I’ve always been interested in processes. As a child, I was less interested in playing games than in inventing them. As a teen interested in aircraft, I devised wargaming rules for use with model aircraft. Later I developed a game where the players built up airline fleets and route networks. Winning a game didn’t concern me; knowing how it worked did.
After a brief career in banking, when at 19 I became the youngest loans officer in New Zealand for the ANZ Bank, I moved into the IT world in the 1980s. I worked as a process analyst and software developer for major industrial and governmental clients in New Zealand, Asia, North America, and Britain.
While my business career flourished, my personal life didn’t. As a result I began—unconsciously at first—to apply my analytical skills to my own emotional processes. This led to the realisation that I was profoundly ashamed of myself—an unconscious shame that kept me mired in disempowering beliefs and dysfunctional behaviours.
It took me a while to realise that this unconscious shame is endemic in society. It surfaces in people’s dislike of public speaking or of having their photograph taken. In fears of authority, responsibility and commitment. In embarrassment with body functions and sexuality. It underlies anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions and self-harm. It underlies the dysfunctional sexual behaviour revealed in the wake of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other prominent figures.
This led me into the world of education, where I became the Chair of Governors of my son’s primary school. In 2010 I was commissioned by the Thames Valley Police to create a primary school musical on the emotional roots of extreme behaviour. When Chemistry goes Bang! has been staged at several schools in Milton Keynes. For two years I was part of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s ChildLine Schools Service, educating primary school children to recognise all forms of abuse. I also have an NCFE-certified Advanced (Level 4) Diploma in Life Coaching from Stonebridge College.
In 2012 I co-founded CandleSpark with psychotherapist Ilse Leenders. This is a training and support organisation around issues relating to shame. It provides peer support for people who self-harm as well as providing training on handling self-harm to agencies including the Milton Keynes Police Community Support Officers.
In 2016 I partnered with the Milton Keynes Council to create Stepping Stones: building school capacity to resist radicalisation. This workshop has been delivered to local primary schools with support from the Thames Valley Police and Safer MK.
My blog posts focus on the emotional history of patriarchy and the damaging effects of shame, particularly on men’s sexual health. I also post about the accelerated personal growth process known as Ascension that highly sensitive people are increasingly experiencing. My aim is to reduce complex emotional reactions to clearly understandable mechanical processes. I post about once a week.
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