Empowerment

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

* I’m looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting to submit prose or poetry for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors you know who work with survivors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

 

Here is something I wrote in 2011. It has, I think, a different tone to it than my present day writing because I was writing for the Survivorship newsletter. I had a connection with a piece of paper; the readers were only an abstraction to me. That’s because there was absolutely no feedback, so I couldn’t tell how I was being received.

With the blog though, the readers are very real. I know some through the comments and others I know from reading their blogs or from other contexts. I feel the sense of connection comes through in my writing, which seems less stilted and warmer. Also, I try not to give advice, because, with feedback, I’ve learned it usually falls flat.

I’ll make a few comments at the end of the piece.

 

Empowerment

“I was musing on how people get from being passive little wimps to assertive movers and shakers of the world. At first it looked like magic to me, but as I turned it over in my mind I could see that it was likely that the process was quite down to earth, even a bit dull.

“Only two things are needed: doing something you are afraid of for the first time, and then practicing what you just did. It’s just like learning to ride a bicycle. At least that’s how I get from can’t to can – maybe others do it differently.

“Not so long ago I was very shy. I tried to fade into the wallpaper to avoid drawing attention to myself. I thought I had nothing to say, nothing that others would want to hear. But when I realized I had been subjected to Satanic ritual abuse, I knew I had to speak, like it or not. (Of course, most people didn’t want to hear about it, but that’s a different story.)

“The first time I spoke up, it was excruciating. I was sure I was going to die of fear. My heart was racing very, very fast and I was sweating all over and stammering. The second time I was sure it was going to feel just like the first time, and it did. However, I was pretty certain I would live. If there was any other difference, it was so small that I couldn’t perceive it.

“I kept speaking about ritual abuse. I practiced and practiced, and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I sounded strong and confident. I spoke to fellow survivors, to friends, to family, to dentists, to taxi drivers. I spoke one to one and in groups. I even spoke at the United Nations! I went from “I can’t, I’m going to die” to “of course I can.”

“I’d like to invite all of you to challenge your “I can’t” thinking. Pick one little thing you would like to be able to do and do it just once, as an experiment, and see what happens. If it’s not totally terrible, consider practicing the new behavior. After a while, you, too, will feel strong, confident, and empowered. It feels great, and you did it all yourself!”

 

Riding a bicycle – gotta share this with you-all. My mother was pretty out of it as far as raising children went. The year I graduated from high school, she decided I was too old for summer camp and signed me up for a bicycle tour in France. Lovely idea – except I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I had never been given one. I didn’t protest (protesting was not safe in my family) and so off I went with no idea how I would manage.

Luckily, the trip started with a home stay with a French family. They were appalled that I didn’t know how to ride a bike, and lent me one. Their son taught me to ride. On cobblestone streets, no less. In two weeks I could ride, sort of.

So, covered in bandaids, I made the trip. I don’t remember having a map, but somehow I managed to follow the directions. I was usually riding alone because I was so slow. but they always kindly saved some dinner for me. Actually, I liked riding alone because nobody could see how inept I was, I could stop and rest whenever I wanted, I could walk up hills without being ashamed, and I could give the beautiful countryside my full attention.

Looking back at my teenaged self, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered. Of course I was still living by cult and family rules back then, so pleasure in any accomplishment was out of the question. I felt inferior to the other kids, ashamed and stupid. I was sure they were laughing at me. I arrived late for dinner with my tail between my legs. I wish I could have arrived with a broad smile, bragging about my amazing accomplishment.

I’m glad I found this bit of writing because I had forgotten how much courage it took to talk about ritual abuse. I was breaking a cardinal cult rule and risking being punished by the cult and being called crazy and being ostracized by others. The cult left me alone, thank goodness, but many people ended the conversation as soon as they could and made sure they didn’t have to talk to me again. It took courage, despite losing friend after friend, to keep on talking and risk losing still another person.

It also took courage to accept feeling connected and valued and respected and believed, because, except for my children, I had not experienced that in my fifty-odd years. I had found a family, a community of people like me. It takes courage to risk being connected because, having never before taken that leap of faith, it is a totally new feeling. The unknown is always frightening for me, probably because I don’t know the rules of this new game and have no idea how to navigate within the unfamiliar parameters.. At the time I didn’t feel brave – I just felt compelled, as if had no choice. In retrospect, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered.

