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A few thoughts on calling in, calling out, white feelings and safe spaces

by Confluence
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By: Sara Rhiannon

We can be trauma-informed AND also be extremely clear about what matters most.

Let’s say I was a relationship counselor and a couple came to see me with a history of abuse..

(If you think this analogy is too extreme then quit reading now, because I personally don’t think it’s extreme enough.)

And let’s say that the abuser says they’re committed as absolute fuck to doing whatever it takes to show up, dismantle their abusive behaviors, learn new ways of being and repair the relationship with their partner.

(You’d probably be hesitant AF to even believe them in the first place, am I right?)

All of that said, let’s say we VERY cautiously believe said past abuser.

And that said, even though we cautiously believe them, let’s say we are competent enough to put our own biases aside and genuinely hold a space of rooting for them and their transformation.

Aside from all the paperwork and documentation of previous incidents and lord knows what else..

Here’s how I would go about this and here’s what my commitment would be:

1. Be explicitly clear that the safety of the person who was abused is always my number one priority. Period.

(I would also literally bring as many hands on deck as possible to do whatever I could possibly do to ensure the safety of the person who had been abused.

Point being, keeping that person alive would be my top priority. Period.)

2. Be explicitly clear to the past abuser that while I am deeply committed to creating as safe and healing of a space as possible for them to show up and do the work, they will likely not always FEEL safe…and that’s okay.

I’d do my absolute best to help them understand the difference between being safe and FEELING safe.

I’d help them make decisions ahead of time for what to do in moments when shame arises and they don’t feel safe.

In fact, I wouldn’t be willing to take them on as clients unless I knew the past abuser was capable of learning this.

If they weren’t I’d probably suggest they both go about their healing journeys separately.

Because, literally, the safety of the other person would be dependent on the abuser’s ability and willingness to learn that skill, among other things.


Yes, folks need to feel safe to do the work.

And? When we have caused harm, we don’t always “feel” safe.

Our self-trust is rightfully called into question.

We feel bad.

We inevitably feel ashamed of ourselves and our past behavior.

We cringe at the realization that we’ve been abusive without even knowing it.

We cringe at the realization that we caused harm in ways we didn’t even realize we were capable.

Because being harmful was never our intention.

We realize that the paradigm our old sense of self-trust was built on needs to be burned down so that a new foundation of self-trust can be built.

We need to skillfully learn how to separate our inherent worthiness and goodness from our past harmful (and yes, even abusive) behavior SO THAT we can be responsible for it from a non-shaming lens.

Black lives literally depend on us becoming anti-racist.

Learning how to discern between being safe and feeling safe is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is what I personally think of when I hear the saying white feelings can not ever matter more than black lives.

And again, being trauma-informed is important, but it is not enough and it is NOT more important than becoming as anti-racist as possible.

Side note: yes, I know there are a lot of other nuances to unpack here. Because, yes there are assholes in all spaces, but if that’s what you’re more focused on then you’ve missed the point here.

Another side note: I am not an educator on any of this, I’m just a white and privileged as fuck hypnotherapist sharing what I see.


Sara Rhiannon is a certified hypnotherapist, parenting coach and life coach. For the last three years she’s helped hundreds of clients transform their subconscious minds and create incredible results in their lives and businesses. She’s helped clients deeply shift their subconscious money beliefs to create their first $5k months, their first $10k months and even scale from consistent $40k months to $50k months.  She’s helped women heal from emotional, physical and sexual trauma they never imagined would be possible to fully resolve. She has also helped many clients overcome fear of public speaking, fear of flying, panic attacks as well as a laundry list of fears and phobias.  She specializes in helping women forever heal trauma, shame and anxiety so that they can create the results they want in life and business


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