A Ritual Abuse Survivor Writes Her Dentist

Another survivor has sent me an account of her experiences as a breeder and given me permission to share it on the blog. I’ll post it next time. And there is a third person who is also interested in sharing.

I think it would be wonderful – and possible – to put together an anthology. I can do the editing and set up, but I need your help to let people know that a book is in the works. It would mean posting a notice on your blog, if you have one, and letting all your RA/MC contacts, therapists as well as survivors, know about the project. Ask them to spread the word. And, if this is in their background, ask them to consider writing something – an account of what happened and how it affected them, a rant, a poem, whatever moves them.

There are 300-plus people following my blog at this point, and if, say, half of them helped out this way, I am sure it would come together quite quickly. And I would feel SOOOO supported!!

 

Once again, Forsaken Phoenix has written a marvelous article and given me permission to reblog it.

 

Dear Dr. ***

I know you have a much bigger work load right now and I know that means it’s tougher for you to spend the amount of time with each patient that you’d prefer. So I hope this letter will help both of us prepare for my upcoming fillings.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you worked hard to earn my trust and respect. It’s not easy for me to be at the dentist’s office and it’s even more difficult for me to actually *trust* a dentist. However, believe it or not, you’re one of my most trusted medical professionals and that’s the only reason I have the courage to even attempt this. So thank you, for being the person you are and patiently allowing me to trust you in my own time.

When you first met me, you told me that we were going to work together and fix my mouth so that it wouldn’t hurt and that it would no longer put me at risk medically. You never once fought *me* but instead, you fought *for* me and *with* me. You never once belittled, invalidated, or ridiculed me and you always told me that my comfort level was important to you. You respected my needs and requests.

After our last appointment, I was terrified. But not for the reasons one might expect. I was terrified because I thought you were mad at me. I felt like I let you down. My abuse history says you *should* be mad at me. It says that because I now have cavities, I’ve let you down and you no longer have a responsibility to care about me or my comfort levels – much less my well being. My past says you now have the right, to quite literally, kill me.

But that’s only what *my past* says and not what you’ve ever said or implied. It’s not fair to you, for me to treat you as though you’re one of them.

You only want to save my smile. To help me stay happy and healthy – and for me to assume that you would now torture me or kill me is not fair to you.

So far, you’ve given me no indication that you are giving up on me – so for now, I promise not to give up on fighting for you either.
I recently found out that sedation is not a possibility with my insurance for the fillings. Now, my only option is nitrous oxide. You were also willing to let me try getting them done without Novocaine. I’ve been thinking hard lately and I believe I’ve found a way to at least attempt this. I also think the risk of attempting without Novocaine is too high. My concern is that it might be more painful than I expect and then be processed as torture.

If we could use both nitrous oxide, and a topical anesthetic before the Novocaine injection(s), I think we might be able to make it work. But I would also need your help to get through it.

I would need you to tell me to close my eyes before I have the chance to see the needle. Not seeing the needle will help me to remain calm.

If you could say “1, 2, 3, poke” when doing the injection(s) it would help me feel more like a team player and less like a victim. Having the nitrous oxide and the topical anesthetic would help me as well as I fight to cope.

When you do the injection(s), hearing your voice telling me calmly that I’m doing good, that you’re proud of me – that would help as well, as it would remind me that I’m in the office with *you* and not being tortured by one of my abusers from the past who used to enjoy drugging me.

Before the procedure, having you look me in the eyes and *promise* me sincerely that you *will not* kill me that day would be inexplicably helpful. It may sound silly, but the abusers could never make that promise because the threat of death was part of their fun.

During the drilling, I’m terrified that I will switch or get triggered. My biggest fear there is the fear that you will then be perceived as a threat and I will either attempt to physically attack anyone nearby – or I will dissociate, be unable to move, and end up being retraumatized. Aside from the obvious reasons, I also don’t want that happening because I don’t want my current understanding of your role in my life to be undermined by my past.

One of the biggest ways I know to avoid such worst case scenarios involves your help as well as the hygienist’s. I need to hear your voices talking to me. Reassuring me. Not really telling me what you’re doing – but telling me *how I’m* doing. Telling me I’m doing a good job, that you’re proud of me, and that we’re in this together. That you’re not going anywhere. The abusers from my past enjoyed telling what they were about to do and how they would do it as a shock/threat tactic. So keeping me up to speed on what you’re doing would not be helpful – but updates like “we’re almost done, just X minutes left” are helpful as they show me ‘this *will* end.’

If one of you gets up to leave, please let me know that. Please reassure me that you will be coming back. Please remind me that together, we will get through this, and that you’re proud of me. Knowing you’re proud of me before you step away will remind me that you’re not leaving because I’ve done something to displease you and cause retaliation of some sort. It will remind me that I don’t need to be scared of what will happen when you come back. It will remind me that you are you and not ‘them.’

