“My Love Is Poison”

There are two announcements after the main part of this post.

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Once, way back in the late ’70s, I was working as a social worker. I was lucky; I had an ideal job that included a little bit of everything – individual, group, and family therapy, and plenty of interesting clients. Plus some teaching and some program design and grant writing. I loved the people I worked with, too.

I also had a brilliant supervisor. He had a way of compressing ideas into short sentences that were spot on and impossible to forget. He was also very funny. One of his sayings, which I have never forgotten, was, “He believes his love is poison.”

How many survivors have distorted beliefs about their love? Either that they are incapable of loving, or that love means hurting somebody on purpose, or that, no matter how hard they try, they always end up hurting the person they love.

I had a lot of those beliefs. They were so deep in my unconscious that I only had glimpses of them. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I wasn’t sure what love felt like, but I was pretty sure that nobody loved me and that I loved nobody. And I was certain I had no friends because nobody wanted to play with me at recess or sit next to me at lunch. I thought it was because I wasn’t pretty, and I wasn’t fun to be around. I had no idea how I got that  way or what to do about it.

As I grew older, I did make a couple of friends, but they soon moved away. I started noticing how I often messed things up when somebody wanted to spend time with me. It was as if I was so scared that I wouldn’t be liked that I withdrew from people. You can’t be rejected if you send out “leave me alone” vibes. I was a sad, lonely kid alternating between rushing at people with my arms wide open and running away from them.

When I was able to form more complicated mental pictures, I found that I seemed to hurt people without knowing I was doing so. This upset me terribly. Despite gaining some social skills and working on the issue for years, for decades, I just couldn’t shake the belief that I harmed people.

After I had remembered my abuse for about ten years, I told my survivor friends that I felt like a poisonous toad. They did the sweetest thing – they started to shower me with cute toads, or in some cases, cute frogs. Figurines, stuffed animals, drawings. There was even a magnificent poisonous toad that sang Jingle Bells! Obviously, their image of me didn’t resemble my image of myself.

I finally got that it was a childhood belief and had little to do with my current behavior. I decided to express what was going on in art. I bought some chicken wire and planned to make a toad-shaped form filled with soil. Inside would be a tiny naked baby from my dollhouse. It was only about half an inch long, the weakest, most vulnerable creature imaginable. Finally, I would place the toad in the garden and plant flowers in the chicken wire holes. I got as far as trying to make the toad’s skin but found that chicken wire is really hard to work with and gave up. It was enough to have imagined the piece.

I also figured out that I had repeatedly been set up in double-bind situations. I would be told to hurt an animal or another child, then given an alternative of hurting them less severely. Sometimes I was given the choice of hurting them or hurting myself. But it was always a trick. The lesser of two evils, the action I chose, always turned out to be the greater of two evils.

The explicit and implicit message was, “You freely chose to do this. You LIKE hurting people! You LIKE causing pain! You LIKE violence!” That was how I came to believe that my altruism hurt people, that my love was dangerous and poisonous.

But it was a total lie. If I had liked to hurt others, it would not have bothered me. I would have found it pleasurable and looked forward to opportunities to be sadistic. Or I would have simply had the attitude, “What’s the big deal? Doesn’t everybody?”

And I will tell you, the vast majority of the survivors I have met have been kind and loving people, even if, like me, they held (or still hold) distorted beliefs about their ability to love or be loved. They, too, were told big fat lies day after day after day.They may have heard those lies in their head, but deep down, they remained true to their own loving center.

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Remember my posts about the campaign against Pornhub by Traffickinghub? https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/great-good-news-pornhub/

Here’s an update.

The Canadian Parliament’s Ethics Committee is investigating MindGeek, which is headquartered in Montreal, for profiting from criminal content. MindGeek is the parent company of Pornhub. (Pornhub executives were forced to appear before the Ethics Committee on February 5, 2021.) Laila Mickelwait, the founder of the Traffickinghub movement: https://traffickinghub.com, testified on February 26, 2021. She is a powerful speaker.

Laila Mickelwait writes: 

“The day before I was scheduled to speak, these executives tried to silence me because they were afraid of my testimony. The CEO and COO of MindGeek sent a personal letter to the committee slandering me and asking the committee not to allow me to speak.

The Members of Parliament said it was the first time someone under investigation tried to attack and discredit a witness. They were shocked but not deterred. 

MindGeek’s attempts failed miserably.

I was able to present the stories of many victims who personally reached out to me, expose the lies that CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo displayed in their testimony, and offer practical solutions for uprooting exploitation on porn tube sites like Pornhub.”

Here is her full testimony:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppiF9dR31qI&feature=youtu.be&goal=0_c15bff8d91-ecaf5834ab-86660702&mc_cid=ecaf5834ab&mc_eid=a2265e2517

 Here are highlights of her testimony:
 https://www.instagram.com/p/CLf8ParjEnW/?goal=0_c15bff8d91-ecaf5834ab-86660702&mc_cid=ecaf5834ab&mc_eid=a2265e2517

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Some Background on MindGeek

MindGeek is the name of a company that owns dozens of other companies related to pornography. Some, like Pornhub, are popular on the Web and can be located using search engines. They even own a site dedicated to pornographic video games! It ranks 758 in world-wide popularity and 410 in popularity in the United States. You can check out its stats on https://www.similarweb.com/website/nutaku.net/

If you want to see a shokcing statistic, check out https://www.similarweb.com/website/pornhub.com/

Many, if not most, of their companies, though, post on the Dark Web. These sites contain the more extreme forms of pornography: child pornography, extreme sadism (including torture), and snuff films. It will be very interesting to watch the campaign against MindGeeks’s Dark Web holdings. 

