Internal Locus of Control

Late last month, I wrote about external locus of control, when you believe that people or events outside yourself control you and you have very little, if any, say in what happens to you. Now it seems like a good idea to talk about internal locus of control and describe the child-rearing practices that bring about confident, self-assured children.

It’s too late for us, of course. Only in adulthood do we discover that we can control some thing and this belief has to be laid on top of feelings of helplessness. But it isn’t too late for whatever outside children we may have or for our inside children. (Teaching and supporting inner children is pretty much the same as teaching and supporting outside children.)

A baby starts off totally dependent on its mother or caretaker, with no concept of cause and effect. But if the baby gets fed every time he cries, he begins to think that crying brings food. It’s as if the world is designed to meet a baby’s needs — hunger brings food, being tired brings sleep, being cold brings more clothes or a warm blanket.

As the baby grows, it begins to dawn on him that he can’t control EVERYTHING. If he drops a toy from the highchair, it won’t come back up just because he holds out his hand. He’s shocked because he believed he was all-powerful. You can see him staring in amazement at the toy just lying there, and he may burst into tears of frustration.

You know the serenity prayer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Figuring that out is the task of childhood!

The mother starts off with total control over the baby. If she clings to that control, her child will still be dependent on her at age sixty. But if she gradually loosens control over her child and encourages independence, experimentation, learning to make choices, all those good things, the child will have internal locus of control. He won’t be deluded into thinking he has control over everything or control over nothing, but he will know he can make a mark on the world.

Now, as an adult struggling with the after-effects of RA and my suffocating childhood, I have the task of re-parenting the child parts within me. How can I do this, when my fragmented mind hops around like a bunny rabbit and floats in time, forgetting stuff and losing things right and left? It’s a constant struggle to keep the chaos down to a mild roar.

I have to keep things simple. I have to give my child parts simple choices and then honor those choices. It may not seem like a big deal to me what color socks I wear, but my child parts care. And I want those child parts to realize that they are the kind of person who has the power to influence the world. “See? These purple socks prove it. If you hadn’t chosen those socks, they would be in the drawer out off sight. You made the world see purple socks!” And then I have to offer ever more complex choices, just like I would with an outer child.

If I had been raised in safety and slowly given more and more choices, today I would feel empowered. That’s what I gave my own children and that’s what I want for my child parts.

A Brilliant Idea

My good friend Anon wrote this a few years ago and gave me permission to share it with all of you. Maybe it can help you as much as it helped her. You have plenty of time to work on it if you want to and I’ll refer back to it at the end of August.

I am a satanic ritual abuse survivor, and September 7 – 8 has long been one of the hardest times of year for me and for many of my inner people. Fifteen years ago on this same date, a call-back telephone call caused a psychic eruption and my memories of life before seventeen and eighteen came flooding back to me. I am only now beginning to remember a few positive things from those same years.

September of 2006 found me devastated, dissociative in ways I had not experienced in awhile, and I spent more than a month in a trauma hospital. Something very important happened then and my healing work has seemed to flow with more determination and clarity since. It all sort of pulled together. This year? I truly did not want to be “down there” any more. It wasn’t going to happen. My therapist, S, and I began preparing and working on the Sept 7 – 8 memories and issues early, like in July. We knew she was going to be gone for that particular week, took even more care, and did a lot of hard fucking work.

At the end of most therapy sessions, I lie down and cuddle up in the big pillows and S talks to “everyone inside.”  August 24 was particularly hard, with some heavy sobbing. During the week before there had been many, many body memories and an intense tiredness. In the session we got to that real feeling of back then – the having to give up/the ultimate despair/the never being able to ask for help/ the utter submission – when we were five this was their primary purpose – the ultimate submission and despair.

For the “wedding” on the 7th/8th, they set it up so it was the mom who gave us away. There was nowhere else to turn. They won, right then. There was no hope. We could never, ever, truly get away. Getting “married” to the devil/cult just cemented it. While I was feeling all of this intensely, sobbing, we finally got a few words out, quietly, “I don’t want to be down here any more.” (more sobbing.)  S asked us to say it again . . . it was so hard. It took a long time. We finally kind of spit it out – and with that came another voice from inside. . . “I WANT OUT!!!”   I was remembering being in so intensely – in closets, in boxes – and I had never have out of a closet or box or ropes or chains or . . . any of it. It will come.

