My Late-Life Identity Crisis

There is an announcement after the article.

Mid-life identity crises are easy to spot. Men dream of sports cars, red pick-up trucks, beautiful young women, and tours to Mount Everest. Women dream of “just one more baby,” grad school, and Dancing with the Stars. It’s a rough time for marriages. It’s often a period of depression and ennui. “J’ai lu tous les livres, et j’en ai marre de la vie. (I’ve read all the books, and I am sick and tired of life.”

Identity crises in the elderly – well, you usually think of deepening wrinkles, deteriorating health, loss of independence, and hints of dementia. But do you think of finding out you aren’t the person you thought you were? What are the signs of that? I’d say, for me, staring into space, picking up a pencil and making it hover over a piece of paper, never touching it. Talking out loud to myself, having strange dreams. Also, saying, “really???” a lot to people.

I’ve written before about how I have a sense that there is no me, nothing that holds the hypothetical self together and gives it consistently over time. It’s easier to see continuity with my body. All my memories include the fact that I have a head, two feet, and two hands. My height and weight have changed since I was two, of course, and my hands and feet have become larger. But from the time I was fifteen, there have been no basic changes in the architecture of my body.

Looking back, the earliest clue that I remember is lamenting, “I have no personality.” This was in my early teens. I meant that there was nothing outstanding about me, nothing memorable. I felt that I didn’t catch people’s interest, so there was no reason for them to get to know me. Invisible.

That’s how it feels not to have any sense of self. My body is visible, but my self is invisible to myself, if that makes any sense. And if somebody outside me thinks that they see me, well, they are deluded or just pretending in order to be nice. That doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of sense, either!

Over the past year, things have been changing. I’m back in touch with many people who have known me over the years. When we reconnect, many spontaneously say something like, “You have always been….” When I ask people who I trust to be honest with me and tell me what, if anything, has been constant about me over the years, they can list many traits. I have to listen to them because I know they don’t lie.

If all these people experience me as being constant over the years, they must be reacting to something that has stayed consistent. And, interestingly, they all mention the same things! This suggests that there really is a me and that I am simply blocked from seeing it. What is more, if I met somebody who matched their perception of me, I would like that person. I would be happy to have her as a friend.

Being told that I am perceived in a positive light is in direct opposition to the deep-seated belief that I am toxic, that my love is poison. All these years, I have believed the lies I was told and have covered up “the truth” about me in shame and fear. That’s sad. It’s really nice, however, to start genuinely believing they are lies, not a description of the real me. 

Several months after I began absorbing the implication of these discoveries, I started becoming aware of something I have known all along, something I have known without knowing I knew it. 

A large percentage of me is unconscious, and I am still amnesic for most of my abuse memories. Why don’t I know more? What is down there? What’s holding me back? What am I afraid of? What terrible things would happen if I did know?

Hints abound; hints from childhood and hints from adulthood, both before and after I started remembering. In second or third grade, I thought the Russians had found out how to put people to sleep for a month, play recordings, and have them wake up knowing all that the tapes had contained. I was struggling to memorize the multiplication tables and thought it would be wonderful to go to sleep one night and wake up a month later knowing them perfectly. And why not, while I was at it, also learn multiplication and long division in my sleep? Now how did I know about this?

Perhaps there is a clue in this piece of information. Ewen Cameron was doing these experiments even before he went to McGill. He was in the United States from 1936 to 1943. I was in first grade in 1943. 

In grade school, I was affronted that nobody had tested my ability to see things at a distance, not even guessing the suit and rank of playing cards held behind a screen. I assumed that these tests were the entrance exam, so to speak, to really interesting studies. I was disappointed, insulted, and angry. How did I know about remote viewing? Why did I care so much?

These aren’t memories that popped out in therapy. I have always remembered these thoughts and been puzzled by them.

After I remembered and found therapists who knew about ritual abuse, more hints surfaced. However, they slid out of consciousness after a while, only to resurface after months or years. 

I hope they stay conscious now that I am collecting dots to connect later on.

