**DISCLAIMER: In this episode, we will be talking about sexual assault and abuse. If those topics are triggering for you, please proceed cautiously. **
Hey everyone, in this episode I interviewed a soul spirit of mine (it seems), the lovely and very self-aware Robyn Clegg-Gibson of the IG account @encounterswithmen.
I am so happy that she decided to be on the show and thankful she was so open and honest about her life and where she is now and how she plans to evolve the work on her IG feed.
In this episode, we will discuss:
This episode is longer than most and I cut a fair bit but wanted to provide as many nuggets as possible to those who are unpacking their stuff and healing as a result. You are not alone.
If you or someone you know is battling sexual assault or trauma, I urge you to seek help here.
Stay safe out there, friends! Here is the link to some online AA meetings.
And as always, thank you for listening to my lovely show. If possible, I would love for you to review me on iTunes, Google, Stitcher -- anywhere, really.
If you have comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up via the ways below! And sign up for my mailing list. I do like to do giveaways from time to time.
Hello, my name is Cynthia, welcome to the latest episode of getting together a podcast where we discuss what it's like to get it all the way together or at least attempt to one day at a time. Hello, everyone, my name is Cynthia Wright and welcome to the latest episode, I am joined today with the lovely Robin Clegg Gibson, and she runs the phenomenal Instagram feed encounters with men, I found out about her just I think I actually someone tapped me or tagged me in wanting her posts, and then I just kind of went overboard and just looked at so many of your stories from different people that have deemed you and things that you've shared about yourself. And, and just really, I guess it's one of those things where it felt nice to not feel alone. But at the same time very heartbreaking that so many of us have these stories to tell. But for those that haven't had the opportunity to really look at her feed, please do. She talks a lot about inequality, awareness, very intersectional very inclusive. And I've always I just learned a lot just getting exposed to your feed and what you're trying to bring to the audience. So I would love for you to just give a little rundown and introduce yourself if you don't mind. Yeah. So hi, I'm Robin, as you said, I run encounters with men. And I started the page just basically, because I was so fed up, I felt like there's not a lot of places to talk about our experiences, honestly, offline. And I didn't see a lot of places really where we could online. But I know it's the kind of things where we caught if we started something. So that's what I went ahead and did just one day can't lie, I was so angry, and my sister had been assaulted on a night out, I was livid. And like, right, that's it, it's time, I thought for a little while, like I need to start talking about some of this stuff, we all just carried it alone. And that's a really big shame. And it doesn't generate any change when we're basically keeping secrets for perpetrators. So I wanted to do that. But the page has also developed from a story sharing platform where people would just dm in their encounters with men as I as the page is called. And I noticed that there was a lot of trends in the submissions, I was noticing a lot of patterns. And I realized that I have a really unique insights, a lot of I don't like treating it as data, but a lot of information that could be analyzed. So I've done a little bit of that I've tried to look for some other type of patterns that can help us to target change in society in a useful way. And like to step beyond just creating awareness. So I've run a few campaigns along those lines, especially looking at like our relationships to the predators, how old were we when these types of things have happened to really undo a lot of the ideas about, you know, victim blaming and those types of things? And then more recently, I've really been looking into trauma and trauma responses, because that's something that is absolutely part and parcel of these types of experiences. And often, you know, encounters with men, if they're going to be negative take the route of sexual harassment and assault. And obviously, that's deeply traumatizing. I mean, it's traumatizing anyway. But those things really matters. And in looking at the way that trauma responses are so valid, what are often used to manipulate it into suggesting our assault wasn't valid by the wrong people. Just really, I feel like I've bubbled. But it's gone from a story sharing platform into lots of stats and conversations and trauma as well. Yeah. And I just I I'm curious, like if you wanted to go more into like, anything that you found, like when it comes to patterns, and especially trauma responses, I'm definitely really interested in that how it kind of opened up your world or your experience I know that you have your your thing your your assault, your sister was assaulted, and I hope she's doing much better, of course, how has what you started and the campaign's you run impacted you directly. And I think these things for me personally, is I have such a harsh handle on myself things that I know, I can't like deeply apply to sort of the way that I innately understand myself in relationship to the world. I I was assaulted at a really young age by a cousin who just not conveniently for this type of conversation with a female. She is the same age as me, which just also makes this a lot more complicated. For others with that it just deeply changed the way that I view myself from a really young age and at an age that we can't like regulate those thoughts. We can critique them so I feel like deep within me is this idea. Well, it's like it's not it's more than an idea, because consciously my ideas know that it wasn't my fault. Like, I know that I'm not dirty, I know that I don't deserve everything I get and those types of horrible narratives. But I know that the narratives that a lot of survivors really share. And as people speak to me, I always take the times give them a lovely response, just picking up on whatever it is that they've said they feel and reminding them that actually, No, it isn't your fault. You aren't the common denominator, you don't attract these weirdos. And I realized actually, that these are things that I could be taking more time to say to myself. And because I'm just so harsh, I don't give myself permission to to really, if I'm, you know, if I'm down for a day, I'm always like, No, no, you know, get get down. We're back on it. And that's not reasonable. I'm such a huge advocate for permission for the people. Just give yourself permission, you grieve and you grieve in like, what could have been and that's the biggest thing to grieve and all that possibility that we feel like we've lost, and I give out great advice to people and forget to give it to myself. Yes, yes. I think that's always the hardest to try to say like, Oh, I mean, because I've been in similar boat with you, like give, just shout the great advice. But then if someone's like, we'll take that and apply to you. And I'm like, I have no idea what you're talking about. Like what? Like, no, that's not how this works. But from what you said, and I'm sorry for what happened to you as well. But you said that it changed how you viewed yourself, did you outside of being overly critical. And I think