How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life
Christie Tate’s life-changing, exhilarating memoir, Group, is somehow both comforting and completely unsettling at the same time. Bestselling author, Lori Gottlieb accurately describes the read as “Heartbreaking and hilarious, surprising and redemptive.”
Christie Tate generously takes us along on her wild ride to building the bridges to intimacy. She tells us, “Before Group I thought I was doing a really good job of containing myself.” She didn’t go home and cry; instead, she ate 12 apples after dinner. She didn’t feel entitled to say no, so she lived a life devoid of intimacy, ghosting, feeling lonely, often resentful and not so slowly burning herself out to the point of hoping someone might put a bullet in her head. Luckily for the benefit of us all, she chose a braver path. She determined to change her life and the way that she related to every single person in it, including herself – all the fundamental aspects of everyday life: eating, sleeping and having sex. Each session was an experimental laboratory exploring what wasn’t working and what was a better way to live. “It felt so unsafe and so scary to go to these deep dark places.” But go she did!
She’d grown up with the golden rule that children should be quiet and self contained. Intense feelings were met with eye-rolls at the drama and risk of emotional expression. In Group the golden rules were very different. Christie learned, “If you are going to rage, it might take your full body and it might take a really long time and you might have to do it more than once.” She’d been stuffing her feelings for 25 years, it made sense there was going to be some combustion when they began to be expressed.
With these new rules came new questions and challenges. What does it mean to keep showing up and when is it time to leave a relationship? The answer to this came painstakingly slowly – “Show up long enough to be able to sort through what is mine, what is a growth edge and what is unacceptable behavior.” It doesn’t mean you have to stay with every fool and continue to collude in unacceptable treatment and behavior, but you’ve got to keep showing up to ask the question and hear the answer. After almost two decades of Group, she still has to figure it out in many aspects of her life on a regular basis. “I can’t cut and run before I understand what from my past is driving me, where is my voice, my self-esteem. It takes a village for her to live her full life and that village is Group.