Reminders and unexpected consequences

Last week I posted about Felicity Goodyear-Smith’s involvement in ACC Sensitive Claims research.  The articles which prompted that post (ACC advisor silent on links to sex abusers (Sunday Star Times, 29 August, 2010), and here), have created debate amongst interested parties about whether Goodyear-Smith should have been involved in the research. There are two clear camps – those who believe she is the best person to carry out the research, and those who think she has potential conflicts of interest which should have excluded her from any involvement in ACC SCU.  There have been numerous blogs and websites advocating both sides of the issue, but rarely have the two camps directly conversed – mainly because it is obvious that two such opposing viewpoints will never come to any sort of agreement.

I got a hint of the emotions the topic stirred when I entered a Google Groups thread over the weekend.  I thought that as all participants were adults, it would be a reasoned debate.  Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case.  Insults were thrown and behaviour which could, at best, be described as creepy, at worst threatening, ensued.

As I had joined the discussion under my usual Google username, the people involved had the name “castorgirl”; and they used it.  They found this blog and used information about my suicide attempts to question my character and credibility.  I understand that all information on the Internet is fair game, but the use of this information scared the younger ones in the system.  All they saw, were aggressive men finding, and potentially hurting them.

This may seem like it caused havoc, and it did for awhile.  But from this event, some major shifts have occurred.

Firstly, I was able to maintain a sense of adult self, and was rarely reactionary on the forum.  I could see the behaviour of the people involved for what it was – diversionary and bullying.

Despite getting scared about the blog being found, I realised that by hiding the blog (I re-directed traffic to Google for a day), I was acting as if I was ashamed of what is contained here.  If I was ashamed of what is contained here, then I was ashamed of me.  This proved to be a tipping point in my thinking.  I began to question whether the shame belonged to me, or those who hurt me.  While I sometimes cringe at what is written here, it’s my place of safety.  By hiding it, I was questioning my healing and learning… not a good message to send to the rest of the system.  So, I removed the re-direct.

In addition to the drama on the forum, yesterday was both Father’s Day and the mothers birthday.  I managed to make it through the day by distracting.  But, as midnight rolled around, I became more fragmented and derealised.  By 1am a young one was actively keeping us awake through their hypervigilence.  There was enough awareness, that I was able to soothe this young one – repeating over and over that we’d stayed safe during the day and that the father was no longer going to hurt us.  That he lived far away and it was a different time and place to the one they remembered.

We eventually calmed, but this internal communication continued.  An unknown young one came forward and shared some of her experiences.  At first she gave distractions, but then revealed part of what had happened to her.  In what is a first for me, I identified this young one as part of me, and as needing empathy, love and caring.  I again realised that the shame was not hers/mine, but that of the father who hurt her/us/me.  We tried to see if she would go with Sophie to be cared for, but instead, she melted back into the shadows to be taken care of by One.

The pain of this young one, was what we took into therapy today.

Allison, to put it bluntly, was brilliant.  She encouraged us to pause in our telling of what happened, and to check the emotional response.  This allowing and acceptance, meant that another young one came forward to tell of her experiences with the father.

I was left shaking, yet in a place of acceptance.  There was still denial to try and counter what had been said, but it was not the overwhelming denial that there has been in the past.  It felt as if the denial belonged to the different parts of the system, rather than to me as a whole.

Oddly as it seems, I have the bullying behaviour of a group of men to thank for this shift.  Young ones realised that I was willing and able to protect them.  They didn’t see me as weak and unable to handle what they held.  They equated these men with the image of the father, and they saw the adult me standing up to them.  This is what many of them had been waiting for, some sign that I was strong and capable of protecting them.

So, I have Goodyear-Smith supporters to thank for helping me gain huge ground in my healing.  There’s an irony in that, which I find amusing.

The forum discussion reached an uneasy conclusion yesterday, with the publication of the latest article by Tim Hume (Sex abuse cuts ‘all about cost-cutting’) which indicates that ACC did know of the potential conflicts of interest regarding Goodyear-Smith, but commissioned her for the research anyway.

All in all, a very odd weekend.


Now playing: Louis Lortie – Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”: I. Adagio Sostenuto
via FoxyTunes


22 thoughts on “Reminders and unexpected consequences

  1. Oh wow, CG, these are amazing leaps forward. And, as you said, prompted by a most unusual source. And sounds like a hard, but progressive, session with Allison, too. Well done you! I’m really proud of you, and hope you are, too!