The ability to bring a blanket and or a stress ball will help me as I will have a comfort item to help remain grounded and something to squeeze so that I’m not digging my nails into my hands.

I mentioned that the sound of the drill will trigger me and I feel as though you’ve earned the trust level to know why. The sound (for me) is close enough to that of a bone saw. A tool my abusers used to threaten me with to force my cooperation. I don’t tell you this to upset you or incite pity – but to help you better understand the severity of my past abuse and how real and difficult coping with the sound will be. I’ve considered bringing headphones to either block out some of the sound or play music – but I feel that would only cause more confusion for me as I fight to understand where I am and who you are throughout the procedure.

Something you’ve never once said to me but I feel you should be aware of is to not say, “Breathe.” Saying that word alone is part of my past programming and will cause me to immediately *stop* breathing. I will then pass out on you. Instead, simply reminding me “you’re safe, we’re all right here” will cause me to instinctively take a deep breath.

I hope this is helpful. I’ve also signed a release for my therapist to communicate with you. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask him. There may be things he can help clarify or things he sees as helpful for you to be aware of that I haven’t thought of. He is my *most trusted* medical professional and he has my explicit permission to share any and all relevant information with you as he sees fit for the interests of collaboration.

Forsaken Phoenix

 

Upcoming Holidays

March  
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/25 Palm Sunday
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Full Moon
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects}
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
May
  
5/1 Beltane/May Day/ Labour Day in Europe
5/13 Mothers’ Day
5/28 Memorial Day
5/29 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
4/20 Hitler’s birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. His alternate birthday is 4/1 this year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

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When Major Life Events Coincide with Satanic Holidays

Upcoming Holidays
December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/24 Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day

1/1 Full moon
1/13 Satanic New Year

1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/31 Full moon (Blue moon. A blue moon is the second full moon in any given month.)
February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/13 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/14 Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 

When Major Life Events Coincide with Satanic Holidays

I just hate when that happens. Before I knew what had gone on in my childhood, those days were filled with anxiety. I figured it was normal apprehension, but now I realized past fear was amplifying the feelings of dread without my knowing it. So I attributed all the anxiety to the present.

Of course this continued until I remembered the ritual abuse. Only then could I separate past and present. I started to think of the present as a big trigger and handle my emotions accordingly.

There are two main times in the year when important events in my life occur on or near Satanic holidays.

One is Thanksgiving, which my cult celebrated. I was married the Saturday after Thanksgiving; we chose that day because it was a long weekend and it therefore was easier for out-of-state family members to attend. To make things more triggery, we were married in a civil ceremony in my parents’ home. I have no idea why other places were not considered.

My husband was not cult, and it was not an arranged marriage. There was no Satanic observation of the marriage that weekend, and we never visited my parents on subsequent Thanksgivings. My husband and I did not make a big deal of wedding anniversaries but I still felt very anxious and upset on Thanksgiving.

Now that I am alone, I try to avoid spending Thanksgiving with others and buy take-out Asian or Ethiopian food for a solitary dinner. Some years I do a major project, something that will last a long time and remind me that the present is very different from the past. One year, for example, I painted the inside of the garage.

This year two friends joined me in visiting a third friend. We talked about some serious things, laughed a whole lot, and did some outrageous things. I went swimming in the hotel pool in my underwear and felt wicked, in a good way. The combination looked like a really nice tankini: a black lace camisole and black panties.

The other horribly difficult time for me is around Beltane. Just look at this cluster of events!

April 27     my husband’s death
April 29    my younger daughter’s birthday
April 29    my husband’s funeral
April 30    my older daughter’s birthday
May 1        Beltane

It is quite possible that I had been programmed to have children on or near Beltane, even though I had not attended any rituals in over five years and only saw my parents briefly and surrounded by safe people.

It’s not uncommon for cult families to try and arrange for the birth of their children on a date that has significance for them. I knew one family with two children, one born on Beltane, the other on Halloween. Linda Walker researched Mormon genealogy and presented her results at conferences, but did not, to my knowledge, publish her findings. She found that, in some family trees, births, marriages, and deaths clustered around Satanic holidays, including the lesser known ones, like Candlemas and Lamas.

My husband’s death had nothing to do with his children’s birthday or Beltane; it was a simple coincidence. He died of sudden heart failure and there was no way of predicting or controlling it. The timing made me angry, not so much for myself as for my children, whose birthdays would always be intertwined with intense sadness.

And so major events often cluster around a Satanic holiday. This can be from programming or from sheer coincidence. (Not everything in the world is controlled by cults!) It’s a double whammy. Past and present grief, fear, anger, and sometimes even joy get all mixed up, adding to the burden the cult has left us with for the rest of our lives.

