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

Counter-Dependency

That’s me! I never think to ask for help until after a crisis is over. Then I tell people what happened and they get mad at me for not letting them know at the time. They are frightened (what if something bad happened and they had no idea what was going on?) and rejected and feel I don’t trust them. It’s natural to feel those things. Only then does it dawn on me that I should have at least let them know I had a problem and give them the opportunity to help me.

This goes for big things. Once my doctor put me on a new heart medication that dropped my blood pressure and slowed my pulse. I called for an appointment and got one the same day. Since I didn’t feel faint, I got in my car and drove the few blocks. I forget what my blood pressure was, but both systolic and diastolic were in the double digits. My pulse was 28. So I was kept for observation for a few hours and amused myself reading lot of junky magazines. When he checked me at the end of the day, he asked me how I got to the office and was appalled to hear I had driven myself. It had never even occurred to me to call a taxi, let alone tell somebody in my family or circle of friends. Oh, and I only thought of calling 911 as I wrote this!

It goes for little things, too. I no longer use step ladders so I no longer change light bulbs. Instead of asking my best friend, who would gladly do it, I automatically adjust to less light. Bulbs only get replaced when he notices that they are out. Which reminds me, there are at least four that are burned out right now.

This has been a habit of mine since childhood. The adults in my life could not be counted on to be helpful; when I asked for help in every-day life they usually blamed me and scolded me. I learned at an early age to keep my problems to myself and take care of them as best I could. That was an eminently sensible decision, because I was the most reliable person I knew. By the time I was an adult, being independent was deeply ingrained in me.

Psychology books see excessive independence in a slightly different light. They conceptualize counter-dependency as leaning over backwards to avoid dependency. It masks a deep yearning to be taken care of, to be held and cuddled and fed when hungry and cooed at. Later in life to be tucked into bed and read to and praised and fed healthy meals and given bandaids for scraped knees and smiled at for no reason at all. I would have liked very much to have had all those things, but, for the most part, I had to live without them. Both my description and the books’ description of counter-dependency are true — they go hand-in-hand.

As I age, the situation is changing. There are fewer things I can do for myself, no matter how much I want to, and so my choice is to ask somebody or do without. Naturally, there is a lot I do without these days, and consequently my life has shrunk considerably. Being barely able to walk means that if I go someplace I have to be sure there is parking real close by. I can’t use public transportation because the stops are too far away. I no longer drive at night and that means no concerts or plays. It’s sad.

There is an upside to this, though. I think of asking for help more often and I feel I am growing in this regard. I have been given the opportunity to see people in a different light, as helpful and non-shaming. I am slowly breaking the rigid role my parents cast for me. I try and see my loss of independence in a positive light — an opportunity to go and learn something new rather than as a loss of one thing after another. Some days that’s a comforting and uplifting attitude, other days it seems awfully goody-two-shoes.

More on Trust

There were some errors in the ritual calendar, but they are corrected now.

Mary and Karen’s comments on “Trust” are right on. Some of us consistently have the problem of trusting too much, rather than too little. Others oscillate between the two extremes.

There are several possible reasons to be overly trusting. Probably most important, it’s a protection against feeling helpless. If everybody else is good, then if they hurt you they are doing it for your own good. So, if you change your behavior, they won’t have to hurt you any more. And if you try hard enough, you can change and everything will be fine. The illusion of being in control gives a strange sort of hope. It was a very depressing day when I figured out that nothing I did would prevent me from being hurt.

After having been taken advantage of once too often, I found I was being overly trusting to differentiate myself from my abusers. They did not believe me when I told the truth, or, if they did, they didn’t let on. Therefore I bent over backwards to believe people when they lied. If I misjudged, I would hurt myself, not the other person. How many times, in cult situations, do we choose to hurt ourselves rather than others? Even knowing that it will make no difference, that the people we were trying to protect would be hurt regardless, we hurt ourselves. If we hurt the other person, we would be like our abusers in our own eyes; that was unbearable. And the other person might think we did it willingly. That was unbearable, too.

Sometimes I see people being overly trusting, like a big floppy golden Labrador retriever. It makes me think they are trying to be ingratiating. “Like me! Like me! Pay attention to me! Look how nice and friendly I am!” Maybe it works sometimes, but trying too hard usually comes across as needy, not appealing.

Me, I think I am both at once. On the surface I trust everybody until they prove they are out to screw me. And they don’t get a second chance; they get many chances to prove me wrong. But underneath I expect everybody to betray me, and so I don’t let myself be vulnerable, don’t let others in. I guard my deepest self as if my life depended on it, which it certainly did once.