Two issues are especially important to me.

First, I have always been puzzled about how I make decisions. I feel fragmented, and I feel that tiny pieces of me come together to do things. But how do the fragments get chosen? And how can I decide to collect those fragments and then, when the task is over, let them go? 

Is it possible that there is a part of me that exists out of my awareness and is aware of my surroundings and everything in my conscious mind? Could that part be guiding the little pieces?

To date, the only theory that seemed to make sense was that actions were guided by stimulus/response. Stimulus: see a dirty dish; Response: put it in the dishwasher. Stimulus: open my calendar app and realize it’s the 10th, 20th, or 30th of the month; response: post a blog entry. I never felt very convinced, but it was the best I could come up with. 

Now I have another possible explanation. Frankly, it seems more likely. And scarier.

Second, I have worried for at least two decades that I might have destructive sleeper alters that I am not aware of. Around 12/31/1999 – 1/1/2000, I was terrified, not only of being killed but also by the possibility that the start of a new century was a trigger to wake up my own sleeper alters. Even worse, this would happen to many people at the same time, and we would go about destroying everything in sight.

Nothing happened. It might have as well have been any other night.

I did not stop worrying on and off, however. I don’t say, “Oh, that proves I don’t have sleeper alters.” All I can say for sure is that if I do have sleeper alters, they weren’t triggered into action by the date change.

Now I am willing to explore this part of me, the large unknown world below the protective amnestic barrier. I don’t know if I will get there. But if I do, I know that what is there will contribute mightily to this amazing late-life identity crisis.

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RA/MC Panel at the International Human Trafficking and SocialJustice Conference

I will be part of a panel of RA/MC survivors of child sex trafficking. The title of the presentation is “The Interface between Sex Trafficking, Ritual Abuse, and Mind Control Programming.” It will be in two parts. Each part will consist of a recording of the panel discussion followed by live questions and answers. There will be a fifteen-minute break between the two sections. 

We have the whole afternoon on Thursday, September 22, 2022. Read more about the presentation plus descriptions of all the other presentations at https://app.traffickingconference.com/schedule

Please come see us in (virtual) person! Survivors should choose the “Free Attendee Registration” option and remember to write for the registration code number. Register at https://www.traffickingconference.com/register 

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Upcoming Holidays

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/11 Full Moon
8/13 Friday the 13th
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/24 (?) St. Bartholomew’s Day

September
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage to the Beast
9/5 Labor Day (United States)
9/10 Full Moon
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 (?) Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

October
10/9 Full Moon
10/10 Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/25 Partial solar eclipse visible in Europe, the Urals, Western Siberia, the Middle East, India, Western Asia, and northeast Africa. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-october-25
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year 

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups 

10/1 Lammas
Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrations. 
9/2  Autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.”
10/16 Death of Rosenburg, a Nazi leader in World War II. (Many Nazi leaders were captured and scheduled for trial in late September and early October. Most of them killed themselves prior to trial.) 
10/17 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (6 months from Easter, 2022)
10/19 Death of Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader in World War II. 
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
10/31 – 11/1 Halloween

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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/
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/

Haiku in the Night

The poetry reading was great!

It had two unexpected after-effects on me, though. One was that it was amazingly energizing, launching me on manic binges of answering email and vacuuming. It felt…unusual…but good.

The other was that a fully formed poem woke me up in the middle of the night. No context. I didn’t even dream that I was writing a poem. Now that experience is a first! It wasn’t as startling as the tale of the weird surroundings and talking dog, but pretty close. I wrote it down.

Hey Pat, just a crust.
Just a crust, or maybe the whole loaf –
Either way, it’s mine!

I don’t know who Pat is, but I do know that Pat and the One Who Speaks are both males. I’m not sure if the title is “Capitalism” or “Avarice.” I’m leaning toward “Avarice.”

