Remember the RA/MC Survivor Poetry Reading
On Saturday, October 23 at 4-5:30 PM Pacific Time, there will be a joyous event. Another online poetry reading! I hope those of you who missed the first one will come to this one.
The format will be a little different. The event will be shorter, but it will have the same structure. Greetings and a preview of what’s coming, the poetry reading itself, a short break, and then questions and answers. This time, people are invited to read one of their own poems.
Sign up for it at Eventbrite (click “register”) https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ritual-abuse-survivors-read-their-poems-of-suffering-and-healing-tickets-179703978437
If you want to be on the mailing list, let me know in the comment section and I’ll make sure you are included.
I’ve been wondering how come I can give suggestions on how to talk to littles, suggestions that people actually find useful. And yet I don’t have young parts inside me. Nobody is there with a name, with even a hint of what they look like, no sounds of crying. So what gives me the right to give suggestions?
I think I merge three things:
- Personal experience of what it was like to be various ages
- Reading lots of psychology and child development books, getting an MSW
- Having my own kids and learning (with difficulty) how to communicate with them at various ages
This mishmash of experience, knowledge, curiosity, and willingness to experiment makes me comfortable talking to the littles that I don’t have and the littles that many other multiples do have.
I talk to myself “as if” I had littles inside. I just assume that some part of me is listening and understands what I am saying. And if not, it is strengthening ideas in my brain that are counter to those that were laid down by the cult and my family. However it works, I know it works because I see the results.
When you think about it, there must be memories and feelings from the past, either conscious or unconscious, and they must be able to change. So if you have a memory, and you say over and over, “It wasn’t your fault, they made you do it. It wasn’t your fault,” something will shift. Slowly you will notice that you don’t feel as guilty. You won’t hate yourself as much. You will feel lighter, you will be able to breathe more freely.
It doesn’t matter what the inside of your mind is like, or how it is organized, or what your diagnosis is, once you were a child, and once you were abused, and nobody was there to tell you it wasn’t your fault and to comfort you, to love you, to say they wished they could have rescued you. But you are here now, and so you can pay attention to the child you used to be. You can send love back through the years to your child-self, and somehow it will counter the hate you received back then.
When my children were little, I didn’t naturally know how to talk to them. I had decided I would do the opposite of what my mother did. That intention was helpful, but it didn’t give me the actual “how do” knowledge. It was a do-it-yourself project and I learned as I went along.
I’ll summarize some of the things I learned that were most useful. They apply to kids of all ages – and, if I stop to think about it, they apply to grown-ups, too.
The first thing is your attitude. Respect the child parts (or outside children). They are human beings and as worthy as any other human being in the world.
Children’s opinions and beliefs are valid. They are the best possible response they could have had to the situation they found themselves in. If you listen carefully, not only will you come to understand what the child is trying to communicate, but, by listening and not criticizing and ordering the child around, you will convey a spirit of respect and empathy.
A good way to show that you have paid close attention is to summarize what the child has said and to ask if you got it right. Invite the child to correct you if you have misunderstood anything.
Note that being treated in this manner is a new experience for the little part you are speaking to. Perpetrators don’t give a shit what their victims think, feel, or believe. All they care about is power and control. Some parts may catch on quickly, some may take much longer to understand that you are different and that what you are offering them is real. Don’t give up on the parts that remain wary for a long time – it’s perfectly natural.
When you feel that you have a good relationship, one based on respect and trust, try expanding the child’s self-image. Point out that there are choices, and that it is okay to choose. Praise the child for stepping out of their comfort zone and learning something new.
Actually, I don’t wait for a relationship to develop to give choices when I talk to myself because my parts never answer and so I have no idea where we are in our relationship. I just, when I start to talk, say something like, “You can listen if you want to, but you don’t have to. Later on, if you decide you want to know what I said, some part inside can tell you. I will repeat this later, so you can listen then if you want to.” Offering choices, not pushing either choice, not rushing things.
If you are talking to a part who does something you don’t like, you will have to prepare yourself to approach that part with respect, curiosity, and trust that the part is doing the very best it can under the circumstances. Or rather, trust that you will come to understand that part in a different way if you listen long enough.
I had a friend who tried to strong-arm the alters who did things he didn’t like. His idea of an effective approach was, “Listen up, assholes.” That’s a great way to alienate anybody!
So hang on tightly to respect and the desire to know what is going on with that part.
If you are talking to children of different ages, you can:
- Tell the older ones that you know they can easily translate what you say into the language they use and then speak to the youngest in simple terms,
- Speak to the oldest and ask them to explain to the younger ones,
- Say at the beginning that you will flip back and forth in the language you use, talking first to one age group and then the other.
I had a friend read this over, and she suggested I say that many people’s thoughts are very visual. She’s right – people think in pictures, words, or both.
I have a friend who can’t think in words – it’s all pictures and patterns and colors. You would never guess; he is smart and articulate and has a large vocabulary. I knew a woman who thought in words as a child until she had a concussion. From that point on, she thought only in pictures. My thoughts are pretty redundant. If I think of a cow, I see a picture of a cow, hear the word cow, and see C O W written on its side.
My guess is that babies think in pictures and start adding words when they learn to talk. As their vocabulary grows, words are added to or replace pictures until they reach their preferred mode of thinking. If this is so, you are more apt to reach younger parts if you include word pictures in talking to your inner parts.
“It’s 2021 now. The cars are smaller than they were when we were little. Refrigerators – we called them iceboxes – are either white or shiny stainless steel. They used to be white or avocado green, remember? And you never have to scrape the ice off the inside of the freezer compartment.”
That’s not a very good example, but it’s all I can think of. It must be lunchtime!
One last thing —
It makes no difference if you are talking to inside littles or outside littles. If you have children, you will find that the same techniques work just as well as they do with your younger parts. After all, kids are kids, right? Children treated with respect want to please you and do what you want. Children who are told what to do, bossed around, naturally want to resist. There will probably be sullen obedience and meltdowns.
And for people like me, people who talk to furniture and computers and plants and stuff, well, it works there, too. Because the furniture isn’t listening, but some part of me is. That part of me will tell another part of me there is a problem, and, hopefully, some part of me will be able to fix that problem.
10/11 (?) Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/20 Full Moon
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/4 Satanic Revels
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/18-19 Partial Lunar Eclipse
11/19 Full Moon
11/25 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/28 First Sunday of Advent
11/30 St Andrew’s Day
Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19
12/4 Total Solar Eclipse
12/18 Full Moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)
You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Halloween (personal) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Valentine’s Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal – (for background, see Spring Equinox) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/