Social anxiety and extreme shyness
Penny’s social anxiety, extreme shyness, and lack of self-confidence were restricting her social life and keeping her single at 33. She constantly felt observed and judged by family and strangers alike.
With EMDR therapy, Penny was able to identify the touchstone memories related to her difficulties.
Penny’s parents divorced when she was two. After the separation, she did not see her dad until she was 13. One summer her dad came and got her for a long weekend. She was very excited to see him and to go to the beach together. She had never seen the beach before. Penny did not know about sunscreen and got painfully burned.
The following day, she was expected to help prepare for a luncheon, but the painful sunburn kept her from joining in.
Her father commented contemptuously, “You are so stupid to not put sunscreen on.” She did not see him again after that weekend.
A punch in the gut
The retrieved memory felt to Penny “like a punch in the gut.” The shame she experienced as a 13-year-old was reawakened every time someone looked at her, making her shamefully self-conscious and insecure, undermining her sense of self for the past 20 years.
EMDR helped her identify and reprocess the unhealthy memories, regain her sense of self, and shed the anxiety that was keeping her from developing significant relationships.