Integration of Self-Images

I have, for years, thought of Satanic ritual abuse as the principal form of trauma I suffered. The mind control experiments and the child pornography were add-ons, so to speak. They came later and ended sooner than the Satanic stuff.

There was a two-year period when the Satanic abuse was the only form of abuse I suffered. It burned into my mind and seared my spirit. The core beliefs I held about myself and the outside world were twisted to conform to the cult members’ beliefs. It also deeply damaged my ability to assess situations or other people because the double binds and ever-shifting demands confused me terribly. In trying to read a situation, my mind bounced from one set of assumptions to its opposite, never landing on anything solid.

When I was in a double bind, I adopted one side, then the other, never knowing which to believe or what to act on. If, in desperation, I flipped a mental coin, I was left in confusion. “I should have done X, but maybe Y (the choice I made) was the one I should have picked, but no, looking back, X is what I should have done.”

Here are some of the core beliefs I acquired during first the training (I think of it as Sunday School) and then the actual rituals:

I am evil
It was my fault, I am guilty
I am stupid
I am ugly
Nobody loves me
I deserve to be hurt
I am not good enough
People are dangerous
People are cruel
There is no escape
I have no control over anything that happens

Well, I could go on and on.

There was little to counter these images of myself and of others. My mother was separated from my father because of the war and exhausted from the responsibilities of being a single parent, albeit one with money enough to hire women to care for her two pre-schoolers. She had no living family to turn to, no close friends nearby. She also had a poor self-image; she believed she was not good enough or intelligent enough to manage all these challenges. Don’t know if she still had to trudge off to rituals every holiday. I hope not.

Anyway, at home, I got another set of “not good enough” “not lovable” messages and no tools to patch together my shattered self.

When I entered first grade, I was enrolled in an experimental mind control program designed to test if various programming systems were easy to install, easy to use, difficult to break into, and durable. I was a desirable subject because I was intelligent and compliant and came completely dissociated. Here I got my first exposure to messages that were different from my core beliefs. It was a glimpse into another world.

What do you call the researcher who experiments on you? Programmer? Handler? Scientist? I called him my teacher. I was treated by my teacher as if I were smart and likable. I think he truly did like me, not for myself, but because I was so easy to work with. I made his job easy.

I loved working with him because it was challenging and fun. I bonded with him, as well as with the work we did together. We were together during the school year for six years until, I believe, his project lost its funding. I don’t know if I got to say goodbye to him, but I think I did. I was shut down – the systems that had been installed were made inaccessible to me and I was made amnesic for my teacher and all the work we did together. This, to me, was an unconscious implicit promise that he would return, reverse the shut-down, and we would start working together again.

I bonded with him so tightly that he became the ideal man – “my type.” I can reconstruct his looks and his personality from studying the kind of guys I fell for over and over again. I wonder whether the belief that he would soon return gave me the strength to endure the remaining years of abuse and the hope that I could one day be happy again.

The third source of my self-image came from the child pornography section of my life. There I learned that I was an object to be sold over and over. My worth was tied to my ability to make good money for the group of pimps that ran the child pornography ring. The men handling me changed frequently, depending on my age and the setting I was being sold into. I didn’t have enough contact with any of them to form a sense of attachment, and I could not even remember the men I was sold to. I am sure that there were repeats, but they were infrequent. Besides, I was programmed not to remember anybody!

Some of the core beliefs implanted by the cult were strengthened, others not, or only minimally so. Of the items on the list above, only “I am evil,” “It was my fault, “I am guilty,” “I am stupid,” “I am ugly,” and “I am not good enough” were not reinforced.

The self-image I developed with my teacher did not erase the basic self-image implanted by the cult. It existed in a parallel universe, off in its own dissociated little world. I have been spending many long years trying to integrate it into my core self. That work is not yet complete, but I have come a long way.

I had to remember what happened in the cult and with my teacher and remember how I felt. The contrast was dazzling! They were polar opposites. For a long time, those beliefs sat side by side, like the poetry books and RA books on my bookshelves. Then, slowly, they started to merge. Things were no longer black and white; they were grey – or, rather, they were in color. I had zebra stripes; a mean streak, a kind streak, times when I was compassionate or judgmental, clueless, indifferent. All sorts of different things, all part of the same person.

When I only knew the cult, I was one-dimensional, evil to the core, worthless, and guilty. With the advent of my teacher, I became two-dimensional, but I could only be in one dimension at a time. And when the amnesia lifted and I could work on these issues, I became multi-dimensional, deep, multi-colored, sparkly, all at the same time.

The mind is a strange and wondrous thing. And the weirdest thing of all, this happened without any integration of the tiny little pieces of me.

