The team-co on team plays the role of assigning roles to the vollunteers at a HAI workshop who show up and pay money to be of service to the participants. As someone whose workshop is often made or broken by the interactions with one or two key people. I sometimes decide whether to take a workshop based on whether there are two or three team-members on the list who have been kind when I've found myself traumatized at a workshop.
One team-co did a fabulous job of advocating for me in the alienation I have always felt around Peter Rengel. From the moment he looked at me with zero affect and said nothing when an intern excitedly introduced me to him fifteen years ago I have felt alone around Peter Rengel so I have often avoided his workshops because I grow more when I can take greater risks because I believe a facilitator likes and cares about me, which I've generally felt from Anne Watts, Donna and Jason Weston. The more fragile my emotional foundation going into the workshop, the more I am affected by those around me and the more key each person is in pulling me up or dragging me down.
A team-co emailed me before the workshop and said: "I talked with the team-co from your last workshop that you liked so much. She told me what you need and I'm going to be there for you in this coming workshop. If you need anything, just come and find me and I'll be there." Except I did need her. All of this was going down the drain with Peter Sandhill behind the walls of secrecy and it was taking a terrible toll on my ability to manage my state. So I needed more and more help as Peter Sandhill strung me along into deeper and deeper waters of re-enacted childhood abandonment, all the while calling it "love," and "nothing to do with me." I was actually at the workshop to get support for the things I could not talk about to protect Peter's secrets but which were leading me to feel increasingly lonely - the kind of loneliness one feels when one pays someone to fall in love with them and then abandon me and who keeps taking the money and calling it love, despite every effort to be heard or have my needs for safety met.
I approached her three times and each time she blew me off and did not circle around.
The same person cuddled with me during a break at another workshop. I talked about how lonely I felt about the fact that everyone wanted to engage with me in workshops or have short sexual experiences with me but no one wanted to give me what I needed to be at my best: quality time. She said she wanted to go and look at gardens with me. I knew her enough to believe that she was probably over-extending herself. She is the kind of person who likes to say "yes" to everyone which means letting some people down when she can't follow through. And I knew it was key to our relationship that she not let me down in this area. To do so would be to align her with the wound of the abandoning mother who could not face her inadequacy so she lied and blamed the children she regularly let down and disappointed. I was regressed, from the work with Peter Sandhill on psychedelics that he refused to integrate to protect his shadow. So I did not want her to let me down.
"I don't want you to say that unless you are really going to go and look at gardens in the very near future. I don't want you to make a promise and not show up," I said, as we cuddled.
"I definitely want to go and look at gardens with you!"
"I would much rather you did not say that unless you are sure you can follow up. It really hurts me when people promise things and leave me hanging and I don't want that to come between us."
"No. I want to look at gardens with you."
Two months later I was hurting. She had not shown up at the workshop, which was no big deal. Most people have been too busy to hear anything sensitive my entire life so that would not differentiate her from the typical loneliness I feel in that area in America. But she had insisted in her e-mail that she would be there. And that made her a betrayer, not once, but twice.
She is a warm and friendly person. Most people abandon me when I point out their flaws and I did not want to be abandoned and punished in workshops because I brought up her inadequacies. So I said nothing. I did not trust her. But I confided to the first team-co about how much I appreciated her because she was one of the few people in my life who I felt had really advocated for me when I needed her and I was very proud of her strength and grateful. I told her how much it hurt to be let down by the other team-co.
"You should tell her."
"I don't want to. I know she gives as much as she can. I don't want her to feel inadequate or have the share end poorly."
"We on the team need to grow. You will be doing her a service if you tell her."
So I did. I sent her an audio-recording outlining how it had hurt, how I had told her it would hurt, how I did not trust her and that I did not want to tell her but the other team-co said she thought she would want to know.
I never heard back. This hurt even more. The message I get from so many sides is: "You are the problem. You are not valuable enough to honor or hear. I need to feel good by making promises that make me feel good about myself but I can't keep them and the deal is you can't bring that up or I will feel bad. Then I will abandon the relationship either by pretending that your reality does not exist (abandoning the feelings) or if you won't go along with that I will abandon you."
