I need some support.


Well-Known Member
I have been trying to do whatever I can to try to heal. I have turned to spirituality and have joined a couple of communities in my faith. I have also tried 12 step groups . And Somatic Experiencing Therapy for early trauma.

I have responded most to spirituality.

I have had repeated trauma in my life beginning with a very early birth--I was born almost 3 months early.

Why I am posting is this: I have a lot of negative feelings that have come up. Mainly shame and sadness.

I signed up for a 4 day workshop for people such as me, who had traumatic births or prenatal experiences. I need to travel to get there. And travel for me has become difficult because one I only drive comfortably in my city. Another thing that is making travel anxiety producing is that I have had a flare up of my IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Which began when I was traveling out of town to go to the Somatic Experiencing Therapy. Three times as I was approaching the office, I had diarrhea, which was uncontrollable. Obviously this concerned me.

Trauma and stress is linked to IBS.

So I mentioned this to the spiritual director with whom I have been working, telling her I felt mildly anxious about traveling to the 4 day workshop. There was no question I would go. I had had to make a largely non-refundable reservation for a very expensive hotel as this was the only option. She suggested strongly that I call the man who is giving the workshop and explain the situation. That now might not be the time to participate. Or that maybe he could have some ideas that would be helpful. She said he is a very compassionate man.

I nearly always listen to this woman. In addition to the work she does with me, she is a bodywork practitioner. To be honest I could not see the reason to expose myself in this way, but I listened to her. I decided to do what she suggested, and contact the leader. I did so through an email I had via his wife, which was the suggested method of making contact.

The woman wrote back saying that she would speak to her husband but there was a good chance that they would cancel me because he is very protective of the participants. And that he or she would respond in a few days, as they were traveling.

I explained to her that I was not symptomatic now. I explained about the hotel. I reminded her I disclosed that I had IBS (which is lifelong, I believe, unless it goes in remission). That I was asymptomatic for many years and am now. And I pointed out gently, that I was accepted having disclosed the condition. If there would be a problem with my attending, what is it and at what point, and under what conditions could I go, if that was the decision. I ended underscoring my commitment to go. More or less. Because now, I really don't want to go.

I feel very sad for myself, that I try to get better, and I bump into these obstacles. It feels very shaming to me that it would be suggested that there was even the possibility that my presence could be hurtful to other participants, who would need to be sheltered from me. I feel helpless and alone. Actually, a lot of grief. And shame.

I would actually, at this point, be relieved (no pun intended) to NOT go to this workshop. The money I would lose is $700. It is irrevocably lost. But I do not feel safe, now. But even more I feel abandoned.

I keep reaching out to try to heal. And then I get hurt. M says that I should not chase these things. That I should wait to see what G-d brings to me. Is he right? Is my mistake trying too hard?

I am in pain and I don't know how to make myself feel better. I don't know the words.

Thank you.
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Well-Known Member
Dont feel shamed. Over what?

This angers me. i would demand my money back and find another place to heal. In fact, I am not at all meek regarding these types of issues and would likely get a lawyer to retrieve my money if THEY told me I couldnt come. That is not the same as you canceling. They broke your contract. I would probably go to court over it and not think twice.

I am going to call my husband's brother who is a respected doctor in his state to verify that IBS is harmless to others. I'm sure he will say it is not contageous. If he says otherwise, I will post it.

by the way, in my opinion it is nobody's business if you have IBS and I would not disclose that or any other medical problems to others. They are irrelevant to the purpose of the seminar.

Keep your chin up. This was horrible and your therapist should not have encouraged you to disclose the matter. What was the point?

You have nothing to feel bad over. Nothing. Maybe find a more laid back group. You dont have to stay at very expensive hotels with nonrefundable fees to heal. I have gone to a few very laid back reasonable church retreats that really helped me and my husband. We made friends too. There must be similar retreats for Jewish people. But this isn't the one.

Get your money back. Hugs and dont let this knock you down. I am hurt and angry on your behalf.


Well-Known Member
i would demand my money back and find another place to heal.
They *the workshop says that if he they cancel me they will give me my $200 deposit back. It's the non-refundable hotel that I will lose. They have no obligation to reimburse me for that.

You see. This was a big step for me. A big reach. I was anxious about the travel. I listen to other people when I am unsure. That is a weakness in me. And maybe sometimes a strength. I don't know.

This is not a spiritual retreat. It is for traumatized people. I feel traumatized.

I guess the lesson is that I need to protect myself better. I need to be even more careful of the steps I take to get better. Where and why and to whom I expose myself. This man is highly, highly respected.

