I enjoyed the conference so much and it was everything that I expected and more. I have learned so much from the workshops and awesome peeps there and I hope it's not inappropriate if I share with you guys some of the things that opened my eyes. There were so many awesome workshops and I wish I could've attended all of them - well maybe not all. It was also really nice to connect with peeps I've meet throughout other WoRs. There's so much information, and a lot more emotions that I need to process, but I'll try to share what I can recall.
Mike Lew's workshop on Thursday was a mind boggling one. He shared some of his views on masculinity and how patriarchical stereotypes, of how boys are supposed to act and feel, have influenced our coping mechanisms. But most importantly, he shared that the reason why we have a hard time getting in touch with our emotions is because we're taught to only recognize only one emotion at a time. This made so much sense because we are complex organisms and I have to agree that sometimes I feel a gamut of emotions, especially when I act out or beat myself up. From a recovery standpoint, I can apply this concept when I feel triggered and address any and all emotions, as opposed to just tackling the primary one.
There was actually a funny moment when I was a reading off a list of common characteristics that myself and 6 other survivors came up with. I took the initiative to read our list after about 15 minutes and after other group representatives read their list, I started reading mine. I was also the one who wrote the common characteristics on this really big piece of paper and I was reading it off one by one. Finally, I came across the item "Need to be heard" but what I actually wrote was "Need to be hard" and fortunately I caught that typo right before I read it out loud. Uggghhhh! I was like so embarassed n' stuff...
The one exercise that just blew me away was a role playing exercise. One of my previous therapists suggested doing it but I was in no way, shape, or form to do it. I probably shouldn't get into specifics but we were given instructions to partner up with another person and take turns asking and answering two questions, while imagining the question was coming from the person who sexually abused us. Mike also suggested refraining from using possesive sentences like "my abuse" or "my abuser". Also, when all of us took turns verbalizing our goals, he requested several survivors to phrase it into a declaration, versus a question. Kinda falls along the line that it's not what you say, but how you say it that will make a message most effective. Anyways, the role playing exercise was a really intense exercise and a lot of members were visibly affected emotionally because verbalizing suppressed feelings is just so cathartic and it caught some guys off guard who were expecting a seminar type workshop where all you did was just listen to a lecture.
There also so many things I want to share like how anger is really a form of suffering from an earlier trauma like embarassment or rejection. If you really analyze why you're angry, you can probably trace the energy back to an experience in childhood. In fact, anger is probably a shroud that masks other emotions and if you can process all of the emotions and recognize that suffering, you can probably change your reaction to other similar stimuli that got you angry in the first place. It was an "Ah-ha!" moment and it just really clicked with me.
I also attended this one workshop on EMI™ (Eye Movement Integration) and it was just awesome!! The specialist asked this one volunteer a series of questions and he pointed out how his responses were initiated by how and where his eyes moved. For example, the specialist asked the guy if he can remember what his house looks like and the guy first looked at a particular direction before answering the question. Depending on the question, the specialist stated that when we're asked about a disturbing memory for example, our eyes look down and to the right. I don't really quite remember because I was dissociating n' stuff. So depending on the question, there's a discernable pattern on how each of us access our memories, based on where and how our eyes move. After the specialist asked a series of questions, he stated that he 'mapped' out the guy's cognitive thingies. There so much more but I'm sure you guys don't wanna hear about it...
That's all for now doods. I'll share more when I remember things n' stuff.