More on Internal Communication

There are three announcements after the main part of this post.

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In the previous post, I emphasized the attitude you should bring to talking to your alters, or parts, or inner people, or head-mates. It was pretty general, encouraging kindness and compassion.

Now I’ll get more practical and share some of the approaches I and others have found helpful.

1. Who is your audience?

Start by taking a moment to think of who you want to talk to. If it is a group, do they have different opinions, desires, needs? How long have you known them? How friendly are they to you? What is the age range? This is very important because you want to reach everybody.

Say there is a group of inner children ranging from five to eleven who have all had similar experiences. Tell them you want everybody to understand, and if somebody doesn’t know what a word means, they can interrupt you and ask, and you will explain. Then use fairly simple words. If you talk to the eight-year-olds, the older ones won’t feel talked down to, and the younger ones will understand most of it.

2. Set a time limit

It’s important to have some structure because lack of structure causes unnecessary anxiety. If you have a set amount of time, you can pace yourself and leave time at the end to summarize what you have talked about and thank everybody for participating. If you hope to meet again, say so, and set another time. 

3. Set some ground rules

Keep the rules few and simple. Include “do’s” with the “don’t’s.” Everybody takes turns.  No being mean to anybody else. It’s okay not to talk or to say you don’t understand something. It’s okay to swear and cry and laugh.

4. Make yourself comfortable

Choose a quiet place and bring some things that help make you calm. Bring supplies that the others might want – drawing equipment, stuffed animals, favorite objects. Turn the ringer on the phone off and put on some music, if you want.

5. Talk through to parts that you have not met or that are not available often.

“Talking through” means trusting that parts will hear you even if you cannot see or hear, or even sense them. They might be listening silently as you talk. Or one alter might be reporting what you are saying to them. 

Since this may be happening, whether you know it or not, it’s a good idea to give permission before you start. “It’s okay to just listen and not say anything. Later on, you may feel comfortable enough to speak directly to me.” “If you know of parts that aren’t here now that would benefit from knowing what I will tell you, please let them know what I said. Also, tell them they are welcome to come next time I talk to you-all.” Word the permission so that it is also an invitation.

6. Consider having a recurring meeting.

There are many advantages to having a meeting at the same time every week or every day.

Parts who are shy know that they can always join in when they feel braver. Parts who have gone to a different place internally understand that they are welcome to come back at any time.

If you design the meeting for parts to share memories, you may diminish the number of flashbacks you have during the day. Tell everybody that you have made a special time for them to share memories and feelings. This way, you can give them your full attention and not have to think about anything else. Give them the time and the ground rules. Whenever you feel a flashback coming on or feel triggered, remind them of that special time.

If you feel a lot of ambivalence or internal conflict, you can ask the two main alters who disagree – or everybody who has an opinion on the subject – to come to a meeting. Again, be careful to tell them about the ground rules you have prepared. They are coming to listen to the other person and learn where they are coming from. Tell them that they don’t need to make any decisions; it will just be information-gathering.

7. Meetings to share memories and make friends.

It’s interesting to see how exchanging information can lead to changes in belief and then changes in behavior. I can’t tell you a story about my internal process because my mind isn’t populated with full-fledged alters, so I’ll tell you about an experience I had with a cult-identified alter of one of my friends.

Since my friend was living on her own and did not go home for holidays, this alter had the job of celebrating the holidays on his own. He usually ended up in a psych ward in four-point restraints. He had no inside or outside friends. One day, he was quietly listening to me and my friend’s conversation and gathered I had been raised a Satanist. He came out, and we started talking. We were discussing the upcoming holiday (I forget which one it was), and I found out that his group read the words of the ritual. I was shocked because our group kept nothing in writing. Wasn’t he afraid it might get into the wrong hands?

Comparing our traditions opened up the possibility that there were options, other ways of doing things. We never tried to change the other; we just were curious about what the other thought and did. Gradually, we became friends.

It turned out that he was, or became, more than just his job. He was a poet, and he had tender feelings toward me. He once said that he dreamed of me lying in a bed of tulips. That still touches my heart today. He eventually decided to give up his job without anybody ordering him to or suggesting it, as far as I know. Shortly afterward, he integrated, and I missed him keenly.  

I am suggesting is that relationships, either internal or external, don’t always have to be filled with strife and pain. As parts get to understand each other, they may either agree to disagree or find common ground. Change can happen organically simply by opening up channels of communication. It is so gratifying to know that you have set the stage for growth to happen!

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* I had a brainstorm!

Would anybody be interested in participating in a virtual poetry reading? I’ve been to several in-person survivor poetry readings, and they were very moving and inspiring. 

I could host a ZOOM meeting, but I would need somebody to help me with the technical part.

Let me know if you are interested in helping me, reading your poetry, or attended the reading. Post in the comment section or write me at rahome@ra-info.org.

