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.

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Guilt and Shame

Upcoming Holidays
July
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
August
8/1 Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7 Full Moon
8/7 Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
Important dates in Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
.

Guilt and Shame

For a very long time, these concepts were mushed together in my mind. I knew they had something to do with each other. I knew they meant different things, or why would we have two words? Usually, if two words mean the same thing, one is short and Anglo-Saxon and the other is long and French, thanks to the Norman conquest.

Every now and then I thought I should look them up in the dictionary but I always forgot. Maybe I was scared to find out! Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I looked them up, using the dictionary built into my Mac.

Guilt: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime; a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation
Old English “gylt”

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior; a loss of respect or esteem; dishonor
Old English “sceamu”

As far as I am concerned, they still seem somewhat mushed together. I think I might be able to do better.

I don’t know where I heard this, but somebody said or wrote that the feeling of guilt comes from having done something that you think is wrong. Whereas shame is the feeling when you think you, your very self and soul, is defective or wrong.

And how did we come to feel shame? Well, somebody told us we were wrong without telling us how we got that way or what we could do to fix it. So we deduced that we were wrong, bad, defective, always had been and always would be. The only thing we could do about it was try to lie and hide it from others.

About twenty years ago, PC parents started saying to their children, “Don’t do that.” They never said, “Bad girl!” or “Bad boy!” Or, “You are lazy, stupid, selfish, etc.” In other words, they focused on the action and did not comment on their children’s character. They did not shame their children. I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like or how I would have turned out if I had not been shamed night and day.

A few years ago I was sick and tired of feeling guilty over every little thing, so I decided on a fool-proof way to figure out whether I was feeling guilty about something in the present or in the past. I would just stop doing wrong things! Guess what? I was having a whole ton of flashbacks.

But shame is different. You cannot make a resolution to stop being a disgusting person. Remember, you were told, explicitly or implicitly, that there was nothing you could do to change. You were born a sorry specimen of a person and would die a sorry specimen of a person. Stuck with it forever, like the color of your eyes or your first language … or your parents.

Looking around, I couldn’t see anybody that I thought had been born that way. Even people who did horrible things, in my eyes, had been groomed since childhood to consider themselves evil and so they acted on that belief. If that is true of everybody else in the world, chances are good it is true for me, too, no?

I had to take another approach to working with my shame. I had to remember times when I was told I was rotten to the core, recognize that what I had been told was a lie, and mourn that I was lied to by people I depended on for my very life. With each wave of grief, the delusion that I was irrevocably horrible became weaker. I cannot say that I am free of the feeling of shame 24/7, 52 weeks a year, but more times than not I am free of it.

I believe you, too, can free yourself of the shame that was wrong fully instilled in you.

If you are in the mood for reading, here are some suggestions –

John Bradshaw: “Healing the Shame that Binds You.” A classic book, written in 1988. Don’t be put off by the discussion of “healthy shame.”

Byron Bown: “Soul without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within.”

Ronald Potter-Efram and Patricia Potter-Efram: “Letting Go of Shame: Understanding How Shame Affects Your Life.” Contains self-help exercises.

Paul Holway: “The Shame Identity: Discover the Truth about Grace.” A Christian approach.

 

Guilt is my Middle Name

Upcoming Holidays
June
6/20  Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23  St John’s Eve
July
7/4  Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/8  Full Moon
7/25  St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
August
8/1 N Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7  Full Moon
8/7  Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa,  Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
Important dates in Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party

 

I’m sorry this is late. I got caught in one of those computer quicksand storms where every time I correct a mistake six more appear. Now I could have published it on time with mistakes, but I am too proud.

Guilt is My Middle Name

I feel guilty about so many things! Sometimes I feel that if there is a word for something, I feel guilty about it.

Now I know that I can’t possibly do that many things to feel guilty about in a day. Therefore it must be a “feeling” flashback to one of the innumerable times I was told as a child that it was my fault, that I was bad for doing or saying or thinking such things, that I should be ashamed of myself. Those messages were repeated so often that they coalesced into a basic belief about myself. I’ve known for decades that it’s hooey, but the feelings still flood over me.

Here’s what inspired me to write about guilt. For the last few days I have been upset by something I wrote in the last post. What popped into my mind was “OMG, I lied. I wrote something that wasn’t true. What should I do? Say nothing, and hope nobody notices? Confess and apologize? Or just explain?” I’m choosing to explain.

See if you can spot the lie – um, inaccuracy – in this paragraph. I don’t imagine you can.

“My horse’s name was Badger. He was a beautiful dark brown, nicely proportioned, and very mellow. We rode on trails in the park, some paved, some dirt. There were native flowers in bloom and also “exotic” ones like climbing nasturtiums. There were stretches where I had to duck to avoid low-hanging branches. All we did was walk, but I didn’t care because I could pay closer attention to the plants and sunlight and the smell of the horses.”

But I know. I didn’t smell the horses because my sense of smell is going south. I no longer can smell flowers or cheeses or cat boxes. I also often smell things that aren’t there and most of the time I can’t identify the odor. It feels like something unpleasant that I have never smelled before. It’s all just a normal part of aging. <sigh>

All horses have a strong, distinctive smell, even when they have just been washed. I was around horses a lot when I was a kid, and I loved their smell and loved the way I smelled after I had hung out with them. These experiences were in the forefront of my mind when I wrote that paragraph and I came from that place, not the present.

Was it a lie? To me, a lie is something untrue said on purpose to protect oneself or deceive somebody else. So no, not a lie. A falsehood? Certainly. An error? Certainly. An inaccuracy? Certainly. Something to feel guilty about? Certainly not!

Guilt is such a big issue for me. I bet I could spent a whole year writing about it. But I have a short attention span, and luckily other things would catch my interest!