About Trigger Warnings

Upcoming Holidays

October
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
10/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve
There are two previous posts on Halloween:

https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/

https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/

November
11/S Full Moon
11/3 Satanic Revels
11/23 Thanksgiving
December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
Important dates in Nazi groups
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/11 Veteran’s Day: Armistice, 1918

 

About Trigger Warnings

I know Halloween is fast approaching; it’s just around the corner. Part of me says that I should be writing about it because there are so many people who are suffering as they remember what happened during this season. The two major Satanic holidays are Beltane and Halloween, and I believe that Betane is organized around sex and Halloween around death. To me, death is far worse than sex . . . as long as sex does not culminate in death. So the memories of Halloween are horrible and the feelings are so intense that they are nearly unbearable.

But I have already written about Halloween.  I don’t think I could write anything as useful as those posts and there is something else on my mind. So I am only going to acknowledge the importance of Halloween and write about the pros and cons of trigger warnings.

First, how “trigger” is defined. It varies from person to person and time to time. I find it helpful to distinguish the ways it is used in everyday speech.

1. “Triggered” means being upset. There are many, many things that upset us, and most have nothing to do with cults. War, famine, storms, fire, dishonesty, abuse of power, and cruelty of all types. All of these things upset me, sometimes to the point of thinking that the world would be a lot better off without any people.

Now it is impossible to write about ritual abuse without upsetting people – at least people who have not dissociated and walled off their feelings. I should then, according to this definition, use a trigger warning  each time I write about, or even mention, ritual abuse.

2. “Triggered” means that something has elicited a memory. The memory may be just a glance at part of a past experience, a slight sound, or a whiff of a smell. Or it may be full-blown, as vivid as it was originally and accompanied by extremely strong emotions. The memory may be accompanied by switching, as one alter cannot bear to experience the whole flashback.

If people think that what they are about to say may bring up memories in others, they are apt to use trigger warnings. They would feel feel guilty if they learned they had triggered somebody, even inadvertently.

3. “Triggered” means acting on a post-hypnotic suggestion. If the relationship between the stimulus and the action is unconscious, one usually automatically does what the cult wants. If one is tempted to act but can resist the temptation, the link is usually conscious. Gestures, combinations of words, a series of numbers, a song, or an object may all be used.. For example, if the cult wants a person to go to a certain place, they may flash a series of hand signals, or may wear a necklace with special significance.

Although situation number three is the most dangerous of the three, it is less apt to be given a trigger warning than the first two. This may be because cues are not given  innocently. Even if they are given unconsciously, one part of the system is cult-loyal and knows what is going on. Using a trigger warning would draw attention to the cues and defeat the whole purpose.

 

I use “upset” for meaning #1, “triggered” for meaning # 2, and “cued” for meaning # 3. It helps me think clearly.

So much for the use of the word “trigger”. Now on to trigger warnings.

At first, the warning was called a spoiler or spoiler warning. This came from giving away the ending of a book or movie. It didn’t seem to be a totally accurate description and “trigger warning” soon came to replace it. Next, a description of what one was going to talk about was added. (“Trigger warning” or “may trigger”. . .. for talk of sex.)  Then a long blank space was utilized in the body pf the post so that people didn’t glance at the text by mistake and get triggered. That’s pretty much the way things are today.

Different survivor groups have different customs. Some are pretty lax about trigger warnings, others will hold a post or letter until the moderator feels that the trigger warning is adequate. Some groups feel that they can identify enough cues so that they can exclude people who are dangerous.

Now I don’t ask people to use any trigger warnings, and haven’t for years. I feel that anything a person can say might trigger a memory in somebody at some time. It’s impossible to protect everybody in a group all the time. Realizing this, many members of the group walk on egg shells every time they write something.

I think that a better system is to ask each person to be responsible for their own actions. I am sure that this is not the first time that the person has had a flashback, and they have experienced what is helpful and what is not.If they are upset or go into flashback, I ask them to seek support from friends, their therapist, or a hot line if needed. Journalling can help, and soothing objects or routines can help keep one foot in the present. Knowing that they are considered to be capable adults give people confidence and strength.

I do not forbid the use of trigger warnings. If a person feels better using them, I would not take away that support. I often suspect that if a group member uses trigger warnings, it is for the benefit of parts of their system, not the other group members. And if somebody slips into guilt if they have triggered another, that is understandable. I’ve done this myself, embarrassing myself immensely.

This approach has worked well in the groups I have moderated. I think it is starting to become the norm in the comments section here. Anybody have feelings about whether we should use trigger warnings, and under what circumstances? I’m open to all points of view.