I had been in a feverish search for how to respond to sensations in my body that I did not understand, had never felt before, and which felt so excruciating that I was literally aware that I would do anything to stop the pain. I had run into a stranger in a Cafe that told me he was going to a truama workshop. "What's that?" I asked.
"It's when you feel your life is in danger, when you have overwhelming feelings you don't know how to deal with."
"I thought trauma was what happened to veterans when a land-mine went off."
"It can be that. But it's also other things. I'm dealing with childhood abuse."
"Who is it by?"
"Does he have any books?"
Even as he spoke I got out my phone and located the title on Audible. I pressed "Purchase," and within minutes of the conversation ending I was listening to the book, tapping my body at different points and digesting a whole new paradigm I had never known had anything to do with me. I finished the book in 48 hours just in time for the massive wave of fear/grief to hit from Anne leaving me alone without anywhere to turn to. I felt that the paradigm was useful and it helped me understand some of the things that had been going on in my brain.
This led to me buying all the books with "trauma" in the label on Audible. I needed to listen to them because I could not be still. I needed to restlessly move to distract myself from the feelings, which precluded reading. So I listened, listened and listened, quickly sorting through books that were surfacy or scientifically based. I wrote a quick book since one way that I know how to deal with something indirectly - a key strategy in trauma - is to teach someone else. I sent the book to Peter Levine, but never heard back.
By far the most important book I found, literally hundreds of percent better than any other book was Bessel Van Der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score.
This was eye opening because over a fifteen year period I was dealing with:
1) Physiological symptoms that came and went in a pattern I could not see and that no one at Kaiser or that I talked to shed any light on.
2) Chronic fatigue.
3) Clenching legs that were slowly going numb.
4) Depression when my outer life had never been more successful.
As I learned about this stuff, a new wave of pain, puzzlement and confusion went through my mind:
1) I started to spot the trauma pattern in each of my relationships with 30 HAI lovers.
2) I noted that not one of those thirty lovers had mentioned the word, "Trauma," helped diagnose me or seemed to understand anything I was reading.
3) I noted that I had never heard any of this in any support group or in any of my 30 HAI workshops.
4) I noted that Sarah Sandhill, Peter Sandhill, Anne Watts and Barbara Musser, each of whom I did one-on-one work with, had never asked a single question, recommended a book or in any way brought trauma to my attention. Yet it was clearly a dominant pattern in my life and in each of my relationships, beginning with severe traumatic abuse from both parents.
This seemed bizarre. How was it that a neurological phenomena that 60% of Americans deal with and/or have dealt with had not been mentioned by a single one of 30 practitioners who took $150k to listen to me talk, when the truth was that I needed someone who knew what they were doing to ask me a few questions and point me towards a licensed trauma specialist. More concerning, I realized that I was in the middle of the biggest trauma in my adult life and that it was being systematically induced by facilitator protocols that were the opposite of what every facilitator was doing. Equally alarming, was me reading that what I had asked for: To be held and heard by someone who supposedly cared for my safety immediately after a life-threatening event in a long train of crazy-making betrayals was exactly what would have stopped my trauma with HAI becoming PTSD. In other words, my facilitators had ignored my direct request to lie to me and induce PTSD. This was a lot to digest.
One of the things that I had to see was all the ways I had traumatized women without knowing the word. I knew how to ask for my 100%. I knew how to say clear "yes" and "no" because I had learned that at HAI. I had no idea what to do when someone froze in terror, which they often did at points in my relationship. Or when they ran and began irrationally attacking me. I had not learned that the fight/flight/freeze response was a symptom of unresolved trauma and that it required a clear protocol to keep both people safe. I had not learned that because Peter Sandhill, who was one of the first to induce trauma in me in 1993 when he suggested that I pay him $600. to do MDMA together in his house after he said he was attracted to me and wanted to be lovers in an open marriage, had called it "love," and "being available for me if I wanted to pay him more money." So I had often been as insensitive to thirty women as Peter had been to me. I had not learned love, but abuse from my paid "therapist." And rather than apologizing for training and recommending this man to me, HAI was escalating the trauma by abandoning me in a state of physical collapse.
Then I had to read about all the ways our country abandons it's people. Truama has been around since the Greek Tragedies were invented as a therapy for traumatized Greeks to deal with overwhelming grief. Yet my government thought it was not worth bothering to include in any curriculum for either my parents, who passed on their PTSD from their parents, or me. And now this group of teachers about love had not thought it worth mentioning either... Why?
I e-mailed all of the facilitators and told them to read the book. Peter Sandhill said that Lynda Cessara, the energy teacher who had gained him some trust in my eyes, had recommended it to him before but he had not gotten around to it. Jason said he would read it, but added: "Trauma is not the focus of HAI."
"Not the focus of HAI?" HAI had escalated my sex life 500% leading to 500% more emotional abuse on both sides with neither side having the skills or eyes to recognize or protect against it, and this was not a "HAI focus?" Why ever not? Jason never answered that either. It was as if he wanted to be an environmental organization "committed to a green and healthy planet" who said that "Nuclear waste, Co2, Plastic, Oil spillages and deforestation are not what we focus on." Since I'm very clear that most of my HAI relationships would have survived, been healthy and win/win if everyone involved understood and took adequate actions to address trauma, and that every one of my HAI partners was dealing with trauma prior to my being lovers, including myself, then how is it not the focus of HAI to teach the very thing that will allow two people to love themselves and enter conscious relationship?
Question: Is it appropriate for a school on relationships to know less about the core threats to the majority of relationships in America then random strangers in cafes? Is the message: "Don't come to our workshops if you want to succeed - hang around in Cafe's asking strangers what they are doing and you may learn how we are destroying our own relationships with you and how to protect yourself from our clients?
Concern: Jason Weston has shown a surprisingly poor discernment about what is of primary concern to the head of an organization committed to teaching healthy relationship practices. In just six months he has traumatized a loyal client of 30 workshops, taken up positions that will get HAI sued and sanctioned by any licensed trauma specialist in court, denied his clients of learning about the major source of abuse within the HAI community that is destroying the credibility of HAI to lead in this field and said that a HAI facilitator breaking the law is "not a HAI issue," which has risked several people's lives.