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The “Small t”

“We are the sum total of our experiences.” - B.J. Neblett

Pop quiz.

Sadie was on the way home from vacation when a drunk driver hit her family’s car, killing her father. Is this a traumatic event? Yes. Bobby was invited to his first skating party at a roller rink. He fell on the ice, got the wind knocked out of him, and cried resulting in his entire third grade class laughing at him. Is this a trauma? Yes.


We tend to think of trauma as something extremely dreadful such as a rape, car accident, or natural disaster. A “large T,” as EFT practitioners would call it, is an occurrence that would make the average person think, “oh yes, it makes sense that a person would be traumatized because they went through this horrific event.” The person who was traumatized can also more easily accept their stress, anxiety, or unnatural behaviors later in life. It makes more sense; it’s easier to legitimize. Of course, they could be traumatized. Most people would be. It’s easy for the person to look at their current anxiety and accept a trail back to the trauma event.


Small T Still Counts

Remember the time you had a terribly embarrassing thing happen to you when you were a young child? Thinking about it now may still cause some of us to feel the embarrassment in our bodies. Our cheeks flush, we break out into a sweat, our throats become dry. An event that turns into small T impacts our behavior the rest of our lives. Steve attended a “Goal and Clarity” seminar because he was in line for a promotion. The odd thing is he didn’t want it. Who wouldn’t want a promotion? Oh, he did want the increased salary; however, he dreaded the idea of being a manager. Through Tapping, he discovered that he didn’t want the promotion because he felt “exposed” when in front of groups of people.

So, our Tapping statement (labeling content and feeling) was

“When I think of the managerial promotion if feel anxious and I have a fear of being exposed.”


Its Not Logical


But small T’s have nothing to do with logic. Steve knew he would make a great manager, but something in his body said, “don’t do it.” Why? Once we started tapping, this story arose: When Steve was six he fell off his bike and never got back on it. In high school he was an excellent trumpet player but was too anxious to compete in solo competitions. He refused to walk across the football field Senior Band Night with his parents. He refused to walk across the stage and get his high school or college diploma. As an adult, he never sought management positions in his company. Now his company was putting pressure on him to step up and take a new managerial position that they targeted him for. That’s when he attended one of my seminars on goal setting. Does it seem surprising he didn’t want to step in to that role? Now things make more sense. Steve doesn’t like standing out. But why?


3 Factors of a Small T


Let’s look at small traumas a little more closely….

1. A small T is more insidious. First, a small T survivor will not have a daily recollection of the event, as they would with a large trauma. Most likely, they haven’t consciously thought about it since it occurred when they were 6,7,8 years old. 2 A small T has nothing that the average adult person would think is that big of a deal. The small T survivor themselves may not even think of the event as all that important. However, once identified through Tapping many people who have had specific small T’s say, “I can’t believe that X is the reason I behave the way I do. I understand that when I was a six year old it was a big deal, but not as a 40-year-old! Are you kidding me? 3.Small T’s have something to do with how old you are when you experience the T and the respective developmental capabilities. The logic and reasoning skill of a four-year-old is a lot different than a 10-year-old which is a lot different than somebody who is 20 … In a way, the survivor’s brain hiccupped at that point in time, never getting over that trauma, and when it pushed the trauma to the subconscious, the brain never had the chance to go back and reevaluate- to fix what had happened and move on from it.


Steve’s Small T Story

So what happened to Steve to cause him to act the way he did when presented with positions where he may have to prove himself in front of others?


Steve was the youngest of four brothers, so of course he looked up to them. One day Steve was riding his bike in front of his home when his brothers school bus pulled up. Steve lost his balance, fell off his bike and peed his pants when he hit the ground. Not only was he laughed at by everyone on the bus, but he also was chastised by his brothers for embarrassing them.


The Tapping “Ah”


His words after telling this story were; “I don’t think I said this out loud but after repeated times of being teased about the event I swore to myself that I was never going to be out front again with the possibility to be exposed. And I mean NEVER!” (This is called a vow)


As an adult you could say, “that was 27 years ago; it doesn’t matter anymore.” But that is a small T and the six-year-old needs to be heard. The telltale sign of a small T is the person discounting the legitimization of this trauma. Your brain says, “I know better” but the body says,“That really affected me.” 95% of behavior is driven by the subconscious, and the subconscious is telling you that the small trauma is affecting you just like a big trauma can.


So, if you hear yourself saying, “well I know it doesn’t make logical sense that___, but there’s a part of me who feels ___.” There’s probably a small T buried. If you don’t know what to do, simply start tapping 🙂




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