Expressing My Grief that We Do Not Have a System of Restorative Justice in Our Communities

Restorative Circles could give us some hope. Sometimes, if I’m really honest, I avoid presence. When I feel really present like I do in this moment now, I feel grief. I feel a lot of pain. I feel the grief of how disconnected our society is. My friend Hristiyan Atanasov posted on Facebook yesterday his anger about seeing men not respecting women’s sexual boundaries. And reading it triggered much bigger issues for me. The grief of watching my brothers and sisters slave to addictions, treating each other horribly because they are unconscious. The grief of the disillusion of attempting to participate in “conscious relating” communities, only to find the people there not much more conscious than anyone else. Unconsciously hurting each other, with little to no accountability. In addictive relationships dressed up as “models” for the rest of the community.

Many of you are aware of my painful saga with Mark Manson. I will tell you the most painful part of it. That he won’t face me. He claims to be a connection expert, yet he hides behind his computer screen, behind his girlfriend, behind blacklisting me on false accusations. Why do you suppose he has to hide from me when all I want is to be heard? I’ll tell you why. Because his story about how his actions were “justified” would dissolve in a room full of presence and accountability. He would no longer be able to keep his present course of action. He would feel compelled to make changes. Presence changes people. And that is, for many of us, the deepest fear.

I have received a lot of support in the past couple months from people who finally seem to be waking up to how horrific it was to be lied to for months by Mark Manson. Mark Manson got sex, free publicity, a very deep relationship from me, and he did it all under false pretenses. Then he bailed and never made it right. Then he spent the last 5.5 years mostly being abusive, dismissive, and stonewalling. A public figure claiming to be a connection expert should be called out on the carpet for these insane behaviors.

And yet still a few messages from the people in denial continue to trickle in. I received one yesterday from a woman so delusional she actually thought I would hire her as my coach in order to get over this and move on.

I have no intention of getting over this and moving on … until it has been fully addressed by Mark Manson and remedied. This experience with Mark Manson SHATTERED my life. It destroyed my ability to trust men and people. What Mark Manson did is completely out of alignment with everything he purports to teach. It is LUDICROUS that a self-proclaimed connection expert has been allowed to get away with this outrage for 5.5 years. And I have no intention of letting it go, ever, until it is fairly addressed.

How would Mark Manson address this and make it right?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Unfortunately, we live in a society of despair where people gave up on being heard years ago. We were never taught the skills to get conflicts resolved in an inclusive way where everyone gets a happy outcome. And even so-called connection experts like Mark Manson don’t have these skills. We have been so accustomed for so long to “letting people get away with it,” making excuses for them, “looking the other way” … that the mere mention of holding out for real justice triggers an onslaught of criticism and projection. It’s like most people simply cannot imagine that we don’t have to live like this anymore. There is a better way.

Years ago now, I attended a Restorative Circles workshop with Dominic Barter when he came to San Francisco. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It made most dating and relationship advice seem totally impotent. Dominic Barter was working in the juvenile justice system in Brazil. He was getting victims, offenders, teachers, prison guards, families, and communities all into one room together to talk about what happened. And the restorative circle work of Dominic Barter in Brazil was so powerful that the recidivism rate of these offenders was ZERO. His work was so powerful that people who had hated each other began working together after the Restorative Circles were complete. His work was so powerful that tough hard-core prison guards would break down in tears and acknowledge how horrible and painful it was for them working in the prison systems.

The restorative circle work of Dominic Barter was so much more powerful than any other relationship advice I’ve ever seen, it touched me forever.

I’m crying right now as I write this, tears of hope and despair all mixed together.

So in the hope that even one person will be inspired by this article to learn more about Restorative Circles … and the fact that we don’t have to “live with” injustice for the rest of our lives … today I am sharing a few of Dominic Barter’s Non-Violent Communication, Empathy, and Restorative Justice videos from YouTube.

Dominic Barter on Empathy and ACTION, Part 1:

Dominic Barter on Empathy, Part 2:

Dominic Barter on Empathy, Part 3:

Dominic Barter on Non-Violent Communication (in Portuguese):

Mediation in Action:

Here are more videos from Dominic Barter explaining how Restorative Circles work. I cannot emphasize enough how different is the experience of being in one as opposed to just being told how they work. Restorative circles are far more powerful in action.

If Mark Manson and I had been in a restorative justice circle 5.5 years ago, this problem would have been resolved. It feels extremely painful to me that he has not been willing to do this.

How could a self-proclaimed connection expert not want to learn these skills?

How could any man who wants to have a real global impact not learn these skills?

I don’t know. All I know is the pain I feel each and every single day. The pain of being unheard. The pain of being treated so unfairly. The pain of being excluded. The pain of seeing a man whose communication “skills” involve calling me “old and ugly” held up as a role model. The pain of seeing such utter hypocrisy and unconsciousness and feeling powerless to do anything about it.


erika awakening