On December 17th, the two of us (Sam Savage & Lee Harrington) were slated to lead two classes on “What Keeps Us in the Shadow: Addressing Harm, Abuse, and Bullying in Metamour Relationships.” After hard discussions, the two of us have agreed to postpone this class until when it can be run either in person, or when sourcing touch is an opportunity available to more attendees.
After our first of these discussions (this was intended to be a series of three discussions), Sam and I discussed that even for those of us whom these issues are years in the past, talking about any sort of trauma can bring feelings to the forefront. This can be especially true when pertaining to topics that an attendee may have never had a chance to talk about before, or concerning topics they have never had peers to connect with over. Niche polyamory topics thus effect both of these. Very few people who have experienced bullying, harm, or abuse between or from a partner’s partner have gotten to talk about these issues with others of such experience.
In this current time, there are many of us who cannot source touch as a tool for emotional regulation. Though there are a great many tools for seeking comfort or safety (including this fantastic way to examine Routes to Safety by Jake Ernst, MSW that we both recommend), touch can be an important one for some. Even sharing spaces to co-regulate without touch can allow for grounding and solidity when feeling emotionally activated. Not having access to a major route of regulation and safety can affect a lot of us when trying to calm or balance ourselves.
Even for those of us who have not directly experienced the types of harm discussed in our topic, these topics can be emotionally activating. This is true whether we are attendees or presenters. And these topics affect the two of us teaching, so we will honor that. This includes honoring that we are choosing to step back from these hard discussions until such a time when we can run them in person, and/or have access to a more touch-diverse/connected world.
We have deep appreciation for the attendees of our first discussion on the topic, “Naming the Shadows.” You all shared such deep and personal experiences, and we value your gift to each other and to us. For those who could not make it we would like to share a copy of the PowerPoint we used to lay out the issues at hand. You can download it at http://www.bit.ly/metamourharm
Thank you again for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you for this discussion in 2021.
Sam Savage, MSW & Lee Harrington
She/her & he/him