There was a person in my group that was sharing in a manner that made me feel uncomfortable. It had to do with the level of sharing. They were sharing details, including nudity, that I felt would have been more appropriate for a share with a trusted individual.
I tried talking to the person one-on-one and they did not agree with me. They felt that they should not have to censor their sharing. So we agreed to discuss it with the group. We had never really discussed this before. In fact, many of us had never thought about it. So our original discussion was just that, a discussion, and we left it for people to think about.
This was hard for me. I was feeling unsafe and I wanted this person to agree to share in a more general manner, but they were holding firm, sharing that they didn’t want to have to censor themselves.
I did not go back the next week because I was feeling unsafe and needed some space. Then I got COVID so I was away for a bit. During that time I put together my feeling of being unsafe with the fact that my abuser is in the hospital and might be dying. This was making my reaction stronger. So I gave myself permission to not be comfortable with this person and I am not judging myself but instead taking care of me.
As I take care of me, the intensity of the feelings have subsided. I have returned to two meetings and due to the magic of Zoom, I can simply mute this person. For me, it is what I need to do right now and how wonderful to have that as an option.
Still, if I am feeling uncomfortable then others might be too. I love my group and I want to stand up when needed, even though it is hard. As I think about it, I believe that we all choose things to discuss at the group and things to share with a trusted individual. Articulating that line is not easy but it is helpful to realize that there is one. We all censor, even if we don’t realize that we do.
We will be having a business meeting at the end of this month and I am planning to re-open the topic and make a motion that we add a line to our crosstalk statement to address the level of sharing. I am going to suggest that we adopt this guideline: “When sharing, please remember that all members are responsible for the impact our words can have on others in the group”.
We’ll see what happens at the next business meeting but I already feel much better. I thought I would feel guilty for muting this person but it is working really well. And, I feel good for going back to the group and letting them know that I believe that if someone is feeling uncomfortable and has enough courage to share that, we can try to consider that when we share.
Maybe the person will listen and maybe they won’t but I will feel better for doing it. It matters and it is what I believe is the unspoken level of sharing that our group already has. Basically, yes, we censor and we care about each other. We take care of the magical, spiritual place that we create at an ACA meeting.