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October 18

“We address our sharing to the whole group, not to one or more individuals.”

Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 12

Crosstalk: somewhat vaguely defined, often disturbing, sometimes well-intentioned. At a meeting, I shared a struggle I was having, ending my share in a manner that put myself down. Immediately afterward, someone shared that he used to put himself down in conversations, but that a girlfriend who was breaking up with him had lambasted him with this knowledge, doubtless among other observations. The person took it to heart, and now he no longer did that, and boy, was he grateful! I felt ashamed.

Was this crosstalk? It sure felt like it to me. He never referenced me directly, but it seemed clear who he was talking about, and that everyone else knew. For months afterward, I felt uncomfortable any time he and I were in the same room. When I shared, I was careful not to give him any grounds to single me out again. The irony, though, is that I became more aware of my self-defeating behavior, and began addressing it.

So, was this crosstalk? Was it harmful? It was certainly painful and disturbing, but ultimately, some good came out of it. It also gave me a new appreciation of the potential effects—good and bad—of crosstalk.

Even with best intentions, if I engage in crosstalk, it can have a chilling affect on another’s feeling of safety. I will make sure I share only my experience.

I am the subject of my shares. Help me temper what I say with respect and consideration.