After Peter Sandhill's psychedelic session was not integrated, and the failed attempt to marry the woman Peter repeatedly suggested that I marry as a result of his psychic powers had resulted in an adrenal exhaustion, isolation and loneliness, I chose to attend more HAI workshops as an attempt to avoid isolation. I met a most delightful buddy in an entry-level workshop whose presence touched me. Money was very tight for her so I gave her $300. to be able to advance to the next level, which I also attended. At this time I was dealing with the surges of energy amplified by psychedelics and not integrated that I did not have a name for. So I could not settle, trust or connect as I arrived on Friday night.
My experience was of an unspoken and un-named energy that was looking for a safe space that I thought I would feel if there was any individual at the workshop who "got" how ungrounded and scared I was, how much I needed a container, and really wanted to be there. Loneliness and fear of "taking up space" is a common experience but this was a very big energy - the kind of energy I think is normal when someone does a psychedelic session that is not integrated because the facilitator is not willing to serve the space and integrate the work if it involves unearthing parts of the facilitator shadow, due to past abuses. In this case my parental abuse cycle was mirrored by Peter Sandhill's abuse cycle and neither were coming to full consciousness because Peter had entered a deep defense pattern that had very softly and consistently turned all energy away from himself, and by doing so, had not only avoided looking at his own breaches in good medicine, but at the much deeper and more crippling breaches in good parenting that had left me with severe debilitating patterns that had turned into a variety of coping strategies that had consumed 60% of my life-energy from birth. The psychedelic work had directly and fully asked Peter and myself to deal with these issues in words, in actions and in insights, which Peter had argued with, turned away from, blocked, ignored and delayed, giving me the message, as my parents had, that my feelings, needs and perceptions were not wanted, not true and not about him/them.
These patterns needed to be dealt with since I had written to the entire HAI community on Norcal announce that I planned to commit suicide because the many symptoms, including deep failure to relate within the community sustainably, had led me to own that I was in far more pain, loneliness, exhaustion and grief than I was happy, energized or hopeful and had tried every single thing I knew including more than 100 HAI events and 150k in therapy to heal these symptoms and underlying issues.
My protocol for trying to find a safe person at the workshop was as follows:
1) I picked a team-member I generally felt safe with as a buddy, rather than an unknown or someone I did not feel safe with.
2) I asked the team-member if we could ignore the opening buddy prescription and if they could be present with me.
3) The team-member said "no" and I felt rejected and at a loss for where to go next.
4) I asked "why" and it turned out the team-member was dealing with lots on their own plate in their life and needed the workshop to deal with that.
5) Given that I did not know what to do in general, since in order to protect and honor Peter Sandhill I was trying every option available on my own including this workshop to deal with things myself, a pattern I had begun with my parents, I got up and said that I would try and deal with this myself.
6) Peter Rengel and Donna had never been people I felt that I could bring this kind of vulnerability to. I've never been met with a melting responsiveness that I knew was necessary for this part of myself to feel safe. Nevertheless I was not grounded, feeling safe or able to be present to the workshop and I needed to tell someone who might help what was going on. So I approached Peter Rengel while others were in exercises and he was wandering around the room checking temperature. I asked: "Are you available?" He said "Not now."
7) When Peter failed to ask any further questions, suggest another person to go to, or a time when he would be available I waited.
8) I again approached him when he was alone in the snack area: "Are you available." Same thing.
9) I then began to assess whether I was safe in the workshop at all or should leave.
What I know now is that until a person is integrated and knows what they are dealing with, it is impossible for them to be safe for themselves or others, and to take care of what is harming them in the form of suppressed and un-owned energy on the inside. Energy that is suppressed and un-owned to protect the abuser/violator from feelings and results they are unable or unwilling to deal with or seek help to deal with. The problem is that I did not know this at the time. Nor could I articulate that Peter Sandhill had not only refused twenty two direct requests for what would have been very healthy, healing and integrating for me, but in doing so was in violation of every one of his roles within HAI and with me and his marriage and was turning me unwillingly into a threat to him, myself and other people.
I was trying to go back to what had seemed like a success before. I had been excited to see Colleen because we had looked into each other's eyes in the prior workshop in a way that was utterly transcendent. Now I was not in that place at all, but she was still the most likely person to be happy to see me and thus help these feelings feel at least welcome. So at the end of friday night I asked her to cuddle with me in my tent. I asked this because getting out of the room where I felt ungrounded would be good. Because the exhaustion I was feeling from having to contain all the feelings I could not express to anyone, including myself, was also necessitating that I lie down immediately. And because touch and stillness without interrupting calms me down from what I now know are traumatic states, but which I had no words for at the time.
Colleen was uncertain. This is a trap for me in relationship dynamics. Because women have complained when I have walked away from their uncertainty, and I have felt that they blame me and punish me for being impatient, I feel as if I have to hang around until I get a clear yes or no. I don't mind if it's a clear "no" because then I don't feel that I'm being rude when I walk away, but when they are uncertain I feel that I have to hold space until they get clear. "It's up to you," I said. "Well, I don't have a flashlight. Where are you?"
This is a difficult moment. Many women have learned that to reject a man's interest sexually directly leads to hurt feelings and sometimes retaliation in relationship. I know that I want an honest yes/no and that I may not get one. I therefore need to determine if she wants to come but does not want to walk back alone in the dark from my tent, or if she does not want to come and is trying to let me down gently. Unfortunately HAI does not teach a language for this, so I have to feel her out a bit more. I know I have a flashlight she can borrow to walk us there and that she can take it with her when she walks back. I assess that if the flashlight is a block to her spending time with me and she wants to, her face will light up at least 15% when I provide a technical solution to the technical concern she just mentioned. So I watch her face as I say "I have a flashlight and you are welcome to borrow it." I do not see any change. So I through the ball back to her: "I'm very tired and need to be in my tent now. Would you like to connect another time?"