Denial as a Protective Reaction

I have come to a place where I sort of like it when I go into denial. When I first started on this roller coaster, denial made me frantic. “No, don’t be silly. That didn’t happen to me. No way could that have been going on in my family. It’s just totally out of character!!!” Followed by, “Well, if it didn’t happen, what the hell explains all this?” “I need an explanation! I need it now! But it can’t be ritual abuse, because that is ridiculous.” I was wrestling with the denial and feeling more and more panicky.

Before I remembered, denial was gentler, and it worked, all the time (that I remember.) Looking back, it made me feel calmer, more dissociated. I sort of floated above the thought of abuse, dismissed it, and went about whatever I was doing. No fuss, no panic, no going over the same territory over and over, going in ever more anxious circles. 

Back in the days before the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, there were lots of conferences on incest, abuse by clergy, and ritual abuse. I remember being in a workshop on using play techniques with adults. A nice, soft end to a long, challenging day.

So the presenter was talking about art therapy, and she said, “One clue pointing to ritual abuse in a child – or in an adult, for that matter – is doodling five pointed stars.” After all these years, I still remember my thoughts exactly. “Oh, don’t be silly, I doodled stars all the time and I’m not a ritual abuse survivor.” Case closed. I immediately started doodling stars, and, of course, they were just doodles, not Satanic symbols or anything else. Just something fun to draw, like goldfish or horses or houses.

That is an example of denial protecting a person from overwhelming emotions, from things they were not ready to know. It worked very well. It was quite a while before I had my first memory of ritual abuse, and boy, was I overwhelmed. Denial was no longer available to me, and I thought I would die from the intensity of the pain I was feeling. I was afraid my body couldn’t take it and that my heart would just stop. And I was on the verge of psychosis, afraid I would slip and fall into craziness. Denial had protected me from feeling all that.

Now, thirty-five years later, I still at times slip into denial. As before, my old friend serves to shield me from things I don’t want to know, don’t want to have lived through, don’t want to believe that people are capable of such cruelty. Usually, it doesn’t last very long and is followed by suicidal urges. (Having suicidal thoughts, and suicide itself, is an effective way to block the thoughts/memories of what was done to make me want to die as a child. But that is another big post.

How do I handle regressing into disbelief today? I accept it. I don’t fight it. I know by now it is temporary, and so – this would have sounded nuts to me thirty-five years ago – I embrace and welcome it. It’s a resting place, a short time to catch my breath and get ready for the next leg of the journey.

This is what works for me every time: “Well, after all, ritual abuse is only a hypothesis. If I come across a better hypothesis, I’ll drop ritual abuse and start working with the new one.” What a mature, sensible, non-judgmental attitude! I’ve considered slow-growing brain tumors, hereditary chemical imbalances, and ghost stories around a campfire and decided they were all less convincing than ritual abuse. They didn’t explain all my symptoms, especially those I remember having at an early age. So it’s back to working on ritual abuse, thankfully a little more rested and not wasting any energy scolding myself for once again denying my truth.

I want to end with one more thing, which could also be a whole other blog post. 

A psychologist once said to me, “If a person over-reacts in the present, it means they had to under-react to something in the past.” Makes sense! You are not looking at a drama queen; you are looking at a flashback.

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Upcoming Holidays

March
3/1 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/2 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/18 Full Moon
3/21 Spring Equinox

April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Palm Sunday
4/14 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/15 Good Friday
4/16 Holy Saturday
4/16 Full Moon
4/17 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 New Moon
4/30 Partial solar eclipse visible in southwest South America and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-april-30
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
4
5/8 Mother’s Day
5/15 Full Moon
5/15 – 5/16 Total lunar eclipse visible in south and west Europe, south and west Asia, Africa, much of North America, South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-may-16
5/21 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/26 (?) Ascension Day
5/30 Memorial Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

