Fear

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”
* Looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting for submissions for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!
* If you are concerned about being tracked through your search engine, here is one that, unlike even duckduckgo.com, is encrypted https://www.searchencrypt.com/

Fear

There are some emotions which have been with me for the better part of my life – or perhaps every single day of my life. I call them constant companions. Guilt, pain, and fear come instantly to mind. I talk more about physical pain than emotional pain these days because, as my emotional pain decreased thanks to antidepressants and hard work on my cult past, my physical pain has grown, thanks to osteoarthritis. Both kinds of pain, though, are tough to live with 24/7.

Fear also is really hard to live with. It permeates every facet of my life, sometimes subtly, sometimes ferociously. It feels like a cage, boxing me in and preventing me from exploring life freely. It’s much safer sitting home alone with my computer or a good book and experiencing life at a distance.

It’s embarrassing at times. I cringe when I say I am phone phobic and many times I don’t say anything, I just grit my teeth and push through. When the fear starts mounting toward panic, I say something like, “I’m almost talked out” and end the call. It’s embarrassing to be late for an appointment because I got lost even though I had driven the route many times. I am always afraid of getting lost, and sometimes the distraction of anxiety makes my fear come true. So I allow myself extra time just in case but sometimes I don’t allow myself enough time to reorient myself.

When I get into the car, I whisper to myself, “It’s okay if I get lost. I have a full tank of gas, several maps, a GPS on my iPhone, and a charge card. And if worst comes to worst, I can ask for directions.” That’s reassuring, but not reassuring enough to totally take away the anxiety.

When the memories were flooding me, I became so agoraphobic that it took courage to go from one room to another in my own home. When you shake going to the bathroom or into the kitchen to cook dinner, that’s really agoraphobia! After all these years, it still happens when I am in flashback mode.

I figured out that I felt safe where I was because nobody was hurting me at the moment and I could see that I was alone. But I could not see all of the next room from where I was and danger might be just around the corner. In the flashback, I had one foot in the present and one in the past. My adult mind knew there was nobody else in the house but my little-girl terror had no such assurance. I felt quite a bit better when I figured that out, but it still was frightening to move from one room to another.

These are just a couple of examples of how fear interferes with living my life fully. I try to figure out what caused the fear in the first place (often easier said than done) and by soothing self-talk and reality checks. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes not. I try and push through the fear, but sometimes I just give in to it. That’s okay – I can’t spend all my precious energy on fighting battles that just pop up again in an hour.

It comes down to choosing between three ways of handling fear: figuring out the cause, talking myself through it, and giving in. And there are two ways of giving in: pushing the fear aside by avoiding looking at whatever is frightening me and allowing myself to sit still and pay attention to the fear, letting it wash over me. It’s reassuring to know that if I do nothing except feel the fear it will eventually turn into something else.

Frank Herbert said it eloquently in “Dune.”

LITANY AGAINST FEAR

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/21 Summer Solstice

6/23 Midsummer’s Eve/St. John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon

July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God

7/27 Full Moon

August
8/1 S N Lammas/Lughnasadh

8/26 S Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in World War II
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

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Empowerment

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* I’m looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting to submit prose or poetry for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors you know who work with survivors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

 

Here is something I wrote in 2011. It has, I think, a different tone to it than my present day writing because I was writing for the Survivorship newsletter. I had a connection with a piece of paper; the readers were only an abstraction to me. That’s because there was absolutely no feedback, so I couldn’t tell how I was being received.

With the blog though, the readers are very real. I know some through the comments and others I know from reading their blogs or from other contexts. I feel the sense of connection comes through in my writing, which seems less stilted and warmer. Also, I try not to give advice, because, with feedback, I’ve learned it usually falls flat.

I’ll make a few comments at the end of the piece.

 

Empowerment

“I was musing on how people get from being passive little wimps to assertive movers and shakers of the world. At first it looked like magic to me, but as I turned it over in my mind I could see that it was likely that the process was quite down to earth, even a bit dull.