Now she seems mildly alarmed, but I don't know why. "Could we cuddle here in the room?" "I am exhausted and need to be undisturbed by anyone in my tent." I am feeling my body energy drain and alarm-bells are going off in my own mind: I need to lay down NOW. Why won't she just say "yes or no" so I can rest? She reads my impatience on my face it seems and decides to come. I really wish I had some way to get beyond code-language and get people to hear my words non-politically in these contexts. No one asks me about body fatigue rates. No one asks me: "How much will it hurt our relationship in your emotional self if I say "no" to this?" Few people will come right out and say: "I'm nervous tonight, but I don't want to discourage you, and I'm scared of being alone for some reason I don't know and can we resume in the morning without hard feelings?" The truth is that it might indeed be 3 out of 10 humiliating, dividing my mind which says "You did a great job with that and our relationship must be based on your freedom so I'd love to be in relationship with someone like you tomorrow," and my three year-old little boy that feels hurt and scared that his needs were rejected and does not want that to happen again tomorrow because we are in a social culture in which if he says "I feel three years old and hurt and scared," he is punished and socially ostracized with looks that say: "How disgusting that you are needy. I want a real man." That does and can happen and in a culture such as our own there is very little I can do to love that three year old or help him feel safe. I've tried and not found anything that works, including more than 1,000 hours of inner-child meditation until I have just accepted that regardless of what anyone says, or what I might like to feel, my little boy will always feel hurt when someone he wants to nurture him chooses not to, and that this is not an intellectually influencable part of myself. Three year old boys need affection and warmth. Mine got very little from two parents with PTSD and did get a lot of hostility and he has never stopped looking for sources of calm to comfort his desperation and panic, which has not been welcome in a single social circle he has encountered. So it's a head-game of lying about feelings to make other people feel comfortable so that he gets some love some of the time and occasionally get's empathized with by me or a kind woman. And if I say all of this to a HAI woman, which I have attempted to, she usually freezes and feels trapped, not happy, which my little boy instantly reads as "we have pissed mom off, now we will be punished again," which is exactly what he feels as the woman withdraws or attacks 60% of the time or adds to the loneliness by saying "that's very insightful but I'm not going to be close to you any way."
In a HAI environment this emotional conundrum is both masked and amplified by the assertion: "You are always at choice." I feel at choice about whether or not to take a HAI workshop or just wander around in America where 100 people a day say "how are you?" and don't want to know anything other than "I'm fine," or come to HAI where one may be at choice to hug or not hug, or say "yes" or "no" but is no more at choice about these deep-seated emotional patterns than I have felt at any point in my entire life. When speaking about the pattern statistically results in more rejection, fear and withdrawal, leading to escalated panic in the inner three-year old, but the teaching of the workshop is transparency, it feels like a set-up to fail. The only thing I have found to do is to ask myself: "Based on your experience in 30 workshops how many people would you need to ask to do XXX before one would say yes?" The answer might be five (I've done a lot of counting, based on the mantra that "sales is a numbers game"). Then I ask myself: "Can I face five rejections right now? What would be the impact on time? How much time will it take me to find five people that I feel safe to ask? Is there that time right now? If someone says "yes" will it offset the panic of four probable No's?" If I cannot answer "yes" to all of these then by trial and error in a loneliness that is impossible to make visible in a community that is ready with "quit taking it personally," something I never do on a mental level but always feel as an inner three year old, I ask. And within five asks I get my "yes." Depending on the ask it takes up to 250 people for someone to say a clear, warm and welcoming "yes." Needless to say, after noticing statistics that high, there are some things I feel much happier not asking for, regardless of how clear I am that they would make all the difference in the world to me.
Colleen knows that sometimes a man will not ask again, because some don't. For whatever reason, she seems more upset at the idea that I am going to my tent now and have not mustered the cheerful phony smile to re-assure her that whatever she does "I'm fine." So she comes. I am now completely exhausted and feel mildly dissociated as we stumble towards my tent.
What I have in mind but have been too tired with all the hemming and hawing and all that I've held for several months now to articulate is what I call: Silent, still holding with deep breaths. If I can hold Colleen like this in a matter of five minutes all of the adrenal fatigue will fall away and I will feel deep, grateful bliss for a rare moment in my life without terror. But she does not know that. As an American she will never ask. Not one in a sampling of more than two thousand has ever asked. "She knows what men want," whether I want it or not. And to my surprise, after all the hemming and hawing and nervousness, she begins to flirt like mad. "Oh, I feel so hot in here (she has just been in a hot room and is now in a cool tent). Do you mind if I take off my shirt. I just feel so hot." "Of course. Please do whatever you need to feel comfortable. I'm quite comfortable in any degree of nudity and find a position you feel comfortable and I'll adjust." I still have my picture of silence in mind. If I was not exhausted and finding it hard to speak. If I was not ungrounded. If I was not generally alarmed by all that can and often does go wrong in these rapidly escalating moments with a sensual woman, I would sit up and say: "I'm exhausted and want silent five minutes of holding you and then go to bed. And I'm not at all interested in sex." But I do not have the presence of mind to say that. I'm just hoping that my obvious exhaustion and mumbled answers will re-affirm my invitation, which I had stated as "for a platonic cuddle."
For over an hour she talks about sex, the man she wants, a possible relationship with me, puts her now nude breasts in my face and bounces them around and seems intent on having sex with me. I know that I sometimes have the same deep adrenal peace after an orgasm, and I do really like Colleen. But this unexpected escalation of sex now triggers a new responsibility. I have learned that despite the fact that not one woman in HAI among thirty lovers has ever initiated a clear, conscious container conversation, that the relationship is unquestionably self-destructive to her and/or myself without it. In other words, if I do not want an 85% probability of emotional pain resulting that lasts much longer than the orgasm, I've got to talk about the end-game. In other words, we have to be on the same page about whether this is a one-off, a weekend, or an ongoing sexual container. And she needs to know a lot about me for that to be clear. So I start down that road. "Where do you live? What are you looking for? Are you comfortable with that drive? This is what I'm looking for...."
Unfortunately it's the same thing all over again. She cannot let go, but she cannot face or say "yes" to most of what I'm talking about. Which makes it clear that this cannot be a sustainable relationship. Which brings this moment into focus: "Is this a good sexual experience for you, knowing that the event equals the event, regardless of how much we like each other, because we want different things and I'm not willing to set either of us up for failure?" Again, I want an informed "yes" or "no." That's all I need. She cannot give it. I ask to pull out and not have sex. "You are undecided and a maybe is generally best treated as a no." "Oh, but this is such a great opportunity for expansion," she says. "I want to grow and you are just the kind of man I want to grow with." "So you must decide. If I can have sex with you immediately (I'm exhausted) and the event equals the event it's a "yes." If not, let's just drop it because I'm very tired."