3/17-18 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
4/15-4/23 Passover/Pesach (Celebration of the 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.)

  ~~~~~~~~~

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/ 

An interesting Article on Elizabeth Loftus

Want to hear my excuse for this late blog post?

I was out having fun! I have no guilt, none at all.

A friend took me to a small Asian district that I have shopped in and eaten in and loved for years. I hadn’t been there for 14 months. My favorite small supermarket had my favorite fish and staples like bok choi and fish sauce and I was in heaven. We lunched together on take-out Banh Mi. 

She also took me to a small garden center, another shop I have loved for ages. I bought six-packs of lettuce and white cosmos and white stock. Also, three tomatoes, even though I have no idea where I can put them in the garden. Worst comes to worst, I can give them away in trade for some tomatoes when they ripen.

And I went to the doctor. He’s better in person than on Telemed! What’s more, I went all by myself. First time I took Lyft since early March 2020.

I took these places for granted when I could go any day I wanted to. Now they are as much a treat as a tropical vacation. 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

I have subscribed to the New Yorker for years. Although it is pretty poor on issues such as child abuse, DID, and memory, I love the cartoons, the poetry, most of the fiction, and many of the articles.

The April 5 issue had a long article on Elizabeth Loftus by Rachel Aviv. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/05/how-elizabeth-loftus-changed-the-meaning-of-memory I read it out of curiosity, expecting to be annoyed. To tell the truth, I was not disappointed.

When I initially heard of Loftus’ research and her connection with the False Memory Foundation (she was on their Scientific Advisory Board), there was little criticism of her work. Gradually, people started critiquing her often-cited early experiments on memory. I had hoped that pointing out the flaws in her reasoning would make a dent in her growing prestige, but I was mistaken.

Loftus started studying the malleability of memory in the ’70s. She questioned eye-witnesses about car crashes, using different verbs – hit, smashed, collided, etc., and found that, when the subjects were later asked about the speed of the cars, the more vivid verbs were correlated with higher estimated speeds. This led to more studies on the shaping of descriptions of events by the use of leading questions.

Her most famous experiment is widely known as “Lost in a Shopping Mall.” The formation of false memories; Loftus, E. F., & Pickrell, J. E. (1995) Psychiatric Annals, 25(12), 720–725. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-29546-001)

From the abstract: “ 24 Ss (aged 18–53 yrs) were provided with a brief description of 3 true events and 1 false event that they had supposedly witnessed with a close family member between ages of 4 and 6 yrs. Ss were required to record details of their memories concerning these events. This was followed by 2 successive interviews over 2 wks, in which Ss were asked to rate the clarity of their memory and confidence they felt regarding memory for events. Ss were then debriefed and asked to identify the false events. Ss were able to recall 68% of true events and used more words when describing true memories. During the 1st interview, 75% resisted suggestion about being lost in false events, and continued to resist during 2nd interview. 19 Ss correctly identified false events.”

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation used the article to “prove” that memories of childhood sexual abuse had been “suggested” by therapists. The fact that 75% of the subjects could identify which was the false event was overlooked.

Although the False Memory Syndrome Foundation ceased to exist in December of 2019, it continues to cause immeasurable harm to survivors, their therapists, and other supporters. Their views were widely disseminated by the media and are still held by many, many people. Our accounts of abuse (especially ritual abuse) are disbelieved, discounted, or minimized. 

Dr. Loftus became sought after as an expert witness on memory for the defense of many men accused of sexually assaulting women. She testified in the trials of Harvey Weinstein, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Ted Bundy, and about 300 others. Among her many books are “The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse.”

I do understand that memory can be inaccurate, that it can change over time, and that it can be shaped by leading questions. I do not understand how research that shows that some memories are accurate can be discounted or how inaccuracy of some memories can be generalized to “prove” inaccuracies of all memories. I have always been irritated by the way the results of Loftus’ research were used in the world outside academia.

This article in the New Yorker, though, gave me a different perspective on Loftus’ work and life and opened my heart. I now feel compassion for her as a person, even though my opinion of her work has not changed.