something that a lot of people we I feel like when something has traumatic has happened, I know that I have struggled with this as learning how to be more self compassionate to myself. And I think when I did learn that actually, I'm, I'm in my 30s. But I didn't learn that into my way into my 30s until I really I got sober and was in recovery. And I learned about self compassion, forgiveness, and like, you can't really extend yourself like the week that you want to until you really start to handle your own stuff. But from your viewpoint, how did you act out in any sort of way outside of like the whole, not knowing not being compassionate to yourself not taking that time that you needed to be as kind to yourself as you were to other people? Did you? Like how did that resonate? And then what or how did that show itself? I should say, Yeah, no, it showed itself in really, really self destructive ways. And, you know, that happened at a really early age and a whole load of things sort of mashed together, really, I had a dreadful relationship with my dad and he was quiet blues very emotionally abusive, to put that lightly, at times physically, but most of that was around me rather than with me with my family members. And all those those particular things because they were in my formative years created this weird cycle of me being an absolutely gross human who didn't deserve anything nice was the cause of all the world's problems, not just my own, and then this cycle, where actually that nothing I did was good enough. And I could do anything I wanted, I would still be in big trouble. And it was a cycle that then with other types of sexual assault later on, which I i've been sexually assaulted more times than I would even like to count really abusive relationships. I realized that the best way I mean, not at home, thankfully. But the best way with those types of people was sex to stay safe. If I gave them what they wanted. If I just said yes to everything, appeased them 100% of the time, maybe I would be safe. So I would just offer sex to any friend. Literally not offer it. It was like as soon as it became on the cards I became available. Yeah, I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. I totally get it. Yeah. And yeah, and just thinking like sex men worth and a safe and weird, weird relationship with Max in every single way. And then obviously, that fed back into the guilt cycle, which meant that I needed to make myself feel good. Someone also, you know, where's my wife? Oh, it's sex. So if I go back out again, and then I'll freely share again and just go around in this huge cycle until I got into this really dreadful relationship when I was 19. With a definite psychopath, a definite psychopath. Who's now in prison. Well, Oh, okay. This is trigger one in time. He's in prison because he stopped me and oh, yeah, just normal normal day to day relationship stuff. And I'm sorry No, I'm really I'm glad he's away. I'm glad he got put away Yeah, same here. He's not the kind of guy who I mean I'm open to it but he's not the kind of guy who I would think just needs a bit of like rehabilitation and and can carry on he needs he needs some serious help. Yeah, I'm glad he's a man and up in that situation. And I would say that was my most rock bottom. I definitely went to sex after that as my as my crotch perhaps, and just felt like gross because that was that was a different type of violation of my body. It was one that I've never experienced before, thankfully. And I just I was just looking at myself and thinking like me, it This isn't it, like whatever this is this He's not it, then I was just in denial. But I was just acting out using sex as a way to be vicious towards myself and probably towards other people. Do you see? So do you see like sex as a form of like maybe like an addiction or anything like that, because I clued in to the fact that you said like your rock bottom, which is key and like a lot of the recovery circles and stuff that I'm in. And I also have had, I've had a lot of, I mean, I mean, anyone who knows me and knows the show, like I talked about my, my addiction from alcohol, but I've also had a lot of stuff like food and sex was one another one for me. And I really tapped into what you're saying about like you having that being your worth, or seeing that as your worth, because that's what I thought I could offer, if I can be like a friendly shoulder to lean on and for you to vent to, and give you my advice, I would also wanted you to like me, then I thought that was all I could do was offer upside to, like, you know, even if I didn't want it, even if I didn't like necessarily like you, but I wanted you to like me or felt like that's all I had to value was that. So I was curious to see. And I later come to realize that that was just a cycle of another addictive type of cycle. For me, none of that stuff actually resonated with me until I stopped drinking, because a lot of it was for me, I would do these these self destructive patterns, whether it was like food, or whether it was sex and using my body or having my body be used, basically. And then I would hide an alcohol because I didn't want to face or didn't really want to face like, you know why I treated myself this way or why I allowed these things or why I felt that this was the only way I was going to be useful to people. And my rock bottom was of course with alcohol but then it triggered like all this other stuff that I also had to realize during the course of being sober just like how my body was just a I guess like a breeding ground for just fucked up shit for such a long time. Yeah, yeah, that completely resonates with me. I think that that addictive cycle and any sort of feels my we kind of trauma bond with our own own self destructing. That way, I think that we that we it sort of feels right to have trauma present in our body because we're so conditioned to accept it. And that to feel like it's normal. Because, you know, as I said, home was quite volatile, like volatility feels like the presence of something and content nurses kind of the opposite is the absence of any sort of elation. It's the absence of any sort of rock bottom, you know, heartbreaking situation and, and sitting with contentedness is is actually really difficult when you've been through loads of shit. And I would often feed into that, like, I'm feeling a bit, all right, something's missing, and feed into this cycle of just not being able to sit comfortably in in peace, and find another way to, to open my body open. And not I didn't like get myself involved, but stayed present in really toxic circles where like, nothing good could come from it. But I also like he didn't want it to, like, deep within not consciously, but yeah, I think that's it, there's some sort of addiction there to volatility. And if that makes sense, no, totally makes sense. And I like I that's something else I didn't really understand, like trauma bonds. And if you want to give a definition to the audience feel free. But I didn't really understand any of that stuff, actually, until I got sober and I clean because I wasn't just in the mental space to do that. And I actually come from a, my mom was very emotionally abusive, and like my dad allow that. And, you know, and stuff like that. So I didn't come from the best. And I think I was like you said, you kind of during your formative years, you want your parents you want your people that are close to you to like, like you understand you. And when you're not getting that