Thirty minutes later she has not dropped it and I'm getting impatient. I need to sleep. I feel toyed with. I feel impatient. I feel deeply bitter: I cannot sleep. I cannot have sex. I cannot follow my conscience. I cannot get an answer. I cannot back out. She is not a clear "yes" and she is even more panicky about disengagement, no matter how directly I repeat that I am equally fine with a "yes" or a "no." My assessment is that she wanted me to like her, which I did, and so she flirted with me in a learned pattern of getting men to like her. But she did not want to have sex. But did not want to risk rejection and could not let go. So she drove me into deep, sad and bitter frustration and exhaustion. I turned away from her and said "I'm tired, hurt, angry and frustrated and just want to sleep." So she started physically touching my penis and non-verbally initiating sex. I felt disgusted with the situation, which included the fact that most women in my experience refuse to hear that my disgust has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with the fact that they refuse to approach me in a way that I can be my best me and they can honor themselves. I hate every minute of this situation, because I really did like her and really did want her to do what was best for her, and really did need sleep and while I felt frustrated and hurt and puzzled, I wanted what was best for both of us and could not, after two hours find myself any closer to what that was. In my own mind I was asking myself: "Is she going to feel worse that I tell her to stop and now reject her or is she going to feel better thinking that she has given me what I want? I don't know. Here I am, stuck in the dark again, gambling with my own and people's feelings in this workshop that is all about the choices I do not want to have to make and rarely about the choices I want to make: No one asks me if I choose to living in an emotionally illiterate culture with secret codes that turn words into their opposites where the most dangerous thing is to say exactly what I feel, why I feel it, and ask an American to take the eight or so hours it takes before the pattern begins to make any sense to them, and then deal with the barrage of judgments that I'm being "unromantic, talking to much and being self-centered," when all I want is safety, the comfort of a body and not to be blamed for hurting anyone or left in an abandonment trauma of my own. I would choose that every day of my life, but have spent 95% of my time on this planet in varying states of enforced isolation because there is not an environment on this planet that I have found where I can say exactly what is going on and why and how to respond and be met with kindness or sensitivity that begins to restore the energy it takes to speak these things into the void and be met by silence, withdrawal, or the dreaded "I'm going to have to think about it," which really is code for "You have to do nothing for 1-2 weeks in which I won't get back to you but if you connect with someone else during this time it just shows that you are one of those pushy men who just want what they want and don't care about the woman." Can I keep a straight face, knowing that 85% of women never return to the conversation and never want me to acknowledge that they did leave me hanging, alone, so that they could remain invisible and withdraw - something that never feels good. Then we can go back to the stereotype being plastered all over my face: "Men don't like talking. They just want to have sex. I know what men like. You don't feel that way. You are just saying that. You don't exist. I have a projection that buries you before you open your mouth to speak, so I'm not interested in talking to you."
Right after Colleen and I have sex she opens up. She was abused severely by her family. She has been abused by men. She has been deeply and traumatically sexually abused. This is obvious in the first five minutes. I am panicking. "Oh my god. This sex should not have happened. This is an absolute disaster for her. Everything about this ties right into her pattern. And I feel nothing but disgust, exhaustion and panic at a moment in which she needs the most tender loving care. And I have no idea if I will be able to be there for myself in this weekend, and am certain I am not at my best and cannot be there for another person. And I'm angry. I'm furious that in all that hemming and hawing she never told me a thing about this. Spilling out of her mouth in my newly exhausted state (so much for peace after orgasm) I am hearing thirty different reasons why she should not be at HAI, why she should not be with me, why she should not be having quick sex, why she should not be in the situation she just insisted on being. And I am fed up. "Why didn't you tell me any of this before?"
"Because men are turned off by it. No one wants to hear about this abuse."
This is the same old story. Women say this kind of thing to me 80% of the time when I get to know them. I ask them why they didn't do what seems like the most sensible and logical thing to do to take care of themselves and help me take care of them. And they tell me about how this man humiliated them for having feelings, they feel like they are "too sensitive," that "they are too jealous" and in short recount a long list of judgments, criticisms and shaming statements that have been made towards them since birth that they are sure I will think and say to them as soon as I see "that part of them."
I listen patiently and with despair. My own patterns preclude what may be a way around this: To be friends and use all kinds of indirect paths to understand this stuff as a friend before having sex, and patiently wait out the defense. I do not have the reserves or make-up for this path, so I am as direct and clear as I can be in the hope this will attract direct and clear communication in response. Yet not a single woman in more than 5,000 interactions has ever been direct and clear, except one. It was absolutely beautiful: One woman with absolute presence, poise and clarity rejected me for all the healthy reasons and with peace and certainty within 30 minutes of our meeting. She taught me more about myself in those 30 minutes than all the other 5,000 women combined and then she was gone. I learned so much from her I offered to pay her hourly in the location of her choosing to learn more. She said no. I'm very clear I don't have the energy reserves to talk to 5,000 more women to find another needle in a haystack. And so I listen patiently and calmly on the outside as I ask myself over and over again: "What are these women to do? They are behaving completely rationally within this culture. They have learned that this culture shames qualities they all possess. So they hide them, aim to attach a man, at which point they have also learned that a man in lust and perhaps love will tolerate much more of what they said they did not want. So it's a great strategy in a fucked up and emotionally illiterate culture. But it's absolutely maddening to me. I feel hurt every single time I say: "Here I am. I care about you. Just tell me exactly what you want and don't want and I'll tell you exactly how good or bad a man I am for you, based on hundreds of feedback points, and I'll tell you which of those things I can change and which, despite being painfully aware of them, I cannot change. Then we can get closer or part today as people who care enough about each other to tell the truth and let go or build something solid." I want that deeply and fully. And from the one in 200 people asked who says "Let's have that 8 hour conversation," I know that it works 90% of the time, both by selecting for people intelligent enough to realize that spending eight hours to avoid six months of wasted time is the most efficient time they will ever spend, and for people who care enough about their hearts to practice the discipline of mutual transparency, and because after two motivated people have spent eight hours communicating their patterns, needs, preferences, logistics and values with the sole goal of determining how loving it is to be romantic for both people, and why, there is so much knowledge front-loaded into the relationship that it is bound to succeed much more than relationships that lack all that data. The only catch is that in an email list such as HAI not a single person in 10,000 has ever taken me up on the many ways I've phrased this invitation. I am stone-walled with people stating that they "want a good man who cares" who will not talk to a man that cares enough to listen and talk for eight hours in a way that I have found to dramatically increase success. I am sometimes actively challenged with comments about how un-natural this invitation is, without any understanding that what feels natural is what is familiar and that the "natural" protocol for romance in the United States leads directly to 1/3rd of all domestic couples participating in what is termed "domestic violence." What is normal and thus feels comfortable is a protocol that will see 95% of all romantic interests, if they even get expressed, ending for reasons other than death and often in the greatest pain a human being can experience. In an emotionally illiterate culture "normal" passes for "natural," and normal leads to mediocrity and misery the vast majority of the time, but is strangely safer than trying something different about how relationships begin. These same women do not bat an eye about hand-cuffs. Somehow, being tied up, spanked, ritually raped is not "abnormal" at all. It also feels strangely familiar, and very exciting. Resistance to trying new things is applied only to new ways of increasing our vulnerability rapidly enough so that mistakes can be avoided and conscious choices can be made. I have had strangers go from a first phone call, without ever hanging up, directly into my bed in my house for sex without ever meeting me or even talking to me before. Yet in forty years in America I have not had one man or woman approach me with an invitation to know and be known to be able to assess how we could be kind, sensitive and collaborate in some way or other to love, create or play.