According to the article, Loftus’ kept a daily journal for six years during middle school and high school. Over and over, she wrote about how happy she was. Yet her father was aloof and emotionally unavailable and her mother was depressed and emotionally unavailable. When she was fourteen, her mother spent six months in a psychiatric hospital. Elizabeth kept writing in her journal about how happy she was and never mentioned her mother’s absence. Five days after her discharge, her mother was discovered dead in a pool at a family vacation house where she and her sister had stopped on the way home. 

Elizabeth and her brothers believed it was an accident, but her father believed it was suicide. In any event, her diary continued recording how happy she was. She did, though, write about her mother on scraps of paper which she paper clipped into the diary. They indicated she regretting not watching TV with her mother when asked, saying she was busy. She also records a long conversation about her mother’s childhood on the day she died, which Elizabeth treasured, saying that was the only time they had been close. She never said she was unhappy, but wrote of things that would have made most children guilty and unhappy.

She married but was unable to have much-wanted children. Elizabeth threw herself into her work, and the couple spent less and less time together and then divorced amicably. They are still good friends. From that time on, her life consisted almost entirely of work.

Throughout the article, she is quoted about wondering whether her mother’s death was a suicide or an accident, which version of her death was false, and which true. Quotes also indicated how unconnected the mother and daughter were. Both Elizabeth and her brother said they had next to no memories of their mother – only one or two hazy ones. 

And once, on the witness stand, she revealed that she had been molested by a male babysitter when she was six. Later she wrote, “the memory flew out of me, out of the blackness of the past, hitting me full force.” She had never forgotten the incident, but apparently, she had not remembered it is this way before.   

She also did not realize that she had misinterpreted what had happened until she worried that it had made her pregnant when she got her period later than her classmates. (She remembers that there was no penetration.)

It seems, that in her personal life as well as in her research, she can never be sure whether a memory is accurate or not, and that she has never been able to resolve her doubt about the cause of her mother’s death. 

Now I can feel compassion for that sad and brave child, doing such a good job of putting on a good front. I truly believe that she meant no harm and that her research might have taken a different turn had it been conducted today, now that we have information about the neurological storage of memory and the difference between implicit and traumatic memory.

In the next post, I will share something I wrote about memory in back in 1992.

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Upcoming Holidays

April
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
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/ 
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/

 

 

 

Internal Family Systems Therapy Workshop

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

I attended a 12-hour Workshop on Internal Family Systems Therapy. It was on ZOOM, and I am pretty comfortable using ZOOM now. I wasn’t triggered by being on video, and there were so many people attending that I just faded into the background. 

I noticed that I have the world’s messiest bookcase as background. I have no desire to tear it apart, find new places for all the papers and vases and other miscellaneous items, nor do I wish to subject myself to the frustration of not being able to find stuff when the bookshelf beautification project is complete. I have some lovely ZOOM virtual backgrounds, which I use on occasion. I do get spooked by seeing parts of me disappearing and reappearing as the software tries to catch up with itself. I shall therefore offer my bookcase, as a kindness, to make many people proud that their offices are tidier than mine. 

I wasn’t triggered by being in a large group, either. I didn’t have to interact with anybody. I also was under no pressure to remember anybody’s name or what we talked about. Actually, there was no pressure to remember anything, come to think about it. That was a treat because when I attend an in-person workshop, I’m expected to spend breaks and lunchtimes with others, to join email groups, and to remember all sorts of things, whether I am presenting or not.

I didn’t know anything about Internal Family Systems Therapy when I signed up for the workshop. Years ago, I had looked at their website and decided that it was pretty complicated and I didn’t have the time to study it. That was the sum total of my knowledge of the subject.

The workshop was well-organized, the slides were clear, and the presenter was knowledgeable. The content was interesting, and I learned a lot. I’d like to share a very brief summary with you all.

IFS theory postulates that everybody has a Self, everybody has experienced trauma to some degree, and everybody has developed parts to deal with the trauma. These parts came into being to protect the Self from being overwhelmed. Now the person has everything inside themselves that they need to heal. The therapist doesn’t have to give suggestions or advice or teach the client anything. All he/she has to do is guide the internal process of the client. Here’s an example:

T: “Is there a part of you that has thoughts or feelings about X?”
C. “There’s a part that’s mad.”
T. “What’s that like?”
