Reflections on Coerced Perpetration and Perpetrator-Identified Parts of Self: A Letter of Understanding

This piece was written by a friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous.

She challenges me…by saying things I had not thought of…by saying them in ways I had not thought of…by lingering on parts of her experience that I have skipped over or run away from. This is one issue that I have dealt with, but not at the depth that she has, and I feel honored that she chose to share it with me.

And not just with me. With all who may read my blog today or in days to come. Or who may choose to quote from her writing so that her words may spread even further. (Just cite this article.)

Thank you, dear friend, from the bottom of my heart.

~~~~~~~~~

What comes next is not you.  Is not who you are.
What they made from you is not who you wished to be or become.
These parts of you did not have a choice.  You did not have a choice.

For some time now, we have been reflecting on coerced perpetration trauma and the subsequent creation of parts for the purposes of furthering the agenda of our oppressors, who were our family, along with the perpetration groups with which they were involved.  We are not very far along on this part of our healing journey – it is a place we have been utterly terrified of for decades.

Our perpetrators, our parents, did a very good job of breaking us.

Our whole lives have been centered around striving to be free of our perpetrators, to escape, to survive, to find and create a meaningful life where we can do good.  Help others. Bring more light into the world in whatever small ways we can. Forever it has been thus, for us…. Trying to do good, be good.  Take care of others. Of course, these altruistic behaviors originate from many places in many people, abused or not.

What has also been true is that we always knew there was a “Dark Side,” another side, another way of being… another place within our psyche, where other beings and entities existed.

However, we believed these “others” were evidence of psychosis.  ALWAYS.  We were told this – as many of us were, as survivors of extreme, sadistic, organized abuse.  Any memories, thoughts or voices, expressions through art or poetry, images, sensations: ALL of it = psychosis.

So, of course we stayed away from this content, these “entities.”  Avoidant in the extreme; the idea of learning or understanding more about these “others,” who live in darkness, felt tantamount to death.  This has been the belief.

Until. Until a massive shake-up and reorganization of our system happened and we started to wonder.  These “evil others,” these demonic entities, these images of perpetrating harm against other children, animals, others… what if these were real events from childhood, what if these “others” were parts of self, parts of our system?

We must have sensed something about this around the time of our big internal shake-up.  We bought a book, called “The Alchemy of Wolves and Sheep” by Harvey Schwartz.  We read Harvey’s book and felt understood in a way we never had before. (Though some parts of us hid certain chapters – those that said healing is possible.)  Through his book, we felt that someone in the world could actually comprehend and bear witness to the degree of evil that some humans perpetrate against others, including against children.  We saw that someone might be able to see into the nature of this experience of coerced perpetration trauma and even have compassion and care for them.

Coerced perpetration trauma is the result of extreme forms of abuse perpetrated by offending persons and systems when they want to perpetuate their evil, when they want to create mini-versions of their own abusive selves, when they derive a sick pleasure from taking an innocent child, a child who is dependent on them, and twisting and perverting their natural attachment bonds to create a part of that child’s self/mind that will behave EXACTLY as told.  A part that will do whatever their “handler” wants, whatever their perpetrator requires of them.  A child that will behave exactly like the perpetrator, that will inflict harm on others or engage in antisocial behavior.

Why would a child do this; behave as a perpetrator?  Why would a child, with the full capacity for being kind and loving, harm another child or animal?

They would do this in order to survive. They would do this to survive extremes of torture and abuse. A child would harm others in order to survive the extreme manipulation of their mind by perpetrators who know how to break humans.

Adults and children alike – will do just about anything to survive.  This is, actually, a harsh truth about human nature.

