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/

Despite the Coronavirus, I’m Still Growing and Changing

* ISSTD has canceled all its upcoming conferences and is re-designing them to be online.

* For all other conferences, world-wide, check their webpage for updates. And remember, although online presentations lack the immediacy of face-to-face ones, they give you the same information. Sometimes they are better organized, there are more handouts, and the speaker is more relaxed. 

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Walpurgis Day: 
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
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/
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/

~~~~~~

 First, some miscellaneous things.

A silver lining to social distancing. (Maybe this isn’t funny.) I am wondering if cult members are deciding to keep six feet away from each other. Perhaps. if they are over 60 or have chronic illnesses, they are being even more cautious and skipping rituals to self-isolate. Wouldn’t that be great!

The New York Times has many free newsletters. (You can’t get the crossword for free, though.) I get the Morning Briefing, California Today, Coronavirus Briefing, and The New York Times Magazine. Here is where you choose the Newsletter you want: https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters. As I remember, you open an account (don’t subscribe) and then get to see the list of newsletters available.

I missed the Spring Equinox because it came early this year. In my mind, equinoxes are always on the 21st, but this year the Spring Equinox was on the 19th. I wonder if we felt anticipatory dread on the 19th as usual, and had our anniversary reaction on the 20th or 21st.

The last time the equinox fell on March 19 was in 1896, 124 years ago. I think that Satanic groups that take the meaning of their holidays seriously will have done some pretty horrible things in honor of the rarity of this event.

I haven’t researched when it next will fall on March 19, but, from 2021 to 2102, it will always be on March 20. It will finally return to March 21 in 2103. So for the rest of this century, it won’t be anything special.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a light-hearted article on the Spring Equinox at https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox\.

I have not managed to learn anything new about the spring Feast of the Beast. All I know is contained in these two posts: Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
and Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/.

In trying to clean up my computer files, I found this. It is me to a T!
Did you hear about the psychic amnesiac?
He knew in advance what he was going to forget.

~~~~~~

Okay, on to living with my ritual abuse past in the age of coronavirus.

I am doing amazingly well, so well that I am not sure I recognize myself. My mood is good, and I am not in denial. I know this because I am taking all the precautions I would have if I were a paranoid mess!

Many times I have said that it takes time to live in the present after doing a whole bunch of work on your past. I knew this intellectually but had not fully experienced it. I often used the simile of being teleported into a foreign country, not knowing the language, not having a place to live or a job, and without friends. You have to learn a lot, very fast.

Now I have woken up and found myself in a foreign country. I was partially right, in that it’s going to take some getting used to, but the rest of my description was wrong, The scenery is foreign, but I feel at home. I can speak the language, and I still have all my old friends. I have brought everything with me – my home, my work, my friends, my cat, everything.

A more apt simile for what I am experiencing now is having a cataract operation. Nothing has changed, except everything is different. The colors are brighter, and distant things are sharp and in focus. It’s like my brain, rather than my eyes, is wearing glasses, and it is a total delight.

For me, learning seems to have been unconscious. It perked along under the surface, and I was not aware of anything happening. Then suddenly I became conscious of a vast change. I know how to “be” in this new way and I am not upset by the newness. I’m somewhat puzzled because I have not, to my knowledge, worked on any related issues. I’m not aware of any angels or spirit animals bringing me this gift, I did not pray for it, wish for it, or even imagine it. It just happened.

I’m not sure whether people close to me feel that I have changed significantly. I tend to think not, because nobody has said anything. That’s okay. There is no need for them to know or not know. There is no need for me to talk about it or not talk about it. All I need to do is accept and enjoy it.

I still get triggered at times, and I don’t expect that to change. The reaction to a trigger, though, is soft, muted. The voices don’t scream, they sound almost like part of a conversation with pleasant people. The visuals do not seem to be in the present; they are a gentle reminder of something from the past.

Mind you, I don’t attribute these changes to the coronavirus. I think they would have happened anyway. Perhaps they occurred about a year ago when I stopped being affected by holiday anniversary reactions. It took several months to recognize that change and several more months to recognize this deeper change. I feel like the person I would have been if I hadn’t suffered through ritual abuse in my childhood.

In going through those old computer files, I found correspondence from 1999. I was totally flipped out about the upcoming New Year – 2000. I was not afraid that computers couldn’t handle the change. What terrified me was the belief that Satanists in sleeper cells all over the world would wake up and do destructive things at midnight with poison and A-bombs. Fellow survivors told me it was programming and that I should fight it just like any other sort of programming. I wasn’t afraid of doing anything destructive, it was other people I was terrified of. Nothing was in my control, and all I could do was try and soothe myself.

I can’t remember how I made it through those difficult weeks. I do, however, vividly remember buying a jar of real caviar to eat before I went to bed as a farewell to life….and another one for breakfast, just in case I was still alive and wanted to celebrate. I was totally amazed that nothing bad had happened, nothing all. My friends were right. I had fallen for the programming, and it was all a lie, after all.

It was great to come across that correspondence and to be able to contrast it with how I feel now.

I also found emails between myself and a survivor friend I admired and trusted. She had the same kind of polyfragmentation that I do, and she was a lot further along in coming to understand how her system worked. She told me that the fragments, when they came together, were an alter, and that that alters did not cease to exist when she perceived the fragments as coming apart. They just went back inside. Once she figured this out, she could start working with alters, finding out their jobs, thanking them, suggesting new jobs, and increasing internal communication. Just like everybody else with DID – MPD back then.

What if this were so for me, also? What if, unconsciously, my alters have been working together? Working behind my back, so to speak? What if this new state I am in is what integration feels like?

It’s all pretty mind-blowing.