I am not sorry I disclosed; was transparent. Because I need to know that I will be supported. If I won't be, that is important information. Worth $700. I am sorry if I lose that money, but I could lose much more.

Maybe if I disclosed this I should have insisted first to speak with this man, not his wife. But I did what I did. What she should have done is only written this: I will relay your message. He will get back to you in 3 days. She should not have intervened with her own words. And I should not have engaged with her further. But I did.

I am leaking out all over. That is what shames me. This is how I get when I am very, very vulnerable.

I am very sad.

Thank you very much for your support, Busy.

I did nothing wrong. I tried to do the right thing. You're right.
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Well-Known Member
Don't feel ashamed. Honestly, he may be respected by some, but I sure would not want to trust anyone with my deepest vulnerabilities if he couldn't even handle IBS. I personally try to look for friendly, laid back retreats. There are many people who handle trauma. Some may be better than this nan, but not as well known.

I dont believe that nobody else going on this retreat is totally 100 percent healthy. My husband and I have illnesses such as fibromyalgia and diabetes. Would we be unwelcome too? I can get quite sick and be in pain. My husband has had diabetic issues. There are times when he needs orange juice fast. So what?

My husband I do tend to only tell people who know us well as we feel that these are private issues. But we are very protective of our lives.

Please stop feeling badly and go somewhere less rigid for help. Traumatized people do tend to have nervous illnesses and this respected man should not be rattled by this. He should be compassionate.Apparently he is not.


Well-Known Member
Oh, Copa...I am so sorry this is happening. As Busy said, don't feel ashamed. Many disabling conditions are invisible. I appreciate your unsettled reaction from the wife's response; I don't think it was her place to do anymore than say she would rely the message and get back to you.

I hope you are able to feel safe very soon. Many hugs.


Active Member
I'm so sorry Copa. You have nothing to feel ashamed about. I also have IBS and I have no idea what other participants would need to be protected from. It's not contagious. That is such a strange response from the organizers. There were a few years that I lived on Immodium. It's so scary to put yourself out there and then have this happen. You should be very proud of yourself that you took the steps you did even though it produced anxiety in you. As I'm getting older I'm finding I'm having more and more social anxiety. I'm much more comfortable in my home with my people (my immediate family) than I am even with close relatives. I admire you being able to book that workshop. I'm sorry that they responded to you this way.


You have nothing to feel shameful about! Who I think should feel shameful is someone (or someone’s wife) who would “protect” the attendees to the extent of making someone feel “less than” due to a non-serious medical condition, as if it is going to rub off on the poor, vulnerable attendees! I don’t blame you for not wanting to go. Just the sound of it all gives me bad feelings and I would probably forfeit the money just because my gut is telling me something’s not “right” here. There are way more welcoming places. Please find one that feels right to you if you can’t go for whatever reason. And if you go, you’ll have to stay strong and protect yourself in the event it is as you imagine.

And though you don’t know me and I lurk more often than post...I’m sending a virtual hug! (can’t find the right emoticon—they all look too goofy!) —N


Well-Known Member
I am so grateful to each of you. This is exactly the response I needed.

It's interesting. Right after I posted this I listened to a talk on fb, a teacher I admire. He spoke about this very thing. How being present with suffering is an essential component to becoming free. That suffering brings up memories from the past, in the form of pain, which we project onto the present. That we have the opportunity to remember our freedom in the context of this pain, as we through off the projections. That we know longer need. That is, we can lance the boil, so to speak.

And this is exactly what we did. Each of you had empathy for me. And this permitted me to lance this pain and drain it. That is what we do for each other here. What a great gift. I love you all.

M came over and we went out to eat. When I left I said, I'm going to lose $700. Better that, he said, than to feel unsafe.

Maybe I needed this to know if I would be safe there. It is not about my own woundedness. It is about their safety. I have not written this off. Yet. But I need to work hard to not take on the brokenness and the shame of this. You have helped me do this very much.



Well-Known Member

I’m very sorry this happened.

Literally NO ONE (other than this person) thinks that a someone with IBS is a threat to anyone or anything. If it were me, I would laugh in the face of someone that said this.

I question the judgment of the person who would allow this woman to speak for them—especially a person who is in the helping/healing arts. Are they of like mind? Just because someone is “well-respected” doesn’t mean they are any good. They must know that anyone signing up for their seminars will be vulnerable, and that they will take anything they say to heart. This makes me wonder what their motives actually are—helping people or making money?

The person with the problem is not you—it is her.