We are built to survive at all costs.  At the level of our ancient brain, we are hard-wired to stay alive.  We have wondered and wished: why didn’t they just let us die? Why didn’t we just die?

We always thought these “others” we knew about were ALL-BAD, and totally evil.  And, actually, I believe some of them are, pure evil.  But as a system, we have learned a lot in the past few years.

One thing we have learned is that the “others” who live in darkness – that even they exist on a continuum of evil.  Some, it seems, embrace their evil-ness, some, it seems, are “just doing their jobs,” some, it seems, do not like their jobs.  Some are a little bit interested in all of this healing work that has been going on.  Some, of course, would like to kill everyone and completely stop all progress.  The “jobs” within are multitudinous.

The point is, that not everyone wants to be a slave to the perpetrating system.  Not everyone wants to live in darkness forever.  Not everyone wants to believe everything they were taught.

A few experiences have helped us begin to see things differently and to be willing to learn a little bit more about these “others.” Something has shifted to dial back the utter terror (an absolute TERROR of understanding our own selves implanted by our perpetrators) so that we can begin to consider that these “others” may actually be parts of… us.

In 2020, we saw a webinar by Richard Loewenstein through the ISSTD on the demystification of perpetrator tactics.  His words have been percolating inside all this time.

First, he described programming as torture.  Plain and simple.  And boy, did that hit home.  We found ourselves recalling various “lessons,” “programming,” and “training” experiences…. They were torture.  As in true, mind-bending, horrifically pain-inducing, crazy-making torture.  We dreamt repeatedly about adults being tortured and seeing them “break,” and each time we woke feeling shocked that one could “break” an adult so completely. If you could “break” an adult so completely, what chance does a child have, what chance does a 3 year old, or a 5 year old, or an 8 year old or even a teenager have against an army of adults bent on “breaking” them, using extreme methods of torture?

This was another dawning moment…. That the use of torture was how they “programmed” all of us.  That certainly helped to demystify the word “programming.” But it also made the method clear – this was pain-inducing torture, including techniques that break hardened military men and women, people who have been trained to withstand these techniques.  They apply these similar methods (and worse, actually) to children.

The next thing Loewenstein said that stayed with us from the moment we heard it, was his description of “introjects” (parts that identify with the perpetrator) as “Underground Freedom Fighters.”  This term conveyed a sense of respect and honor for parts of us who had to do terrible things in order to survive… especially those protector parts who did what they did, not because they liked it, but because they had to.

Loewenstein called to mind the extremely dangerous dictatorships of Nazi Germany or Saddam Hussein.  He asked us to consider that working under Hitler or Saddam meant obedience or death.

We understand that equation: obedience or death.

We are starting to see that parts made in the likeness and qualities of the perpetrators had no choice.  These parts may have been convinced that they made a choice; they may have been offered something that looked like choice, that didn’t seem like the indoctrination or the coercion it was… but they did not have a true choice or a voice in what they would do or how they would think or feel or behave.

A few months ago, we went back and read those chapters we ‘skipped’ in Harvey’s book that suggested healing was possible. Most powerful was his chapter, ‘The Child Soldier as a model of internalized perpetration.’ It resonated within us and across barriers. It helped us to understand the level of manipulation we – and sadly, many children around the world – have been subjected to in the name of power, greed, and ideology. Reading about the rehabilitation of these child soldiers, who had both experienced and committed atrocities, we found understanding and compassion for them. And we felt profoundly, the healing power generated by a caring person bearing witness and saying, again and again and again: “None of what happened was your fault. You were just a little boy… None of what happened was your fault. None of what happened was your fault.” (Harvey Schwartz quotes from Beah, I. (2007). A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier. Sarah Crichton Books.)

We immediately started reading “A Long Way Gone,” by Ishmael Beah and thank him deeply for his brave voice and courageous spirit.  Our heart breaks for his suffering and rejoices in his redemption.

