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.)

~~~~~~~~~~


* 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.


~~~~~~~~~~ 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Became Polyfragmented

I have been meeting by ZOOM with another polyfragmented survivor. We would like to invite others to join us so that we can become a group. If you feel that all or part of your system is fragmented, please contact me through the comments section or email me directly. You will find my address in the comments section.

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I’m annoyed at my process. It seems that for all these years of work on myself, my past, how it shaped me, how it laid the ground for dysfunctional behavior, the guilt, the low-self esteem, etcetera, I should be further along than I am now. And then there are the years and years of therapy, years of another person being by my side and on my side, guiding me and cheering me along.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very grateful to have remembered and thus been able to enter this process. I’m intensely thankful for two exceptional therapists that I’ve worked with over the years. And to have been born in an era when ritual abuse and government/military mind control are talked about and studied, an era when survivors can find each other and share their experience and hard-gained wisdom. I have been so very lucky.

I think that AA and other 12-step groups, along with the women’s movement, laid the groundwork for us to remember and tell others our stories. It was in those meetings that people broke taboos right and left, talking about subjects that had been clothed in silence for generations. My parents didn’t talk about alcoholism. How could they? They did not even have the concept. It was the same with domestic violence and incest and other forms of sexual abuse – they did not even have the concept. 

When I was about fourteen or fifteen, I read that incest occurred in one in a million families. That belief was not exactly conducive to realizing that your family was one of those 160 families. (The population of the United States was 160.2 million in 1953.) And of course, Satanism didn’t exist, and governments were benevolent and would never hurt a child.

Yes, it is so much better to know the truth. I am lucky and grateful, but I am still annoyed and frustrated by my healing process. And I am annoyed that I am annoyed because it’s not helpful!

Anyway, this is what set me off.

I’ve been pondering how my mind works with fragments and no real alters. No alters with specific jobs. No one to take care of this immensely complicated computer, learn to use a cell phone, or do the dishes. No one to decide who gets to be out. No one in charge, no one to hold memories. I don’t understand how the little scraps of my mind get together to get anything at all done.

However, I did find out how I got this way, which is progress, even though it sheds no light on what “this way” is. I found a large sheet of paper, dated 1994, which spelled out how I was fragmented. What is really weird is that I had forgotten that I figured it out years ago. I wonder how much else I don’t know that I once knew. 

This is what I had forgotten for so long. I was electroshocked when I was about two, and the shocks were what splintered me. I don’t know how often it was done, how it was done, who did it, who arranged for it to be done, where it was done, why it was done, why I am not scared of electricity. I just know that my mind was left in little pieces that could not be reassembled.

These things I assume –

My parents must have consented to it or consented to a cover story about what would be done to me. However, there is no trace of anything in my baby book or my mother’s diaries that would indicate anything out of the ordinary happened to me around that age.

Somebody they knew must have put them in touch with whoever was running the program. They did not have the skills necessary to do it themselves. Neither had any technical or mechanical talent.

I am guessing that healthy, bright toddlers were collected from cult members and fragmented to be used later on in various programs.

That’s about as far as I have gotten.

Being electroshocked as a kid raises a lot of questions. I have no idea how I could come through that experience and still look “normal” from the outside. I met developmental milestones, and I seemed “normal” psychologically, except for being shy and timid. There was no obvious physical aftermath. How in the world is all of this possible? I may never know any of the answers.

Realizing that this happened to me is not what is frustrating to me. It feels like a weight on my heart and leaves me numb. What is frustrating is that I could have gotten this information many years ago and just plain forgotten it. Amnesia came roaring back, and I had to remember all over again.

I have long believed that no issue is totally resolved. The process is not linear; it is a spiral. You work on something and make good progress, then turn to something else. In time you come back to the same issue and work on it again, but at a deeper level. I thought that I would know what my issues are and remember the work I had done on them. Now I know that isn’t necessarily true.

It’s like making a complicated cake with many layers and spending hours decorating it beautifully, then dropping it on the floor. 