you're being put down and you're being pushed away, and you're being like, you know, isolated and stuff like that for people when you really want to connect, then, you know, the only type of attention that I remember receiving positively was from men when it came to like my body. Yeah, definitely. And we're not really like, especially in formative years, we're not at an age or like, developmentally, we hadn't been I personally haven't been given a great insight into what a healthy relationship could possibly look like, based on what we had at home. I would often think that that validation in those moments where I could share sex with somebody was was it like that was that was the top level validation and connection you could actually get, but then with time I came to realize that like for me, I mean, some people can have great meaningless sex, but for me, I was looking for being an insect that meaningless like I was not getting out of it. What I wanted to get out of it, which and what I thought I was getting out of it and believe in that for so long. It's really yeah, it's still now I has definitely had to really, really fight in unhealthy relationships, adult relationships, consenting relationships, think like, Oh, that's that person's sad. Like, I'll share more with sex and then I'm like, I don't know. mean, Hey, I know. But yeah, I totally understand I totally relate to that just because that's if that's all you know, or you are been led to know, unfortunately, that's kind of like your default is to go to what you know. And it's, I don't even think you're aware of it just because it's like just something that you do. Yeah, you know, at this point, and it's, it's all the energy that everybody else can put into, like actual stuff, I feel like I still have to put into, like sitting with a little notepad and monitoring all the things that I'm thinking and doing and saying, so that I can pick up on it and have a chat with myself later, it gets really exhausting to start noticing, you know, what you're doing and then actively trying to reverse those thought cycles. And I feel like you go along really backwards before you go forwards because you have to go like backwards in time on all the layers of shit. And then you think, well, this isn't worth it, like, feel like I'm five years old again, I know nothing. And, and it's so easy to go back to what you were already doing. Because those things also feel adult. And I really fulfilled an adult role throughout my childhood also, and thinking my adult is the gold like, you know, you don't want to be called childish. And that was one of my dad's favorite insults. You just mature you prophetic, those types of baby words I hated. And then my younger sister like really fell in a lot of him really hated her. No, I just apart from that to life, as we know why. And it just breaks my heart hated her. And my mom, you know, like you said about your dad alone, it my mom allowed it in a lot of ways. And in other ways, she was the victim too. So I'm not mad, what I parented my sister in a lot of ways, and still now and to be honest, and feeling like well, snacks in the door, and fulfilling this adult role with parents and people. And it just felt very own. Like, I'm not getting any gratification from online and all this stuff, going all the way back in time to start learning again, from being basically a child and working with my inner child is myself. And that's so tempting to just head back and think, well, these people like me when I'm doing all their emotional labor and do that to them all the time. I know. And I feel like, are we like one in the same? Maybe we're kindred spirits this one kind of way? Because it's like, yes, yes. And yes, I, I felt like that too, actually. And I've been in therapy for years and years and years, but I felt like I was just in therapy, but I wasn't really participating in it. I was just saying, I just go and talk and then I just go on about my day, and I would still do fucked up shit, you know. And then I was like, well, I'll go talk about it, my therapist with my therapist, and you know, that's what you do. But then I was like, you know, my therapist, like, you're gonna have to put the work in one day. And I'm like, I'm good. You know? Damn, I'm talking, I don't talk to people. I'm talking. But you know, when I got sober, and it's like, I agree with you so much with the whole, like, you have to go back through everything, which is the hard stuff, which no one really wants to do. And I get it because it sucks. But you have to go back through it, and then go back to it, like through all the way to the beginning, or as far as you can go, go through it and understand it. And then really understand like, how you work and like that learning to cope with like your inner child is so key to all of this, and it sucks because then you have to really confront like, so many things, like I thought, because I'm like, you know, I was older. I'm like, you know, I'm at this point, this point in time in my life, what I do is on me, and it's me, like I make those decisions. Those are my choices, which is true as you stand by that, but then I had to see like, but I was taught back then you know how to react and do things a certain way it just manifests how I choose to how it manifests now is my choice. Yes. But I learned that thinking from somewhere and some situation. And when I went back and start going through this, I didn't realize that how much anger I had about things because I was like, I'm not angry, like arm angry for a little bit, and then I let it go. But then I'm going to like, you know, crazy shit, I would go like, you know, have like, Go fuck this person thinking that'll make me feel better and make them feel better for having a moment like, like how you were saying if they're having a bad day, or I was having a bad day, or I would go and get drunk for like a whole week and thinking that was normal? Because you know, that's what people do. Right? You know? And for me to really understand that like going through and having to really like sit with a lot of my family stuff was like me and my mom and my mom passed away. So I can't really like hash it out with her. But oh, so kindred, you know, carry on just as soon as she said that. I was like, what, what, please carry on? Like, I just need to say that. Yes, was like and I was like, I can't take it. I couldn't have I can hash it out with her. And like I have my father and he has stepped up in a big way when he realized as a recovery and stuff. But it's still like I didn't realize just how much anger I had. Because I was sort of like I wasn't I when people Talk about like my brother, who's he's younger than me to my brother. And he talks about our childhood. And I would just be like, okay, like, and he would say things like, yeah, you and I did and blah, blah, blah and mom and dad. And I'd be like, yeah, I mean, I guess I was there. Since you're saying I was, you wouldn't just lie, but I don't remember that. Or I remember it. It wasn't that way at all. And, and then I, and then I didn't realize it. And that was just so angry. Because that's like, I felt like I didn't really get the opportunity to be a child, because I felt like I had stuff because she was angry at my father. So I was for therapist, my dad would tell me stuff. And I'm like, I'm 5678 910, whatever, like years old. Yeah. How do I know all this? Why do I have to be responsible for all this or made to feel like I had to be responsible for