My bitterness, despair, anger, hurt and impatience at finding myself, again, stuck into the position of the unconscious abuser is that I do not know what to do. 100 HAI events cover over this pitfall by pretending that the women I meet are at choice. Yet clearly they are not. Their choices are not coming from a conscious part of the brain. They are hearing the prattle of facilitators and saying "I know what men are like. I've experienced them. They don't say "thank you for sharing" and feel nothing when I say this. I nearly got fired when my boss was rejected...." and on and on. And men such as myself don't just have their inner traumatized three year old go numb when the three year old is feeling needy so a woman can reject them and feel great about it. Nor is it a conscious choice: "I think I will feel hurt, lonely and unlovable for the next hour and avoid a perfectly nice woman who triggered these feelings." No. The mantra is ineffective because trauma does not reside in the conscious areas of the brain and HAI refuses to address trauma in any way, stating in Jason Weston's words that "Trauma is not our focus." Unfortunately for the death of Colleen Kasbab Jason Weston is correct that HAI has chosen to omit all mention, all reference to, to avoid teaching the team, and participants themselves or refer them to books or anyone else who will deal with the leading cause of relationship violence, pain and break up in the country HAI is based in and promises with every commitment: "We are committed to creating a world in which everyone wins."
Colleens brain had been damaged severely by repeated sexual and physical abuse in a country that guarantees the parent's right to have endless children without training and without any mental-emotional health tests or thresholds, thus insuring that generations of American's grow up is systemic abuse at home, at church at school and then in their romantic relationships, where the cycle is repeated. She had learned that men found her unattractive when she talked about this, but desperately needed friendship, companionship and to feel wanted to break a message that she was unloved, unwanted and hated since birth. I had turned to a HAI workshop, to a buddy, and too my facilitator to feel the same things, and now had turned to Colleen. But rather than getting my own needs met, I found myself being given, again, a problem that I could not solve, need I could not answer because of the timing and the direct conflict between her need to be completely together and my need to figure out what was actually going on, since all that I had said was going on with Peter Sandhill had been obfuscated to protect his image of himself and the room of love that was "here to serve," was not serving or seeing me. And I had nowhere else to go.
I'm not sure if you can imagine the amount of hatred, desperation, loneliness, exhaustion and panic of this state. I hear women and people at every turn talking about how horrible men are. I do not want to be hated. I desperately need help. And I have people asking me at every turn: "How can I help you," only to find that not a single person actually wants to help in the way that would be helpful, and then is in logistical position to do so. And while I feel panic, terrified, lonely, dissociated and hurt and confused, I am barraged with messages that I am a success because I know how to create money, run a company, create art, write books, travel and have lots of free time to ponder exactly what does not work after spending literally 5,000 hours and $500,000. trying to crack problems that no one around me even acknowledges as key things that need addressing, and most people defend the problems as "a necessary part of modern life," which in my mind leads to the thought: "Who said modern life is so sacred that in order to perpetuate this absurdity we all need to be miserable? Get rid of the damn thing and let's have some tribal dancing, quiet time in nature with people who embrace feelings and close proximity in spacious time." But far from betraying "modern life," people avoid me to the extent I want no part of it. I am absolutely certain that most of our quality of felt-experience would go up if we were born to an Indian tribe rather than into American "modern life," but other than $1,000. a week workshops to pretend at such an existence by people who want to make money to fund their modern life, it's not clear where exactly to position myself to create the bonds I have never had with human beings and longed for more than money, "success" or whatever this culture has given me.
I don't know what is going on with me, and I am too tired to figure out what exactly Colleen needs. I just know I cannot meet her need until I have some support for the weight I am carrying for Peter, his wife, and HAI. HAI does not want to look at it's shadow, and the price of support, I understand instinctively, is not calling their bluff and finding what scraps of support I can, while they tell the story again of the little fairy tale in which all we have to do is realize that sex is normal and healthy and we have to call all the parts by their proper names and then we can all live happily ever after and actively listen to the inevitable tragedies. If everyone would only do a HAI workshop the world would be a better place. While I'm not sure this is the case for Colleen or myself today, I know the drill. And my goal is to create some support for myself by finding a team-member who is present and cares. I do that the next day in bits and pieces, trying to get back into my body so I can get some benefit from the workshop. And every time I meet Colleen she is breathy with desperation in her eyes and the "do whatever you need mantra" that is the politically correct thing to say in a culture that does not give room for the felt experience of the traumatized adult children with their many compulsions, addictions and lonelinesses they use to cover up the desperation of their pain, and the grief of it's ongoing reenactment. Colleen had just betrayed herself again to please her abuser and tried to play the role of the chirpy teenage girl with no problems, only to be met with impatience, disgust, irritation and fatigue that told her that even that even that amount of self-denial was not adequate to secure her support for her many daily challenges. Terrified of being unlovable, she looked desperately for any sign that she was wanted and she was not wanted. I wanted to avoid her because I can't bear looking into the eyes of someone I disappoint when I have nothing to give that they need, and we cannot even cry together because they have to pretend that everything is fine, and so I cannot acknowledge how shitty I feel about not being able to give them what I see in their eyes and they have every right to want and need: an ally in this world that has betrayed and abused them too many times to count. A friend.
