EMDR: Fighting Monsters

EMDR always leaves me feeling like I’ve just come out of the boxing ring with the world heavyweight champion, and all the while I had my hands tied behind my back. I ache all over. I barely know which way is up. I’m like a doll who has had pins stuck in her all over and now they’re finally, painfully, being pulled out one by one.

‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.’


I’m not a fan of Nietzsche, but he had moments of needlepoint insight and I think this quote is one of them. EMDR is fighting with monsters and gazing into the abyss, although I have been surprised by what I found there. Turns out this guilt complex is more deep-rooted than I thought. It’s a weed that will need to be dug up completely, roots and bulbs and all, and thrown on the fire, otherwise it will just pop up somewhere else (and that is a very good metaphor for PTSD too).

Today I looked into the abyss and, instead of fear and guilt and shame and anger and bitterness and remorse and self-loathing…

I found Jesus, sitting quietly. Waiting as He did for the sin-living Samaritan woman, to ask her for a drink.

He asked her.

He asks me.


And then, instead of condemnation, the Messiah offers me living water; tells me I need never be thirsty again. Tells me the guilt is not mine, and never was. It was a lie, sown by the enemy, many, many years ago when I was too small to realise. I don’t know what I did expect to find as I looked into the abyss, but this I never expected.

‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

…all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.’

Romans 8:1,2, 14-17