Coming Out as a Ritual Abuse Survivor

Last week I went to my 60th High School reunion. Can you imagine? Twenty-five old ladies talking about what they did in 10th grade. It was fun.

At one point, we had a two-hour block of time to talk about anything we wanted. Ignoring retirement homes and hospice care, we chose to talk about what we were doing these days. We went around the table and I realized that I was going to be the last one to speak. I kept thinking about whether I wanted to disclose my ritual abuse past or not. (Happily, I still had enough brain power to listen to what others were saying.)

I saw that I had a choice: I could stick to the facts of my life – cats, gardening, chronic pain, doing social-worky things on the Internet.

But if I did they wouldn’t know the real me. I took a deep breath and decided to disclose my past.

I told them I had been born into a Satanic cult and was abused by that group and sold for pornography and that I managed to get out in college. I remained amnesic for all this until my early fifties and then, boy, it hit like a ton of bricks. In the meantime, I’d managed to raise two wonderful kids and protect them from being abused, by the cult or by anybody else. I feel that is a miracle!.

When I retired, I started to work for the RA community on the Internet, forming e-mail support groups for both survivors and therapists. My web page was the very first one on ritual abuse when the Internet was black and white and text only. I also have a blog. And then my disclosure was done and nobody fainted!

I don’t talk in groups much and, when I do, it is to survivors or professionals who already know about ritual abuse. Presumably nobody in this group knew much of anything about ritual abuse: if they had heard of it, it probably was in the context of how it didn’t exist. This was a first for me, and it was scary. It was also scary because these were people weren’t strangers and they meant something to me. I was a little nervous but not enough to have my voice and hands shake. At the end, I was asked for the urls of my website and blog.

One woman came up to me afterwards and thanked me. Another asked what Satanic cults were like and told me she had been to Salem and was told that Satanic groups were still practicing there. She also told me that some women were talking about my disclosure and saying I was brave. I’m going to write her and tell her that our connection meant a lot to me. It showed me that my words didn’t just fall into a void, as I often think they do.

I am glad I did this. I am proud of myself!!!

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29 thoughts on “Coming Out as a Ritual Abuse Survivor

    1. I love it! I also love “lived through.” But they don’t make great nouns — “livedthroughiter?” I am starting to consider “bad ass!”

  1. Wow! I have had the email notification for this sitting in my inbox all this time just waiting for me to have the time to read it. I really wanted to know your thoughts on this.

    I have disclosed my SRA background to various people over the years. I try to be very select as to who because I think most people just do not believe this kind of stuff goes on. It has been amazing how many people actually do believe it, though, or at least accept the possibility. And, I am sure, some just think I am odd.

    Just this last week, I revealed it to about 5(?) people one on one and a whole group, too. It is not something I jump at the chance to do. I needed a prayer covering for safety and that led to reminding one person and letting another one know. Then, I ended up revealing it to three more people. I am not even sure how the latter conversations got started! They just happened. But I am OK with that.

    It is always a risk, I think. While we want to be accepted for the miracle of who we are in having made it through alive, sharing comes with a price. Sometimes, for me, that means wondering later if I did the right or best thing in sharing.

    I am glad you shared what you did. It is important that we not keep hiding all the time. There is a time and place to share.

    I am a walking miracle…as are all of us

    Sending lots of love and hugs, Flower

    1. Flower, there were some sentences that were repeated, so I took them out. It looked like you were cutting and pasting and pasted twice. I didn’t take out or change anything else. Hope that’s okay.

      In the beginning I wasn’t selective at all, but nothing terrible happened. Once a taxi driver said he would pray for me. I was so moved!

      I got more feedback from those women that what I did was powerful and helpful. So I had to work through some more “aw, gee whiz” reactions, but that was fine, just fine.

      I find I am more outspoken in other situations right now, and all though it’s new and I am a little jittery, I like how it feels.

      You disclosed to about 5 people individually and to a whole group? Maybe it is something in the water! How did you feel afterwards, and do you still feel the effects today? (If it is okay to ask).