The voice of, “I WANT OUT” had anger. It wanted to demand. It wanted out. This was new, to remember something besides the despair of being stuck in. So in that session, when I rolled into the pillows and S was talking to “everyone inside” about work we had just done, I heard another little voice. Oh what a voice! Purely a little five year old. She started clamoring, like tugging on my shirt and asking several times, “Can five year olds get a divorce????”

I stood up and listened, jaw dropped. Of course . .  . what a simple idea . . . what a SMART idea!!!! S and I both saw the vision in it, the long-term possibilities. She said it gave her goose bumps. We talked about divorce and then about annulment.  (I’ve been through both as an adult). An annulment means it was never really real from the beginning. How perfect. How simple. How smart. Out of the mouth of one of my “babes” inside. I was going to see S again that week before she left, so we set it up. We would do it on Friday, the 31st.

I went home enthralled, calm and yet so excited. I just KNEW it was right. I immediately emailed S with the request that she make up a professional looking form, an annulment certificate. And don’t forget the gold seal! and I suggested a lot of the wording. She did it for us. It’s beautiful.

Friday, August 31, 2007, the five year old who endured the “marriage to the beast” signed the annulment. Then S signed it. Then a whole lot of others inside signed it (and more since then). And S put the seal on – a golden butterfly. Then she read it out loud to us, in a formal kind of voice. She finished and said…”It’s over.”

It is over. It worked. We really believe inside that we’re free. It wasn’t ever real. It was all based on lies. But it’s official. It’s over.  Life just changed – completely.

We literally have never known what it was like to NOT be imbedded in that relationship – with him, the cult leader, the porn king, the idiot who raped the mother, who brought us up as his sex slave, his dog, his lover, his protégé, his prostitute, his anger pillow, the dirt on his feet – his. From the rape on, we were in that relationship. But he wasn’t the devil that day. He wasn’t the whole cult. He wasn’t even evil. He was just a stupid man fooling himself too. (I keep suddenly feeling the difference, deep inside, and just feel it with, like, a big-eyed, “wow”).

One of the most important benefits of this freedom? (So far) We can truly connect to someone else. There is no rope pulling us backwards all the time, holding us back from full connections and aliveness. There’s no little devil over my shoulder just waiting for me. There’s no big shadow watching me, keeping me. I don’t have a little black heart. His seed did not become part of me. I don’t belong to him.

Connection. We can have it. We can risk it. We can want it. We can do it. For now, it’s mainly our connection to S. my little insiders believe in with their whole heart. Their absolute sureness makes me laugh.

It’s odd. This freedom is not huge emotionally. It’s not overwhelming, ecstatic, there’s no “high.” This freedom brings me a peace and a sense of myself I have not ever been allowed. It’s just me here – not Him and me – not me and Evil, not me and my past even – just me. It’s a kind of confidence, an assurance. It’s absolute confidence – even expectation in a five-year-old irritated kind of way – that we are here. You better see us. We have things to do, places to go. We’re going. You will love us.

Many tears and new issues have come about since then, only because of the new-found freedom. And it’s good. It’s very, very good.  Hope has arrived and settled in, I believe.  For the rest of the hard fucking work we still have to do? This will be the difference.

Here is the text of the certificate that Anon and S wrote. You may want to change the words some and you are  probably going to want to print it out and put it in a real frame with real official seals.



The original marriage between _______________________(the young female
bride) and the one known as “the beast” is hereby determined to be officially and
legally null and void.

The alleged wedding was both illegal and wrong in the eyes of the law and god and
goddess and all life. The alleged marriage was at all times based solely on lies and
deception, mind and body control, and abuse. It was never real.

Any rules, programs, titles of claim, or judgments of any kind associated with this
wedding are ALL completely powerless and null and void as of this date.

Furthermore, said groom and all associates shall have no further contact with the
said bride at any time for any purpose whatsoever from this time forward forever.

The bride is hereby proclaimed completely free —
physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Date Signed and Sealed: ___________________

Alleged Bride’s Signature:

Witness One:

Other Witnesses:






Scheduling Flashbacks

Here’s an idea. It might work for you or it might not, but it’s worth a try.

