My Presentation at the An Infinite Mind’s “Healing Together” Conference

* The International’s Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Annual Conference is coming up. The pre-conference is March 12 – 13, and the main conference is March 14 – 16. It’s being held in San Francisco. Information: https://annualconference.isst-d.org/

I’m attending the conference this year and would love to connect with anybody who is going. We could hang out at break times and get to know each other better.

ISSTD is also offering two regional conferences. 

*A Day With Professor Michael Salter” – plus Margot Sunderland, Adah Sachs, Kathryn Livingston, Mark Linington, Elly Hanson, Sue Richardson, Valerie Sinason, and Nancy Borrett – is in London on March 5. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/london-regional-conference/

* “Diagnosis and “Treatment of DID and PTSD in Indigenous Peoples” is in Fairbanks AK on June 17 – 20. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/fairbanks-regional-conference/

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The vibe at An Infinite Mind’s conference was just like last year’s, except stronger. It was warm and friendly and accepting, also open and trusting and real. Once again, there was a great deal of diversity compared to other conferences I have been to. There were more men, more differently-abled people, more people of different races, more gay, lesbian, bi, and trans people, a wider range of ages, and more people with green or blue or pink hair. That is greatly to be celebrated.

And guess what? There were almost 100 more people there than there were last year! They must be doing something right.

I learned some new things, met some amazing people, touched base with people I had hung out with last year. It’s relaxing and energizing at the same time to be with others who are like me in so many ways, and I wish I could experience it 24/365. But I’m not complaining – the memory of those 24/48-plus hours will buoy me up for many a day.

So – the presentation. I survived, obviously. There were about 30, 35 people there, over half survivors, and the rest split between therapists and support people. I had prepared the talk for therapists, so I made it more general, more inclusive, as I went along. There was time for questions after each section, and that worked very nicely, People quickly engaged and they liked that format.

It felt weird because I went into flashback almost immediately. I’d expected the flashback to come after the presentation, the way it did at previous conferences. But no, it was 90 minutes of flashback, which gradually lifted afterwards. I felt like an actress playing a part, and I could feel that the way I moved my body and my hands was not normal for me. I couldn’t tell about my voice because I was using a microphone, so, of course, my voice sounded very different to me. Although I didn’t feel like a different person, you might say I switched, and another part gave the presentation. I don’t know.

I lost my place once, fell silent, and then said, “I don’t know where I am.” Nobody seemed to take it literally. I quickly found my footing, apologized, and continued. And I did let one set of questions go on too long and had to rush through the end. None of this was a disaster. People came up to me afterwards and thanked me and were very warm and supportive. And nobody knew I was in a flashback unless I told on myself!

So it was just fine – it really was.

One thing I really love about being in a group of RA survivors is that we can go from tears to laughter in a minute. So many of us seem to have the same sense of humor. It’s a bond. I love it! And I’m glad that people think I am funny – humor is such a gift.

The ice is broken, and now there can be other RA presentations. Maybe even a panel! There is plenty of time to brainstorm and plan.

Perhaps you-all could help start the brainstorming and share your ideas in the comments section. If you could go to a conference on DID, what would you want the RA sessions to be like? Let your imagination soar!! Topics, of course, but also format. Academic presentations, art shows, music, anything.

Perhaps I could develop some of those ideas into a blog post.

 

PS This is not an apology; it’s an explanation. The post is late this time because I was on the plane coming home on the 10th. Yesterday, I made time to write it, but I didn’t post it until today. I read it with fresh eyes, did some editing, and and then clicked “publish.” I still have lots of every-day life things to do – get some food in the fridge, read 150 emails and sort out the important ones, laundry, things like that.

PPS The cat is much better! I was afraid he would die when I was away, and I wouldn’t get to say goodbye. Luckily, I worried for nothing. Magical thinking tells me that it was my fretting that made him better, but logically I think it was his resilient little body.

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Upcoming Holidays

February
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/26 Ash Wednesday

March 
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/9 Full moon<
3/13 Friday the Thirteenth
3/17 Spring Equinox
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan

April
4/1 April Fool´s Day
4/5 Palm Sunday
4/7 Full moon
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/9 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/10 Good Friday
4/11 Holy Saturday
4/12 Easter Sunday<
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
2/10 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (celebration of spring)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

A Ritual Abuse Survivor Writes Her Dentist

Another survivor has sent me an account of her experiences as a breeder and given me permission to share it on the blog. I’ll post it next time. And there is a third person who is also interested in sharing.

I think it would be wonderful – and possible – to put together an anthology. I can do the editing and set up, but I need your help to let people know that a book is in the works. It would mean posting a notice on your blog, if you have one, and letting all your RA/MC contacts, therapists as well as survivors, know about the project. Ask them to spread the word. And, if this is in their background, ask them to consider writing something – an account of what happened and how it affected them, a rant, a poem, whatever moves them.