I think it's important to understand the predicament of the abuse survivor who is protecting their abuser. In this case my abuser is Peter Sandhill. To challenge him means first of all to lose the only man who says that he loves me, says he will help me and says he is taking a stand for me. That's his line and when an authority person needs to see themselves a certain way, there is a point where almost all of them will turn on me rather than see their own inadequacy. There is a bargain of sort: Peter get's to feel great about himself in this bargain, as long as I don't insist on him seeing what's fucked up about what he is and is not doing. He in turn promises to "be there" in some vague way, as he blocks communication, ignores requests, shows up late for paid therapeutic sessions, turns the topic away from areas, insists that he is doing a good job and refuses every one of the key requests for my own well-being. But we are not just dealing with Peter. If I admit to myself that Peter does not know what he is doing and is a threat to everyone he is in relationship with because he not only has blind spots and betrays agreements, but he defends his blind spots passionately, this brings HAI's training skills into question. Every HAI facilitator chose, trained, approved and recommended Peter Sandhill to me for more than 12 years. Then there is the fact that I've already learned his wife Sarah will lie to me, and perhaps herself, about any issue that relates to her husband, from the first round of abuse. I have learned that Peter is nice to me if I don't see his core negligence, and even pampers my manipulative coping mechanism that I developed when survival demanded that this persona be born to deal with my parents violence, lies and immaturity. Now this same manipulative persona entered HAI around Peter to such an extent that I did not like myself and avoided his workshops. But some part of me feels like I have Peter in my pocket and that could be useful to keep me safe in some way. And the safety that comes from being able to manipulate someone with their own guilt, though secondary to the safety of being loved and cared for by someone who knows what they are doing, is the only safety I felt with my parents, and the only safety I could get with Peter. Yet I also am perceptive enough to know that if I say in this culture "Peter feels guilty so I'm getting my needs met by manipulating him in this way and that," that I will be one of those "bad men." Further, in a simplistic relationship paradigm, the question will not be: "Are you manipulating anyone else? When did the manipulation start? What did Peter do that scared you so much? Why did you have to manipulate your parents? What did they do that necessitated this persona and what did they not do? Do you feel safe with Peter? Why? Ahhh. Therapists are not supposed to propose sex and drugs with paying clients, and particularly virginal heterosexual clients who have a history of trauma, and particularly without dealing with that trauma and empathizing with it. You are absolutely right to be terrified of that man, to be angry and we are going to see that no one else is hurt by him. You are a hero in our community because you paid money to grow, were hurt instead, brought it to our attention and now we trust you more. You were never manipulative by nature - it's a defense persona that children in abusive environments develop to survive and now you can ask yourself when you see your manipulator: "Who is hurting me now that I will get in trouble for exposing?" Then you can answer the question and the community will be a safer place." I'm instead in an environment of silence and taboo that protects the facilitators. I'm viewed as a threat for the truth I know and my manipulator is pampered as a bribe for staying silent. Peter knows why I feel passive aggressive. He knows what he did was unethical. But he can't admit it. He can't apologize. And so he does not. He repeats the offense. But I'm protecting him by refusing to see the obvious. And by doing so I'm buying a lack of opposition by his wife. And I'm protecting HAI's protocol of recommending people who are not adequately trained. Because on some level I know that abusers don't like dealing with their shame or they would already have done so. So I must remain at a loss of all these swirling energies. I have left HAI workshops in the middle, aware that while I could not put a name to it, I was carrying the group's energy that it did not want to deal with. And I knew if I left I would not be available as the carrier of that energy. And I knew that I did not pay money to come to a workshop to carry the energy unspoken in the group that no one else was willing to be aware of, which funnels it with a fairly strong pressure to the sensitives in the groups. If all I have to do is leave the container to the workshop and the energy lifts, and does not return in another group it suggests - though we are all energetically and emotionally illiterate to such a degree that it's impossible to be clear about sensations we don't even have language for and that no group will own if I ask for the Mic and say "I think that I'm carrying all the nervousness because enough of you are putting on cheerful faces over your nervousness that a lot of terror is being suppressed and ignored and it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately that somewhere is often me. What I'd like is for five people to get in touch with the energy of panic that I sense and talk about it in front of the room. As the room owns that panic it's going to lift from my chest and I can feel my own feelings, which are quite happy right now without the overshadow of everyone's panic that I take on because I needed to know how much and what my parents were feeling so that I could know when to avoid being beaten and deepening my PTSD. I've never learned how to undo that protection pattern because my parents "never did anything wrong" so there was "nothing to protect" and "you are just a guy and guys don't feel anything" so it's remained a fairly invisible pattern. Maybe some of you are going to punish me, be scared of what I see and avoid me like my parents did for saying this. I don't want this either. I just think it would be a better workshop for all concerned if the unspoken panic I'm feeling became the spoken panic you could respect and understand. Is that a deal?"
You see that could be a deal in a healthy culture. And "I'm always at choice." I'm just not at choice to choose to live in a "healthy culture" (name it and I'll fly there tomorrow). Nor am I at choice around the fact that many men attack me when they feel scared. Nor am I at choice around the fact that my child feels terrified of being this unusual when he has been feared and shamed his entire life for being the little bit of unusual that he shows. Nor can I stay in my body when my trauma memories of being beaten emerge because my father was enraged that I saw him and tried to kill me so he did not have to see himself. Nor do I want to have to say all this and "please keep it to the absolute nub of the matter and summarize how you feel without going into story" (great, that leaves me as the outcast again and everyone happy that I will carry their energy so they don't have to deal with it and my share consists of "I feel terrified, overwhelmed and want to leave the workshop so these feelings go away" - a statement that leaves everyone deliciously unaware that I could easily be feeling great if a few people would own the repressed panic they are afraid of being judged as un-manly for feeling.). And while I will not receive a single ounce of validation for the most intense experiences I have in the room, and will not hear a single person talking about any of this, when I act based on perceptions like these my life get's better and a pattern of consistency emerges that validates them, and when I pretend that I'm not picking anything up, have to ask people what they are feeling and that their version of what they are feeling trumps what is referred to as "your projection" then I get hurt because the feelings people deny and I feel do affect the behavior in others that hurts me and I feel set up again to be hurt in order to be politically correct and go through the new-age motions of: "I am projecting that you felt terrified when I said this. I'm imagining it was probably about this and that. Is that true? Oh.... You did not feel anything at all when your eye darted to the left suddenly and your face tightened 30% and you looked away just as I said that..... Oh.... Your face did not move.... Well I'm so sorry to be wasting your time with my projections and I'll just pretend that I'm a fool so you can surprise me by breaking up with me because the terror you said was not there repeated itself because you pretended that what I dis was fine and I should continue. Only some part of you that you did not consult was not at all fine. And because you insist on betraying that part around me, and I am complicit in your betrayal by belieiving your lie, a part in you that is much more in synch with your well-being that you are consciously has decided this relationship is not safe and it's going to sabotage it in a way that devastates my little boy, who is watching the whole drama in deep panic, which cannot be talked about because your presenting persona judges yourself for feeling what you actually feel, even though I don't, and now I have to protect you from the absurdity of your own internalized abuser who attacks you every time you have needs that are unpolitically correct.