~~~~~~~~~~

For some time now, we have been able to tolerate the barest glimpse of what these “others” may hold.  We have flashbacks… which is interesting, right?  If they were entirely “other,” flashback material would not cross over to “our” consciousness, right?

(The “delusion” of their separateness is pretty extreme.)

Recently, we have experienced a series of unexpected life events which set off cascades of internal messages, flashbacks, memories…. And we have begun wondering… if some of the “others” might want to come over to be where “we” are in our internal landscape…. If some of them might be genuinely interested in participating in this ‘healing’ stuff we are doing or even, just breathing fresh air.  Some are terrified of even that, for what might that mean: to breathe fresh air?  We have begun sensing that some might want to see what the life is like – so many of them have been “entombed” within their trauma or their concrete rooms, for eternity, it seems.

We wonder, because some of them have broken through in dramatic fashion – seemingly by accident – some have run though then retreated.  I wonder, sometimes, if “word’s gettin’ out,” if whispers of another way of life are leaking through.  If fragments of light and even a speck of hope might be filtering through barriers which have been rock solid, until now. (Which is terrifying.)

So… we have begun thinking about how to understand, how to work with and manage these “others.”  We had a re-living experience of torture a few weeks ago.  We re-lived and re-lived and re-lived the moment, the exact moment when you feel you are going to die and you WILL DO ANYTHING to MAKE IT STOP.  ANYTHING.  Anything.  Those of “us” on this side of things felt that. That state. That annihilation. That agony. That capitulation. And we felt it over and over again as some kind of flashback.  And, while that re-living may have been generated from within as a punishment, what happened instead was: we found compassion.  Compassion for the part of us who endured that experience.  She endured THAT experience as an 8 year old child.  OF COURSE she (and whomever they created from her) OF COURSE she did whatever they told her to do.  Of course, she did, she had no choice.

Is that child evil? Is that part-of-self truly evil?  I’ll tell you what is evil: Breaking a child.

Making a child believe they are evil, loathsome, rotten to the core.  What is evil, is breaking a child into a million pieces so you can control their every function and make them do this, do that.  Think this, think that.  Like an army of puppets or robots or slaves (or zombies, says someone inside).

Some with more sophistication, of course, to perpetuate their evil agenda…. An army of children.

THAT, is the evil.  Perpetrating this harm on children. Taking away their innocence, their self-hood, their sovereignty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The other night, we happened upon this article by Ellen Lacter, “Work with ‘Abuser Personalities.’” You can find it here: https://endritualabuse.org/latest-articles/  

In this article, we found a lot of clarification about our own experiences.  We have been stuck in the wondering about these “internalized perpetration parts;” wondering if this or that part is “us” or something “they” created?  Is this part an “organic” creation of our own mind/system, or something the perpetrators implanted?  What the hell is an implant?  Why does it seem like there is everything from pure evil within, to parts doing “jobs,” to parts who are just traumatized children holding delusional beliefs (such as: they are dead and live in actual hell)?

There is, indeed, a continuum.  A continuum of humanity within, a continuum of evil, a continuum of goodness and Light. There is a continuum of organically-generated to perpetrator-engineered parts.  It is not black and white. There are parts we made to survive.  There are parts the perpetrators made to use.  There are parts we made that they capitalized on. There are parts they made that didn’t work so well and parts they made that we are healing.

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We now suspect that those “others” are, actually, parts of us.  We are starting to comprehend that our perpetrators created parts of us, from us, to do evil.  To do harm.  To make money for them, as part of their criminal organizations.  To further their agendas.

The utter heartbreak of this feels intolerable.  To know that you and so many parts of you have tried:  to be good, to do good, to protect other children, to protect others within ourselves, to save others, to protect and not hurt animals, to see goodness in the world, to help others heal, to support and offer care, to make the world a better place…. To know that some of us tried NOT TO BE BROKEN in order to protect others from pain – and to have been broken anyway. It feels like failure.  Utter hopelessness and despair.

The utter loss of self. The annihilation of goodness.  The destruction of innocence.  The complete and total loss of control.

This essay is, in a strange way, like a love letter, a letter of understanding, to all the parts of us who were broken. And to the one part of us who is grieving and struggling right now, who tried to hold out for so long, who tried to hold on to some tiny piece of her goodness, who was willing to die to make things stop… but couldn’t.  Dear one, you couldn’t die because they wouldn’t let you.  You didn’t die because your human brain is built to survive at all costs.

You couldn’t protect others or prevent others from being made from you – because you were just a child.  You were only 8 years old and we are all feeling how hard you tried.  And how HUGE the sadness is, this tidal wave of grief.  It is, too big… and we will share it with you so that you do not have to feel the full weight of this unbearable grief all alone.

And, no matter what comes next in our knowing, no matter who did what and who got hurt, we know you did not want to be or become that.  We know: it is not who you are.  Being a perpetrator of harm is not your – and is not our – true nature. It is not something we carried into our adulthood or passed on to future generations. It is something they created carefully, sadistically, and intentionally through torture, manipulation, and overwhelm.

You – and we, all of us, even the “others,” have a spark of creation energy, of cosmic light, and we will find our way to togetherness and healing, to releasing pure evil and that which is not us, in service of healing broken parts of us, and parts of us who believe they are beyond redemption.