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* Bryn L. Kroto is a Physician’s Assistant who is writing a thesis at Arizona’s A.T. Still University in the School of Health Sciences. It will be on “…service gaps between Doctors/Physician’s Assistants/Nurse Practitioners and victims of ritual abuse and their families. How can the medical field help connect the dots identifying abuse and foster healing?”

If you would like to meet Bryn, she has made a podcast on “Remembering Truth: Time to Get Real on Ritual Abuse.” https://anchor.fm/bryn-kroto/episodes/Season-2-Episode-5-Time-to-Get-Real-on-Ritual-Abuse-eofq9r

If any survivors, family/friends, or therapists, are willing to be interviewed for this thesis, please write brynkroto23623@msn.com

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I have organized a ZOOM group of survivors whose systems are polyfragmented, or partially so. If you would like to join, contact me through the comments section or write rahome@ra-info.org

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 
Candlemas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
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/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

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/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
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/ 

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Upcoming Holidays

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)

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

Secure Communications, Outside and Inside

First, a little information about communicating with the outside world. Warning: nerd attack ahead, complete with geek-speak.

If you are feeling cautious (or even a little paranoid) about the safety of your communications over the Internet, here are some things I have learned.

1. Adblockers really work. Just turn the blocker on in your browser, and you will start getting next to zero new ads! So refreshing.

2. If you want to get rid of all the ads you are currently seeing, you have to clear your browser’s cache. This will free up a lot of storage space on your computer. It will also be annoying because your browser won’t remember any of your passwords. I think it’s worth one day of annoyance to restore what you want in trade for avoiding days and days of things you don’t want.

3. There is one browser that never, ever, tracks what you look for and never, ever, collects any data whatsoever about you. It’s DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com/) I suppose that means that, if they get subpoenaed, they have nothing to give the government.

4. Mozilla (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/) is now offering a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for US $4.99 a month.

5. Signal (https://www.signal.org/) offers free end-to-end encryption for totally private, untraceable voice and video calls. Also free text, voice messages, photos, videos, GIFs, and files transfer. Since they collect no data, they have nothing to sell. They are a non-profit living on donations.

6. Skype now offers “Private Conversations” and Facebook Messenger offers “Secret Conversations,” both though Signal. Why they do this, I do not know.

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On to the inside, which probably is of greater interest to everybody here.

Sometimes internal communication goes smoothly, and sometimes it stirs up all sorts of turmoil. I can’t guarantee you these hints are foolproof, but they have worked for me.

Actually, they aren’t hints. They are principles of good communication, both internal and external.

Politeness

The old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” You will get much more cooperation if you remember to say “please” and “thank you” and lay off the swear words. (I had a friend who addressed his alters this way: “Listen up, assholes!” To which they replied, “Fuck off!” He was surprised; I wasn’t.)

If you speak to them politely, don’t call them names, and don’t try to boss them around, they will be less anxious around you, they will listen to you, and they will have an easier time understanding and remembering what you are saying. They will also be more willing to talk to you.

Compassion

You may find you dislike some alters and are afraid of others. You may even feel like screaming and running away or getting rid of them permanently. This is not unusual, and the situation is not hopeless.

It helps to remind yourself that they went through horrible, horrible things to protect you and all the others inside. Plus, they may have been ordered to be like they are, and, given the torture they were enduring, they had no choice but to obey. If you think about this when they are not in your presence, you will find yourself softening toward them when you meet them. In turn, they will learn to react to you differently.

You are encouraging yourself to meet these alters with compassion and an open heart. You can always explain this to them even when you don’t think they are around. They may be listening silently, or others may tell them what you said. News is often shared inside.

When you do interact with them, you’ll find yourself feeling sad for what they went through, even in the midst of your fear or annoyance. 

Honesty

If you lie to an alter, you will build distrust, not respect and trust. If you try and sugar coat things, they will think you are clueless. If you try to fake knowing something you don’t, you will make a fool of yourself. Dishonesty is counterproductive.

We are all used to lying, keeping secrets, not talking about certain things. It was the way we were raised, and it takes hard work to change. It takes courage to say, “I don’t know.” It feels very, very vulnerable.

It’s great if you are brave enough to put it right out on the table. “I learned as a kid to lie and hide things in order to protect myself. I am trying very hard to learn how to be honest. I don’t want to lie to you, but I may forget sometimes. You can help me by asking if something is true or not if you are not sure.”

Humility

You are not perfect. You are guaranteed to make mistakes, many of them. This is not because you are flawed, but simply because all human beings make mistakes. 

I promise you that you will be happier and more self-confident if you stop chasing perfection. I have a couple of mottos that have helped me over the years in the quest for the acceptance of imperfection.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be different.”

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing a half-assed job of it.”

These little phrases have given me the courage to try new things, to fool around and just see what comes from it. After all, trying is better than sitting around putting all my energy into scolding myself for not doing anything.

Admitting you made a mistake builds trust. This is just as true of internal relationships as it is outside ones. 