I go through this dance a few thousand times and decide that the only way to stay sane and be safe is to withdraw, only to be subjegated to the frequent collapse of the woman's sexual persona who insists that the only reason I could possibly have for withdrawing is that I don't find her sexy enough. She is furious that I make her feel ugly by rejecting her sexual advances to avoid an escalation of emotion on what is a completely dis-integrated psychic structure in a state of civil war that should not be amplified for the safety of all concerned. Period. In fact I typically find the women I reject sexually very attractive and it's an added irritant that I cannot have sex with them in good conscience, not because my teenager, who never got any sex, does not want to, but because I'm concerned that the woman will end up feeling worse in the long run and take it out on those closest to her - in this case me, because that is what happens. I may try telling a woman that I would love to have sex with her but I don't think it wise, given that I'm feeling to many of the feelings she tells me she is not feeling, only to be attacked for "making up stories." So then I go along with what she says, and then have to listen to her story about what a bad man I am because it does indeed not lead to good things and in order to protect the lie that she was definitely "not feeling needy" we have to invent something that she is feeling that is politically appropriate for a modern feminist woman "and don't you forget it!" and I can sit sadly by, taking the beating "men deserve for treating women like this in a modern age." Then when I don't want more of that, I have again outraged the next woman for not finding her attractive enough when "all men find me attractive."
I am very, very tired. I am very, very alone. And I am surrounded by walls that I cannot penetrate. I want to die because I am not wanted. I have never been wanted. I have been feared, lied to, beaten, attacked, ignored, lied to again, shamed, broken, dissociated and discarded under a garbage pile of cultural stereotypes that say: none of this ever happened because you never existed, never will exist, and no one will ever want you. You are the source of all of our problems and we want you to go away."
This has been happening all of my life. The HAI facilitator shenanigans are just the last expression. And to have four of my therapists, every HAI facilitator and board member participate in them is the last straw. I am either going to fight to my death for a more emotionally literate, ethical and honest platform in the schools purporting to teach love, healthy relationships and good communication or I will document the absurdity in the hope that someone, somewhere, sees enough of the pattern to begins societal reforms, be that in a single couple (I'm doing that with my Fiance that I had to leave the country to find and am now fighting tooth and nail with my own government to bring her into the country for more than 9 months due to a similar level of sociopathic stupidity called "homeland security" (please be warned that one of the most lovely women on earth is threatening to invade the United States of Unconsciousness and may actually wake a few people up so prepare to evaccuate in case this grave threat to national security sets foot on our "we are better than everyone else" country.).
So I am at choice at this moment. I could, if I had understood it at the time, have stood up in front of the room and said I have a long and urgent share. That Peter Sandhill had led me on a deeply painful and long wild goose chase that had only one consistency: "Peter Sandhill never did anything wrong, loved me and is an amazing healer." Which left of course every consequence of a paid therapist escalating a first homosexual relationship with a sucidal client after insisting that they tripple the dose and take two schedule 1 ileagal drugs at the same time being all my fault. I was, after all, "at choice." I did not have to believe every HAI facilitator who recommended him. I could have stopped him right there when he told me that an hour into my psychedelic session, that he had kept aspects of the session secret from his wife and my facilitator. I could have told him to go fuck himself when he pushed to tripple the dose I was comfortable with, based on my awareness that my body is highly sensitive and responds atypically to things - something Peter was neither familiar with or cared to ask about. I could have demanded, after I fell madly in love with this man who promised to take a stand for me, that he behave in a way consistent with my dignity. But met with a barrage of resistance, and needing his help to integrate the most dramatic experience of my life, I did none of these things. Instead, I turned away from Colleen in her moment of need, completely ignorant of the symptoms of trauma and what is necessary, and unable to secure help for myself, let alone her. She told me that she nearly died driving home and fell asleep so many times at the wheel in trauma exhaustion that she finally asked to stop at the HAI office and rested. I felt keenly aware that the combination of me being at my worst, HAI's lack of screening and training, the way we shame people for needing help emotionally in this culture and a history of severe abuse made my donation of $300. for her being at HAI life-threatening for her.
And no one was tracking it.
I begged Colleen to give the next man a chance. To tell him all about her trauma BEFORE having sex with him. I apologized for not being what she needed. I explained all the reasons except the biggest one: I was carrying a secret for the facilitators that would get me in trouble for talking about but which no therapeutic client, no suicidal patient, no HAI participant and no student of "healthy relationships" should have to carry. And I was carrying it in the knowledge that I could lose everything I used to support myself in this pain for doing so: My community, the workshops, four of my therapists, the e-mail lists. And I could not afford to lose that without an alternative I did not have. But it was at a crossroads in whether what I was asked to carry, do, say and not say was more toxic than the "support" I was paying for.
I was intent that we should not have sex without me understanding what was going on. So while Colleen and I talked on the phone and she even visited me in my house, I refused to have sex with her again because I did not want to accelerate the kind of emotional need that I would fail again to meet while carrying so much of HAI's unresolved energy in my body and consciousness, unconsciously. I would not have been able to say any of this at the time (that's why I'm writing this here because there may be someone in a similar situation who cannot see any of this until it's too late but will relate to these moments if I tell them here). She took the sexual refusal, while cuddling as an emotional rejection, and began to try and make me jealous by planning sex with the assistant she hired to help her with her disabilities. I was very worried for her because the only reason I was not having sex with her was that I felt that to deal with such trauma's needed patience and kindness, not amplified energy. And because I hate hurting people.