“Only two things are needed: doing something you are afraid of for the first time, and then practicing what you just did. It’s just like learning to ride a bicycle. At least that’s how I get from can’t to can – maybe others do it differently.

“Not so long ago I was very shy. I tried to fade into the wallpaper to avoid drawing attention to myself. I thought I had nothing to say, nothing that others would want to hear. But when I realized I had been subjected to Satanic ritual abuse, I knew I had to speak, like it or not. (Of course, most people didn’t want to hear about it, but that’s a different story.)

“The first time I spoke up, it was excruciating. I was sure I was going to die of fear. My heart was racing very, very fast and I was sweating all over and stammering. The second time I was sure it was going to feel just like the first time, and it did. However, I was pretty certain I would live. If there was any other difference, it was so small that I couldn’t perceive it.

“I kept speaking about ritual abuse. I practiced and practiced, and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I sounded strong and confident. I spoke to fellow survivors, to friends, to family, to dentists, to taxi drivers. I spoke one to one and in groups. I even spoke at the United Nations! I went from “I can’t, I’m going to die” to “of course I can.”

“I’d like to invite all of you to challenge your “I can’t” thinking. Pick one little thing you would like to be able to do and do it just once, as an experiment, and see what happens. If it’s not totally terrible, consider practicing the new behavior. After a while, you, too, will feel strong, confident, and empowered. It feels great, and you did it all yourself!”

 

Riding a bicycle – gotta share this with you-all. My mother was pretty out of it as far as raising children went. The year I graduated from high school, she decided I was too old for summer camp and signed me up for a bicycle tour in France. Lovely idea – except I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I had never been given one. I didn’t protest (protesting was not safe in my family) and so off I went with no idea how I would manage.

Luckily, the trip started with a home stay with a French family. They were appalled that I didn’t know how to ride a bike, and lent me one. Their son taught me to ride. On cobblestone streets, no less. In two weeks I could ride, sort of.

So, covered in bandaids, I made the trip. I don’t remember having a map, but somehow I managed to follow the directions. I was usually riding alone because I was so slow. but they always kindly saved some dinner for me. Actually, I liked riding alone because nobody could see how inept I was, I could stop and rest whenever I wanted, I could walk up hills without being ashamed, and I could give the beautiful countryside my full attention.

Looking back at my teenaged self, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered. Of course I was still living by cult and family rules back then, so pleasure in any accomplishment was out of the question. I felt inferior to the other kids, ashamed and stupid. I was sure they were laughing at me. I arrived late for dinner with my tail between my legs. I wish I could have arrived with a broad smile, bragging about my amazing accomplishment.

I’m glad I found this bit of writing because I had forgotten how much courage it took to talk about ritual abuse. I was breaking a cardinal cult rule and risking being punished by the cult and being called crazy and being ostracized by others. The cult left me alone, thank goodness, but many people ended the conversation as soon as they could and made sure they didn’t have to talk to me again. It took courage, despite losing friend after friend, to keep on talking and risk losing still another person.

It also took courage to accept feeling connected and valued and respected and believed, because, except for my children, I had not experienced that in my fifty-odd years. I had found a family, a community of people like me. It takes courage to risk being connected because, having never before taken that leap of faith, it is a totally new feeling. The unknown is always frightening for me, probably because I don’t know the rules of this new game and have no idea how to navigate within the unfamiliar parameters.. At the time I didn’t feel brave – I just felt compelled, as if had no choice. In retrospect, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered.

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/17 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
August
8/1 S N Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/26 S Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 N Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

I Wish I Had Kept an RA Journal

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”
* Looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting for submissions for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and supportive therapists or pastors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

I Wish I Had Kept an RA Journal

The other day I came across a piece of paper. It was writing dating from sometime between 1994 and 1996, a time when many memories were surfacing. I have no recollection of writing it.

