On Teachers and Healers

Written by on January 27, 2012 in The Healing Journey with 6 Comments

On the internet anyone can set up shop — anyone. From the incompetent to the skilled, from the toxic to the whole and healthy, from compassionate teachers to predators on the active hunt, all are found on the Web.

The incompetent can hurt you, but predators can tear your world apart.

We shouldn’t be alarmed it can be this dangerous online. Predators live in the physical world as preachers, priests, teachers, doctors, psychologists, police officers, coaches and scout leaders. They can be found prowling in any type of human services. They go where the prey is.

The people they come into contact with, potential victims, are usually vulnerable either through their age or circumstances. And because of the role they play and the trust their image engenders, the odds are stacked in the predator’s favor. Why would they not utilize the internet, where it’s even easier to hide behind an image or persona?

In the on-line support group, you will find some of the most vulnerable people, which sometimes leads to other people taking advantage of that. Not all of them are predators, but it’s expedient to be mindful of them anyway.

The important thing to remember is to not give your power away, even if you feel you have none. You do! It’s a matter of reclaiming it and then nurturing it.

Learn, explore, consider, but NEVER substitute another person’s voice for your own. No matter how much you are hurting or how dysfunctional you think you are, the bottom line is, you are responsible for your own self and you know yourself best.

A true healer is never verbally abusive…Not even for your own good! Proceed slowly, pay attention to your instinct, and if it doesn’t feel right, leave. If someone is offended you are questioning them, they are NOT the right person for you! This goes for both on-line and off-line help.

Do consider, in good faith, other people’s perceptions and suggestions, but don’t let someone tell you you’re in denial if you don’t follow them. It’s better to keep your power and make mistakes, than to give up your power and let someone else make all the “right” choices for you.

To me life is for learning, and teachers are invaluable. Everything around me, every person has something to teach, something to offer if I am a perceptive enough student. But for me, credentials don’t in and of themselves tell me all that much about an individual. And neither do years of experience…if they can even be verified.

And verify you should — anything, everything you can. Google the name of anyone in a teacher or authority position, if you have it. See if there are any reviews of their services or any complaints. You’d be surprised at what you can find. Proceed with caution with those teachers and healers who use only pseudonyms on-line.

We may have to be careful about whom we call “teacher”, but we have to be even more careful about our tendency to deify those who teach us. That’s where the real problem comes in. We may not think of it in terms of deification. We may scoff at the absurdity of the idea. BUT if you stop questioning, if you start substituting their perception for your own, if you abdicate your ability and responsibility to make your own decisions, then yes, that is a kind of deification that you are conferring on someone else.

Empathy, the ability to listen, generosity of spirit, the willingness to share, a sense of security that allows others to question you, and open-mindedness, the attitude that recognizes that others, including those who seem less qualified or experienced might have something to offer, are all traits I greatly admire in a friend…and teacher. Though the roles are different, the values and character are not.

In addition to skill and expertise, there are questions that must be answered
satisfactorily before I proceed or continue with a teacher.

  • Can I question them, not just for clarification, but can I question what they teach if something doesn’t quite sit right with me?
  • Do they see it as an opportunity to delve further into what they believe or understand or do they react as if I just personally criticized them?
  • Do they have an inner circle of friends who surround them? What are they like? Is this inner circle fluid with permeable barriers, welcoming to others? Or are they more like a pack of guard dogs ready to pounce on someone who offends or threatens?
  • Does the teacher use or permit their inner circle of friends to attack others for them.
  • How transparent is the teacher in their relationship with those they interact with or through the organization, corporation, business or forum they run?

Some of the answers to these questions will more readily reveal themselves than others. Be mindful of them, and don’t ever be lulled into justifying any infractions or red flags — I don’t care how good the information or support they’ve given you. Be very careful about rationalizing bad behavior.

Own your power. Develop your expertise.
You’re a lot stronger and a lot wiser than you realize. Look to your therapist or counselor or healer, both on-line and off, as a partner that you can hire or fire, or simply walk with or away from. Be mindful of the opinions of friends and family you respect, and seek the company of those who have something positive to offer. Consider the views of others, because they’re not standing right in your shoes and can see what you might not be able to.

But, also listen to your inner feelings, your growing ability to discern more accurately, precisely because other people aren’t standing in your shoes, and don’t have access to the rich resources of your inner wisdom as you do.