I should note here that I do not know what I'm doing in this terrain. I've been hit with a barrage of hatred that goes: "You are a creep and just want to have sex with women, lie and cheat." I've never lied to a woman. I've never cheated, stolen or been unfaithful. So this really hurts. I am invisible in the hurt and hate of these generalities. And I know that not one of her friends or strangers will tell her "Dane was just trying not to have you feel rejected so he had sex with you even though he encouraged you to slow down because he did not want to upset you." I've never heard a woman comfort another woman like that. It is always: "Those men are all the same. They just want to have sex with you." But the story is much more complex. I am much more complex. I am just in a world where emotional complexity is met with deep ignorance, fear and hatred, and told that it does not even exist in many men.
Colleen was a hyper-talker with me. She did not want to visit me again after I refused to have sex with her. As of this moment I do not know if I was kind or unkind in my impact, only that my primary concern was of escalating energy I did not understand and that she seemed complicit in re-enacting. I don't know if you have ever been in this kind of situation, but for me it is terrifying. I do not want to be rejected and punished. I don't want to be told that I am someone I'm not. I don't want someone to hurt themselves pretending that their breasts are two small and they are ugly when I could give a shit about that kind of thing when a real live, emotional woman is in my presence. I am afraid that no matter what I do, my love and care will not be seen. And that I will be helpless, watching them behave, believe and think things without giving me the data and time to unravel what's actually going on. So I talked with her on the phone. But it was rapid-fire seduction. What her assistant said when he walked in on her naked. How she managed her curtains. My impression is of a seventeen year old girl who feels absolutely worthless emotionally trying to attract attention by sexual seduction. But she was not worthless. She had, in moments, one of the most profound presences I had ever met in a woman - a presence that I had lost when I participated in the re-enactment of her sexual trauma in my own clouded and befuddled state, before I knew what the word trauma meant, or could read it's many tell-tale signs. In fact, I was colluding with my abusers to hide my own trauma so that they could feel great about themselves - something every deep survivor of childhood abuse with a new-ager parent learns how to do: how to pretend to be dumb so that they can feel important and masterful - the thing they will give anything to feel, even a bit of "love."
As was so often the case, Colleen was the only person in my life. I thought about her - trying to figure out how to help both of us. I tried to make it work. She chattered so fast that I could never interrupt and yet it seemed as if it might be more unkind to disengage than to be fairly aggressive to interrupt. I again tested this out: "Colleen you talk way to fast about things I'm not at all interested in. I've asked you repeatedly to slow down or say "do you want to talk about XXX" before launching into this. So I'm going to try interrupting you. How do you think you will feel about that? May I have permission to interrupt you in a way I think is quite rude but is the only way I can stay on the phone with you?" She said yes. But it was very hard. I felt unhappy with the whole thing. I wanted her to see that I cared about her, liked who she truly was, and that I did not need or want teenage sexual titilation to overshadow the very deep issues she had told me only a little about. She had epileptic seizures. Her brain was sick from severe repeated physical abuse by multiple family members. I felt drained but also needed companionship myself with all I was holding. She would not come and had no place to host. So we said good bye.
I know a man in the community who is quite high on the sociopathic continuum. Never speaking about feelings or responding to them in others, he is happiest creating detached mental conversations. I think he likes me because I think differently and engage with his ideas. He told me about a woman he met at a HAI event who was absolutely fabulous. Then he told me her name. My alarm bells instantly ran off. He was describing the woman who had pulled off the perfect male-pleasing role. She was giggly, affectionate, passionate, pleasing and initiated in all of the ways he had been waiting a long time for a woman to do. And no, she had not told him about her abuse cycle, her epelepsi. She had not gone away from me or HAI learning that honesty and proactivity would keep her safer, but rather that she needed to pull off her act of seduction. I asked him to ask her to tell him all about her issues. I asked him to be kind and sensitive to her.
Some time later this man was not happy. Colleen had died in his bed. There were no feelings as usual, other than disgruntlement with the imposition of a dead body, and an impatience to get on to the much more important topic of electric bicycles. There was no empathy for my feelings. She was a great lover. Then she died. He was moving on and wanted my help going to Thailand. I had mixed feelings about helping him. Would he treat the vulnerability and femininity and trust of the Thai women as sociopathically as he had treated Colleen? I gave him a copy of the book I had written to help western men understand Thai culture and be sensitive to a different set of expectations than the American man coached at HAI is trained to meet. On many cultural continuums Thailand is the opposite of the United States and Thais are two happy with their own culture to learn about the Western paradigms and Americans are often too unconsciously arrogant that their way is the only intelligent way to bother learning what happens when the two cultures unconsciously meet without training or preparation. I had learned this the hard way after spending time with twenty Thai lovers and slowly pieced together what goes wrong and why through the mistakes I and my partner's made and by reading several books and by asking my Thai lovers to tell me the details of why they had broken up with prior Western men and vice-versa, leading to a very clear pattern of predictable mistakes on both sides that could easily be cleared up if anyone wanted to bother to learn. Thankfully, he read the book.
Colleen Kasbab is dead. She lived a life riddled with betrayal, torture and trauma, misunderstood by most and believing the cultural narrative that it was up to her to be attractive and change, rather than the cultures job to grow up, start teaching parents to self-diagnose their paranting disabilities, teach architects how to design neighborhoods for toddlers, and media company how to design media for the development of the healthy brain. In our culture we saddle the targets of abuse, typically the most innocent people who cannot take care of themselves including sensitives, women and children, with severe crippling patterns of emotional, mental and social disease. Then we shame them in school for being different and maintain willful ignorance of abuse patterns and trauma literacy amongst the teenage population most likely to experience it at school. And then we pretend that when people cross a certain age they are adults. I have never even learned what an adult was until my early forties, let alone learned the emotional skills necessary to be an adult. I have been surrounded by serious adult children most of my life who cannot tell the difference. And because someone recommended that she take a HAI workshop she met another abused child and trauma survivor - among the most self-centered demographic within the population who had just been abused again by a HAI facilitator who could not, after more than fifteen years of HAI facilitation, come to terms with the fact that what he did, despite violating multiple agreements with his colleagues, wife, myself and the community, was "anything to do with him." In his eyes "You need to do your own work," a rather shaming comment given that I'd spent the last ten years of my life working with 4 HAI facilitators, 100 HAI events, seven other shamans, healers and therapists, managed an organic diet, read dozens of books and written several. Encountering men who were raised in the same culture that raised her parents, she has been used for sex and shamed for the challenges she should never have had to deal with in the first place. She had to pay for her own workshop in which she, without any pre-screening, was given the normal rap about how we all need to love each other without looking at the shadow and that a safe-sex conversation (which we had) should do the trick and keep me engaged. It did not work for her and the a abandonment protocol re triggered nearly killed her and other people on the way home. Far from being an ally for me, she added 200% to the strain and panic that I could not do this all by myself and had no one to turn to who wanted to understand what I was living through, because of who and what it implicated that no one wants to look too closely at.