We will find our way to understanding and compassion and connection – with nature, with ourselves, with the goodness in the world.  And dear little one, we see your goodness.  It shines through all that they made you do.

~~~~~~~~~~

We want to acknowledge that our healing work is deeply embedded in a relational context.  We would not be able to understand, find compassion for ourselves, and take next steps on our healing path were it not for the care and support of those who are sharing this part of our journey. There are not many – when you grow up as we did, it is hard to trust, and connection with humanity feels impossible.  But sometimes, when we are met consistently (surprisingly) with kindness, warmth, and compassion… more healing happens and is made possible with each shared step.

We are so deeply grateful for our therapist, who sees the good and the evil of our experiences and holds hope and such strong faith in our goodness and in our capacity to heal, even when we cannot. Your presence and bearing witness are healing in and of themselves. We know your love, that feels like Light, is helping us to find our own.

We are so grateful to our therapy consultant, for your generosity of spirit and compassion, your appreciation of what it means to be a true ally for healing, and for your wise guidance with the transpersonal and spiritual that are so critical on this path.

~~~~~~~~~~

Beah, I. (2007). A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier. Sarah Crichton Books.
Lacter, E. (2021, May 2). Work with “Abuser Personalities.” End Ritual Abuse.  https://endritualabuse.org/latest-articles/
Loewenstein, R.J. (2020). A Demystified, Pragmatic Approach to the Treatment of Patients with a History of Organized Sadistic Abuse. [PowerPoint slides]. https://www.isst-d.org/training-and-conferences/webinar-library/
Schwartz, H. L. (2013). The alchemy of wolves and sheep: A relational approach to internalized perpetration in complex trauma survivors. Routledge.

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Upcoming Holidays

July 
7/23 Full Moon 
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God 
7/27 Grand Climax

August  
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh 
8/13 Friday the 13th 
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
8/22 Full Moon 
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

September  
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast 
9/7 Labor Day (United States)  
9/20 Full moon 
9/22 Fall Equinox 
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

7/18 Tisha B’Av (Jewish Day of Mourning) 
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party 
9/1 Start of WW2 
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement) 
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) 
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday 
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Additional information on various holidays:

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-il
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/
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/

Different Ways of Knowing

* I probably won’t have any material ready for the scheduled 7/10 entry. Why? Because I am hosting our poetry reading and there is so very much to do!

Hope to see lots and lots of you there!!!!

Free Online Poetry Reading 
Saturday, July 10, 2021  
4 PM Pacific Time 
“Ritual Abuse Survivors Read Their Poems of Suffering and Healing”

Register at  
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ritual-abuse-survivors-read-their-poems-of-suffering-and-healing-tickets-154638336427

How to prepare for the reading:
2. Choose a comfortable place
3. Stock up on tea, soft drinks, and munchies
4. Add important extras, like Kleenex and stuffies

Tips:
1. Mute your microphone unless you are speaking during the Q&A period.
2. If you don’t want to be seen, hover over your image and click the three little dots. Choose “Hide Self.” To turn your image back on, click the “View” button, then click “Show Self View” on the menu.
3. You can change the name displayed on your video. Click on the “Participants” icon (two heads with a number next to them.) A list of Participants will appear. Hover your mouse over your name and click on “Rename.” Enter the name you want others to see. Remember to change it back next time you use ZOOM.

* One more announcement about Pornhub is at the end of the article.

Different Ways of Knowing

I used to think that the only way to learn was to go to school, study real hard, and do things exactly the way they told you to. Then you took a test and found out whether or not you knew something.

I gave those teachers far too much power! There are many ways of learning, and that is only one way, a way that was popular in the early ’40s.

Children learn a lot by watching, listening, touching, smelling. They don’t need another person to do this. For the most part, what they learn is true. Snow is cold. Sunlight is warm. Water is wet. Some grownups paint their lips red, some don’t. Some have hair around their mouths, some don’t. They eat with little sticks, not their hands. Depending on where they live, they call these sticks chopsticks or forks. These are facts. The information comes through the senses, which do not lie.

Actually, senses can lie – if grownups spend a lot of time teaching the children how to ignore the input of their senses and how to misremember an experience as something else. Grownups in cults are particularly adept at negating children’s experiences. “That didn’t hurt.” “That didn’t happen.” “You liked that, didn’t you?” “That was just a dream.” “No, you were at Gramma’s house yesterday.”