that? Absolutely, completely, completely resonate is, I'm going to probably just say the same thing back. exactly what you mean, like sitting with anger. And my dad like you, I mean, he died. That's when I chimed in like watts. Like, he's also died, and he died last year. And it was just such an awful thing to feel a level of relief. And, and I thought it was going to be the end of that chapter. I was thinking like, like, I'm going to be able to read now. I need a break, like, but actually, it was he was, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps intentionally the limit on me being 100% me because I just fallen into the trap of being the easiest version of myself at home that would piss him off leaves. And because I knew that worked, I was just in house. And I just this year has been a roller coaster of thinking like, Oh, my God, like actually have to figure out who I am out. And I don't know, like, I just don't know, it's, it's really hard, like, the glass ceiling of my personality has just removed and I'm like, Oh, I actually get to exist as me and I can speak as loud as I want in my own house. And I can watch Telly. And I can eat with both feet on my chair if I want, like because he had these weird rules, and he would like police things day to day, and he'd like punch the table and be like, why have you not got your knife in your hand at the same time as you are gonna be? Like, what? Like, what, why? And so yeah, you'd be in the biggest amount of trouble and you're the most disgusting human. And he can't even stand the sight of you. Because you got up without saying, Please, may I finish like please man leave the table or something. It's like what I've never said that in my life and 12 like, but that come from, and, and suddenly I can do whatever I want. And I'm like, hang on, I actually have no idea what I want to do. So that has been against themselves to show up this year that and I'm so much better at noticing and preventing an intervening bot just feeling like I can go wild like I can do anything I want. And in my default of things I seem to want to do is hurt myself. So I I like I've really had to engage with that this year. And it's probably just all the anger, as you said, coming out in these crazy ways, because I can't take it to him and say like, bro, you fucked me up. But he, he would never if I'd have said it. I mean, I tried many times, say to his face, he would never have ever listened. And it's like realizing I actually have to sit with my underprint life to get rid of it. But I can't put my anger on anybody else. It's it's not all mine. And and that's really, really hard. Like, I can't confront him. And I was always thinking that maybe in the future, I'll find a way to say something and he'll just get it. And that's probably rarely deleted, I bet he wouldn't have but I just I just always thought like one day, he'll just be like, you know what, I'm dead. Sorry, that child inside, we just really wanted that one never ever going to get them. You want it that validation, you want it to just be seen for your and I think as children, that's which what you want for your parents, if they brought you in there, you have to trust them, you know, my bread. I don't know, if I was read, I read this quote, or someone told it to me. But they said the only true version of a conditional unconditional love is from a child to their parent, and not necessarily vice versa. And for whatever reason, like that's stuck with me, you know, because like at the like when I was a child, like I love my parents unconditionally, I love my dad and everything like that. And I love my mom too, but I don't I think she loved me and the way that she could, which wasn't a healthy way. But I don't know if she necessarily liked me, but I don't know if she knew how to rationalize why she didn't like me, you know, and I feel like I was I talked about this out in therapy because my therapist was like on me for this and I was like, leave me the fuck alone. But But I think she was saying like, you know, a lot of times like parents can be frightened of their children and they don't know why. You know, I do like something and you challenge something in him that he just wasn't able to recognize within himself. And then he put it on you, you know, which is still it's it's fucked up and not right when I started thinking through stuff like that. That I was like, I couldn't confront my mom and be like, Fuck you, you know, because that's what I wanted to do. I had to learn to come to terms with it in that way of just myself just so I could let allow this shit go. And it's and acknowledge the fact that what happened to me wasn't right. Because I for the longest time I was saying like, Whoa, that's what families do families have their everybody there's no fit perfect family. Everybody has their stuff, you know, I you know, I was a perfect child and then and then I was in anything but I was a child I was learning. Yeah, you're not supposed to be perfect as a child either. Like it's the time the time that you have all the freedoms make the mistakes without having like, I mean, as long as you don't do anything I can dad hideous without having any consequences and just existence sounds like it has a lot of consequences because something rubbed your mom and my dad look the wrong way. And just our existence have these consequences. All right, well, can't really do anything, then. Yeah, no, it teaches us that we're always trying to learn about ourselves and our place in the world. And, and it teaches us our place in the world is not a very likable one. And whoever it is that you are to bring to the world like I am your dad, I don't like you. And I'm really supposed to so you haven't really got any chances Anybody else? He's kind of what he taught me. And that's, I mean, oh my gosh, I feel like I was real person out of this conversation. Oh, my goodness. But, yes, and I think that's really hard to recognize or rationalize. Because it's like, the people that brought me here, don't even like me as a person or seem to not like me as a person, then Haku Do I have like, you know, I have no opportunity or no chance, but people that don't know me, so I need to figure out what they do what they like, and conform or give them that. Yeah, you know, this is where like prejudices and discrimination etc. and society has come in for me, because you know, male power is a marriage of men are so powerful male power, is it and you know, there was like the man in my family, I had all the power and it just made so much sense to me. I was like, I know who to target to be liked is men. What men want sex. And, you know, plot twist. I'm actually gay. I really don't like men. What on earth was I doing? Oh, I didn't know this. You're a gay. I'm queer. Yeah. So are you? Yes, we are on a level. Because I can see the formula I did in my head, like the math like is that my hates me at home? Men have power in society. I'm going to turn up, I'm going to put my moves on the men, we're going to love it. And I'm going to get through life just fine. And why? why when I don't even like, man, would I do that? Please let me know. Like, I'm living it. I'm so few minutes. This is why I stopped in the cycle of like, well, it is my fault. Because Because I did that. But also, as you were saying before, like, I know exactly what experiences walked me into engaging in that. And although Yeah, I I did make that decision. And I'm taking control of not still making those decisions. It kind of isn't freely my fault. No, you