Years of personal and professional experience have taught me this: your trauma history will continue to follow you and show up throughout your life until you are ready to fully process and heal from it. It is all too common to think and believe that we are done with healing from a past experience only to find out that there is still more remaining to heal, learn and grow from. One sign of that healing is that you find some way to be triumphant when facing similar situations. The following is my honest open and vulnerable account of what happened to me recently that once again had me face some hurtful events in my past that I assumed I was “done” with.
I share this story openly for several reasons. First because one side of this story has already been widely publicized. I have taken my time to respond publicly in this way. Secondly, for me I realized that writing this is part of my overcoming and being triumphant in my own healing journey. Third, is to inspire others especially women, to use their voice and not stay silent. A few months ago a colleague of mine asked to speak to me. I put her on speaker as Craig and I were in the kitchen making coffee. After a few warm greetings all around she said, “I have to tell you that Gary Williams is doing it again. But now he’s gone too far this time and he exposed himself to a client.” She then explained how it had happened to her and others over the years. At that moment a voice that surely wasn’t my own uttered, “Well, sure, as it happened to me too.” Craig nearly choked on his coffee when he heard me say that out loud and he just stared at me as if saying, “Surely you jest”. I got off the call determined to put a stop to this in some way. An ethical line had been crossed for me. I pride myself on promoting tapping through safe and ethical practices and knowing this had been done to a client was not acceptable.
Trauma capsules are strange creatures aren’t they? Trauma capsules, (aka dissociation capsules named traumatologist Robert Scaer, MD) describe how the details of a traumatic event (sights, smells, sounds, event details etc. get consolidated and in essence encapsulated into long term subconscious memory) Here I was admitting to myself and to my husband what I had completely dissociated from. We compartmentalize, bury deeply, ignore, rationalize but not really forget the most horrible things that happen to us. Here I am trainer of trauma and yet when it happened to me I went through all the predictable patterns. It now fascinates me to see how my brain had created a dissociation trauma capsule around. The last few months have been a true opportunity to firsthand heal from events that many women are also struggling to do in these times.
Let me explain what actually happened. Gary Williams was a friend. Gary (not to be confused with EFT founder Gary Craig) was the creator of the EFT World Magazine and the EFT Hub. In his prime, his online presence was quite strong and he interviewed all the top tapping professionals in the world. I lost count of how many interviews Gary conducted with me. One day about 6 or 7 years ago I was talking to Gary via Skype. He had a full video camera which showed his entire body, which looking back on now should have told me something. He happened to be wearing a bathrobe which also should have tipped me off to something weird. At one point in the call he opened his legs so that I saw his penis. At no point did he stop talking and within a few minutes he closed them again. In that moment the shock was such that I thought “Did that really just happen? Was that intentional? Was it an accident?” Trauma capsule creation initiated and stored deeply into my brain.
Fast-forward two years later and we are in England teaching EFT. Gary suggested we teach in a town near his home. He met us when we arrived, invited us for tea with his partner, and the rest of the trip was pleasant enough. As they had arranged for the venue and we considered them friends and we took them out for dinner several times and spent more personal time with them than anyone else we know in the U.K. Upon our return both Craig and I received some strange emails and messages from him. He accused us of being rude and told me that we hadn’t spent enough time with them. A short while later another colleague of mine told me that he had extorted money from her. I decided that for those reasons I would cut off all communication with him. He emailed, he left messages, he pleaded with me to contact him but I absolutely refused to. The strength of that conviction to block him out of my life completely should have been an indication of the earlier trauma with him but I remained unconscious until that morning in the kitchen.
One of the things we stress in our work is the importance of working with skilled trauma-informed certified EFT practitioners. Not only are you more likely to receive a good outcome but you also have recourse should you find yourself in a sticky situation ethically. Gary is not part of our accredited EFT organization so there was little I could do regarding reporting. After speaking with attorneys about my best course of action I decided to write a letter and have my colleague in the U.K. send it as a registered letter for documentation. I sent the letter via email to Gary as well. The client involved, my colleague and I signed the letter which asked that he completely step away from the tapping and healing community or we would have no choice but to go public with what had happened to us.
Gary acknowledged receiving the letter and said he would work on shutting down his Facebook community and websites. He also wrote an explanation as to why he felt it had been okay to expose himself to us. He stated that he did it to me because I had showed him a sex toy (more on that later). He also insisted that we reveal the names of other women who were now coming forward with similar stories. I refused to give him those names and said that I expected him to act immediately. A few months went by. Some internet investigative work ensued and I came to the realization that he was actually just moving websites or hiding his identity on his Facebook communities in an effort to hide them from me. Finally I told him he had a few more days until I went public with my account on social media.
A few hours later Gary, pretending to be his partner, went on social media and proceeded to post lies about me, once again making reference to a sex toy I revealed to him. That story was then emailed, (again by Gary Williams but signed as his partner), to almost everyone I know in the higher echelon in the tapping community. Name someone you’ve heard of and they probably got that letter! Those that personally know me and my integrity reached out immediately saying how sorry they were that this was happening. Some offered to support the growing list of women who he had done this with. Others told me later that they just deleted it, attributing to a sign of mental health issues. In total, 10 women have come forward as having experienced various levels of exposure by him. Others felt they could now face what had happened to them by their other personal healing arts practitioner. These reports from other women affirmed that I had made the right choice. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but in the end I would do it again to save another unsuspecting client from dealing with that kind of behavior.
Oh, now for addressing the “sex toy” bit. One day my girlfriend went into a vintage shop on our island where she found an antique vibrator and bought it for me as a gag gift as I was in the middle of completing my book How to Want Sex Again. Please imagine an apparatus the size of a hairdryer with metal attachments on the end. This thing was so old and worn that I plugged it in once and it started to emit smoke! I would routinely bring it out during talks related to female sexuality and hysteria. So yes during an interview with Gary I did show him that sex toy and that is how truth is distorted in the mind of someone with an addiction.
Now for the fascinating thread of how trauma continues to show up in a person’s lifetime. The incident with Gary Williams was in fact a recapitulation of several times in my teen years where men exposed themselves to me, which I recount in more detail in my book. Amazing how strong the “compulsion to repeat the trauma” as a phenomenon is.
I want to once again take this opportunity to thank everyone who reached out to me during the last few months, whether it was to offer help to me or the other women affected – I couldn’t have asked for a more loving community to be a part of.