~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

March
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

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

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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
3/28 – 4/4  Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
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/

Memories: True or False?

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

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
 Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween: (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/halloween-2018/


~~~~~

Memory is often thought of in black or white terms. “Is it accurate, or did I imagine it?” “Yes, it’s true – no, it’s false.” But the real truth of a memory is, “it depends.”

Let’s look at some of the things that affect the accuracy of a memory – everybody’s memories.

Most important is your perception of an event. If you are a little kid and see a person in a gorilla suit, you might think it is a real gorilla. You will then remember seeing a real live gorilla. Not in the zoo, but out on the street or running around a football field at half-time.

So is this memory true or false? Both! You don’t remember what you actually saw, you remember what you thought you saw.

When I was four, they took me to see Bambi, and I was devastated when the forest started burning. A few months later, in a vulnerable state, having been separated from my beloved caretaker, my dog, and most of my toys, I was taken on a sleeper train to my grandfather’s summer home. (I have ritual abuse memories from that summer.) On the way home, on the same train, I stared out the window, watching as dusk turned to night.

I never forgot the train racing through burning woods and my fear that the flames would engulf the train and I would die, as the forest animals had died, in the fire. If this had actually happened, it would have been talked about and become part of the family history. Later, I could have researched it in newspaper archives. But it wasn’t a real fire I remembered. It was an imagined fire that blended the scene from Bambi, scraps of things I had heard of forest fires, my intense fear and rage, and a sense of imminent death.

Was this memory true or false? Both! It was not a memory of an actual event, but it was was a true memory, accurate in every detail, of what I saw in my mind’s eye as I was carried towards an unknown fate.

Another time I believed that a memory was a fantasy and it turned out to be of a real event. I was sitting in my high chair, and my mother was sitting in a chair a few feet away. I was playing with the most beautiful thing – a paper circle with pins with colored glass heads stuck all around the edge of the ring. This couldn’t be true, because I doubted I could remember that far back, and because nobody would be dumb enough to give a baby fifty sewing pins to play with. Years later, when I mentioned this to my mother, she said it was indeed true, and that she was sitting right there watching me so I couldn’t get hurt.

Sometimes memories change a little each time we think about them. They evolve over time, like a good story. This kind of drift is normal. Sometimes they get fuzzier, especially if we don’t think about them very often. Our minds aren’t like cameras, recording every detail for posterity.

Now let’s look at some of the effects that extreme abuse, like ritual abuse, has on memory.

Most important is that trauma memories get stored differently in the brain from ordinary memories. Different parts of the memory get stored in different places. Sometimes it is the beginning, middle, and end of the event that are separated from each other. Sometimes it is sight, sound, emotion, etc. that get separated. Each time the brain encounters trauma, it reacts the same way, until it becomes the brain’s default setting. If the splitting is extreme, alters are formed, and different parts of the memories are stored by different alters.

Many survivors’ memories are of what they believed at the time, rather than what actually happened. Children are easily tricked; they are naive and do not have the experience to tell lies from truth. Children desperately want to believe that adults know more than children do and that adults tell the truth. And their abusers are masters of deception who carefully plan how to trick children into believing what they want them to.

Finally, it is because the trauma they suffered is horrendous. If your whole body is wracked by pain, if you have been given hallucinogens, if you are terrified that you are about to be killed, there is very little brain-power left over to figure out whether something is real or not. Especially if you are only three years old.

When memories first surface, they can be very confusing. It takes time to figure out what they are all about. It takes courage to hold on to the belief that you would not be seeing these images if nothing terrible had happened. It takes time and patience to learn to be aware that you are in the present, not back then when all those crazy things were happening. When you have one foot solidly in the present and the other in the past, then you can look at your memory with adult eyes and figure out if you were tricked as a child, and if so, how.

Slowly, things start to make sense. You gradually start to believe you are not crazy. You start to believe in yourself, in your own judgment, your own intuition. This is called healing!

~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

September
9/23 Fall equinox
October
10/13 Full moon
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
November
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/12 Full moon
11/28 US Thanksgiving

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year, Day of Judgement)
10/8 – 10/9 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/13 – 10/20 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, harvest festival)
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s actual half-birthday
10/21 Hitler’s alternative half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and 10/20. His alternate birthday is celebrated on Easter of the current year and his alternate half-birthday six months later.)
10/21 – 10/22 Simchat Torah (celebration of the annual complete cycle of reading of the Torah)
11/9 Kristallnacht State-ordered pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

 

Dissociation Was a Real Friend on Christmas

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