I’ve never been good at journaling. I start one, do a few pages, put it aside and forget about it. Then when I need to write something down I either start a new journal or grab any old piece of paper. Since there is no central place I keep all these writings, I cannot go back and look something up.

Many people have the organizational skills to keep their writing together, and maybe even date it or – wow! – index it. I wish I were that way, but I’m not, and never will be. I did make a small step toward organization and made a “locator book” where I write where I have put things. Now I have only one thing to lose instead of dozens…as long as I remember to use the book!

That piece of paper upset me and has been on my mind ever since I found it about two weeks before Beltane. Even though it’s important, I wasn’t ready to pursue it back in the ’90’s. I was so overwhelmed then, and I pursued the things that were pursuing me and taking over my life. I can’t fault myself: I think I made the right choice.

But now I am more stable and less often in relentless flashbacks. So I have the luxury of pursuing it now.

I have wondered for a long time why I am so fragmented. I learned that fragments were used in one of the experimental programming systems that were implanted in me. But I couldn’t have become fragmented then: I didn’t start being used for MC experimentation until I was six. And if fragmentation had been induced at that age, there would have been a trace, a memory, a longing for a less fragmented state. I never experienced any loss or yearning.

I don’t have trouble accepting that I was pretty well dissociated before the age of six because I remember what it felt like to be dissociated back then. Early photos show the vacant stare of a dissociated child. Before the age of about a year and a half I looked like a regular baby; my face was expressive and my body seemed to move freely.

Although I remember being dissociated, I don’t remember being multiple, in the classic sense, with inner parts with separate personalities and histories and places within my mind. I remember thinking just the way I think now and I remember freezing and going blank just the way I do now.

In the writing that I discovered, I was dialoguing with a two-year-old boy, a baby still. He did not know what happened to him, but he knew it hurt. I asked if somebody did know, and he pointed to another two-year-old boy whose body was covered with intersecting black lines. He reminded me of a picture puzzle. This boy could not talk. He understood me and nodded or shook his head to communicate. Since he couldn’t tell me what had happened. he pointed to another boy.

This one was in pieces, tiny pieces. The boy with the marks tried to reassemble him. He could only find pieces that fit for one little finger. That is where the writing stopped.

What it signals to me is heart-breaking. I feel that I was electroshocked when I was two and that was what caused the fragmentation. Recently I asked a survivor half my age what a feather symbolized, as I have doodled feathers on and off since childhood, and she told me it meant electroshock. I felt validated.

I had no words at the time to describe to anybody, even  myself, what had happened, and no way to make myself whole again. But fragments could be assembled to make a small part of me, and that is how I have always experienced myself. Small groups of fragments come together to write a blog entry or feed the cats and then dissolve, waiting safely someplace until needed again.

I’ve also always had some confusion about my gender. I know I am a woman, and I don’t feel like a man in a woman’s body. There are times, however, especially when I first wake up, when I am surprised to find that I am a woman. I remembered abuse when I was five that explained the confusion to my satisfaction. Looking at the writing, though, it seems to me that messing with my beliefs about my gender started around the age of two. Why? I have no idea, at least consciously

It just now occurred to me that the first little boy I spoke with is, indeed an alter. He took me forward in time to the moment when he felt the electroshock and then to when he was fragmented and no longer himself.  It shows me I was once unfragmented but have forgotten what that felt like. although I do have a couple of memories from before the age of two. Was I multiple then? I don’t know.

Every answer brings up more questions. I know that this process will continue for the rest of my life. Each time I get an answer, with its accompanying questions, I know myself a little better. I know for sure that there will not be enough time to answer all the questions raised, and so I shall never completely know my past. Some days that makes me sad and angry, other days I think I know all too much about my past, and that too makes me sad and angry.

 

Upcoming Holidays
May
5/28 Memorial Day
5/29 Full moon
June
6/17 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)