      1. No problem at all, Jean! I sometimes do that…forget to edit something or accidentally paste too many times. *headsmack* LOL

        It may be too soon to know about the recent disclosures, but I would say I am OK with them. These are people I really trust. What is amazing is that one of them, because of my sharing, told me that she had seen the inner room of an Eastern Star lodge. It was accidental, but she affirmed that it was “creepy”, that there was a “pentagram in the middle” and an “altar in the pentagram”. She confirmed the height, too, and it definitely fits. Talk about some validation! Know what I mean?

        I think what I shared will be OK. With the group, I only shared that I was a SRA survivor…no details…and none requested. The personal conversations with the 5 were more in depth. The one woman asked if I felt safe where we were. This was the one who had seen the Eastern Star and knew of uncles (thankfully, not her own father) who were Masonic. She was just concerned about how I felt.

        I don’t think I can help but wonder after every disclosure. But I have to trust my heavenly Abba/Father that He is leading me and I did the right/OK thing. Like you, I want to live in freedom. It is part of who I am. Although I would not wish my experiences on my worst enemy, I am grateful that my experiences make me more sensitive toward others.

        They also make my “radar” twitch more easily. There are people and places where I sense bad things. But I guess that is good, right? Part of what keeps me safe? There is a LOT of cult here, too, just like back where we used to live. They are everywhere.

        It feels like a fine line I walk sometimes. I refuse to live in fear. I don’t know if my pastor remembers, but I disclosed to him years ago about the DID. I don’t think I have DID anymore. At least, there have been no indicators for years now. Completely blended? Hidden? No need to “come out”? I don’t know. My life has been kind of semi on hold for a long time. We will see. But for now, I am still (gratefully) partially amnesic. I have read that complete integration/blending does not necessarily equal total recall. I am very, very OK with that. I don’t really want to know the rest. There is no need. I got the idea.

        I am interested in how you feel going forward from your disclosure.

        Sending love and hugs! Flower

        1. I am so naive, my radar doesn’t catch bad things very often. It does pretty well, though, with recognizing other survivors. I think yours does help you be safe. I think of it as along a spectrum: Too oblivious, and you can walk right into trouble, too aware and you get paranoid and paralyzed with fear. I wish mine were set just right!

          That validation, wow! I wasn’t abused, that I know of, in any place fancy like that. I do sort of get the shivers when ever I pass anything Masonic because so many people have told me about being abused there. She sounds like a caring person.

          I don’t have a lot of complete memories. Sometimes it’s a scrap of a picture, sometimes the feelings, sometimes the strange sense that I “just know” something and can talk about it in a completely detached, practical way. I get a lot of mileage out of what I do remember and I don’t find it necessarily to get every last detail. So I am with you there.

          Can you remember what it was like to be DID? And then to be what you are now? Does it feel like what it was before you knew you were DID? I am so curious, as I never felt like I had separate personalities, more like I was so shattered that I had to gather together groups of shards to do something. One to start the car, another to back up, another to drive forward, another to pay attention to the speed limit, etc etc. One part is on vacation and I am in trouble!

          1. Finally…I can get back to this. My story with dissociation is not like most. I did not lose time like extreme cases. I did notice some things, though. In certain situations, I would switch personalities, although I did not recognize it as such. I was always copresent and it just felt as if I was now “outgoing” or somehow better suited for the situation or environment. I just thought I was somehow mustering up courage and beating my “shyness” down, but I realized later that I was switching to a different part of me.

            When I first became aware of real switching is when something triggered my main upfront host to move inside…aware…but from inside. I had been prepared for this by G-d lead me to some information about dissociation. Although I did not relate to all of it, some of it seemed familiar and so I just paid attention to the little indicators I saw…tiny snippets of lost time, although nothing major.

            When the trigger hit (two back to back incidents with my parents), main host went inside and I knew what was going on. As main host, I watched from inside as a secondary cohost who had always been copresent was out front. That is when I became aware of this part of me that had always been there. It is like I had side by side personalities…not sure how many…and they worked in tandem.

            When I went for healing, I was given “sight” into the inside. I was working with a woman who was a survivor and lay counselor. We prayed together and the Holy Spirit did a huge work inside. I met parts of me and listened and shared and then I saw lines of alters streaming into me…blending with me inside. It was amazing. I don’t know how many. Hundreds? It was like a huge crowd and they just kept walking toward me and then into me.

            Some remained…key alters that held things that really needed more healing. That took more time. But as each one found what they needed, they just blended.