C. Describes how the mad part makes things more complicated, how it would be better if that part went away.
T. “What’s the worst thing that could happen if that part of you stopped making things more complicated?”
C. “I would get overwhelmed and couldn’t cope.”
T. (to client’s Self, sense of “me”) “That mad part of you is doing a very good job of trying to protect you by distracting you.
T. “I wonder what would happen if, just for a second, that part stopped protecting you. If it stepped back, just for a moment, what would that be like?”
C. “I would okay for a short time. I know I would.”
T. Asks both the Self and the part if they are willing to try it. After getting permission, coaches them on how to step back and leave a quiet space between them. Then asks what it was like for each.

See how everything happens internally? Each time the client works with a part, the Self gets stronger, and the part does less and less protecting. Since the protective behavior (cutting, eating or not, worrying, criticizing, etc.) is a distraction to help the Self not deal with the trauma, symptoms diminish. The therapist doesn’t address the symptoms, just guides the client through the process of experimenting and negotiating with the parts.

Once the protectors are all on board and have faith that the Self really is strong enough to deal with the trauma, the healing phase of therapy begins.

There are parts, called “exiles” in IFS therapy, which hold the memories and feelings from the trauma. The therapist guides the client through the process of meeting an exile and learning about the age and the trauma in general terms. The next steps are finding out what the part would have liked to have happened, determining that the adult Self can give what is needed, and then providing it through guided imagery. At that point, the exile part is able to release the trauma and stops being stuck in the past. The trauma becomes a memory and does not have the overwhelmingly intense images and feelings of a flashback.  

I like that the client is not pathologized and that, from the start, the therapist conveys that the client has all that is needed to heal inside themself. I like that all parts of the person are treated with respect and always given freedom of choice. I like that the purpose of a symptom, not the symptom itself, is the focus of attention. It is a gentle, compassionate approach to trauma treatment.

I don’t like that IFST would take a long time for many therapists to learn because of the difference in approach and language and the number of protocols for different processes. (It’s sort of like EMDR in this respect.) Although from reading their website I gathered that it could be blended with other modalities of therapy, it would take much thought and time to do so.

Here is The Internal Family Sytems Institute’s website. https://ifs-institute.com

Browse through the News section for free Webinars and the Resources section for articles, videos, and podcasts. The bibliography in the Research section has a wealth of books, which you can sample at Google Books, Amazon, or Questia.


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Upcoming Holidays

April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/1 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/2 Good Friday
4/3 Holy Saturday
4/4 Easter Sunday
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve


May
5/1 Beltane
5/9 Mothers’ Day
5/12 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/4 Hitler’s alternate birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. This year, Easter falls on 4/4.)
4/8 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
4/15 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2) 
5/17 Shavuot (Festival of Harvest, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)
(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: 

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: (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/
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
 
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/

 ~~~~~~~~~~

*Highlights of a New York Times article


The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are proving highly effective in preventing coronavirus infections under real-world conditions, the C.D.C. found.

Troubling variants were circulating during the time of the study – from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021 — yet the vaccines still provided powerful protection.

The C.D.C. enrolled 3,950 people at high risk of being exposed to the virus because they were health care workers, first responders, or others on the front lines….

Among those who were fully vaccinated, there were .04 infections per 1,000 person-days, meaning that among 1,000 persons there would be .04 infections in a day.

There were 0.19 infections per 1,000 person-days among those who had had one dose of the vaccine. In contrast, there were 1.38 infections per 1,000 person-days in unvaccinated people.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/29/world/pfizer-moderna-covid-vaccines-infection.html?campaign_id=60&emc=edit_na_20210329&instance_id=0&nl=breaking-news&ref=headline&regi_id=112647142&segment_id=54428&user_id=c9efd3687ea12eec8e32e61a5b86de7d

 

* Survivorship Regular Conference – Saturday and Sunday May 22 – 23, 2021
Clinician’s Conference – Friday May 21, 2021
Information on the speakers, topics, and registration is at https://survivorship.org/the-survivorship-ritual-abuse-and-mind-control-2021-conference/