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Upcoming Holidays

March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
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 Super)
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
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

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 4/12.)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
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.)

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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/
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/

Missing My Brother

* 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 survivor’s loss of a baby 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!

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I’ve been in a funk for the best part of the last two weeks without knowing why. I didn’t think I was triggered, but one never knows. I thought I was just overtired from poor sleep due to pain from arthritis.

My new friend, Starling, and I meet weekly to discuss cult matters and life in general. We talk uninterrupted for ten minutes and then ask for feedback. I chose to describe my low mood and Starling said that she thought I was grieving. I talked about my Australian friend David, who died last year, for a while and then suddenly remembered that my brother’s birthday had passed unnoticed.

My brother has always been very important to me, as he was the only person in my family I liked or loved. We were close as children but grew apart as adults, mostly thanks to his extreme social anxiety. Then in 2001 he had a massive stroke which left him almost completely paralyzed and unable to talk. He spent the next eight years in a nursing home before dying of MRSA.

All my adult life, I had watched him slowly disappear and I had grieved the progressive loss of our relationship. And now he really is gone and there is nothing I can do about it. There are so many things I wish I had said to him even though it would have made him uncomfortable. I hope he knew how much I cared about him and how sad I was – and am – that his life was so hard.

One didn’t talk about important things in our family. It just wasn’t done. We pretended that unimportant things were important, things like the kind of clothes you wore or whether you went to a fancy school. Or table manners. You wouldn’t believe the amount of energy my parents put into criticizing our table manners. All this attention to trivia masked the family secrets.

By then, I was talking a little more freely about real things and so disclosed the ritual abuse to him. He said, “I am sorry I can’t help you. I have no memories.” But he didn’t reject me or think I was crazy. Under the shock of having me disclose, he leaked some information. He told me that the reason he couldn’t look people in the eye was that he saw a knife in their eye and blood. Tell me that is not a cult memory trying to push up to the surface! He never wanted to hear anything about my abuse after that. It was too much, and his defenses tightened up.

I am sorry he never had a chance to remember and to feel the relief of knowing what actually happened, knowing that his symptoms made sense and were not his fault. I sometimes irrationally feel that I prevented him from remembering, that I magically took all the memories and all the healing and left him with nothing.

But it doesn’t work that way. It is a mystery why one person remembers and another doesn’t, why one person’s defenses crack and another’s stay rigidly in place. All I can do is accept that fact and be very sad for him, and for my parents, too.

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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
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/20 Full moon
February
2/2 S Candlemas/Imbolc
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/19 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
11/9 Kristallnacht
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons, as well as some Christian and Jewish holidays.)

Healing from Ritual Abuse: Phase One

I found an old notebook and read it through in one sitting. My best friend told me not to do that, but I am not one to take good advice, even advice I routinely give others.

The notebook covers nine months, from early October 1988 to late June 1989. It includes, in late March, my discovery of my ritual abuse background. Ellen Bass
calls this the crisis phase. I had had so many other momentous things happen in the preceding couple of years that crisis no longer felt like crisis — it felt like more of the same. So I call it phase one of dealing with ritual abuse.

I sat down to read it, knowing that it was a journal about abuse, but not knowing the date or whether it included ritual abuse.’The first entry reads: “I see an image far away of the garden the lovely garden I remember someone shelling peas they are green and smell green and taste green and smell green under my fingernails.” (Something bad happened in that garden, of course.)

The last entry: “If this stuff didn’t happen and I’m making it up, something else worse happened to make me make it up.”  Quite a change in viewpoint.

It was strange to read it. I remember writing most entries and remember the events that I wrote about. Other times it’s not familiar but it comes back if I just sit quietly for a few moments. And sometimes I can’t remember for the life of me. Seems I felt strongly about people whose names I don’t even recognize. I feel guilty, like I am disloyal to them. But I remembered far more than I forgot.

Everything was so raw. My unconscious was close to the surface and spilled out over every part of my life. I can follow the patterns in my writing and I see that my unconscious is working in the same way today, but in the background. It has been   a steady companion through the years.

Today I appreciate, for the most part, the calm, the ability to enjoy ordinary things, the joy I get from contributing to my community. Other times I would like to be open and passionate like I was in the beginning of the process. I could, and probably will, read that notebook over and over just to get a taste of that intensity.

As the memories and feelings flowed through me back then, I was filled with a great sense of love for people I knew, people in general, myself, and life itself. I remember the fear and horror and I remember being paranoid and delusional. I was afraid to be with my cats, for example, because I thought they could read my mind. But I don’t remember being filled with love. I find that very strange. Love came roaring out, like a lion released from its cage. How could I have forgotten that?

I see the effects of experiencing that burst of love, though. Before I remembered the ritual abuse, I thought I was incapable of love. Or that I could love like everybody else but I was incapable of recognizing it or feeling it. When I thought of my inability, I was filled with a yearning to feel love, both given and received. Now I know who and what I love even though I often feel constricted in my ability to let it in and express my feelings. But I am secure and no longer feel like a one-legged alien.

I’d like to transcribe it all and send you every word. I think that’s a bit much, though. I will probably just make selections and offer them to you with comments.