There are 300-plus people following my blog at this point, and if, say, half of them helped out this way, I am sure it would come together quite quickly. And I would feel SOOOO supported!!

 

Once again, Forsaken Phoenix has written a marvelous article and given me permission to reblog it.

 

Dear Dr. ***

I know you have a much bigger work load right now and I know that means it’s tougher for you to spend the amount of time with each patient that you’d prefer. So I hope this letter will help both of us prepare for my upcoming fillings.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you worked hard to earn my trust and respect. It’s not easy for me to be at the dentist’s office and it’s even more difficult for me to actually *trust* a dentist. However, believe it or not, you’re one of my most trusted medical professionals and that’s the only reason I have the courage to even attempt this. So thank you, for being the person you are and patiently allowing me to trust you in my own time.

When you first met me, you told me that we were going to work together and fix my mouth so that it wouldn’t hurt and that it would no longer put me at risk medically. You never once fought *me* but instead, you fought *for* me and *with* me. You never once belittled, invalidated, or ridiculed me and you always told me that my comfort level was important to you. You respected my needs and requests.

After our last appointment, I was terrified. But not for the reasons one might expect. I was terrified because I thought you were mad at me. I felt like I let you down. My abuse history says you *should* be mad at me. It says that because I now have cavities, I’ve let you down and you no longer have a responsibility to care about me or my comfort levels – much less my well being. My past says you now have the right, to quite literally, kill me.

But that’s only what *my past* says and not what you’ve ever said or implied. It’s not fair to you, for me to treat you as though you’re one of them.

You only want to save my smile. To help me stay happy and healthy – and for me to assume that you would now torture me or kill me is not fair to you.

So far, you’ve given me no indication that you are giving up on me – so for now, I promise not to give up on fighting for you either.
I recently found out that sedation is not a possibility with my insurance for the fillings. Now, my only option is nitrous oxide. You were also willing to let me try getting them done without Novocaine. I’ve been thinking hard lately and I believe I’ve found a way to at least attempt this. I also think the risk of attempting without Novocaine is too high. My concern is that it might be more painful than I expect and then be processed as torture.

If we could use both nitrous oxide, and a topical anesthetic before the Novocaine injection(s), I think we might be able to make it work. But I would also need your help to get through it.

I would need you to tell me to close my eyes before I have the chance to see the needle. Not seeing the needle will help me to remain calm.

If you could say “1, 2, 3, poke” when doing the injection(s) it would help me feel more like a team player and less like a victim. Having the nitrous oxide and the topical anesthetic would help me as well as I fight to cope.

When you do the injection(s), hearing your voice telling me calmly that I’m doing good, that you’re proud of me – that would help as well, as it would remind me that I’m in the office with *you* and not being tortured by one of my abusers from the past who used to enjoy drugging me.

Before the procedure, having you look me in the eyes and *promise* me sincerely that you *will not* kill me that day would be inexplicably helpful. It may sound silly, but the abusers could never make that promise because the threat of death was part of their fun.

During the drilling, I’m terrified that I will switch or get triggered. My biggest fear there is the fear that you will then be perceived as a threat and I will either attempt to physically attack anyone nearby – or I will dissociate, be unable to move, and end up being retraumatized. Aside from the obvious reasons, I also don’t want that happening because I don’t want my current understanding of your role in my life to be undermined by my past.

One of the biggest ways I know to avoid such worst case scenarios involves your help as well as the hygienist’s. I need to hear your voices talking to me. Reassuring me. Not really telling me what you’re doing – but telling me *how I’m* doing. Telling me I’m doing a good job, that you’re proud of me, and that we’re in this together. That you’re not going anywhere. The abusers from my past enjoyed telling what they were about to do and how they would do it as a shock/threat tactic. So keeping me up to speed on what you’re doing would not be helpful – but updates like “we’re almost done, just X minutes left” are helpful as they show me ‘this *will* end.’

If one of you gets up to leave, please let me know that. Please reassure me that you will be coming back. Please remind me that together, we will get through this, and that you’re proud of me. Knowing you’re proud of me before you step away will remind me that you’re not leaving because I’ve done something to displease you and cause retaliation of some sort. It will remind me that I don’t need to be scared of what will happen when you come back. It will remind me that you are you and not ‘them.’

The ability to bring a blanket and or a stress ball will help me as I will have a comfort item to help remain grounded and something to squeeze so that I’m not digging my nails into my hands.

I mentioned that the sound of the drill will trigger me and I feel as though you’ve earned the trust level to know why. The sound (for me) is close enough to that of a bone saw. A tool my abusers used to threaten me with to force my cooperation. I don’t tell you this to upset you or incite pity – but to help you better understand the severity of my past abuse and how real and difficult coping with the sound will be. I’ve considered bringing headphones to either block out some of the sound or play music – but I feel that would only cause more confusion for me as I fight to understand where I am and who you are throughout the procedure.

