Reflection Questions Around Charlie’s Support System & Ongoing Attending to New Harms

A Table of Contents for all posts by Charlie’s pod, including the dates each article was published and a brief description of the contents of each post, can be found here

Given how relational this process is, we aren’t able to share every single question & process we’ve engaged in, but we want to share some easily digestible and reproducible parts of our work both for transparency as well as so people can draw inspiration from them in their own processes/reflections of accountability.

The following are questions our consultant posed to Charlie for formal writing and reflection in March, 2020. Since then, the entire team has been discussing these answers, we have been pushing Charlie on the answers and gaps, and all have been periodically reflecting/updating the document. As of August 2020, this is a document that’s still live and being updated (primarily the support system section, since the rest were more time-bound when initially shared).

Reflecting on Supports Outside Pod

  • Who are the people you trust and would show up for you if you were dealing with someone harming you (not as a paid peer or professional)? Who are the people you trust and would show up for you if you were grappling with harming someone else? What’s the overlap, if any, between the two groups?

(Once the initial answers were given, the additional questions were posed)

  • For the people you list as most skilled at calling you in for harm: what could they contribute? What feels helpful about their call-ins for you? (e.g. this person makes me feel very safe, this person is very no-nonsense, I have had conflicts with this person before and we have resolved it collaboratively, etc.)
  • For the people who are on this list as well as the list of people who colluded with you in harming your ex, can you speak more to why and how they’re being included here?
  • How have power dynamics (especially around race and gender, since we’ve found those to be particularly impactful in your case) possibly impacted your friends’ and colleagues’ abilities to lovingly challenge you? How do you plan to talk through these power dynamics with people in your support system?

(Once the initial answers were given, the additional questions were posed)

  • Noting that there is a theme to some of the people being on the nicer/more defensive of you/sugar-coating side, it’s especially critical to balance that with supportive people who are not like that. For the people that you name as no-bullshit/straight-shooters and ideal to call you in, how and when did they call you on these issues we’ve discussed here? If they didn’t, why do you think that was?
  • What are some of the obstacles each of these people would have in holding you accountable? (e.g. people who would go to bat for you and protect you from harm, and because they’re so focused on the protection, often miss out on the perspective of the other person given how much trust they place in your narrative. Or folks who are great at validation but are also quite hot-headed and liable to attack another person in doing validation for you.) Make a note for each person about the possible areas that might get them stuck in that process. Make a note of what kinds of aid they’d be particularly suited for. (This is basically inventorying a more ongoing support system and looking at it very critically to both set you up for success later as well as check in about what you’ve been learning and integrating through this process.)
  • How would you and/or have you explained this current accountability process to those people outside a “formal” email? How has the conversation with them about the process changed/evolved over time? For those you’ve told, how in the loop are they about what you’re doing?

Listening To Harm and Naming Patterns

  • Who are the people, in a day to day capacity, that have told you ways you’ve hurt them (be it small or large) in the last few months? What are some of the things they’ve brought up or noticed?
  • What are some “unrelated” instances where you notice yourself practicing the skills you’re learning here? What are you still struggling with?
  • What are some things from the pod that you hear being repeated/brought up multiple times through this process? What are some recurring themes or strategies for deflection and manipulation that you remember or have written down (without referencing the list of overall strategies and forms of harm we’ve drafted)? We’ve named specific maneuvers, particular strategies, etc. and it’s good to know what feels embodied or present in your brain without reference materials since being able to keep those things present is part of avoiding it in the future.