~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

March
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/5 Palm Sunday
4/7 Full moon
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/9 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/10 Good Friday
4/11 Holy Saturday
4/12 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
May 
5/1 Beltane
5/7 Full moon
5/10 Mothers’ Day
5/12 Armed Forces Day
5/25 Memorial Day
5/31 Pentecost

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
3/10 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
4/9 – 4/16 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/21 Yom HaShoah
4/29 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/12 Lag BaOmer

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

Loneliness

* The International’s Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Annual Conference is coming up. The pre-conference is March 12 – 13, and the main conference is March 14 – 16. It’s being held in San Francisco. Information: https://annualconference.isst-d.org/

I’m attending the conference this year and would love to connect with anybody who is going. We could hang out at break times and get to know each other better.

ISSTD is also offering two regional conferences.

* “A Day With Professor Michael Salter” – plus Margot Sunderland, Adah Sachs, Kathryn Livingston, Mark Linington, Elly Hanson, Sue Richardson, Valerie Sinason, and Nancy Borrett – is in London on March 5. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/london-regional-conference/

* “Diagnosis and Treatment of DID and PTSD in Indigenous Peoples” is in Fairbanks AK on June 17 – 20. Information: https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/upcoming-conferences/fairbanks-regional-conference/

~~~~~

I think there are at least three variations of the word “loneliness:” being alone, feeling lonely but not recognizing the feeling, and feeling lonely and knowing it.

“A lonely existence.” Here somebody is making a judgment about how another person lives. That person may or may not feel lonely, but, looking at them from the outside, you think, “I would be so lonely if I lived like that.” Examples: recluses, who seldom leave their houses, widows who are ignored by others, elderly people confined to their homes by illness, hermits, and hermit crabs, leaving their shells only to find a larger one and, once a year, to mate. (They don’t even get completely out of their shells for this rare event.) To find out whether a person is perfectly content to live alone, you have to ask. (The crabs use body-English.)

Feeling lonely, but not having words to describe the feeling. This was how I felt about my existence until late grade school. I saw others interacting with each other and felt stupid, afraid, and a little sad. I wanted to do what they were doing, but I didn’t know how and was scared to try. So I just stared at them. The other kids knew how to play and laugh and, I guessed, have a good time. The grown-ups knew how to talk to each other and make the other person smile. I didn’t know these things and didn’t know how others had learned them.

And no, I wasn’t autistic, just very traumatized.

Kids like me are sometimes called “frozen children,” frozen with fear. They try to blend into the background and be so inconspicuous that they become invisible. They fear that being noticed automatically brings punishment because they have been routinely punished for moving freely, for speaking, for showing they liked something or somebody, for no reason at all. I’ve written more about frozen kids and their opposite, angry, acting out kids at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/cult-kids/.

Like other frozen kids, I was isolated from my classmates, and I had no access to other children, except in the cult. There was no way for me to learn how to play jacks or marbles, jump rope, makes a cat’s cradle with another girl. And I was instructed not to interact with adults who were not family or cult members, except for answering the teachers’ direct questions relating to schoolwork. Isolation was reinforced at every turn.

At a certain point in grade school I started to want to interact with other people. I think it was at that point that I became aware that I was lonely. I have a feeling that one of my books had a character that was portrayed as lonely, but I cannot remember the title. “The Pokey Little Puppy” comes to mind, but it focused on the puppy’s behavior and its consequences, not his feelings.

The feeling intensified, even when I started making friends when I was twelve. I knew I was allowed to because my mother pushed me to have friends, to become popular. I also think it was because I was starting to be considered odd for never participating, and it was very important that I blend in and not draw attention to myself or my family.

You see, I had explained to myself that the problem was that I was friendless and that if I had friends like everybody else, I would stop feeling so awful and start being happy. It didn’t work that way, though. Having friends just made me even more lonely. Maybe I had the wrong friends? Or not enough of them? Maybe because I needed to lose ten pounds? Or maybe I wasn’t interesting enough, or funny enough, or? or? or?

I knew there was something very wrong with me, and, since I couldn’t figure it out, I would just have to put up with it.

And suddenly the flashbacks, first of molestation, then of physical abuse, and finally of ritual abuse, came rushing in and completely changed my life.

In the first few years, I was totally absorbed by just getting through the flashbacks, trying to make sense of the insanity I was remembering, and figuring out ways of managing my new life. Deep inside, though, changes were occurring that I would only recognize later.

About ten years on, maybe longer, I realized I was no longer lonely. I had not become a social butterfly; I still was introverted and spent a lot of time alone. But I didn’t yearn for interaction with people! Something major had shifted.

Another ten years or so, and I realized that the cause of my loneliness had never been a lack of attachment to other people. I had lost part of myself, and it was that part of me that I yearned to connect to. All along, I had wanted to be one, not to be split by amnesia into what I think of as a “night part” and a “day part.” Neither one was me because the other half was missing. But once I remembered, I was whole.

Reading the last paragraph, it sounds like I am saying that I integrated, that the different parts merged into each other. Since I don’t have discrete parts with personalities and histories of their own, it doesn’t feel like integration. It feels like I accepted that this had happened to me and that it had been the most important thing in my life, affecting each and every part of my development. It had been hidden from me for decades and had been the source of my unhappiness.

Now I don’t have to wonder what the matter with me is. I know exactly what it is. And I no longer feel there is anything the matter with me at all, given what I lived through as a child.

~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

February
2/25 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/26 Ash Wednesday

March 
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/9 Full moon<
3/13 Friday the Thirteent
3/17 Spring Equinox
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan

April
4/1 April Fool´s Day
4/5 Palm Sunday
4/7 Full moon
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/9 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/10 Good Friday
4/11 Holy Saturday
4/12 Easter Sunday<
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
2/10 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (celebration of spring)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)