When Survivors of Ritual Abuse or Other Forms of Extreme Abuse Need Medical Care

Upcoming holidays –  7/19 S (Satanic and some Nazi) Full Moon: 7/29 (Nazi) Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party: 8/1 (Satanic) Lamas: 8/18 (Satanic and some Nazi)  Full Moon: 8/15 (Satanic) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: sundown 8/13 to sundown 8/14 (Nazi) Tisha B’Av: (Day of Mourning) Please note that Satanic sects build the year around pagan holidays and appropriate Christian holidays, some secular holidays, and may also mark holidays of other religions and cultures. Nazis and Neo-Nazis base their calendar on the Satanic calendar, add dates from Nazi history, and appropriate Jewish holidays.

Jade Miller’s wonderful blog, “Thoughts from J8: Notes on Attachment, Trauma, Dissociation, Multiplicity, SRA, and Recovery” is at http://thoughtsfromj8.com/ I hope you go visit it!

Jade and I have become friends over the last year. We are similar in many ways, dissimilar in many others. One of the ways we are alike is that we both come up with tons of wonderful ideas. But she starts working on them as soon as she thinks of them, while I put them on my to-do list. I start one in ten, while she finishes one in ten while I am still researching things.

A month or so ago we talked about how wonderful it would be to go to med schools and dental schools and tell the students about fear, PTSD, flashbacks, and all those good things that come from torturing children. And to write an article with doctors or dentists as co-authors. So far I have recruited one dentist and thought of another. She has decided to offer herself as a speaker and has started to assemble another website. She also wrote this guest post for me, which can serve as a first draft of the article on treating people like us.

So we happily share it with you – our idea’s first venture out into public. We see it as a step to more effective self-care and as an act of activism, as speaking out and educating others is activism.

Jade says that, if you think this would help with your medical care, you may print it out and give it to your medical provider.

When Survivors of Ritual Abuse or Other Forms of Extreme Abuse Need Medical Care
One topic that often comes up in conversation with other abuse survivors is the need for medical professionals to have a greater understanding of the issues survivors deal with in the doctor’s office. I say “doctor’s office” but I’m really talking about any kind of office where a professional is going to be consulted about some aspect of our physical health. So all of this includes dentists, eye doctors, ultrasound technicians, gynecologists, etc.

Things That Apply to All Survivors
In my opinion, one of the most important things for practitioners to keep in mind is that even the disclosure of abuse history is a very vulnerable and tender place for survivors. Filling out forms with questions about our medical history can feel very cold and impersonal, and we may not initially write these things on the lines on the papers. But face to face, if your staff is friendly and compassionate, if they take their time and don’t rush us through the check-in process, we may tell them snippets of the abuse that relates to the questions they have to ask. It’s awkward and scary for us, and we do it because we want help – not because it’s fun.

Another thing to be aware of is  – this may sound counterintuitive – sometimes compassion is not helpful when expressed as noticeable emotion. If I tell somebody about something abusive that happened to me, and that person starts to cry or get very angry, it puts an additional burden on me. I immediately feel guilty for saying something that caused pain – even though the pain was coming from a beautiful place of compassion. I feel I have to comfort them and I’m reluctant to say anything else – even if the information would change the course of my treatment – because I want to protect them from more painful knowledge. It makes it hard to just be a patient.

Presenting a strong and calm presence is beneficial for survivors because it conveys that you can handle anything we need to disclose. Statements like “I’m so sorry that happened to you,” and “I hate that you went through that,” along with, “Thank you for letting me know so that I can do everything I can to help you,” help calm our anxiety.

Another very important thing to know is that every single abuse survivor has been stripped of their own personal power at some point or another. We are in various stages of taking that power back – from not even realizing we have any personal power of our own, to taking baby steps, to full recovery. Making an appointment to see someone perceived to be in a position of power over us is really difficult. Oftentimes the only reason we choose to do it is because we are having some pain or problem with our bodies that has become greater than our fear of your perceived authority.

Because we’ve experienced abuse by more powerful people, we often naturally distrust people in positions of power. This is not personal or a statement about you. Power has been used against us and we have been violated, silenced, and shamed with it.

So with that in mind, one of the best things you can do for us is to honor our voice. Honor and even reiterate the fact that we are in control of our bodies and our treatments. Make recommendations, give us the facts, share your knowledge with us – and then put the ball completely in our court. Don’t argue with us if we choose something different than your first recommendation. Don’t belittle our choices or our questions.