learned it from somewhere. You learned it from somewhere. Yeah, you know, that seeds planted deep and may be planted deep in there. But it's you know, I feel like a lot of this stuff is if you trace it back and and that's why I say like a lot of people you know, you really sit and think with yourself when I got sober. Like I was a train wreck. Like I was just a shit show. And it's like, from the outside, you wouldn't know cuz, you know, I'm like, you know, I have a career and I I'm functioning I've apartment and blah, blah, blah, but I was just a mess. And when I had my series of when I had my rock bottom, it was sort of like, me, sure. Okay, know when, but yeah, but I was a mess. But like when I had my rock bottom, and I got sober, and I was in recovery. And I decided, like I decided for me, which was something that was very hard for me to do. I decided just to be with myself, you know, and not entertain people not try to get into relationship because I knew that as soon as I tried to do something like that my tension would divert to them, just because it would be easier for me to be like, well, I'm gonna go fix to help this person and be there and a support for them and just discount everything. And I know that that whole time that I was single that I chose to finally just be single, and I got there and I looked at things that I would do in certain situations. And it was not pleasant. Like it was just like how but not just like romantic relationships, though. Like I looked at just like how I was in relationships with people in general, like my family, with my friends with like my significant others and the type of people I would get with and the things that I would do and like how I would feel like I had to do all that type of work to really understand me and what motivated me or what didn't motivate me, and I made myself feel that that's what I should want. You know if that makes sense. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. They are, you know, when I stopped looking at myself in the clearest of day, I don't always like what I see. And I think as well, like, I don't I don't know if this is always true, but I'm going to say as if it is that what we have around us does kind of what we choose to invite around us, let's say does kind of reflect a little bit on who we are. And so I've had so many god awful, toxic friendships that like, I'm like, this is my best friend in the whole world. We love each other to pieces, and then we'll ramble all night. And then No, we still love each other so much. And like, you know, I am actually engaged in that toxic cycle. I mean, thankfully, I'm not in these cycles anymore. But it has been so recent, in the last sort of year or two that I've like really put to bad things that like, I was so quick to say like, well, that friends, the toxic one, you hate this, you're just arguing because they've done this and the other is why you actually still in a relationship, then like, why are you actually when they haven't replied to you for three days after a horrible Rao being like, I'm really sorry, like, why you're not putting it to bed Robin, like, I just I have these chats with myself a lot. I'm saying that in third person, but like, I have to like and you know, I also be an environment I've been in at home, gaslighting, manipulation, all of those things are really, really default to me. So it because it works. That's that's the thing. It really, really works. Like if you don't want to be held accountable for something that you've done, because it was just you acting out trauma, and you really didn't mean it. And you are sorry, we don't want to be held accountable. Because hurt people do hurt people. And we have to get out of that we don't have permission. But we act like that for a while. I certainly did, you know, have to sort of say to myself, like, like, you've got to stop this, because you're just doing everything that the person you hate, who obviously hated you taught you to do, because it works. I don't know if I explained that very well and go No, you're repeating the cycle. It's like, it's like the it's a trauma abuse cycle. You're just repeating it cuz that's what you know. Yeah. Yeah. And it's really Yeah, exactly. It's really hard to get out of, and then you it confirms You know, I'm talking a lot about cycles today, it just confirms that, like, actually, I did not treat that person. Right. And, and therefore I do deserve everything that I've ever got. And you know, they're not the same things. And I don't know what other people's belief systems are like, and I absolutely, always respect to the people's belief systems. But I have chosen for myself that I don't believe that I get what I deserve. Because I just don't believe that I deserved to be raised like this. I don't believe that I deserve to be assaulted at such a young age. I've never put a single bad thing out into the world. But something horrible happened to me. And I've had to come to that like belief principle for now at least to prevent myself getting in a cycle where I think like, because I am like Doomsday woman I like completely, completely take everything to the worst degree possible in terms of myself almost, and will think that, you know, I was a bit rude that day. Therefore, next time I get assaulted, it was probably because of that. Like it. I know it's senseless, and to anybody else that say like, that. Sounds so senseless. Like, you know, that isn't why that happened. But it's what it creates a mind, in my mind. And just for every reason I hate to break that cycle, just half day. Why don't you get to that point to break that cycle, though? Like what made you say to yourself, like that have that belief system? Because I feel like that's something man, I feel like that's very hard to do to say like, you know what, I didn't deserve any of that. I don't deserve bad things to happen to me. I do. I may acknowledge the fact that I do bad things and everything like that, but I didn't deserve that. That's not part of my story. Because I didn't I didn't choose for that to happen. You know, how did you come about? Like thinking like that? Or saying like, No, I'm gonna stand in my belief just because of people that have a lot of history of trauma. I know that mean, for me, I didn't come to that easily to say like, I didn't deserve that, like I for like, probably up until, like I said, when a lot of stuff happened to me when I got into recovery. And when I could actually say stuff like that out loud. Other than that, I was very big on conditional saying like, Well, I I don't think I deserved it. But I did this. And I would anger her this way. And maybe I was you know, too, you know, so I was put conditional statements around things. And I found it interesting that you, you made a choice and have the choice to say like, No, that's not what I'm going to do. Yeah, I think I have to just stop with the lying to myself, because it's exhausting. I think that at a certain point, naturally, I was getting very burnt out. burnout is a problem that I really struggle with. And it comes in different forms, basically, depending on what I'm doing at different times. And I was getting very burnt out with my relationship with myself and had to sort of start noticing just organically from that, that I was exhausted. And I realized that Yeah, I tried to take a little bit of a step back and think like, Well, why like we can't really be exhausted with me. Like, I am going to be me forever. So like, we better work this one out. And