    *skipping a lil happy dance for you*


    • Thanks Kerro,

      It was a really difficult session… several times I was eyeing up the rubbish bin to see if I’d need to grab it suddenly… 🙂

      There were a couple of things I said in the forum I’m quite proud of, and I’m amazed at how the internal communication happened… so yeah, all in all… 😀

  2. I’m so sorry and it’s sad, what has happened in this forum. It’s first frightening and terrible, but people who act like them, are in fact cowards, who are incapable to argue in a objective form and therefore can do nothing else, than to threaten people which have a different opinion. That’s pathetic.
    You can be very proud how you have mastered this difficult situation and I’m so glad 🙂 that this young one begins to trust you and was able to tell some of the terrible things that has hurt her. It’s an incredible step forward, that this communication is now possible.
    Please stay strong and protect this young ones further, as you’ve done it your whole life.
    Take care
    S. (protector of the littles)

    • Hi S.

      Those of us who pointed out how the insults were being thrown, were assured that this was “standard practice” for the site, and that we just needed to get over it, or (preferably) leave. I know that people are different in their online behaviour to their real life, but it made me wonder how they treated people in their everyday life. Some of them used their real names in the forum, so they were quite willing to stand behind their insults.

      I was proud of some of the things I wrote 🙂 While the interchange was probably meaningless for the Goodyear-Smith supporters, it was really important for the system. It’s the first time I’ve had some clarity in my thinking for what seems like months.

      Take care and thank you,

    • Hi Annelise,

      I know you’re well read on the issues and will be aware of some of the attitudes that were faced in the forum… It can be interesting how each side can think they’re the most reasonable 🙂

      I was going to leave a note on your blog to let you know what was happening in the forum; but it really was quite nasty at times, so didn’t want to get you involved – besides, you had enough on your plate with the earthquake!

      How are you? I heard there were a couple of really big aftershocks last night. Hoping you’re safely away from the devastation. I still struggle to believe that the old buildings I’ve seen in my travels around Christchurch, are possibly beyond repair. Looking at the pictures, it’s amazing that no one was killed during the quake.

      Take care and keep up the good work 🙂

      • We are okay – physically anyway. The aftershocks are taking quite a toll. I was on my own for the first time since Friday night when a big one happened this morning, which really wasn’t fun. I sat in a doorway with the cat and bawled! Everyone in the region is on edge and lacking sleep. I was glad to hear they were bringing in some trauma counsellors. The timing (4.35am) was a miracle.

        As for the forums, you’re most welcome to vent your opinions about them on my blog! That’s precisely why I enabled comments – go anonymous if you like 🙂

        • Hi Annelise,

          I was thinking of you when I was driving into work and heard about the big aftershock this morning. I’m glad you had your cat there for some comfort. Bawling is good, if you need to, you need to.

          When I look at the pictures it takes my breath away. You’re right, timing was everything.

          I’m happy to put my online name to everything I have to say about the Google Groups experience. While I see your blog as a brilliant resource for those wanting to keep up to date with developments with ACC, I still see it as “your blog”. That means it gets treated with respect. I wouldn’t want to do anything to bring nastiness in your direction. Although as we’ve seen, you are famous on some websites 🙂

          I’m so glad you’re physically ok. I hope the aftershocks stop soon so you can settle down a little more emotionally too.

          Sending positive thoughts your way,

  3. Castorgirl, I’m so happy for you!!! You have needed this kind of progress. And I am convinced it’s not just from these recent events. This has been building because you have been shifting for a while, making huge efforts to learn new things about yourself. All the reasons you mentioned for the progress I think are so valid. Good for you!!!

  4. Good on you for standing up for yourself and your values.

    The internet, especially open forums, seems to bring the worst out of people when they debate their beliefs and they can get quite primal in their behaviour and responses. I suppose it it is a natural response to change and challenges to your world and people feel safer with outrageous comments due to the perception of anonymity the internet gives.

    BTW you have some very interesting photos on flickr.

    • Hi Ringonz,

      Some of the people on the forum used their real names, and some didn’t. But you’re right, people are more inclined to act differently when they have a sense of anonymity. It can also be easy to forget that there is a real person on the other end of the Internet connection.