Cults also play games with the mind. Double binds are one of their tricks. “Do you want to kill the orange kitten or the spotted kitten? Choose!” “Do you want me to hit you, or do you want to hit your little sister? Choose!” Another trick is inverting values. Good becomes bad; evil becomes good. Words are given meanings that are the opposite of what the larger society assigns to them. You can make kids believe anything if you work hard enough at it.

I think that these learning experiences are processed differently, at least for me. This is because I remember them differently.

Things that were taught to me while being abused come back in flashbacks and through drawing or free-association writing. They had been forgotten, covered over by amnesia. This makes sense to me because everything they taught me was accompanied by a command to forget, to “not know” what had happened or what I had learned. All these things were stuffed way down into my unconscious.

When the amnesia broke spontaneously, they came shooting through in flashback form – images, body feelings, smell, emotions. (Oddly enough, I do not have sound flashbacks.) When I prodded my unconscious through writing or drawing, there were no flashbacks – the memory was there on the page, more or less disguised.

But the things I learned on my own during those dark days and nights come back in a very different form. I just know. All I have to do is join a conversation about a given subject, open my mouth, and out comes the information. It isn’t disguised, it isn’t chaotic. It comes out in a clear, concise, matter-of-fact form. I guess that’s because the information hasn’t been distorted by my abuser’s lies and manipulations.

These days, I know what I am talking about when ”I just open my mouth and out it comes,” but back when I first remembered, I didn’t have enough context to always know what I was saying.

I came across a notebook from 1988/1989 and read some things which surprised and amused me.

“The facade is an integral part of the building.” Hmm. And I thought I was being so original when I wrote that blog entry! But I knew what I meant back then. The “fake me” I constructed when I had to hide the abuse became an important part of my personality, of the “real” me. Then I turned my attention to other things and forgot all about the facade and the building.

I also found two pages in which I referred to myself as fragmented. The one I want to find I can’t, of course. I think these are the exact words, but I’m not 100% sure. It was part of a wish list–

“I want to be whole 
I am tired of offering people fragments of myself”

The other entry is a record of a rather sophisticated dream.

“I dreamed that there were discrete roles or psychological states and when I was in one state I felt coherent. It was slipping from one to the other that made me feel crazy.

This is true, except that I’m always in several and so I feel crazy all the time – fragmented consciousness or identity.”

I knew I was fragmented back then. I knew without knowing I knew. Then I put that knowledge aside for decades and here it is again, front and center in my mind, rather than slipping in and out of consciousness.

Boy, the mind is a wonderfully complex thing.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

* I am writing this as a note because there is more and more news about the successful fight against Pornhub and Mindgeek. This time it’s the announcement of the filing of a lawsuit. I could easily write about Pornhub three times a month . . . but that is a different blog.

34 victims, 14 of whom were children at the time they were abused, have filed a RICO – racketeering, trafficking, and child pornography – lawsuit against Pornhub and MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company. You can read all 179 pages of the complaint at https://mindgeeklitigation.com/asset/2021.06.17%20-%20Dkt.%20001%20-%20Complaint.pdf.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Upcoming Holidays

July

7/4 Independence Day 
7/23 Full Moon 
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God 
7/27 Grand Climax

August

8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh 
8/13 Friday the 13th 
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
8/22 Full Moon 
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

September

9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast 
9/7 Labor Day (United States) 
9/20 Full moon 
9/22 Fall Equinox 
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

7/18 Tisha B’Av (Jewish Day of Mourning) 
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party 
9/1 Start of WW2 
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement) 
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) 
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday 
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Additional information on various holidays:

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-il
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/
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/

