Feverishly Trying to Make Sense of it All
  • Maslow, in his beautiful work on the hierarchy of needs identified seven core needs of every human being.
  • The words "Hierarchy" and "Need" are key. These are not preferences, but deep universal needs. Hierarchy refers to the order in which they are pursued, much like a house which begins with a foundation.
  • Survival, Security and Belonging are the first three needs in the hierarchy. Each of these come before self-esteem, expression and self-actualization. This refers to the phenomena that everyone to one degree or another is not and cannot afford to be authentic when their survival, security and belonging is jeapardized by their environment's unwillingness to see, love or accept who they are. Homosexuals are just one example of a minority who, before it was tolerated, went to great lengths to hide to maintain their sense of belonging.
  • Therapeutic relationships are some of the deepest relationships in Western Culture, making them sacred in their depths.
  • I have been given a choice by four of my therapists, all of my community leaders, my facilitators and the people who have taken my money to teach me to either be invisible and belong, or risk the emotional, mental attack of the entire facilitator body and the community and not belong. This fundamentally abuses the power granted to anyone occupying the role of therapist. Since HAI teaches that we should not take another's behavior personally, what does this say about the facilitator body's right to occupy their role?

Something was clearly not working. I had raised my voice for the first time in my entire life. I had burst into tears in more pain than I had ever felt in front of Anne Watts. I had shared a story that seemed like it would insure support from any healthy organization. My body was feeling things that it had never felt. I was terrified about how many years of my life might be lost under the stress that was so intense I sometimes felt I could not lift my head and hold it straight. And yet nothing was happening. No team-members showed up to listen. No one was apologizing. No one was doing anything. I felt like I had to ramp up my voice at the same time that the most important thing for my health was to calm down. 

So I started writing a twenty page document about how I saw things. Because some part of me felt like I was going crazy. I was being treated as if my whole reality of emotion and impact did not exist. And every time I repeated myself and nothing happened I felt worse. This was the point, subtly, when my personal shifted from the wounded child to the manipulative adolescent. I had been saying "I'm in pain, please help. Now I'm in more pain. Please help some more. This is a really big deal. I've never felt this way before - ever. And I can't cope." 

This was ignored/betrayed so many times on all sides that I felt I needed to start manipulating and subtly communicating a bit of reality. So I began this document with a list of all HAI's transgressions, reiterating again that this had to be a HAI issue. It read: "A HAI facilitator, trained and recommended by HAI, suggested taking MDMA together for $600. in his house under the guise that this was therapy." You get the idea. The first page was bullet points like this. 

Zoom in on betrayal and abuse: When I look at the long line of gentle nudges over fifteen years, inviting, challenging, asking and begging Peter Sandhill and then HAI to look at their shadow and take their shame off of me, so I could calm down from trauma, I see a little boy asking for help in clear, direct, honest words that were accurate and would have worked, had any single person chosen to respond. I knew what I needed, wanted, how much I was being hurt and why. And I asked for help. As this was ignored, lied about, betrayed, minimized and shamed, my voice got louder as my pain got louder. 

It was very difficult to write because I was at war with myself as my protector screamed "It's too dangerous to speak the truth," and my pain screamed "I'm going to die anyway if I don't get to the bottom of this so it's too dangerous to shut up any further. Shutting up is killing me."

When I finished it I sent it to Anne Watts, asking her for her objective thoughts. A few days earlier Anne had specifically asked me "Don't write to Jason Weston about this - he's really busy." Aside from the ongoing message that my life and health was a minor issue, or that the head of HAI should not be intimately involved in the care of someone damaged by facilitator negligence on a massive scale, the message was that Jason was too busy for my feelings - a questionable message for healers of a culture that if it has one obvious blind spot is it's sustained emotional literacy and belittling of feelings. None the less, I gave this to Anne and asked her not to share it with the other facilitators because I was trying to get my head straight. Anne instead shared it with Jason Weston without asking me and before talking to me about it, on the grounds that "HAI is my baby, and I was upset when I read it."

The letter had the desired effect. Anne was suddenly much more available. And Jason changed, unofficially, from being uninterested, to being unofficially interested. It might not be a "HAI" issue, but now it was important enough, having framed it in a way that I could publish and damage HAI's reputation, for Jason Weston to be in the loop. 

Questions: What is the best response to parents, leaders, therapists and doctors who harm their clients, patients, community and don't want to deal with it? What kind of message does it send to a child when we behave in a way that says: "Your feelings don't matter. Your health does not matter. But my reputation really, really matters." What does it do to the self-image of a person when they must manipulate to secure their survival? Are they are dirty person, as Peter Sandhill suggests, for manipulating? Is there something wrong with a healing environment in which a patient in a hospital is not given any blood transfusion unless the woman who needs it performs oral sex, or threatens to sue her? Is that a message that can calm down someone who feels terrified and alone, or does that behavior amplify the loneliness and the terror that becomes part of what turns trauma into PTSD?

Concern: I am alarmed that the facilitator body, over a fifteen year period has never responded pro-actively, honestly and effectively to insure my safety after facilitator abuse. Since I cannot take this personally, or believe I am singled out for this protocol, I do not believe that anyone dealing with similar issues is safer than I.
Suing For Best Practices at HAI