      It was interesting when the participants read about my suicide attempts. There was no empathy or moral consideration as to whether that was a “no go” area. Instead they used it to try and discredit me. I wasn’t expecting any special treatment because of being a survivor, or having attempted suicide recently. But, I would hope that this is not how they treat those around them in daily life.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting – both on the post and my photos.

      Take care,

  5. I am speechless but in a good way! Wow! This may seem weird, but perhaps it won’t: I am SO proud of you! I can’t believe the incredible shift that happened for you and it’s wonderful! I totally agree with Paul, I think that this is something that has been building for you for a long time. Your younger parts were waiting for it and I bet they knew you could do it. AND you handled having an unknown part come out and share? You are amazing! I’ve learned the internet can be a horrible place when it’s used for bullying by people who have nothing better to do than tear others down or by the people who are the cause of many of the problems being discussed. There have been many times that I’ve just had to leave a forum, and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to avoid the whole thing. The people who bullied you are clearly sick in their own way and Karma’s a b%#*h so they should watch it.
    *Sending you the biggest hug I can imagine*

    • Hi tai,

      Thank you 🙂

      It’s changing so many things having this new awareness. I’m still finding my feet, and I know that I will falter along the way. But, I feel stronger and better able to make my way through what I have to face.

      I only went into the forum because I was interested in the issue being discussed. I don’t regret that decision. I was standing up for what I believe in. If necessary, I’d do the same thing again.

      Take care,

  6. Holy crap CG. No words can describe the horror I feel for what happened! Your experience has en-lighted me to not use my wordpress nick outside of wordpress. I’m really glad that you were able to pull the positives out of the event. It’s easy to be consumed by the negative -it’s awesome (and might I say kick-ass) that you were able to do so!

    • Hi Sanity,

      I’ve probably been using “castorgirl” for about 10 years now. I don’t mind using it, in that it is a consistent voice for me online – sort of like my online identity. But, just as there are benefits from having this consistency, there are also potential issues to be aware of.

      Thanks 🙂

      Take care,

  7. hi castor! 🙂 i’m so glad to see that you’re feeling safe enough to blog again and that you’ve had such progress as a result of the upsetting experience regarding the ACC debate.

    i’ve experienced something similar. at times, some of the worst triggering moments for me have been occasions i was able to transform into something very healing and make progress. it was unexpected, and hasn’t always been the case when upsetting things happen. but i’m so glad for you that this was your experience 🙂

    i can very strongly relate to what you said about shame and hiding your blog, and all the feelings about that and the conclusions it would have left for you internally, had you left it hidden.

    i think you and your blog are terrific and i’m happy to see you blogging again. but moreso, happy to see you feeling safe and strong enough to do so. not that hiding your blog wasn’t strong. i saw that as you protecting yourself, yet another sign of your strength.

    take care, all of you~~~ 🙂 safe hugs!

    • Hi katie,

      Thank you. I really appreciate your support.

      It would be good if the healing and transformation could occur without the triggers. But I think it’s the triggers which prompt the change. In this case, it made me re-evaluate how I viewed myself.

      Shame is a powerful emotion. It was incredibly liberating to realise that I had no need to feel ashamed about writing of my suicide attempts. They were a symptom of how I was at that time. If more people talked about the issues openly, maybe we wouldn’t have such high suicide rates in this country.

      Over the weekend I realised I could protect and hold my head up at the same time… Protecting doesn’t need to mean hiding or hurting myself; it can mean standing calmly and meeting peoples eyes.

      Sending warm hugs and positive thoughts,

  8. Those google groups do seem to attract some ugly people. It’s always interesting to me though that when people run out of intelligent or rational debate they turn to insults and stalking behaviours. In itself it serves only for others to see just what FGS and MENZ supporters are actually like. You were brave to enter and you can hold your head high…. as you fought them and WON (in every sense of the word)! So proud of you all CG!

    • Yes Lisa, the insults and stalking behaviours are indicative of the personalities involved.

      I wonder how much influence my being a female had on their attitude? There were two other people who were questioning FGS’s involvement, both (I think) were women, but I’m not sure. They both seemed to know a great deal about the issue – one said she was in the health profession, but didn’t indicate in what capacity. So, there was expertise and support around me that I was thankful for.

      Thank you 🙂

      Take care,

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