* Background on pagan winter holidays is at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/

* And here is a post on how I handled Christmas through the years. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/ephemeral-equilibrium-another-christmas/

* Don’t forget that I’m putting together an anthology of accounts of survivors’ loss of babies through forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption. I am also looking for submissions from husbands, partners, close friends, therapists, or pastors.

You can ask me questions or send your submission through this blog’s comment section, rahome@ra-info.org, or PO Box 14276, 4304 18th Street, San Francisco CA 94114. And tell your friends!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before I start talking about myself, I want to wish all of you a safe Christmas. For those of you who are afraid you might be accessed, it’s not too late to work out a safety plan. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B just in case something goes wrong with plan A. Give yourself lots of credit for doing this because it is hard to think through the options and it takes a great deal of courage to face the possibility of present-day accessing.

For everybody, I wish you, not an absence of triggers, but the wisdom to handle them well so that they may contribute to your knowledge of yourself and your past and bring some resolution and peace to all inside. And may you get some joy in the day, whether it is from a Christmas tradition, being with people you care about, or something else entirely.

I used to send cards with a lion walking hand in hand with a lamb. It said, “Peace on Earth – may it begin with us.” May it begin with all our inner selves.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve been thinking about my childhood Christmases, wondering how I could ever have gotten through them after what happened on Christmas Eve. In my family’s tradition, holidays began at midnight. Sometimes they ended before dawn, sometimes they went through the next day, or even a couple of days, especially if they occurred on a Friday.

So the “night” Christmas was on Christmas Eve. The next day, exhausted and traumatized, we woke up to the regular “day” Christmas, which, in my opinion, was really over the top. My brother and I opened our stockings before breakfast and then, later in the day, were showered with expensive presents that we really didn’t want. Although I asked for books almost every year, I cannot remember getting any. Of course, we pretended to be delighted.

How did I get through Christmas? Dissociation. What had happened the night before was a thousand miles away, a thousand years away, tucked away in a corner of my mind that would not be visited for forty years. Looking back over old photographs, I can spot when I needed dissociation so much to protect myself that I was totally tranced out.

I have a picture of me on Christmas Day, in my pajamas, hair neatly combed. I am looking…at what? At nothing, because nothing had happened. There was no shadow to glimpse, no half-remembered bad dream. I call that tranced-out look “the thousand miles stare” because I am looking at what didn’t happen, what never existed, except perhaps a thousand years ago, a thousand miles away.

Looking closely at the photo, I can see lots of wrapping paper but no toys. It’s as if they, too, had never existed or as if they had disappeared, like magic. The only thing that brings a little smile to my face are the icicles on the tree. They were made of long slender strips of lead and they made the Christmas tree lights dance and reflect out into the room. The tinsel sold today is far safer for pets and babies but not nearly as pretty. The lead tinsel must have been expensive for we picked every strand off the tree and saved it for the next year.

Amnesia for the Satanic Christmas spread out into the real Christmas. I cannot remember what we ate that day. I only remember a few things I received – soap in my stocking, a doll that wet itself after you fed it, complete with a trunk full of clothes. This was when I was three. I remember a Lego set with directions on how to build a brick house. I must have been ten or twelve then. And chocolates in my stocking, although I was overweight. I asked my mother why she had given me candy, and she said that they had fewer calories because they contained nuts. That made no sense to me at all.

It was just one of an infinite number of double messages. Do this, but don’t do it. Don’t do this unless I tell you to and then it is your fault because you did it. Our regular life was filled with such contradictions. And, of course, I could not see the contradictions between my “day” life and my “night” life, because I couldn’t remember the “night” life. (Who knows what presents were given to children the night before Christmas?) My parents, who were also amnesic for all that, were just as dissociated as I was and just as full of contradictory messages. All of us were stumbling along in a sea of things that didn’t make sense, trying our hardest to keep our heads above water.

I could not have handled it if I had remembered and so, when things got rough, I dissociated. Not just from the horrors of the Satanic life I led, but from everything that was around me. In the moment this photo was taken, I was not aware of the tree or the presents or of my parents and brother in the room. All I was aware of was nothing, and that was a blessing.

I still dissociate at times when things get tough. But now I am in control and I can plan around triggers and can build new, healthier traditions. This year I am spending Christmas at home and a much-loved niece is visiting. We are going to have Dungeness crab and lobster on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are going to plan the days as we go, doing what we feel like when we feel like it. We will probably go out into the woods unless it rains all the time she is here. No presents will be exchanged. There will be no need to fake being pleased or to push the memories out of my mind because they were so awful.

It’s so much better this way!!!!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Upcoming Holidays

December
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/22 Full Moon
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/20 Full moon
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
February
2/2 S Candlemas/Imbolc
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/19 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons. Christian and Jewish holidays are often desecrated.)