Something you’ve never once said to me but I feel you should be aware of is to not say, “Breathe.” Saying that word alone is part of my past programming and will cause me to immediately *stop* breathing. I will then pass out on you. Instead, simply reminding me “you’re safe, we’re all right here” will cause me to instinctively take a deep breath.

I hope this is helpful. I’ve also signed a release for my therapist to communicate with you. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask him. There may be things he can help clarify or things he sees as helpful for you to be aware of that I haven’t thought of. He is my *most trusted* medical professional and he has my explicit permission to share any and all relevant information with you as he sees fit for the interests of collaboration.

Forsaken Phoenix

 

Upcoming Holidays

March  
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/25 Palm Sunday
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Full Moon
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects}
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
May
  
5/1 Beltane/May Day/ Labour Day in Europe
5/13 Mothers’ Day
5/28 Memorial Day
5/29 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
4/20 Hitler’s birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. His alternate birthday is 4/1 this year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

The Awareness Center

Upcoming Holidays
August
information on August holidays https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
8/1 Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7 Full Moon
8/7 Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
1
0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve/
Hallowmas/All Souls’ Day/Start of the Celtic new year, the “dark” half of the year
Important dates in Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 N Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
.

The Awareness Center

Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, there were many very good organizations devoted to ritual abuse resources and healing. Many of them folded after a few years. The WayBack Machine only started archiving websites in 1996 and it didn’t really get going until 2000. Some website owners specifically asked that their material not be archived or, when they took down their webpages, asked to have the material removed from the archives. I was very saddened because I thought that information was lost forever.

You saw how excited I was when svali returned to the web and posted all her past writings and promised new articles. Now I have found another treasure.

The Awareness Center was a project of the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). It served as a clearinghouse of information, resources, support, and advocacy and was on the net for fifteen years – from April 30, 1999 to April 30, 2014.

Although the website disappeared, JCASA’s founder, Vicki Polin, collected the finished webpages and put them in blog form. You can find them at http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com.

Jewish communities, like all persecuted groups, are very silent about sexual abuse and assault. They do not want to give their enemies any information that could be used to discriminate against them and persecute them. Although there are Jewish cults that practice Satanic ritual abuse, this secret is held very, very tightly, for fear of reactivating the “Blood Libel.” This centuries-old myth claims that Jews kill babies and use their blood as an ingredient in the wafers that are used in the most holy part of Catholic masses. For centuries the “Blood Libel” was used as an excuse for pogroms.

Of the major Jewish branches, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, the Orthodox branch is most active in its efforts to keep all information about abuse within the community. People who say that they suspect abuse are told to talk to a rabbi, who will forbid that person from going to the police. If somebody does talk to the police, they and their families are shunned and verbally abused. People have lost their jobs and been banned from their synagogue. Their children have been expelled from school. Even women who have been raped as adults are shunned if the assault becomes known.

I have known only a very few Jewish survivors. Of these few, most were abused by non-Jewish groups, usually Neo-Nazi groups who wanted a Jewish child to use as a scapegoat. I can only think of three survivors of Jewish ritual abuse within the family – three in twenty-eight years! And between people I met in person and those I corresponded with by e-mail, I must have met over 2,000 survivors. Of course, many were focused on healing in the present and did not share much of their past with me, so the number may be a lot higher.

Back to the Awareness Center Blog. If you scroll down on any page, underneath “popular pages” you will find the blog archives, which start at May of 1970. Obviously that was not a 1970 blog entry; Vicki Polin must have filed information or kept it in a diary.

At http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com/2001/01/articles-written-by-awareness-center.html there is an index with articles grouped under the topics: community issues, clergy abuse, clinical (issues), cults and missionaries, general, family members of sex offenders, holidays, legal, offenders, parenting issues, rabbis, survivors of childhood abuse, and survivors of sexual assault. It includes space for articles planned for the future as well as those already written. Unfortunately, links to a couple of really interesting entries lead to a celebrity gossip page: https://www.axs.com/. I wonder how that happened.

It took an incredible amount of courage for Vicki to create first the webpage and then the blog. Every Jewish survivor deserves to know that this blog exists, for the knowledge of its existence will challenge the feeling of being the only one.

Can I ask a favor of all of you?

Will you tell every Jewish survivor you may know about this resource? And can you tell all the other survivors you know about the blog and ask them to tell their survivor friends to spread the word. Here is a sample paragraph for you to copy if you wish. “Could you tell all your survivor friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, about this blog? It has information and resources about sexual assault in the Orthodox community. http://theawarenesscenter.blogspot.com. Wide distribution about its existence will ensure that it will reach many Jewish survivors and lessen the burden of feeling that they are the only one who has suffered like this.”

Thank you so much!!