She is someone who hosts support groups. I did not want to go to one and have her smile warmly as if I was not hurt by her four consecutive betrayals and that therefore there was nothing to deal with. It seemed she wanted, much like my own mother, to live a lie over having me in her life with the truth. My mother has always had her arms open and her mind shut: "Please, just pretend that nothing happened, that your feelings about what happened don't exist and don't matter, and we will get along just fine. I want to be close to you." I've replied for twenty five years: "I know how upsetting it is for you when I open my mouth and share any of my own experiences or how I feel about them. You have the rest of America to choose from if you want to have shallow relationships of denial. I'm doing you kindness by keeping my distance so you don't have to hear the truth, since I don't lie. After twenty years she finally said: "Ok, tell me what you don't think I want to hear." "Why. You hate hearing the truth of my feelings." "No," she said, "I really want to know. So I said: "Let's see how many sentences I can say before you tell me that I've got it all wrong." I was able to say two. "Mother," I said, "why don't you do us both a favor and stop pretending that you want a close family. You have never once wanted to hear my experience about anything and the fact that you want me to pretend that I don't have any feelings or experiences so that you can extract that last and final loneliness from me: That I will help you pretend that everything is fine so that you don't have to look at the fact that you hate me for having feelings, or taking you close to yours, is not a gift I'm willing to give you. I'm happy not to say anything to you and have nothing to do with you if you need to have it your way in your mind. But I am not happy to pretend that being asked to lie about my own feelings is a "close knit happy family," something we have never had, but that you would like to think that we have so that you don't have to look at your own painful feelings. You have only asked one thing of me my entire life: "Dont' make me feel what I felt when I was five years old and abused by my father." Your entire life is a built to deny your own feelings and everyone else's. You hate me because I took you close to those feelings you never want to feel again. And I hate you because I have never once had a mother, an adult who did anything but use me for her own emotional and sexual needs. And rather than be courageous enough to own how much and how permanently that hurts a dependent child, you ask me to pretend that my greatest pain never happened so you can feel good about yourself as a parent and stay in fantasy - land - the place you have betrayed all of us for since we were born. The other kids go along with your pretenses to be nice to you, but they know the truth and tell me that all you want from them is the pretense that you were a good mother. They are hurt by being used by you as well, and note that you cannot even remember that you asked them the same questions this time as you did last time and don't listen to the answers or even pay attention when they speak.
This kind of loneliness is too much. Yet it is so prevalent in our "let's catch up later," protocol of avoiding intimacy that I've had it coming at me my entire life. Every time someone says that me I have hope at some level that there actually is a human being that wants to "catch up," and see and be seen. They almost never do.
Questions: When HAI does not take intake forms from participants that could easily inform them of key childhood wounds to address or at least avoid-re-triggering by the team and facilitators, how does a participant protect themselves from re-traumatization when a team-member insists on lying and not cleaning it up? When one team-co refuses to know her other team-co enough to say "yes, you are probably right - she does over-commit so she may not call you back or follow up, I see your point that you don't want to have to risk that level of betrayal," but instead sets the participant up for another round of betrayal with the constant cultural backdrop message of: "Real men don't have feelings - we are all busy - nice people don't bring feelings up but roll with it and say nothing." The message in our culture, in the context of a chauvinism in which feminine energy is devalued is that the most emotional person in a dynamic is the low-status person. As an aside, this is why it is so important for someone in power to transfer their deep repressed emotion onto someone who can be induced into the emotional state they are denying: It transfers the low-status role from the person with repressed rage/helplessness into the externalized rage/helplessness of the child. When this team-co can't deal with the helplessness of feeling like a disappointment and assures everyone that she will do more than she can, she is setting other people up to feel betrayed, hurt, angry and helpless and hoping that they will not give that back to her by saying: "You lied! You insisted on lying. Why did you set me up for one betrayal after another when I told you that I'd much rather you did not set an expectation unless you kept it!" When there is silence the message is the same: "You are not worth replying to," which is in turn a transference. The person doing this can avoid the feelings with the business of over-committedness and who can be angry with someone who is always doing so much to please everyone but it is hurting people.
Concern: People are paying HAI money to heal patterns that are being re-traumatized through inadequate training and work by either the facilitators or the team. When this happens it is too often left to the participant to process the pain they have been given at workshop without adequate tools to do so - particularly if facilitators or team-members don't choose to clean up their impact. This is crazy-making when it is done in the name of "being of service," and "the room of love."