One of the gifts that came from spending time in the Polyamourous community was learning that different people evoke different parts of me. I spent time with one woman with whom I laughed 700% more than I've laughed with anyone in my life. I was still the same person, but I laughed seven times more. With another, I became an excited chef. She was the one who delighted in and reveled in every bite of every dish I carefully designed and made for her. Another lover did not notice my food or enjoy my jokes so there was basic food and no attempt at humor; with her we explored transcendent sexuality and therapeutic release of old pain in her body. In short, I had watched myself shift inside my psyche into a large range of personal expressions, while never lying, never cheating and always doing my best to facilitate deep relationships. I chose the relationships that evoked the person I wanted to be.
Some of these relationships with roughly seventy lovers made me sick. Some gave me literal headaches for days. I had learned that I could not be in certain relationships and stay physically, emotionally or mentally healthy. Since noticing this was very rapid for me, I had done my best to gracefully, clearly and kindly disengage with anyone fully that I started to get sick around, and deepen relationships that allowed the beautiful sides in me that I like to blossom.
The relationship with Peter Sandhill and subsequently the entire facilitator body were inducing parts of myself that I had never met before, that were terrifying:
- I have never raised my voice to a single friend or partner since I was 12 years old. It was therefore surprising and alarming to find myself shouting at the facilitators. I realized that I was literally traumatizing myself to get through when such things as "My pain went up 500% in the last few days" got zero response from a single facilitator, which was already after not having a single person show up to hold and listen, which was after trying to be heard since 1993 by Peter Sandhill.
- I was in deep physical collapse with sustained tension that I had never dealt with in any relationship. This was a direct consequence of Peter Sandhill stringing me along in a very soothing voice with the promise that if I could just wait "a little bit later" I would finally be able to integrate/feel/be heard. I needed clarity years and months ago about key things that Peter was 100% committed to avoiding making clear so that he could remain hidden in his shadow.
- The process that the facilitators had initiated had raised my feeling of fear, alarm, and something being very wrong, rather than calmed it. Thus the longer I stayed in their protocol the more dramatic became my presenting symptoms. This was listened to again and again by Anne Watts under the pretense of being my advocate, yet her behavior suggested that for all she cared I could spend myself emotionally if it meant going against her facilitator buddies to take a clear stand for me. She could have personally stopped this in the first few days by showing, hearing me, or when she did hear the recording of Peter lying to Sarah, breaking his HAI agreements, asking me to lay on top of him, kissing him etc. she could have stood up and gotten help, taken a stand for openness or any number of things that might have put certain facilitators into hot water but let me know I had a true ally. But she chose to use her influence, in the name of love, to steer me towards an unhealthy secrecy, protecting my abuser and her friend, protecting HAI's dirty secret.
The problem was that I was not put together. I did not know if I would die and still have moments when it's so dark and painful I'm not sure I'll come out the other side in one piece. I could not walk away from my community, my therapists, my workshops and Peter right after another girlfriend left me for her addiction and deal with this all alone. Coming from an abusive history, I had zero family I could turn to who would support me in confronting difficult truths or betrayal. I was alone.
I watched myself deteriorate, as I pieced together the puzzle I am sharing here: A Puzzle that has been the loneliest puzzle in my life to piece together. Because my survival strategy in childhood was to see and understand patterns (my parents both lied so the only way to survive was to ignore their words and observe the pattern of behavior and count on that repeating) that would help me see what I needed to do. It is obvious to a trained therapist that I was deeply regressed at this point, having been promised relief, love and protection by a father figure, gone deep into the childhood regions of the psyche on my first psychedelic experience and then been shoved hard into a relationship protocol that insured that none of my safety mechanisms could protect me and I could not see what was going on. I began to feel ambivalent about the whole thing. I was literally coming out of every exchange exhausted. Every exchange was a fight that should not have been a fight. The crumbs I received were too few, too hard-won and too small to offset the terror I went through to push for them. I wanted out, but I had nowhere to turn to that felt even remotely safe. This was the bind.
I decided to ask for an apology primarily because I know HAI has a story of scarcity. While it is my belief that much of that scarcity is produced by the lack of excellence demonstrated here rather than something innate that insures HAI's poverty, I worked to come up with things that they could do clearly and easily that would not cost HAI any money.
A very detailed apology seemed like it would do the trick:
1) It would not cost any money.
2) If I spelled out exactly what had hurt me, it should be easy to do if they wanted to.
3) It would calm the part of me down that felt crazy because it would resolve the craziness in the environment. The whole energy and message I was getting was insane and that was keeping me revved up: The knowledge that my safety was resting in the hands of crazy-making people who could not think or own basic truths.
I sent a very clear list of what had hurt me. You get the idea from these notes. Peter Sandhill did an almost verbatim reply and a frankly beautiful apology covering everything I asked him to cover. However, I was aware that, as much as Peter had hurt me, we were now into behavior that was so incompetent by the facilitators that 50% of what I was going through was the betrayals on top of betrayals piled on by each of my facilitators. Not one of them replied.
Questions: How does a commitment to everyone winning correlate to refusing to apologize or show remorse for impact? In this email to email@example.com I specifically stated: "You are hurting me 1000 times more than I think you realize." Does that seem like a clear statement? Would that cause any reasonable person alarm? Is it appropriate for an organization professing to teach love, intimacy and healthy relationships to be OK with hurting a client 1000 times?