If you put these principles into practice with outside people, you will find that it is easier to get to know somebody and that your relationships will improve. What works with inside people works with 3-D people.

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I plan to write more about internal communication in the next few weeks. I may refer back to these principles, but I probably won’t elaborate. I’m going to focus more on practical stuff, like crayons and taking turns and remembering things. I hope it will prove useful! 

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Upcoming Holidays

January
1/20 (?) St. Agnes’ Eve
1/28 Full moon

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII
1/28 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)

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

~~~~~~~~~~

I have organized a ZOOM group of survivors whose systems are polyfragmented, or partially so. If you would like to join, contact me through the comments section or write rahome@ra-info.org

~~~~~~~~~~

* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 
Candlemas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
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/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

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/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
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/ 

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* How to add a comment after a postThis blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post. You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS,” tagged (a list of the tags), and (the number of) comments.” Click on the word “comments” to open all posted comments.

At the very bottom of the page, you will see “LEAVE A REPLY.” That’s where you make a new comment. You can reply to a posted comment by clicking “Reply” under that comment. In each case, make sure to click “POST COMMENT” when you are finished. It’s a good idea to write out your comment first and then paste it in so that you don’t risk losing what you wrote.“The Facade Is Part of the Building”

The Facade Is Part of the Building

We use the word “facade” when we feel that we are faking something and not showing our true selves. We feel like imposters putting something over on people. If we cultivate the face that we show the world for enough years, it comes to feel like our true self – an imposter through and through!

This process is considered shameful. We should not be “putting on a good face” because, by doing so, we are deceiving people. We are not who we make people believe we are.

Then there is the 12-Step slogan, “fake it til you make it.” I understand what they are trying to convey, but it makes me cringe. It makes me think of somebody pretending they are a billionaire and hoping someday their ship will come in and they will become the billionaire they yearn to be.

On the other hand, experiments show that if you smile, your mood gets a little better. Even when you feel lousy, The act of smiling sets off a little burst of feel-good hormones. What’s the harm?

Years ago, a young man was in therapy with me. He was highly intelligent, talented, and competent. He was not an abuse survivor, but he did have some family issues he wanted to deal with.

One day he told me about how all his talent and competence was just a facade. Inside, I said to myself, “Me, too.”

Sometimes I open my mouth, and out of nowhere, I say something I didn’t know I was about to say. I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know how I knew it. I just know. This time it was, “But the facade is part of the building.” Wow!

The implication is that you cannot just rip it off and toss it away, like a removable mask. It’s part of your true self. This guy was, in fact, competent, intelligent, talented. Somebody had told him he was stupid, and he had believed the lie. He wasn’t tricking people; he had been tricked.

(An aside – have you ever looked hard at the facades of the buildings in your town or city? When my depression lifted, and I stopped looking at my feet and raised my eyes, I was amazed at how pretty the facades were. Buildings without facades looked like the dull, clumpy rectangles they were. But those with ornamentation were graceful and interesting.)

I’ve been musing about how the concept of facades relates to shell alters. It seems obvious to me that the shell alter is an integral part of the system. It has been formed from the essence of the person and contains as much me-ness as any other part. The image that comes to mind is that of a loving adult holding out her (or his) arms to cradle other parts who want to speak or come out into the world in some other way. You can give strength and safety and comfort without words, and I think that is what shell alters do.

In my mind, shell alters are more like the framework of a building. You don’t see them, but they are there, quietly providing strength and structure.

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Even after all these years, I catch myself believing a lie that I was told. I hear myself saying internally, “What would a nice girl do?” “What would a real social worker say?” “If I were truly compassionate…” Eek! My facade is slipping!

It’s tempting to think that the persistence of the negative beliefs about myself that I learned in childhood means that I’ve done something wrong in my healing. That’s not true. These beliefs are very tenacious, and they are still in my mind. When one pops up, I challenge it, and I quickly see it’s a lie. What more could I ask?

I have a lovely facade, and I spent many long years building it. I don’t have to pretend to be a nice girl, a real social worker, or compassionate. I am those things, inside and out.

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Upcoming Holidays

January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/6 (?) Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/13 New Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/18 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1/20 (?) St. Agnes’ Eve
1/28 Full moon

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII
1/28 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)

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

~~~~~~~~~~

I have organized a ZOOM group of survivors whose systems are polyfragmented, or partially so. If you would like to join, contact me through the comments section or write rahome@ra-info.org

~~~~~~~~~~

* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 
Candlemas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
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/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

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/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
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/ 

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* How to add a comment after a postThis blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post. You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS,” tagged (a list of the tags), and (the number of) comments.” Click on the word “comments” to open all posted comments.

At the very bottom of the page, you will see “LEAVE A REPLY.” That’s where you make a new comment. You can reply to a posted comment by clicking “Reply” under that comment. In each case, make sure to click “POST COMMENT” when you are finished. It’s a good idea to write out your comment first and then paste it in so that you don’t risk losing what you wrote.