was no longer in danger.

For though she knew intellectually that she was safe, the imprints of trauma meant that the rest of her body-mind was still in that room at the bank with a gun to her head and a masked man threatening to kill her if she didn’t do as exactly as she said.

No wonder she was afraid to go to work! After a petrifying experience like that, I think anyone would be.

Thank goodness for tapping!

Together we unpacked the trauma, focusing specifically on the aspects of it which were most frightening to her, such as the sound of the bank robber’s voice when he threatened her, the look in his eyes, and her fear that even though she was doing as he told her, he would kill her anyway.

It didn’t take long to erase the imprints of trauma, as well as her fear of it happening again.

Once we were finished, she was able to return to work without fear, and without flashbacks of her harrowing experience being triggered every time she had to open the safe, every time a man of the same height wearing dark clothes walked through the door, and every time she closed her eyes to go to sleep at night. She was free to enjoy her job again.


“It's often said that a traumatic experience ... marks a person forever, pulls her out of line, saying, 'Stay there. Don't move.'” — Jeffrey Eugenides


It’s amazing how much power past traumas have to keep us from living the lives we would like to live.

For example:

  • The lonely man who unconsciously avoids intimate relationships because of having his heart broken in the past

  • The actress who can’t lose weight because of traumatic experiences that made her believe (unconsciously) that carrying extra weight is the only way to be safe.

  • The gifted athlete who doesn’t go after a goal because of limiting beliefs he has due to being abused by a parent

  • The health coach who can’t quit smoking because her father smoked, and since he died, it’s the only thing that makes her feel connected to him.

  • The couple who loves to travel but never goes anywhere because the husband is haunted by flight he was on during which the pilot had to make an emergency landing.

  • The entrepreneur who can’t get her business off the ground because of the trauma she experienced as a result of growing up in poverty.

Are there parts of your life where you feel stuck?

If so, using EFT tapping to heal this trauma could very likely be the key to breaking free, making it possible for you to live a happier, more peaceful, and fulfilling life.

You can do this on your own or with an EFT practitioner. Or you can do as many of my clients do, which is a combination of both—weekly EFT sessions, and tapping in between sessions to reach your treatment goals faster.

Whichever of these options works best for you, I urge you to do it. You deserve the countless benefits it will bring to your life.


Heather Ambler is an EFT practitioner and mindset coach in California. Through her private practice and online programs, she’s helped over 14,000 people in 81 countries heal the pain of losing a loved one, recover from trauma, release fears, erase limiting beliefs, increase confidence, and achieve goals. If you could use some help with any of these things, click here to learn more and schedule an EFT session or free consultation.

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