“My Love Is Poison”

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

* Note: Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Labor Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/labor-day/
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/


A psychologist, describing one of his clients, once said to me, “He believes his love is poison.” That resonated with me; it described my feelings about myself to a T. I finally had words for what I felt about myself, although I had no explanation of why I should feel that way. I felt that one way or another, I harmed everybody and anything I loved.

That was forty years ago, and my self-perception is just now beginning to change despite my valiantly challenging that negative core belief over and over again. Nobody can tell me that change is always quickly and easily achieved.

It helped a lot when I figured out that I had been born into a cult and that they taught me that I was evil through and through. I was evil when I obeyed their commands, and I was even more evil when I tried to get around them. I believed them at the time, and apparently, I was going to believe them until the end of time.

Five years after I figured why I felt that way, I still, deep down, believed I was rotten to the core. I started, among close survivor friends, to refer to myself as a poisonous toad. I daydreamed of making a sculpture of a toad. It would be fashioned out of fine-mesh fencing and filled with dirt. It would be realistic, toad-like, covered with large warts. The whole thing would be about five feet around and three feet tall, and it would go squat in my garden. Over the years, we would see what filth grew on it.

Inside, in the middle of all the dirt, there would be a tiny baby doll, naked and asleep.

My friends started giving me toads. A green one that sang “Jingle Bells” in a ribbety voice. A small brown wooden one covered with warts and looking very fierce. They didn’t seem the least bit scared of me – not my friends, not the toads.

I finally grew bored of struggling with this warty self-image and turned my attention to the business of every-day life.

And now, about fifteen years later, the issue has resurfaced. Rather than trying to battle my distorted self-image using internal resources, the challenge is coming from the outside in the form of other people’s feedback. That’s called a reality check!

It started with me asking my therapist if she had a constant image of me over the time we had worked together. I wanted to know because I don’t feel like a classic multiple with separate alters, but I also don’t really know who I am. For practical purposes, I operate from what I hope is a constant set of values, but, when I look inside for the “real me,” I find that I believe I am a random set of molecules that other people are hallucinating (interpreting?) as Jean. I know this sounds pretty weird, but it makes sense to me.

My therapist convinced me that she sees me as a kind, intelligent, moral person with a practical streak. I became aware that the feedback I get from friends matches her description of me. We discussed this, and also reviewed things I have done over the years just because they were the right thing to do. There was nothing toadish to be seen.

There were mistakes in judgment, mistakes because of lack of information, mistakes because I was dissociated a lot of the time. If everything had been perfect, I would have concluded that it was a facade designed to cover up something very different. But my intent was steadfast – I never hurt anybody on purpose, and my actions came from a desire to be kind and helpful.

The final piece of confirmation happened when I was cleaning up my office. I came across cards and letters I had saved from clients, fellow survivors, and people I had worked with over the years. The people who wrote those thank you’s had the same image of me as my therapist and current friends. There was a me that had remained constant for decades!

That little baby inside the toad had been protected during the cult years and had grown up to be me. I wasn’t really encased in a vile toad – I was having a memory of the times when I believed the lie they told me. I am not evil, my love is not poison. They tried to make me evil, but they failed big time!


Upcoming Holidays

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 13th
9/23 Fall equinox
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
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
9/1 Start of WW2
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)

Cults Aren’t as Powerful as They Say They Are

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

There is an excellent article with background on Mothers’ Day here: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-radical-roots-of-mothers-day?via=newsletter&source=Weekend


How easily I blame every bad or unpleasant thing in my life on the cult! It’s such a convenient catch-all explanation. But that isn’t realistic, it isn’t intellectually honest, and it gives the cult far more power than they ever had.

When I was a child, they took advantage of coincidences and made me believe they had caused them. Thunderstorms, German measles, stuff like that. I met a survivor who thought that she had caused the Vietnam war! I shudder to think what they did to her to make her believe she had that much power and was that evil. I’m sure they are still manipulating children that way today.

I was set up to think that all sorts of things are my fault when in reality I have no control over them. My default position, therefore, is taking things personally. If I walk into a group and nobody greets me, I must be dressed wrong, have a reputation for being boring, or have offended everybody in the room. If somebody does not respond to my conversational overtures, it must mean I said something dumb or intrusive. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that the other person might be shy, might not feel like talking right then, or might have a lot on their mind.

After having worked on my “trauma issues” (how mild that euphemism sounds!) for years, I am more relaxed and can start conversations with strangers and make small talk. I’ve found that women (and some men and children) in the supermarket appreciate it if I tell them I like their hair or clothes. It’s easy to make them feel good and making somebody feel good makes me feel good about myself in return. How I wish I could have had that confidence when I was a teen!

Nowadays, the “my fault” assumption pops up a lot around physical problems, simply because I have a lot of physical problems. If my back hurts more than usual, I automatically think it’s because I did too much even though I knew better or because I lifted something the wrong way or because I didn’t move enough in my sleep. As if I could control what I do when I am sound asleep! Only later do I think, “Wait! Arthritis is a progressive disease! It probably just progressed a little and my back needs time to get used to the new normal.”

I don’t seriously think that I can start and stop wars or influence elections. I don’t have those talents, But I do feel guilty that I don’t do enough. Although I sign petitions, vote, and sometimes give money to candidates and organizations that promote peace at home and abroad, I could do a lot more. I could call my representatives, work on voter registration drives, write letters to editors, and participate in marches. I feel like a slacker simply because I have chosen to use my time trying to help other survivors of ritual abuse and mind control. Guess I feel guilty for only being one person. <sigh>

My abusers didn’t always manipulate me into believing it was all my fault. Sometimes they proudly claimed responsibility. They killed Hitler and invented the bombs that ended the war with Japan. My dinky little cult did *that*? Not likely.