Survivors who have been ritually abused often have specific reasons to fear the medical system. Many have been abused by doctors or people pretending to be doctors and have been told that cult medical personnel are in all hospitals and clinics. We believe, on some level, that all it will take is one phone call to set us up to be abused again. Because of this, many of us are interested in more holistic alternatives to medical problems.

We have often done research and asked questions and investigated alternative treatment methods. Honor our requests for information about other options if you feel professionally capable. If you don’t, be honest without being antagonistic. Tell us you don’t have enough knowledge or experience to practice what we are asking for but would be willing to make a referral.

Treating Patients Who Dissociate
Here are some questions that would be great for medical providers to ask patients who have disclosed that they have issues with dissociation. Keep in mind that answering these questions may be difficult and make the patient feel very vulnerable.

1) What happens when you dissociate?  For example, do you space out, switch to a different part, freeze up, flinch if you are touched?
2) What would be helpful for me to do if I notice that you’re dissociating? For example, give you a few minutes to collect yourself, ignore it, ask how you’re doing?
3) Is there anything that would help make the appointment less stressful? For example, bringing a stuffed animal or other comfort object or having a support person in the room?
4) When procedures have to be done, would you prefer that I tell you everything I’m going to do before I do it or just get it over with as quickly as possible?
5. Do you know of specific things I could do to prevent a flashback or help you through one?

We will try to answer your questions, but we may not be able to tell you everything up front. Some of us may not have the awareness or ability to articulate their experiences. Building trust takes time. There may be events or experiences in our past that relate to present-day medical issues but we just don’t feel like we can tell a complete stranger we’ve only just met. Patience and respect on your part will – over time – empower us to trust you with that information.

Summing Up
This post is just a starting point. I want to address providers on behalf of trauma survivors, but there are so many unique situations represented by this population that a ton of other information could be written about the subject. The best thing to do is to get to know the patient and form a partnership with them.

There is one final thing I would like to share. We don’t have two heads. We aren’t all that different from your other fearful, phobic patients. We just have different reasons for our fear. We’ve lived through things that you may never have heard of, but that doesn’t mean that the things that you do to reassure your patients won’t work for us. And it works the other way, too; if you learn something from us it may be applicable to the rest of your practice.

Jade Miller

http://thoughtsfromj8.com/

Talktoj8@gmail.com

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9 thoughts on “When Survivors of Ritual Abuse or Other Forms of Extreme Abuse Need Medical Care

  1. This is a very good start Jade – to health professionals everywhere. I am a nurse and my best friend has been ritually abused. Your insights are compassionate and respectful.

  2. Wow, this is important to so many of us. Thank you for writing about this subject. Because I was a nurse and I have medical knowledge, I am getting better about staying present during Dr. or Dentist appts. I always tell medical providers that I want to know details about what will happen during a procedure, how much pain it will cause, aftereffects and such. i tend to ask a LOT of questions.
    Peace.

    1. I didn’t write it! Just like I didn’t take the video of the koala in the ER.

      Jade Miller wrote it. She is a super writer and has 4 books out

      Dear Little Ones: A book about Dissociative Identity Disorder for young alters
      Kjære små: Dissosiativ Identitets Lidelse for små altre (Norwegian Edition)
      Lieve Kleine Schatten: Dissociatieve Identiteitsstoornis voor jonge alters (Dutch Edition)
      Dear Little Ones 2: Dissociative Identity Disorder for Young Alters (Book 2: About Parents) (Volume 2)
      Attachment and Dissociation: A Survivor’s Analysis
      Pieces of Me: A Collision of Art, Poetry, Essays, Faith, and Mental Health

      You can read all about them here http://www.amazon.com/Jade-Miller/e/B00WON7WOI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1466817752&sr=1-2-ent Sorry I cant make a link work in the comments section.

      I didn’t know you were a nurse. I imagine that would have been stressful, even without the complications of an RA background. I’m glad it comes in handy taking care of yourself. So many of us just freeze and can’t ask for what they need.

    1. Thank you so much!

      I follow your blog, and so your opinion means a lot to me. If you have anything to add, that would be be real welcome.

  3. A well written and very needed article. You might consider talking about the issue of different parts going for medical help and the others either not knowing about it, or a different part may go at another time. Medical personnel may need to be told that they might be seeing different identities at future visits. Glad you’re working on this.

    1. Oh, wow, different alters making different appointments, with different doctors, about conditions they may or may not have (because somebody else may have them), and responding or not responding to different medications in different ways. Poor docs, they will really have difficulty with the medical records!

      This will definitely be a section. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

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