Usually, when we think of trauma, or any event that caused emotional pain, we remember something that has happened. It could be as severe as childhood abuse, an illness, a nasty fight with somebody we care about, or a divorce.
Have you ever considered that you could be emotionally hurt or traumatized by something that has not happened? In other words, something that should have happened but did not? Such a Missing Event can create a hole in our heart that never heals, especially if we don’t even categorize it as a traumatic incident – precisely because it is something that did not come into being.
I give you an example from my own life: It happened when I graduated from High School (in Germany where this milestone is more academic than in the US, you have to pass an extensive test). At the end of this scary and exciting process, there was a formal celebration with the students and their parents.
Only that in a class of about 30 students, I was the only one whose parents did not show up. Not that I expected my unfriendly stepmother to come, but even my father said that such an event would be “boring” and he preferred not to go.
There I was, alone among all these students surrounded by their happy families. I did come up with some sort of solution: Instead of isolating myself, I joined several family groups, as if by accident, just to say hello. That way, I never appeared to be completely on my own. Still, my farther’s absence hurt me deeply.
Other examples for Missing Events: Your boyfriend of many years did not ask you to marry him. You did not get the job promotion you have been hoping for. You did not get first place in the competition. You did not get pregnant. Your best friend did not remember your birthday.
Since Missing Events by definition did not happen, we tend to deny their importance, play down their impact. (“I didn’t want this job/this guy anyway.” “Who cares about birthdays.” “I am not competitive by nature” – and so on.)
That does not mean that we shouldn’t move on – but we often do that before we have acknowledged and grieved, yes, grieved the loss of something that was, at some time, very important to us. If we don’t do that, this hidden wound may foster underground and cause strange reactions, like jealousy if somebody else actually gets what we used to need or want.
This is what I suggest: Think about what Missing Events happened in your life. Start early in your childhood, because that bicycle you did not get for Christmas was, at some time, very important to you and might still make you resentful when somebody else gets exactly what they were hoping for.
Then – you guessed it – do EFT . Tell the story and notice what thoughts, emotions and body sensations come up. Tap until the hole in your heart closes.