They bragged about how evil they were, and they lied to puff themselves up and impress people. I bet many of them believed their lies. After all their cult was HUGE (it wasn’t, it was small and shrinking every year) and they could tell themselves that all the evil that they hadn’t done was done by fellow cult members they hadn’t yet met. Perhaps they believed they had killed people by wishing them dead. I don’t know because I don’t remember ever asking them what they thought, but I do know that if you tell a lie often enough, you can come to believe it yourself.

Probably the vast majority of events around the world that I once believed or still suspect are cult-connected are not. There’s plenty of evil and craziness to go around – it isn’t all concentrated in cults. Even if, by some Herculean method, ritual abuse and mind control were eliminated, there still would be violence and atrocities. That is sad, but it’s no reason to stop fighting to expose ritual abuse, help people escape, and support those who are healing. We fight for ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and the children in generations to come. It is truly a worthy battle.


Upcoming Holidays

5/12 Mothers’ Day
5/18 Full moon
5/27 Memorial Day

6/9 – 6/10 Pentecost
6/16 Father’s Day
6/17 Full moon
6/20 Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St John’s Day

7/2 Total solar eclipse. Visible in parts of South America.
7/4 Fourth of July/ US Independence Day
7/16 Full moon
July 16 – 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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
5/18 Armed Forces Day (?)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

What is Perpetration?

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


One of the most healing things I have ever done was to join a Twelve-Step group for perpetrators. My therapist at the time was adamant that I shouldn’t do it. She hadn’t gotten very far with my belief in the lies they had told me about myself and was afraid that it would cement my guilt and embed it even deeper into my mind. I thought about what she was afraid of, took her objections seriously, and then decided to go.

As I had hoped, it was entirely liberating to be with others who had the same issue. There was one other ritual abuse survivor; the others all had different backgrounds and felt awful about different things that they had done. Some had done things as children, some as adults. Some had actively done things, other had caused harm by ignoring a situation. But everybody wanted to face their issues and nobody was going to try and talk anybody else out of their feelings.

Despite our differences, I found I could relate to every single person there. As I felt compassion for them, I started to feel a little compassion for myself. I can’t remember how long I went and whether I stopped going or the group disbanded. That tells you that it was back in the early ’90’s. If I knew of one today near me, I would go in a flash.

What a relief it was not to be told, “It wasn’t your fault.” In some contexts, this a fine thing to hear, in others it is like chalk on the blackboard. I felt misunderstood and diminished, as if my deeds were not important or the feelings I had about what I had done were somehow wrong. I should sit up and smile and say, “Oh, thank you! I’m glad to learn it wasn’t my fault. I feel so happy now that’s been taken care of.”

I remember once, in a peer support group, somebody told me I didn’t kill a cat. I mean, she said I had been tricked into killing it, but I did kill it. A snarky part of me came out and said, “So who killed it? Eleanor Roosevelt?” (When I was a kid, blaming Eleanor Roosevelt was a popular pastime for my parents and their friends.)

But she did have a point. She told me that I had been used as a tool and that I had had no desire to kill and no choice, any more than the knife had. That has stuck with me….but. The knife had no moral sense. If I were only a tool, why did I feel responsible?

I also don’t like to be told, “You were only a child.” At what age do you stop being a child and become accountable for your actions? The Catholic Church says six, the age of first communion. Many other Christian groups say at the time of conformation, which is usually around twelve or thirteen. In Judaism, it is when a child turns thirteen. The law says you can vote and sign a contract at eighteen, except that children under eighteen can be tried as adults for crimes they have committed. There seems to be no one magic age when some fairy godmother waves a wand and showers you with sparkles and poof! you are an adult.

So I could find no age at which I could, rationally, consider myself accountable. Being responsible for my actions just sort of crept up on me.

The context is important, too. Say the abuse is by your neighbors and it stops when your family moves when you are six. That’s real different from your handler dying when you are thirty-five without telling anybody else the passwords for your various programs. In both cases the abuse stops, but the path to healing looks very different. It is also different if some outside event made the abuse stop or if you fought hard to free yourself. There is still guilt but the shape and weight and flavor of the guilt is different.

I’d like to point everybody to an article that Ellen Lacter wrote and posted on her website. It is “For Those Who Condemn Themselves for Acts Coerced Under Torture” https://endritualabuse.org/coerced-under-torture/ It is a dense article and some parts can bring up disturbing memories and/or feelings that need to be absorbed and processed.

I’d suggest you take it slowly and allow each section (or even sentence) to really sink in before continuing. Usually, I give this advice feeling like a hypocrite because I have been known to devour whole books on ritual abuse in one sitting. This time, though, I could not zip through it. It took me weeks to finish it, as I kept coming back to parts that had that had struck a chord deep inside me. Like that Twelve-Step group for perpetrators, it has had a profound effect on me and I am very grateful to Ellen.


Upcoming Holidays

8/26 Full moon

9/3 Labor Day
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/24 Full Moon


10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/24 Full Moon
10/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve/ Hallomas/All Souls Day/Start of the Celtic new year

11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/22 US Thanksgiving
11/23 Full Moon


12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/22 Full Moon
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
9/1 N Start of WW2
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)