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Do You Think I'm Crazy?


One of the most common questions I get asked by my clients as a therapist is “Do you think I am crazy?" I look at their pained expression, the eyes full of panic and shame, and my heart goes out to them.

“I don't think you're crazy. I promise you. At the end of our work, when we have traced this behavior all the way to its roots -- you won't either. Because I've found, no matter how crazy, unethical, hurtful, or pathological one's behavior is -- it always make sense."

Painful, illogical, or self-sabotaging behavior only seems crazy when it is out of context. When people say “Why do I push the very people I want to be close to away? Why do I lie when I really want to tell the truth? Why do I wash my hands 100 times or can't throw away thousands of old papers?”

I tell them, “Be patient, let us go back, let's follow the crumbs, let's trace this behavior back.”

Crazy behavior start with good intentions. Its goals are to protect you and help you survive. It has done such a good job that now it is so entrenched, it's forgotten that you're no longer in danger and you're no longer a child. You no longer need protection.

You're all grown up. You've survived. You have choices. You have tools. You have a voice and you can actually use it.

Through EMDR, we typically trace a destructive behavior or a negative belief all the way back to the very beginning -- the very first instance when this behavior was born. With addiction EMDR, we locate the instance where this behavior was paired with a positive feeling state. Eg. When I drink I/ feel powerful, or when I clean I feel in control, or when I rage I find my voice. We see why it's there, the purpose for it being born and what it came to do.

After processing, I sometimes put that behavior in the empty chair and together we thank it for a job well done. It has gotten you this far -- the lying, the cheating, the cutting, the drinking. We tell it that it can retire.

It made sense why it came. It makes sense why it needs to leave.

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