Well-Known Member
The person with the problem is not you—it is her.
I am trying to figure out how to respond to this. Would I even want to go to this workshop? Could I go there and be vulnerable and heal? I mean. In my private life I am sensitive to things. I am not the kind of person who lets things wash over them. Things that hurt me, hurt me. When I allow myself to be vulnerable, I am.

I am feeling like this workshop even if turns out I am permitted to go, is kind of ruined for me. There was the whole trek. It would take me about 6 to 8 hours to get there on the train. Then there is all of the time away from home. The workshop would be intense. Then there would be the expense beyond the $700 I have already paid. Another $1000 or more for hotel. $1500 for the workshop *yet to be paid and all of my meals in an expensive place where nothing will be cheap. This is a lot of money for me.

But the real thing would be, how could I let myself be vulnerable enough to heal?

I am thinking I would not want to go. Under any circumstances.

Is that right? Am I cutting off my nose to spite my face? Should I not allow this exchange with the wife/secretary color my expectations and openness to something good coming of the workshop. If the whole aim is to change, should I not try to change, to rise my limitations?

I am of divided mind here. Part of me thinks I need to pay attention to the information I am getting. Another part of me is discounting it, and blaming myself. Like. I must have misunderstood and took it personally. Or I must have said something wrong that is responsible for her saying what she did. That kind of thing.
I question the judgment of the person who would allow this woman to speak for them—especially a person who is in the helping/healing arts.
I keep thinking I shouldn't have listened to the Rabbi. She was adamant I should bring this up to the leader. I could not see why, because I had already disclosed the IBS on the application. (They asked about illnesses.)

But what pushed me over to the side of reaching out to the guy, was that I figured it would ultimately be in my interests to be fully transparent. Not just about the objective condition of IBS but about my anxiety.

Because I am of the same mind as EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. That I should have compassion for myself, and others WHO ARE DOCTORS should have compassion for me, and everybody else that suffers. And that to have the expectation that I be treated compassionately, was a correct expectation. So, ultimately, I believed I had nothing to risk to speak, because I did nothing wrong. And there is nothing wrong with me.

My only concern was that the leader/guy (like the Rabbi) might think that I needed more healing before I traveled and submitted myself to something so arduous and stressful. In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined that I could be considered to be in any way threatening to others.

She didn't mean (I don't think) that other's would catch IBS. I think she meant that if I had an event in the workshop (there are bathrooms, so I don't get that) that it would be stressful to the other participants. But really. This is ridiculous. Anybody at any time is subject to having a heart attack or an attack of projectile vomiting...an Ebola attack, or any other thing...out of the blue. Why pick on me? And it doesn't make sense. There are specific illnesses that are correlated with and caused by trauma. If you have geared your workshop towards this population, why would you discriminate against a trauma-related condition?

In my work I have submitted myself to the worst stressors and danger that is possible in my field. And I was centered, calm, focused, highly effective and compassionate. I am not boasting here. I am saying that never in a million years would I put myself in a situation where I would cause harm to others because of prioritizing my own needs, indifference or irresponsibility. I would just never do that. That's just not who I am or want to be.

This is really insulting to me.

I can't believe I am still blaming myself.

I have to hold to my original idea. That only good would come from being transparent. Good information.
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Well-Known Member

I am also angry with this woman on your behalf. I think what she said is ridiculous on many levels and I am guessing she really overstepped whatever her role is and spoke out of turn. My hope would be that the actual leader calls you back shows empathy and understanding such that you can decide if going to the workshop is right for you. If he doesnt do that then it clearly isnt right or safe.

As far as the hotel it might be worth a phone call to them to see if you can get any refund if you explain the situation (or say its a medical emergency or something)



Well-Known Member
I question the judgment of the person who would allow this woman to speak for them—especially a person who is in the helping/healing arts.
Thank you TL. I know I can't get the money back. It said, non-refundable. Under any circumstances. I never did anything like this (except airline tickets) as I like a way out. But I thought that since there was no other option the non-refundable aspect would force me to go. I was anxious about the travel and being away from home in such an intense situation, with nobody I knew. But I would have gone.

I don't know anymore if this aspect of my personality is a good thing or a bad thing. This making myself do hard things. I have been that way all of my adult life. I am rethinking this. Thank you very much all of you.

Deni D

Well-Known Member
Copa I feel really bad for you with this.

The woman wrote back saying that she would speak to her husband but there was a good chance that they would cancel me because he is very protective of the participants.
That was very shaming of her and not at all what I would expect from someone who is the contact person for a workshop such as this one.

I have a friend with IBS, she has to travel at times and some days she can’t because of it. It’s stressful for her, not for anyone else. I can’t imagine a scenario where it would be stressful for anyone else, for others it brings out concern for her.

