The Gift of Fear

I’ve been hesitant to post this story because it is my daughter’s story.  But it is also mine, as her mother who cares about her.

My daughter called me and she was obviously in low spirits. Finally the event that had deeply troubled her came out.  Ending in tears.

A number of years ago she was awarded a chance to participate in a working conference in her creative field. (I am being vague on purpose.) This program was led by a charismatic man, acclaimed, a ground-breaker, the boss and the star.  The participants travelled from all over the world. My daughter was honored and thrilled to be there.

But discord developed.  My daughter, one of the few female participants, felt manipulated by this man.  She was not alone. He made romantic overtures and was not kind when put off.  He demanded loyalty and created division.  The discourse became rancid.  My daughter and a few other women left early, sent off with threats that they would be excluded from this cohort, not welcome at reunion meetings, and would have trouble getting funding, platform, respect for their future work because of this rift.

Years later, there is a lawsuit against this charismatic leader.  My daughter is reading the interview transcripts.  Her name appears.  Apparently the man had asked another male participant, “I can see that you like ‘Lizzie.’  Here, want some of this to give to her?”  Offering him drugs.  So that he could do what he might want to do. With her.

Thank God that the second man declined.  And later testified.

I do not have very much personal experience to stake claim in the #Me Too movement.  But I know my daughter does- this is only one story from her life.  As I ponder it over making dinner and folding laundry, I feel the evil creeping out of it.  What a horrible, vile man.

Years before that, when ‘Lizzie’ was in a troubling relationship, her older sister sent her The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. (Oprah and I recommend it highly.) I am thankful my daughter learned to recognize manipulation and misogyny.  I am proud that she trusts her feelings and acts to keep herself safe. free-the-gift-of-fear-survival-signals-that-protect-us-from-violence-download-file-1-638

9 thoughts on “The Gift of Fear

  1. Oh! I am so sorry that this happened to your daughter, so sorry that her name appears in the transcripts, that she has this as part of her memories and her life story. I am glad for her and for you that you are able to end a post about something so awful with the line “I am proud…” That alone speaks volumes.


  2. What an awful situation for your daughter. It angers me and saddens me, however, it says a lot that she was able to identify that situation as intolerable and leave early. I may have to look into that book you recommended, too. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a shame this happened to your daughter. The joy she felt at being picked to attend shattered by an individual with a high opinion of himself and low morals to boot. Thankfully the other man was gentlemanly enough to say “no” to this one’s offer of drugs to use on your daughter.


  4. It’s hard to know what to do with the mother-anger when our daughters have these experiences–at least that’s what I felt. With you, I’m proud of these strong young women.


  5. This is a great book. Maybe it should be required reading for college students. Sad that anyone has to go through what your daughter did.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This story is so sad and disturbing. Your daughter is a professional who was welcomed into a community that should have nurtured her and helped her grow in the profession. Instead, she became a target for hateful behavior. I’m just confounded how this type of behavior continues. I’m so glad she has you and your family as a support system. And I hope she continues on in her field and is able to rise above this experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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