just just from that exhaustion and realizing the amount of labor that I put into feeling my feelings and creating stuff around them and rationalizing this and that and thinking why I'm going does it actually need rationalize it and, and I just always and I still do this by I decided at a certain point to write down like the facts and my feelings. So my feelings that I deserve everything that I've ever had. Okay, so we'll go to the beginning, we're going to go to sexual assault aged three, why did I deserve that? And like I didn't have an answer. And you know, as I was saying about this page has really helped me to apply advice that I'd give to the people to myself, I have to say, like, on what planet not really on what planet? Would I ever tell somebody who was assaulted age three, that it could possibly be their fault? Because this is how how, like how, like, and, and I sort of had that moment where I was like, yeah, how could it be and therefore isn't. And I'm just a really big believer that like for something to be a fact it has to be applicable to, to all situations that it could be applied to. And that is a fact, that is a fact, I did not call that three. I just had to say to myself that like, Look, if you didn't cause that how on earth could you have caused Anything else? And you know, with what you were saying about like, maybe you did under her? I definitely angered my dad, I definitely irritated the living daylights out of him. Because we were so different. Like, I was just loud. And he Oh, he wanted to be loud. But he had to be the loudest like I was just loud, boisterous fun, like, I just wanted things to be done, right? I want him to be done now when he just couldn't be bothered with me. I think possibly he was at a stage in his life where he didn't want a child while just how can but anyway, so naturally, how to more Yeah, me and my sister. And he'd already had four children before he got with my mom, because it was this big age gap between the two of them. Oh, wow. Yeah, huge age gap. And she was 21 when she met a 36 year old man. Wow. Okay, so a very emotionally abusive, manipulative, who would use massive disk displays of aggression around her to keep her in line, basically. And, you know, that's what I mean, when I say she was a victim, she really was. So I'm going off on a tangent there. But basically, as much as I could irritate him is just a child living out my life. I wasn't nasty. I wasn't evil, like, there's nothing evil about, you know, in my easter egg and not asking him if he wanted any, like, that was like a huge while like, all of those he was not evil, and, and even if I did annoy him, what I deserved was for him to handle that appropriately. And that's that's sort of how I'm rationalizing it, like the guy who stabbed me. I truly don't know for the life of me Why? And I'm not trying to find out because there's no reason that anyone deserves getting stabbed ever. You know, even if I did deeply pissing off, even if I did something, like, cheat on him, which he didn't. But if it did, you don't stop someone for that. And you do. Like, he deserved to be angry. If I had done something which I hadn't. You deserve to be angry. But I didn't deserve to get stopped because of it. That's not a natural progression, to separate it out. Like the facts and the feelings like in trying to do that all the time. Like, I feel like everybody hates me. Well, okay. Well, the facts are my friends are always checking up on me. And they're really honest people. So I think I've no, so yeah, we've been the feeling. And I just have to be really harsh, like Frank, the feeling for coming to me, thank you. I'm aware that this is your concern. And I literally speak to it like this sometimes in the mirror, like thank you for letting me know. And I looked into it now getting a piece of paper out and I write down the little Crime Scene Investigation and the logical conclusion that my friends actually don't hate me. And I scratch a piece of paper, and I put it in the bed and I'm like, that is that is a dead thought. Now, not just highly love that though, that you put you put in the bed and it's a dead thought. Like, I love that. I love that. I think that's awesome. How do you manage all those like irrational type thoughts? I will say I'm similar to you. I used a lot of I mean, I was in therapy. But I would say honestly, I did a lot of what you were doing, like I picked up this book and I talked about on my podcast, self compassion by Kristin Neff. And I always say like, that book saved me, like my mind that had like a lot of exercises and stuff that and I'm not the type of chick to really be into like, I'm gonna go do these exercises in this book. I'm like, I'll read it, but I'm gonna be like, Nah, I'm good, you know, but I said I'm going to do something different and really do the work and put the work in and time and a lot of it had to do with writing like I had to write like a letter to myself. Like how to write a letter about how I saw myself like truly how I saw myself and similar you would like those irrational thoughts. So so I let all of them come because like you said, it is very exhausting, because they're always there, but I was let them all come out and I was like crying and I was like, Oh, you know, writing this letter to myself. And then the second part of this exercise is like Talk to like everything she said, you know, imagine that's a person and then talk to them. Like they were a child and they were feeling that what would you say to them? If a child came to you said, I feel what I feel unloved I feel I know, I feel old I feel seen all this stuff. And, and I did that, and really like, and the words of like, just the kindness and stuff that I was saying to myself, like, it really just helped frame my thinking, how my default is like, go I go to this really dark place where in reality, I looked back and just started seeing myself like, you know, I'm a human, I have flaws, and I have all these things. But I have like, but I'm still work like I still deserve good things and good people and good laughs and relationships and stuff like that good times. And then I learned to also similar you, realist realism and what I'm experiencing something happens to me, like if someone had like a difficult conversation with somebody, and then I automatically go into like, well, what did I do? What did I do? What did I do? No, I did this, you know, what did I do? But then I have to sit there and take a step back. And that's why and I do that. And I could take a step back. And I say, Okay, what really happened? What was my what was their part? What was my part in this, and then that helps me not go into that that spiral. Because as soon as I start going to that spiral, then I just, I keep going. And then like another thought comes in and adds it becomes like this big cluster of just negative darkness. And then that's when I'm just like, you know, I'm gonna go and call somebody, or I'm going to go into the bar. And then I'm just to see what happens. Whatever happens happens, if you don't mind me asking, How old are you? I'm 26. I commend you for being able to see that stuff. Now. A couple years ago, someone tried to talk to me like this, I'd be like, What the fuck are you want? Like, yeah, yeah, I do still have to really tell myself often times, like, if I get, you know, even, you know, on the page, if a troll turns up, I have to go put the phone down. Because you know, I can be really confrontational. It's fine to confront things. But