Sometimes the question is not whether someone else knows more, but whether or not you are becoming more of what you can be. And no one can tell you that but you.

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. "For the Sake of Love” is her collection of songs written on Demian's healing journey, and “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” is a children’s book she wrote for her daughter about the interconnectedness of life published by Illumination Arts and endorsed by Jane Goodall. Currently, Demian is working on recording episodes for her podcast and writing on the "Where There's Smoke Series on Covert Abuse". .

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  1. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    This is an excellent article. EXCELLENT. I’d like to share it on my page. Thank you so much for posting this. BTW: Great page! Very informative!

  2. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    BTW, I’d like to add something to your wonderful article, via personal experiences with online support groups. I avoid, like the plague those with a “hierarchy”. This is why i choose to be the only admin on my page. When there are others involved, particularly when it comes to abuse and/or the world of pathology, I’ve found victims being re-victimized over and over again because they say something or feel something that the Admins do not like, particularly if they DO NOT AGREE with it. It’s appalling. I know of huge online forums where a hierarchy exists and those running it are very narcissistic. If you observe awhile, you can see this. There is paranoia, labeling, silent treatments, abandonment. VERY unheatlhy environments. I can’t say that ALL the admins are narcissists necessarily, but I DO know a few who are, and those that are apart of the hierarchy blindly follow the leader of the forum. There are other forums that become very popular and have a hierarchy with those who were well intentioned but get caught up in ego. I encourage the members of my page to check out OTHER pages. Different perspectives can be very helpful in the healing process. There isn’t just ONE page that “does” it for everyone. I, personally, am not about numbers and could care less. If just one finds hope and healing with the support of my page, then it gives meaning to the experiences I’ve had. God Bless you and I hope your page thrives.

  3. Covert Bullying (Abuse) says:

    Thank you! And very nicely said, Path to Peace. 🙂 I know that without other women sharing in forums, and not just a few men as well, I don’t think I would have been able to wipe the film from my eyes to see and finally leave my situation.

    Hearing the experiences of other people and having mine validated saved my sanity in the long ensuing months after I left.

    Having said that, it’s also, true that I have witnessed some of the worst kinds of psychological abuse in some of those very forums.

    Victims being re-victimized is, unfortunately, a much too common occurrence. And as you said it’s usually because they DISAGREE with forum leaders or simply – *gasp* – make other choices! It’s amazing to me.

    I think your decision to have one admin for your page is wise. I, too, have made the same choice, partly also because if anyone is going to be responsible for this page I will assume that responsibility.

    Thank you for your kind words. Like you, I’m not interested in numbers either. I’m interested in quality and depth of sharing. I really look forward to exploring your page and am so glad our paths have crossed! Blessings

  4. The Path To Peace-Recovery From Psychopathic Manip says:

    CB, I just read this. WONDERFUL! I keep addressing this issue on my page, but not in the way you have here. I completely agree with you, but just know that because someone is alone admining a page doesn’t mean they aren’t pathological too. Some of them REEEEALLY love a following and watch their numbers like hawks! They often use it as springboards for books and/or other blogs, etc. I’m not interested in any of that. I’d rather be wise, then be a victim again 🙂 So glad you’re here too!

  5. Covert Bullying (Abuse) says:

    Oh, you’re right about that about the lone admin doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t pathological. Sometimes we draw conclusions to attributes that really don’t have anything to do with anything don’t we? But still, it’s good to be mindful of those clues that MIGHT tell us something.

    I, also, need to tell you that I AM writing a book. I’m very much a creative person, but it’s passion and principle driven. It only took me 14 years(!) to finally release my first CD (and looks like another 14 years for my second if there will ever be one!). And I’ve been working on a manuscript for relational aggression for more years than I can think of now.

    I decided to start posting parts of my manuscript as I work on it on my new blog to inspire me to keep up with it. I just do better if I feel like I’m in dialogue with someone as oppose to just writing to myself. And if I know someone is reading or expecting the next “installment” then I am more likely to write and publish rather than if I were just waiting on my own virtues to be timely. I am SUCH a procrastinator *sigh*

    Having said that, this page is put together for sharing of ideas, for “passing it along” as it were, because my own life was saved by the words others have had the courage and generosity of spirit to share on the web. So if I can help, then that makes me happy.

    And you are wise 🙂

  6. Covert Bullying (Abuse) says:

    …passing it forward, I mean

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