Chronic Anxiety

*Look at the last post for an invitation to an online poetry reading, “Ritual Abuse Survivors Read Their Poems of Suffering and Healing,” on Saturday, July 10.

~~~~~~~~~~

It wasn’t until about twenty years ago, when I first got a diagnosis of Chronic Anxiety Disorder, that it occurred to me that I might be chronically anxious. Who, me? What? I still seldom think of myself that way.

Yes, I am afraid of many things and I do get anxious quite frequently. But it’s not continual. And I seldom get full-fledged panic attacks. When I do, I really, really, hate them. On top of being anxious about whatever set off the panic attack, I experience an intense fear of dying because I believe my heart will suddenly give out under the stress. I’m really glad they don’t occur more often.

Can a few of you relate?

Depression is very different. I go for long periods being more or less depressed, and then, thanks to medications, I have nice long periods when I am not depressed. I can remember what it was like, but I cannot conjure up the actual feeling. Anxiety is different. If I start thinking about how something makes me anxious, I become anxious.

Tranquilizers mute my anxiety, but they don’t erase it completely, and besides, they are addictive. I therefore seldom take them – I save them for scheduled emergencies, like the dentist.

When I get very anxious, I talk to myself. “It’s okay, I’ve done this before and I managed to get through it. The fear went away as soon as I did it. But when I put it off, it stayed until I got up my courage and actually did it.”

I understand that I get afraid as an adult of things I was afraid of as a kid. Telephones, large public buildings, birthday “presents.” Sometimes I can get an image of the event that frightened me so deeply. A lot of the time I have to accept that, for now, I don’t know the awful thing that happened, but I do know that it’s natural for a kid to react with extreme fear and to want to avoid that thing forever. Unfortunately, here that thing is again and now I am a grown-up and I expect myself to deal with it, despite my fear. But it’s normal for me to be all freaked out; there is nothing wrong with me.

And I am not the only one, by far. My life coach, Katherine North (https://declaredominion.com/), who I quote a lot, is pretty damned anxious. This Saturday she wrote about coming to her terms with her chronically high level of anxiety and how she copes with it.

She copes with it like I do, by talking kindly and gently to herself. No shaming, no, “Afraid of a telephone? How silly. It doesn’t bite, you know. What a sissy you are.”

I say, instead, “It’s totally normal to be afraid after what you lived through. This is a perfectly normal, healthy reaction. But I’m here now, and I am thinking of all the times that nothing bad happened. I am sure nothing bad is going to happen this time – it might even be good! And when it is done, it’s done, and we can go have some fun.”

Katherine has a wonderful way with words. This is how she described it:

“It turns out that scared people have a LOT of practice being brave. I’m not afraid of feelings and being vulnerable. I’m scared of spreadsheets and insurance and hospitals and paperwork and passports and basements and permits and offices and elevators and airplanes and bugs and the dark and receptionists. (For starters.)”

“…by talking gently to the scared parts of ourselves in our biggest kindest grownup voices. Because after a certain point, I learned that if I was really really gentle with myself, even if I couldn’t get up jauntily, I could almost always slide myself across the floor one inch at a time.”

“You can do it, sweetheart! Just one more inch! Yes! Just one thirty-second tiny brave thing, and then you can rest! Good, you did it! Yes, now you can cry all you need to! You did it!”

“I’m brave because I’m scared and I keep trying anyway.”

“And I have walked many miles myself through thorny thickets of fear, which means that I have some good maps.”

~~~~~~~~~~

At this point, I sat back and said, “What else do I want to write about?

I want to explain why this post is late. My computer froze when I was downloading a software update. It took me three calls to Apple, and the first person told me to leave it overnight to see if it finished up installing the software. It didn’t. I was a wreck! I was a little less of a wreck because I have a backup, but what if the backup is also frozen? My whole life is in that computer!!!

Well, on the third call they got it going again. I had a computer-less day, and it was very interesting to compare how that felt in contrast to my normal computer-filled days. I felt much freer and more spontaneous. But I also had so much anxiety that I was afraid that if I touched the computer I would break it for sure, and so I avoided it for a couple of days. Oh, well, stuff happens. I’m pretty much over it now.

Now my mind is turning to “Litany Against Fear,” from Frank Herbert’s book Dune.

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

There is a shorter version, which I think I like better. Both are from https://dune.fandom.com/wiki/Litany_Against_Fear.

“I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
I will face my fear.
I will let it pass through me.
When the fear has gone,
There shall be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/20 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 (?) St John’s Day
6/24 Full Moon

July
7/4 Independence Day
7/23 Full Moon
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Grand Climax

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/13 Friday the 13th
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/22 Full Moon
8/24 (?) St. Bartholomew’s Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/18 Tisha B’Av (Jewish Day of Mourning)
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party

(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: 

 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/

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/