as I was saying, like, I have to do that in the right way, especially on the page, like, it gives me that extra incentive, because it has to be professional, this is a safe space. Respectfully, I get dead irritated when pages like, Oh, we are a safe space, we absolutely value survivors hair. And then like they keep trolls on the page, or they display really vicious arguments themselves. And I do not want to fall in that trap. I need to make sure that like any message that I could ever send could actually get like, doxxed out on my account. And I could say like, yes, I did say that that's like my policy to my friends. And as soon as I somebody put this on encounters with men, could you stand by what you said there, and I do have to sort of intervene, you know, like when my ego wants to reply, and my initial gut reaction to most things is usually let's do this, you're about to go there, then I'm about to drive the car right over the clip, like, you know, that's kind of like how I'm wired to go. And I was like, I had to really take a step, especially with social media and stuff like that. Just really take a step back and just be like, a lot of people can say whatever they want on social media, but will they say that, say it to your face, like anything that I say on social media, I will have no problem saying to your face. That's kind of how I carry it. But then a lot of the times when you see other people but like you said, like you were saying earlier, hurt people hurt people, a lot of people are miserable, and they want to keep spreading it around. And I had to learn to be like, you know, it's not my that's not my fight. That's not my fight in this. And it's it's hard. Yeah, no, they don't they like that. I think that's what a 10 don't follow those types of people. I think they do come for the engagement. And I quite frequently have like the one message policy, if I send them a really well thought out response to that respectfully, you know, of course, man. I'll say there's so many men on this page, you've shared the stories. I absolutely care. I'm so sorry for what you've experienced quite often, like I got sexually assaulted. Do I not matter to you? Like what? Of course, like, absolutely, of course. But I see that it comes from a place of hurt or ignorance, I always try and resonate with them on on a really empathetic level. And if I can't get anywhere with them, I just been the conversation. Because if I'm not going to get anywhere with them, and one really well thought out message, I'm not going to waste my time trying to take them back to it's just exhausting. And there's people like including myself, that need my time. I'm working on time prioritization, like emotional time, in particular, at the minute for myself, I'm thinking that you're not getting my emotional time. You're not getting my emotional energy after this point. Because some people are just downright nasty, and that that to be nasty. And I do have a question for you when it comes to like accounts with men and men that are victims of assault. Do you see yourself putting those stories on your page? Or do you see that as being like, are you going to evolve encounters with men or are you are you fine with how it is right now? Yeah, so there are a lot of men on the page who have submitted But quite often that trans men who I think like perhaps these trolls, maybe are transphobic. I don't know, maybe they don't think of it as real law, non binary, folks, I think quite often that response in particular, maybe just I don't know. But I do like to I welcome absolutely any man who wants to share their encounter at all times to share on the page, because I think it's such a massive problem that still isn't being talked about enough. To attract more to the page, I think, like, I almost I don't, but I do almost regret calling it encounters with men, because I think it onsite puts a few people off, but it is about encounters with men, it is about what men do. It's so hard, I just, I really would love any men who have got an experience that they'd like to share with another man in any capacity to come forward. And I've also looked a little bit into considering encounters with women just as like a week long campaign type thing, but I'm afraid of falling into a trap. Because you know, that pattern of violence is is different. And it's so valid, and it is a huge problem. But it is just very slightly different. Because it hasn't got the exact same backing from the whole of society loci encouraging them to do it. It's kind of them like on the other side of saying like gaslighting victims of women and things like that. But it's so worth doing. I think I'm just going to take my time to figure out how to do an encounters with women campaign in the best way possible, and do that in its own time. And in the meantime, just any men like please do submit, because because it's so it's so worthwhile hearing those stories. Yeah, I agree. I wish that I feel like there'll be a lot less anger in the world if people were just honest and open about who they are their experiences and what they went up against. And like, there is a lot of level of shame when it comes to men being victimized. And I think that is it's heartbreaking for me to feel like they can because they feel like from a societal, which I feel like societal needs, we need to rethink how we redo things anyway, because look at what's happening in the world. But is it really, is that really proof that what we're doing this? It is like, you know, hoping everyone that lives here? I mean, come on, come on now. I'm going well, yeah, exactly. Who's thinking this is going? Well? Because it's not the people that I know. So and I would love to hear like have that be. And I also think that having encounters with women too, because I think that's something that would be interesting, a lot of people because I've had, I would definitely have something to share if you do something like that, too. You know, and I think that needs to be looked at as well just because that that can be just as traumatizing, devastating, hurtful to you know, and then feeling like you can't really speak out about or you don't know how to speak out or you don't think it's gonna really be seen as as hurtful, you know? Yeah, no, I saw a greatest in there's a gap in the I don't say mocking because we don't we this isn't marketable. But there's a gap in there. There's a gap waiting for this type of discussion about encounters with women to really be discussed. And it must be so many people just feel like well, no one wants to hear what happened to me in carrying it. And that's, that's terrible. You're saying to run a campaign like, what else? Are you hoping to do? Like, where do you see this going? Or where would you like it to go? Well, I don't make any money off the page. And I also don't have a job. So this is not long term sustainable. And I put like, I can't express how much it is a full time job. And like, I just haven't had a day off, ever. So I really need to work on generating something bigger. And what I have come up with based on skills and experience is an organization where individuals would be able to receive sort of coaching, where we can think about how to shift our mindsets, how to achieve their goals, whatever it is, because I'm very aware that a lot of coaching and things like that which is so valuable, isn't necessarily tailored to us the way that survivors do do things differently. get up in the morning, go for a run, now we're gonna come