Stories from
the heart

These stories have been used with permission and the names changed to protect confidentiality


I sat with Dan today, a senior manager in a large corporation who had described to me the problems he was having with anger.

He told me, "I lose it with my teenage daughters over the most trivial issues, but I also lost it at work with an employee last week and that really worried me. I've always been able to keep it together at work before."

By listening and acknowledging his pain, Dan was later able to tell me about the bullying he had endured all through high school. He cried as he described scene after scene of cruel and sometimes brutal encounters between himself, a skinny immigrant kid, and his persecutors. He had never spoken about this with anyone before.

He said, "I made a vow to be better than them academically, to get further in my career, to do better in life and I believe I have, but now I am hurting everyone around me". Dan has begun using the techniques described on the site to resolve his anger and the underlying pain. He is grateful to find a way forward.


Sam, a man in his late forties told me about the recent breakdown of his marriage with his wife of twenty-five years and the difficulty his children were having accepting his new love whom he had met on the Internet.

He had moved on quickly, and didn't understand their need to grieve the loss of family, as they had known it, before they could embrace his new partner.

Hearing a little of Sam's story growing up, it became clear that emotional disconnection has been a strong theme running through his relationships. He told me that when he was six years old his father had left his mother and the family home and that he had not seen him again for years. He remembered making a decision that day to "harden his heart" to his own pain so that he could look after his mother.

Sam began to realise the impact this had had on him and why he was unable to relate to his children's pain and how he was able to move on from his marriage so quickly. He is currently in the process of grieving the loss of his father and by so doing, softening his heart to the emotional needs of his children.


Susan is a young mother who has been living with a lot of inner torment. Her perfectionist standards, harsh self-criticism and inability to acknowledge any personal needs have left her continually stressed and worn out. As a result, she has been unable to care for her children in the way she would like and so lives in a bitter cycle of self-blame and self-loathing.

As I was seeking to understand the source of her perfectionism and harsh self-treatment she told me of a tragic accident that had occurred when she was five years old resulting in the death of her young brother. Susan had only partially followed some instructions her mother had given her just prior to his tragic death and as a result, was carrying a terrible burden of shame, guilt and responsibility. The situation was made worse when her parents' marriage didn't survive the pain of this tragedy.

Susan's heart had been shattered and she had never recovered from the traumatic shock of these events and their aftermath. Susan has since resolved the guilt and self-blame for this tragic accident involving her brother and has forgiven herself and others involved. Her broken heart is healing.


Michelle is a single woman in her late thirties. She has travelled extensively and has been a "free spirit" working in different countries and living in a number of short-term relationships. Returning home this time was extremely difficult. Her experience was that she didn't belong anywhere and felt empty, lonely and directionless. Her doctor had prescribed anti-depressants.

I guided Michelle through some of the exercises and she connected with underlying aspects of the problem, particularly her guardedness with people and her inability to commit to relationships or projects. Despite this, she desperately wanted a sense of security and stability in her life. She realised that her heart was closed off and her lifestyle had supported her staying this way.

A number of contributing factors emerged for Michelle including her relationship with her Dad, whom she loved dearly. He had always had a lot of trouble with financial stability and would continually get involved in risky financial ventures losing more than he ever made. This instability had resulted in the loss of his marriage and family; however he continued to approach Michelle and her siblings for loans, to solve his financial difficulties.

Michelle resolved her inner conflict and is now wholeheartedly moving forward with the dream of starting her own business.


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