I understand pushing yourself to be brave and also the questioning yourself if you are being too sensitive to certain situations and words from people. But here’s the thing, just deciding to travel and attend the workshop in the first place was very brave of you. That does not mean you “have” to do it at all costs now. You have more information now. And that information points strongly to a possible issue with the leadership of this workshop. If they are in tune with helping traumatized people then one of them will reach out to you to make amends with you. If they are not in tune then they have no business being in the field.

I’m very angry with this woman for you right now.


Well-Known Member
I have explained I have been to retreats. This one smells fishy to me. Although some retreats can be expensive if you look for this, most are not and they try not to price people out or not include people for any reason. My personality would tell me this is iffy and will NOT help me. For me, I would not go. It makes no sense to exclude anyone from a healing retreat for any illness, even cancer or AIDS. I dont see why this is an issue at uall.; You are waiting to see if you are ALLOWED to go? That makes no sense and angers me.

I can also tell you from my own experiences that retreats are healing under good circumstances but that even intensive retreats can not heal a lifetime of trauma in a weekend, at least not for me. Follow up in therapy was always suggested. At least it was to us.

I respectfully disagree with your Rabbi insisting that you make a big deal out of a common and impossible to transmit problem such as IBS.Or any illness.

People who are sensirive, and in issues related to my family I am quite vulnerable, we need kindness and understanding. Not this. If this were me. You have to decide the cost vs.u benefits. Be well. Trust your intuition. Trust God. Go or dont. Please don't ruminate. Ruminatong hurts us.
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Well-Known Member

You did NOTHING wrong here.

It’s not like you said this to the guy that was fixing your car—this was to a person you were paying lots of $$ to help you deal with the very trauma and anxiety that you expressed in the email.

Is this the way they treat people under their care? And, yes, the practitioner is responsible for the actions of his employees who answer emails on his behalf. That this is his spouse makes him even more culpable.

I am interested to hear what the forthcoming reply will entail. If it is anything less than him taking 100% of the responsibility and apologizing profusely, while offering to make amends in some way, I would be extremely skeptical of him and his business.

I probably still wouldn’t go, but it would be a nice gesture.

Have you considered going to the hotel anyway, with M or a friend? Just enjoying the city and going to events or museums or restaurants?


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I like Appelcori's idea to go to the hotel and pamper yourself!

Most hotels let you cancel within 24 hours before your reservation. I don't know that I've ever heard of one that doesn't....I'd call them and tell them you have a medical issue that prevents you from going - if you decide not to use the room.


Well-Known Member
Have you considered going to the hotel anyway, with M or a friend? Just enjoying the city and going to events
This is a good idea, Apple. I had not considered this. If it was not associated with this event, I could maybe go.

But this whole thing now is so colored in bad feelings. In sadness and vulnerability and shame. While this hotel is in a beautiful place, where I have never been, it is not a place that attracts me. It is wealthy and exclusive and that is not an environment that appeals to me.

RN. Thank you. I know they won't give back the money (the hotel). It was stipulated when I paid online. I had never ever encountered this either. I will NEVER do it again. I guess I was ambivalent from the beginning about this experience and accepted the non-refundable part as a type of insurance, so that I would for sure go. There were no other hotels available.

Everybody. Thank you for your support. I feel like you do.
You are waiting to see if you are ALLOWED to go? That makes no sense and angers me.
Me too.

Had I not disclosed to them, I would have protected myself better. But I second guess myself, that I am too self-protective and guarded. The Rabbi had the expectation that the disclosure would have been handled with responsibility, that my interests would have been paramount. She presumed this I think because this is how she is. Maybe her life experience has been different than has been my own, and she does not see danger everywhere. Of course this is true. I have not spoken to her yet.


Well-Known Member
It is almost 3 days and no call back.

I thought he had called today, but he didn't. I am afraid to talk to him, actually. Even if he does call back.

But I don't feel so bad, anymore.

I'm just glad I don't have to go.


Staff member
It is almost 3 days and no call back.

I thought he had called today, but he didn't. I am afraid to talk to him, actually. Even if he does call back.

But I don't feel so bad, anymore.

I'm just glad I don't have to go.
I'm sorry that you're going through this.

I do like @AppleCori 's idea. If it seems comfortable for you maybe use the hotel as a get away. If you don't want to go out lounge around in the room. Watch movies. Order room service. If you don't want to do it alone maybe invite a friend or relative to go along. Or skip it all

Even if you decide to skip it, give yourself credit for thinking about it and reaching out.