back, I'm going to smash it out. And I'm like, that sounds so amazing for people who are able to survive as well. We're just sort of not always able to do that. And a lot of that the time then, well, I think there's a really big gap in the market. That's what we're saying. And then going in at a higher level to work with organizations and professionals to help them to be given out good advice, and to help them to be creating spaces that are intersectional and inclusive and informed cuz I really think we have a huge problem with with a reluctance. We have a culture that doesn't want to change. We have a culture that does not want to open itself up to really allowing every single person there to flourish and be safe. And I think they you know, come look around like who was hired that gay guy and we've hired some brown people Check the box, john. And that is that. So helping them because I think a lot of people really do want to do it, but they've ticked the box and they think then the dawn, so helping that and hopefully be able to charge organizations too, and especially schools, I've noticed, as I was saying, I've analyzed a lot of things, schools and those types of organizations have a huge problem, again, with ticking boxes in terms of safeguarding, they're like, be confident they've reported this to the right space, they haven't let the person anywhere when asked the questions, and if that's the end of the story, and it is absolutely not supporting survivors beyond safeguarding is is a hugely important thing. And I've got loads of experience working in schools, it's what I was doing for the years before I quit. So being able to charge an organisation like a school, or, you know, the NHS here in England, social services and things like that, to be able to support them to actually give support and challenging individual stereotypes as well would be, I think, very beneficial, and hopefully profitable, because I am known for coming up with a big idea and forgetting that I might not be able to make any money on it. So you know, just do it, if that's where your heart is and what you feel called to do. Because it sounds like you know, you sound very passionate about it. And I think there is definitely an experience with this. And I personally just as me as a person as Cynthia, I love people that have like, unfortunately, you have a lot of experience and background and what you're speaking of, but I feel like that's also why you should be the one hoping because it's like, you know, this is what I like, it could be like, this is what I wish I received, or this is what I've learned and everything like that, like you have like skin in the game. And you have a point of reference, and it's makes people feel more safe and relatable to you. Yeah, hopefully anyway, I do feel like the best type of person to approach this type of thing is song with personal experience, because it can be so condescending when somebody's like, Yeah, I know how you feel. And like you 1,000% do not, there's no use in that. So yeah, you know, it's one of the, I don't want to say, I don't know how to word this, I am thankful for the skill set that I have out of these awful situations. And I would definitely like to be able to utilize them to help other people and make that journey a little bit easier than mine has been. I hope, I really hope that you go forward this because I mean, I definitely support it. And I think that's something that's definitely needed. I know that going back to like me in school, something like that would have been beneficial. And even as a black woman in the work of working in corporate because that's what I do now. It's the stuff that was happening and happening in in America around like just race and everything that's been going on and how people have been taking to it mind blowing, how people are just so out of touch. But I also think like people just don't allow people shy away from being uncomfortable. Like, they don't feel like they're in their element or their zone. And they're just like, I'm just gonna ignore it and hope it goes away or give a blanket statement or sample I'm sorry, or and or make it about them and how they're feeling uncomfortable. And I feel like now's the time to really blow the doors open when it comes to this type of stuff. Because if people are tired, I think that's another thing why I really love your your feed and your pages because it shows like how tired people really are. And as these stories can be anybody, any one of us, there's so many stories I read in there. And I'm like, Yes, yes, yes. You know, you know, there needs to be like an uprising or, like a Renaissance. I don't know what it is like, I don't know the word but but something because like, you know, people can't keep going on this way. Like no, and then we can't keep an eye. What drives me crazy is like when it comes to women, when in particular when we tell our stories, or we feel vulnerable. And then they're like, well, there's always two sides to it. Oh, are women lie? And I'm like, people lie. Yeah. But why would you automatically just go to that defense of like, Oh, well, women lie when someone is telling you something so traumatic. And I'm not saying like, people don't do things, but it's like, I'm never thinking like, well, I'm just going to automatically discount this that this person may be lying. I also say like from your page, a lot of people are anonymous. So like, why would you dm and have an anomalous, like, you know, post if you were just making shit up just because you were bored that day. But But I just think that what you're doing is very commendable. I am so glad that I found your page and had this conversation with you. And I think you're doing really great work on yourself and and what you're putting out into the world. Well, that really means a lot. I really appreciate it. Thank you. I really do. I feel like I have gained so much from this conversation as well. And I really appreciate that. Of course, of course anytime. I would love to have you back on eventually. But is there anything else you would like to share with Eddie the audience? Is there any tips or any like a defining moment or difference? I thought that you would leave people with or if not totally fine, I know I'm putting you on the spot. I think the best piece of advice for anybody for any reason that they might be tuning in, out of anything that we've talked about today would be to be patient with yourself and to really work on showing yourself compassion, because that's the key to undoing or working through any of the problems that we might face. And a lot of the obstacles come from that difficulty sitting with ourselves those deep seated beliefs that were the big problem. And even if you can see moments where you have been a problem, you're not the problem. None of this is your fault. You might not understand yourself for now, but there will be a time that you do. So patience and compassion is key. Love it. Thank you so much, Robin. That was beautiful. Everyone, like I said earlier, check out encounters with men. Like I said, Robins feed is life changing. So support her with on that page and anything else she does in the future. You could check her out on Instagram at encounters with men. Yeah, sorry, I interrupted that didn't know you were waiting for me to say it. Anyway, I'll probably keep it in that way. But thank you so much for joining me. It was a pleasure. I enjoyed this conversation so much, saying thank you so much for having me on, of course.