Colleen Kasbab is dead. And though I have no doubt that she is in a MUCH saner and happier place, and before I wrote this felt washed in a wave of her love - that presence which I lost when she thought she had to have sex with me to get me to like the magnificent being this culture could not protect and love, I am angry, sad and ashamed that no one at HAI cares enough about human life and healthy relationships to deal with the shadow that is killing it. I am angry and filled with hate that as I write this HAI, without apology or compensation, without ownership or reform, has spent $800. in tax-free money to shut this website down, claiming that it's only intent is to malign their good name and that it has no educational value. If you have learned nothing from this site I pity you. I have learned everything I need to know to be aware that cultural reform around our trauma and emotional illiteracy is the highest priority for development beyond animals and reptiles into the areas of our brain capable of love. People in a state of trauma cannot love. Not because there is anything wrong with them. For a traumatized individual to stay in a state of PTSD it tells a story, not about them, but about the many ways in which the culture around them traumatizes the innocent, sustains that trauma without conducting traumatic repair, maintains the abusive cycle by failing to teach emotional education in school or to parents, and then further traumatizes trauma survivors for demonstrating traumatic symptoms, all the while pretending that no one is to blame but the victim. Unfortuanately this protocol of ignorance and human betrayal leads to dissociation through addiction, shame and overwhelm, insuring a lack of empathy for self and others, which in turn leads to the capacity to traumatize other people in a numb and self-absorbed state - the very state that the trauma-survivor was born into in a country that protects a parents right to bear arms, but not a child's right to grow up as a human being. Love is impossible within the traumatic cycle. The human and spiritual parts of the brain are the parts that shut down to enact the fight/flight/freeze reflexes that are the hall-mark of a culture that abuses it's people, sustains their ignorance, and then shames the abused. This is the status quo in America, and to an only slightly lesser extent in HAI, where the same rhighteous indignation about "didn't I do this for you and that for you" and "this is not a HAI issue and we will punish you for talking" is sustained with complete consensus in which not a single board-member has taken a public stand about any of this and neither I, nor Colleen, and the many others who have suffered so that HAI can hide it's shadow have received the dignity of an apology. Peter Sandhill's own apology rings hollow, coming after months of denial at my specific request and followed by assertions that "I'm really clear this has nothing to do with me," and the failure to correlate the obvious fact that if you do apologize for abusing a client in no less than fourteen ways the most obvious next step to any sane business person is a refund for the money I paid to be abused. This has not occurred to a single facilitator until now - so committed are they to a world where everyone wins. It is a staggering history of hostility towards the feminine side and to expressing all the many ways she can be unloved, discounted and dishonored in every one of us. Far from anticipating support, she must wait to find on what trumped up grounds her voice is to be silenced once again by the "Human Awareness" institute and it's many do-gooder's who apparently make as few mistakes as my parents. Colleen Kasbab is dead, and Jason Weston wishes to make her death as irrelevant as can be by maintaining the pretense that "trauma is not HAI's focus." "We are only committed to a world in which everyone wins," and not it seems to understanding the most basic of reasons why they don't.
I asked the man whose bed Collen Kasbab died in for help and comfort around my trauma with the facilitators, as I asked every HAI participant. He bent a great deal for him, allowing me to talk for the whole hour rather than dividing it into two 30 minute segments, our normal pattern, so that he could talk about electric bicycles. He even said he might drop by "when he was in the neighborhood." I am profoundly alarmed by the level of ignorance about trauma in all HAI graduates. These school shootings will not stop when young men with far less training and resources than I in the height of this cultures bullying and shaming protocol, reach out a hand to someone and are told that perhaps, when someone is in the neighborhood, someone will drop by to tell them just how low a priority their psychological state and felt experience is ina culture that will shame you for feeling but not teach you how to feel or heal those feelings other than to "keep busy" and bury the feelings. I am not sure where the scientists are. I'm not sure where the HAI facilitators are. Two other HAI graduates I know of have committed suicide during my time at HAI, and not because HAI taught them how to have loving sustainable relationships. I'm not surprised. Not a single facilitator replied to a HAI participant announcing that they were engineering their own death in large part due to failed relationships in the community leading to exhaustion and health crisis. When such trivial things as a student killing themselves because the teacher has failed to pass son competent skills after fifteen years and 100 classes is no matter for the leaders of love, healthy relationships and the like, why on earth would a teenage boy understand that this culture really cares about him and his feelings and that all he has to do is reveal the utter helplessness, rage and bitterness he feels in order to be further humiliated and managed like a legal issue. If HAI were in charge of our schools I predict that sexual abuse would go up, along with suicides, not because there is anything wrong with the infants when they are born in this country, but because the protocol of protecting the paretnt's, teacher's and culture's shadow is more important to all concerned and because the feminine side in all of us wants to please and does it's best to accommodate the abuse with a smile until it spills out into the hatred and rage of being asked to carry a burden that is too much for any individual and does not originate with them. Until we understand that people are not to blame, but are created by the cultures of their origin as a statistical probability field and start changing the culture, we will be sadling victims of trauma with the punishment of protecting everyone else's willful ignorance. Read the books on this site and make up your own mind in the medicine cycle. The most knowledgeable and informed people emotionally and psychologically share many of my observations and retain their minority status only because of the low-priority our culture places on feelings, self-awareness, respect for feminine energy and psychological and with it biological literacy. We are in the stone age emotionally and it's time we dealt with it.
Questions: Do you see a connection between your emotional illiteracy and the probability of you abusing someone unconsciously? Do you think that people are safer if threats to life, relationship and trust are suppressed, or talked about in the open? Do you think that this website represents a threat to the goal of a world in which everyone wins? Do you think it is a win for a teacher who wants to promote love to win at suppressing trauma or death they have participated in?
Concerns: As long as you or I defend a system that is not working to be "nice" to people at the head of the system, the system does not evolve. I am concerned by the pattern in the United States trauma literature of communities defending their abuser's rather than understanding that when a system changes the abuser and the abuse survivor are more free. The big ego crisis is control: "Can we admit a system is faulty before we fully understand the less faulty system needed to replace it.