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/17 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
August
8/1 S N Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/26 S Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 N Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

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A Ritual Abuse Survivor Writes Her Dentist

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

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

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

 

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

 

Dear Dr. ***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forsaken Phoenix

 

Upcoming Holidays

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

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

More on Isolation: Secrets

Upcoming Holidays

November
11/23 Thanksgiving (Search for Thanksgiving
on this blog.)

December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice (Search for Yule on this blog. The information there also applies to the Pagan background of Christmas.)
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day (Search for Christmas on this blog. These posts are personal rather than on the historical background of Christmas.)
12/31 New Year’s Eve

January
1/1 S New Year’s Day
1/7 S St Winebald’s Day
1/12 Full Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi leaders in WWII
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 

My Schedule

I want to tell you that I am going to spend Christmas with my friend in Arizona and fill my soul with beauty. I really don’t know how much access to the Internet I will have, but I doubt that it will be a lot. So I am going to skip the December 20 and 30 bog entries.

Because of lack of Internet access, I also won’t be approving comments from December 13 to January 4. Write them anyway! They will be just as appreciated even if they appear late.

I’m going to miss your comments a lot. If I do manage to get to a computer, I’ll sneak in and approve them. Sound okay?

More on Isolation: Secrets

The topic of isolation really seemed to resonate, so let’s go ahead with it.

I think that any time we have a secret, isolation follows. I’m not talking about not telling what you are going to give somebody for their birthday, I’m talking about the kind of secret that would get you or the other person or persons in trouble. And ritual abuse survivors sure have been made to keep a whole lot of that kind of secret!

Obviously, the secret puts a barrier between you and those who aren’t supposed to know about it. You have to be careful not to slip and tell by mistake and you have to keep your feelings to yourself. You are walking on eggshells, and danger seems everywhere. What would they do to you, or what would happen to those you told, if you made a mistake?

So we live like this until we learn that healing comes through telling rather than staying silent. That is a really hard concept to absorb after so many terrible threats over so many years. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to speak out.

Then there is the guilt that was bestowed upon us. Whatever happened, it was our fault We were stupid and lazy and bad and it was our fault for doing something wrong because we didn’t try hard enough to get it right. We believed that, and we saw that others didn’t believe that about themselves. We were always the weird ones, stupid, lazy, bad, and at fault.

This basis of childhood guilt lays the foundations for more complicated forms of guilt. Take survivor guilt, for instance. We feel guilty because another child was hurt, and we weren’t, especially if we were told that it happened because we did or didn’t do something. It’s much, much worse when somebody was not just hurt, but killed. It’s tormenting to be alive after witnessing such things. And if we were made to do that?

Reading about PTSD in vets, you will find that seeing a buddy die or seeing combatants you were responsible for die is excruciating. Flashbacks to these events occur over and over and can, without support, lead to addictions or other self-destructive behaviors. I’d say we know that path all too well.

For years I blamed myself for not having done anything to stop them from hurting other people. When I finally accepted that I was little and powerless and did the best I could, I still blamed myself for not having suicided rather than be forced to hurt anybody else. It took years, decades really, to acknowledge that my life force fought against dying, even by choice, and that they had taken so much of my power that I could’t have suicided even if I had chosen it and had had the means. I was truly a helpless little kid.

At the time I was struggling with these issues, I was going to Survivors of Incest Anonymous groups for ritual abuse survivors. When I tried to talk about guilt at not protecting others, I didn’t feel understood. Not rejected, but our heads were just in a different place.

Finally I found a twelve-step group for perpetrators. My therapist was opposed to my going for fear it would increase my guilt. But it was such a relief! We all had different stories and we all had the same feelings about ourselves. As I felt compassion for the other group members, I learned to view myself with compassion.

One of the most powerful experiences I have ever had was when I co-led a group  called “Guilt After Killing” at a conference. There were about forty people there. The two of us leaders spoke for about five minutes each and then encouraged people to talk to each other. They didn’t really need encouragement! They talked until we were told that the room was needed and then continued talking in the halls.

There were ritual abuse survivors, mind control survivors, and veterans in the same room, but we all spoke the same emotional language. In that room, some spoke of things they had done for the very first time. Some heard stories both like and unlike theirs and perhaps shared their experience to help others. Together, we weakened the power of the secrets we had been carrying for so long and came away a little bit lighter.