The parts that hold memories usually share them with the part that is “you” when they feel safe enough. You, however, don’t always feel safe enough to attend to them. What if you are driving? What if you are at work? Or talking to somebody you don’t know very well? Bad idea to switch or to get deep into a flashback and not be able to pay attention to the present. It would be so much easier to have flashbacks come when you weren’t distracted.

So the idea is to reserve a time for the parts who hold memories to share them with you. A set amount of time every day — ten minutes, half an hour, whatever you can manage. Make it at the same time every day so that it is consistent. If you can’t manage every day, choose one or two days a week. Find a comfortable place and bring things you think you might like to have around. A soft pillow, say, or a blanket in case you get cold, maybe some tea or a glass of water. Paper and pencils might come in handy, too. If you can’t see a clock from this place, bring a watch or set a timer.

Having a consistent end to this special time is just as important as having a consistent beginning. If there is no set ending point, your parts may think that it will go on and on and on, and that is not reassuring.

Go to your chosen place and explain what you are planning to do. “This is a special time to share memories. It starts at … o’clock and ends at … o’clock. We will do this every day so that everybody can have a turn. I’ll tell you when it is close to the ending time.” Do this for several days to make sure your parts have heard and understood the plan. (You can even ask if there are questions.)

Then just sit. If a memory comes, fine. If it doesn’t, the parts that remember aren’t yet ready. Don’t worry, you will give them another chance, and another, and another. The goal for now is to set the stage for your parts to be comfortable. Keep an open mind, so that you are receptive to whatever may happen.

At the end, say, “It’s almost time to stop. We have two more minutes.” Then two minutes later, “It is time to stop. We will do this again tomorrow, starting at … o’clock. Please, all of you, save your memories for that time. Thank you!”

If memories start to surface at another time during the day, say, “Please save this for today at … o’clock. I will be able to give you all my attention then. Thank you!”

(Of course, you don’t have to use these exact words. Say what feels natural to you, but be nice to your parts. No name calling, no cussing, no “I told you a million times.”)

For some people, this works almost immediately. They stop getting flashbacks at random times and memories surface during the allotted time. For others, it seems that flashbacks stop completely, as if the parts holding memories were startled and unsure what to do. Some people continue to experience flashbacks during the day and it takes many gentle reminders about the special time for the parts to understand.

The key to success is consistency. Your parts need to trust you in order to feel safe enough to share and to develop the self-control to wait until it is their time. If you don’t keep your word, how can they learn to trust you? You have to be trustworthy!

If there is going to be a break in your routine, figure out how you will handle it and explain your plan. If you have to travel, explain that the place will look different, but they will still have a blanket and paper to write and draw on. And the start and stop time will be the same. If you have to change the time, tell them as soon as possible and let them know if the new time is only for a few days or for always.

You will find that your parts can be very understanding. But remember, the fewer changes the better: consistency is the key.

If nothing happens, how can you tell if your message got through? I don’t think you can tell if it has or not. But there are ways that you can raise the chances that parts with memories hear what you say.

First of all, speak out loud, rather than just thinking the words. It’s clearer that way, easier to pick out what you are saying from the background of internal chatter or from external noises from your surroundings.

Second, it can help to offer a choice to listen or not. “Anybody can listen to me. Nobody has to. If you don’t listen but decide later on that you want to know what I said, you can ask somebody who did listen to tell you. And I will say this again tomorrow.”

How long should you keep doing this? That’s up to you. If your memories appear at the chosen time, you may want to do this indefinitely, simply because it makes life so much easier. If you have tried for a while and it doesn’t seem to make any difference, you might decide that the technique isn’t for you. Or isn’t for you right now, but might be later on. Or you could try exploring, alone or with another person or with a journal, what is blocking your parts from communicating. Is it fear? Fear of what? What would help allay the fear? Maybe a stuffed animal. Maybe a much shorter time, so it isn’t overwhelming. Maybe the reassurance that they don’t have to do this, but they can try it if they want to and see what it is like.

Are any of you already doing this? If so, would you like to share your experience? Do you have any warnings or advice for those who would like to give it a try? And those of you who try it now, let us know what happened!