Oh well, I can always start over again. I just did.

 ~~~~~~~~~~

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

Halloween {personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 
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/

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays
November
11/11 Veterans’ Day (?)
11/13 Friday the thirteenth
11/26 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/30 Full moon
11/30 St Andrew’s Day
December
Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19
12/4 Total Solar Eclipse
12/14 Total solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Chile and parts of Argentina. Partial eclipse will be visible in southern South America and south-east Africa. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-december-14
12/18 Full Moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/5 Christmas Day
12/29 Full moon
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah  (Jewish Festival of Lights)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

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* How to add a comment after a post This blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post (after the calendar) You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS” tagged (a list of the tags) (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.

Minimization, Denial, and Amnesia

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* These conferences address dissociation in general and are open to survivors, their supporters, and therapists.

* An Infinite Mind is presenting a “Healing Together” regional conference.
September 21, 2019
McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA. (just outside Boston, MA.)
Space is limited to 100 attendees. Registration fee is $89.
Information, including agenda, at https://www.aninfinitemind.com/healing-together-boston.html

* An Infinite Mind’s 10th Annual “Healing Together” International Conference
February 7 – 9, 2020; Orlando, FL
Submit proposals for presentations before August 15.
Submission guidelines, vendor information, and hotel information at https://www.aninfinitemind.com/healing-together.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m writing this time about three defenses that protect us from overwhelming feelings. It isn’t only people who have endured extreme trauma as children or who are dissociative who employ these defenses; everybody does. It’s a matter how often they are used and how much they interfere with making good choices in life.

Sometimes people assume that defenses are “bad.” They aren’t good or bad; they are simply protective, Ask any one of us if it is agonizing to freak out all the time and you will get an earful. Luckily defenses smooth things out and calm things down so that there is less suffering over-all. But they can also be used to damp down feelings about situations that are dangerous, and, while it might feel better in the moment, it increases suffering in the long run. So are defenses good or bad? Like so many other things, it all depends.

These three defenses are related. I’ll start with the mildest one.

Minimization is down-playing the importance of something, either consciously or unconsciously, either to oneself or to others. “I was only five miles over the speed limit.” (Actually, it was twenty-five.) I wasn’t drunk last night – I only had three drinks. (Three drinks in an hour can get you pretty drunk.) “Don’t worry about me – I’m fine.” (Well, actually, I am feeling a little bit bad about…”)

If minimization is unconscious, it’s harder to break through than if it is conscious, and it’s almost impossible to do it alone. How can you know something you don’t know? Unless, of course, you have an alter who does know and who can tell you in such a way that you are able to listen.

Denial is more robust than minimization. Denial means you believe something that isn’t true. “We weren’t poor as children. We always had food on the table.” But the kids’ clothes were worn-out hand-me-downs, the electricity often was turned off, and, during the last week of the month, dinner was usually spaghetti or rice and beans, if that. Believing a fantasy allows you to hold your head high.

Denial can be deep-seated. I once worked with an alcoholic who believed with all sincerity that beer did not contain alcohol. Showing him the label with the percentage of alcohol clearly marked just elicited the response, “Oh, that’s only a marketing ploy.” If he didn’t believe it, he was doing a great job of irritating me.

Denial, by definition, is unconscious. If you know you are denying something, you aren’t in denial; you are lying to yourself. You may half believe your lie, but you half don’t. The truth of the matter is buried in the unconscious. Why? Because it is too unbearable to face, at least for now. Maybe later in life, when you have more resources, you will be able to come to grips with the issue, but not right now.

Amnesia is the strongest of these three defenses. It’s as if a fifty-foot high ten-feet deep stone wall has been erected around things that would be totally overwhelming if conscious. We think of amnesiac barriers as existing between alters to keep them apart. Imagine for a moment that the whole system has one mind. The system believes that if those alters were in contact it with each other would be extremely dangerous for everybody in the system. So the alters must stay apart, and the information they have must not be communicated.

As I said earlier, people who are not multiple can also have amnesia. A study was done where girls who had been sexually assaulted as teens were identified through hospital records and interviewed a few years later. Most did not remember either being assaulted or going to the hospital. (Wish I could remember the reference.) Some probably were dissociative to begin with, but undoubtedly many were not.

I believe that the phenomenon of amnesia for traumatic events in non-multiple people is less studied than in dissociative people. Perhaps I just am not up on the literature about people who aren’t like me! I don’t remember any explanation of why some women forgot their trauma and others didn’t. That would make a fascinating piece of research.

When it comes to survivors of ritual abuse or other forms of severe trauma, it’s intuitively easy to understand why intense pain and terror inflicted in a group setting before the age of six is bound to produce amnesia. If that weren’t enough, many of us have remembered hypnotic sessions when we were repeatedly told to forget and never remember. And many of us were manipulated to have only certain alters know certain things, and those alters were programmed to appear on command of the handlers. It’s little wonder out amnesia is so hard to overcome.

One personal thought. I do not seem to “lose time” in the sense that there is a gap in my consciousness. It’s not like being under anesthesia or in a an alcoholic black-out.  I don’t lose information instantaneously; the information doesn’t disappear like snow on the water. My memories fade out with time. Sometimes it takes hours, something months. The result is that there is precious little in my long-term memory.

I believe that I was taught so well not to remember that my mind was molded to forget things. The hypnotic command to forget is no longer confined to dangerous things; it applies to almost everything. It’s annoying to me and everybody around me, but there is little I can do except find work-arounds. For example, my keys are tied to my purse, and my purse is a vivid color that is nothing like anything else in my environment. It takes a lot of effort to think of ways around my forgetfulness, but when I figure things out, life does get simpler.

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Upcoming Holidays

Note: Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
August Ritual Dates https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/


July
7/16 Full moon
7/16 – 7/17 Partial lunar eclipse. Visible in South America, Africa, most of Europe and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
7/25 St. James´ Day/Festival of the Horned God

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/15 Full moon
8/15 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

September
9/2 Labor Day (US)
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast
9/13 Full moon
9/13 Friday the Thirteenth
9/23 Fall equinox

October
10/13 Full moon
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)