            My whole goal from the time I found out about all this was to do what was needed for healing and become whole again…go back to what I was created to be. Over time, I realized that I could not go back completely because the abuse started soooooo early. I could become whole, but I would not revert back to my pre-abuse state. My experiences, like all experiences, were/are a part of who I am. So, I embrace them.

            Blending does not mean I am not still amnesic. I cannot honestly say that there are not more parts of me left that need healing. Life has been a roller coaster ride (you know about some of it). I have had to “batten down the hatches”, as it were. Now that things are quieting down, will I become aware of more “aspects” of myself that are still separate inside? I have no idea.

            That is probably more than you wanted to know! LOL

            Sending love and hugs!

            1. Oh no! I want to know all that. I know what you mean at all stages that you describe, but some fit me more than others. Like perhaps there is a co-present part when I am outgoing, or in my secretary mode, or being a smart-ass cynic. I act different in different situations; I think all people do.

              My consciousness, my “me,” seems to live just behind my right shoulder, if that makes any sense.

              I can imagine that “me” moving inside and then a secretary part, a cynic, etc blending with that me. I can imagine that “me” staying inside, or going back where it used to be, or maybe moving to just behind my eyes, or where ever singletons keep their conscious me. So I can really relate to your process. Thank you so much for explaining it.

  2. Awesome. Glad you made this choice and that it was the right one for you. I’m also glad it was well-received, which is not always the case every time. I hope that I’m as brave as you are when I get to my 60th reunion. 🙂 ❤

    1. Yes, it went very well. The more I sit with it, the more I see what a big deal it was for me. Tell me all about what happened at your 60th reunion — I plan to be around forever, you know. (don’t know how to make a happy face on wordpress)

  3. You are an incredible woman, Jean. You have done so much for so many people and it took a lot of courage to do that. You are an inspiration to me!

  4. Hi Jean, what an amazing gift you gave to these women and to the world. The ripples will go out, helping people everywhere. Imagine, these women now have heard someone share something very very difficult, with honesty and an open heart. This will help them when they need to do so also, or when their loved ones do. They now will take your honesty and courage with them wherever they go. And, it is said that when one person heals, we all heal to some degree. Your stepping out thus has helped many many people in the world have the courage to step out. You opened a door for people you will never meet.

    1. Oh lordy, your comment brings tears to my eyes. You are right about the ripples, but they are invisible at the time. Just gotta take thier existence on faith!

  5. Wow! How coureageous! 🙂
    You can be so proud of yourself!

    In the last few weeks, we recognize more often, that it’s important to us to speak free about our history. It’s a very impotant point in our healingprocess to show, who we are an don’t hid our personalty and our past any longer. Unfortunately we often are not that brave to talk about it, even if we want it.
    But to read about your experiance reassure us to continue trying it.

    Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Yes, but we have to use good judgement. There are times that it is not that risky, and times that disclosing our past could be a disaster. Especially in the beginning, I believe it is best to be cautious. Over time, we learn to see the difference between safe and dangerous people to disclose to.

  6. That’s how you make your way! Some of your classmates very well may be in the cult because the cult lives in communities where goes all life of its members.
    As another note, the word survivor is not bad, but I always considered it incomplete. You didn’t just manage to survive. You overcame the greatest evil force (the cult paints itself as controlling good and evil, but there is nothing good in the cult) and you brought the best of humanity in the greatest effort to make life in spite of all the deadly nature seeing true value of this life. You should be called something like satanic cult overcomers.

    1. Mark, I don’t like the word survivor, either. Not do I like thriver. I think we need a whole range of words to describe the different places we find ourselves in.

  7. It was indeed very brave of HEART from you, dear Jean … It’s very hazardous, & then difficult, to express oneself from one’s depths, all the more when what you express is a whole new reality, coming from a whole new world, for other people … :-))

    1. I hope it was a new reality for my old friends! I would not wish my history on my worst enemy.

      You are right, it is hard to talk of this to those who have no idea. And hard for them to listen, too.

    1. Thanks, Wendy.

      Funny, it didn’t seem brave at the time. I just realized it felt selfish. I was willing to risk causing them discomfort in order to feel like a whole person. Isn’t it odd how, after all these years, I so easily change positive into negative?

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