Transforming Trauma Episode 089: The Complex Relational Dynamics of Cancel Culture with Clementine Morrigan
A podcast brought to you by the NARM® Training Institute
In this episode of Transforming Trauma, NARM Senior Trainer Brad Kammer is joined by Clementine Morrigan, writer, podcaster, socialist, and trauma educator. Clementine embodies their teaching, sharing and perspective in the courageous trauma-informed work they are doing, specifically addressing the shame-based dynamics of what is presently referred to as “cancel culture”. Clementine is a strong advocate for a new understanding of the dynamics of cancel culture, and how publicly canceling fellow human beings impacts individuals and communities. In this discussion, Clementine shares about the psychological impact for individuals who are publicly shamed and rejected, and how trauma-informed therapists can play a role in individual healing and relational repair.
Clementine presents the concept of the “Nexus”, which is a synthesis of identitarianism, social media, and cancel culture, and about the traumatogenic nature of this synthesis. Through their research and experience, Clementine has found that leaving the Nexus, and/or experiencing cancel culture, has traumatic effects similar to complex trauma due to the loss of relational connection. Feeling ostracized or excommunicated has long-term effects because it prevents future attempts at creating connection and community. Clementine suggests that in the world of cancel culture, the relational understanding of “rupture and repair” do not seem to exist.
Clementine recounts their own experience in the Nexus which led them to a hypervigilant obsession with social justice culture since they felt fear that if they made mistakes, they’d be defined by them and not allowed to live them down. This time in Clementine’s life felt like walking a fine line between wanting to act from a place of integrity that honors human dignity for all people and the shamed-based behavior of not wanting to get in trouble. They highlight the importance of not defining people by their behaviors, but rather by their human potential; something they learned through their own therapy work and their involvement in twelve-step communities.
Connection, therapy, and twelve-step programs are what Clementine cites as contributing to their deprogramming of the Nexus-way of thinking. All of the internal work allowed them to create healthy boundaries and live their integrity. It has also allowed them to rebuild a community with shared values; a community that speaks openly about cancel culture and strives for solidarity, freedom and responsibility.
We are grateful to Clementine for sharing their story and their insight to the nexus. We invite you to listen to the full episode to hear more about the adverse effects of cancel culture and how to overcome them.
Clementine Morrigan has been writing and publishing for more than 20 years, having written several zines and books. They are also a podcaster as one half of the podcast F-ing Cancelled. They're the creator of the popular Trauma Informed Polyamory workshop as well as several other workshops. She is a trauma educator, an opposer of cancel culture, a sex educator, a person living with complex ptsd, a sober alcoholic, and a proud dog mom to Clover “the dog” Morrigan.