The Facade Is Part of the Building

We use the word “facade” when we feel that we are faking something and not showing our true selves. We feel like imposters putting something over on people. If we cultivate the face that we show the world for enough years, it comes to feel like our true self – an imposter through and through!

This process is considered shameful. We should not be “putting on a good face” because, by doing so, we are deceiving people. We are not who we make people believe we are.

Then there is the 12-Step slogan, “fake it til you make it.” I understand what they are trying to convey, but it makes me cringe. It makes me think of somebody pretending they are a billionaire and hoping someday their ship will come in and they will become the billionaire they yearn to be.

On the other hand, experiments show that if you smile, your mood gets a little better. Even when you feel lousy, The act of smiling sets off a little burst of feel-good hormones. What’s the harm?

Years ago, a young man was in therapy with me. He was highly intelligent, talented, and competent. He was not an abuse survivor, but he did have some family issues he wanted to deal with.

One day he told me about how all his talent and competence was just a facade. Inside, I said to myself, “Me, too.”

Sometimes I open my mouth, and out of nowhere, I say something I didn’t know I was about to say. I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know how I knew it. I just know. This time it was, “But the facade is part of the building.” Wow!

The implication is that you cannot just rip it off and toss it away, like a removable mask. It’s part of your true self. This guy was, in fact, competent, intelligent, talented. Somebody had told him he was stupid, and he had believed the lie. He wasn’t tricking people; he had been tricked.

(An aside – have you ever looked hard at the facades of the buildings in your town or city? When my depression lifted, and I stopped looking at my feet and raised my eyes, I was amazed at how pretty the facades were. Buildings without facades looked like the dull, clumpy rectangles they were. But those with ornamentation were graceful and interesting.)

I’ve been musing about how the concept of facades relates to shell alters. It seems obvious to me that the shell alter is an integral part of the system. It has been formed from the essence of the person and contains as much me-ness as any other part. The image that comes to mind is that of a loving adult holding out her (or his) arms to cradle other parts who want to speak or come out into the world in some other way. You can give strength and safety and comfort without words, and I think that is what shell alters do.

In my mind, shell alters are more like the framework of a building. You don’t see them, but they are there, quietly providing strength and structure.

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Even after all these years, I catch myself believing a lie that I was told. I hear myself saying internally, “What would a nice girl do?” “What would a real social worker say?” “If I were truly compassionate…” Eek! My facade is slipping!

It’s tempting to think that the persistence of the negative beliefs about myself that I learned in childhood means that I’ve done something wrong in my healing. That’s not true. These beliefs are very tenacious, and they are still in my mind. When one pops up, I challenge it, and I quickly see it’s a lie. What more could I ask?

I have a lovely facade, and I spent many long years building it. I don’t have to pretend to be a nice girl, a real social worker, or compassionate. I am those things, inside and out.

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Upcoming Holidays

January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/6 (?) Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/13 New Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/18 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1/20 (?) St. Agnes’ Eve
1/28 Full moon

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII
1/28 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)

(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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I have organized a ZOOM group of survivors whose systems are polyfragmented, or partially so. If you would like to join, contact me through the comments section or write rahome@ra-info.org

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 
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/
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/ 

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* How to add a comment after a postThis blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post. You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS,” tagged (a list of the tags), and (the number of) comments.” Click on the word “comments” to open all posted comments.

At the very bottom of the page, you will see “LEAVE A REPLY.” That’s where you make a new comment. You can reply to a posted comment by clicking “Reply” under that comment. In each case, make sure to click “POST COMMENT” when you are finished. It’s a good idea to write out your comment first and then paste it in so that you don’t risk losing what you wrote.

Self-Indulgence?

I’ve been so conscientious about posting on this blog – three posts a month, rain or shine, whether I wanted to or not. I only missed a couple, and, in my mind, I made up for that by posting extra animal videos.

But now I just don’t want to write anything and I have decided I won’t. I have also decided that skipping one – or maybe (gasp!) even two posts – doesn’t make me irresponsible or uncaring or an over-all bad person. It just means I want a break and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with a few chocolates, while I am at it.

I hope you all stay safe over Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Day. I will be back definitely in early January, perhaps a few days earlier.

I wish myself a meditative and nourishing break, and I wish that 2020 is happier and less stressful for all of us than all the years that have preceded it.

Learning to Ask for Help


* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Halloween: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween: (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/halloween-2018/


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I read a self-help article on how to be more productive – that is, how to get more done in the same amount of time. It said to choose your three most important projects and work on them first when you are fresh. If a project is big, break it down into smaller parts.

I chose two projects that will appear on my list every day: doing the exercises for the chiropractic work I have committed myself to and working on the anthology of stories of people who have lost babies in the cult. I broke the book project into smaller parts. The first part I chose was to get the “permission to publish form” written and sent out to people who have submitted their work or requested the form.

I will be so excited when people receive them, sign them, and return them! The book will have started to take shape and will seem to have a life of its own. I can even start the Table of Contents!

Now there is a project I have been working on for decades it seems, and that is learning to ask for help and not feeling diminished by relying on others. It’s the kind of thing you work on at random times during the day – you can’t easily sit down and work without distraction on it for a half-hour, so it won’t go on my list. This seems like an ideal time to practice being graciously dependent. <smile>

So….these are some things I would like some help with:

1. If any of you have a permission to publish form (with the author retaining the copyright), please send it to me! And tell me if you needed any other type of form.

2. If anybody has had experience in self-publishing, tell me what you know about:
choosing a self-publishing company
doing the layout (including artwork)
making the book itself

3. If anybody has ideas for the title, please share on the blog! It will inspire others to come up with ideas, too. My working title is “Pregnancy and Loss in Ritual Abuse: Stories of Survivors Who Have Lost a Baby through Forced Abortion, Sacrifice, or Forced Adoption.” It’s descriptive, but not very catchy. Also, it doesn’t indicate that I plan to include some accounts by therapists and allies.

In case nobody has trouble asking for help <snork> I’ll let you in on some of the obstacles I have encountered along this particular branch of my healing path.

In the cult, there was nobody to turn to for help. I was on my own, and I quickly learned that crying out for help brought swift retaliation. They wanted me to be small, frightened, and helpless. I don’t remember them doing this to me, but some survivors report that they would set up a situation where the person the child turned to for help actually did help for a while. But it was a trick; that person turned on you, punishing you for asking for help, or betrayed you to the cult. Or else the cult taught you not to try that again by hurting the person you had come to rely on and love and telling you it was your fault for being so needy.

No wonder survivors don’t trust others to be there for them. No wonder they feel that it is up to them to take care of themselves and that dependency is dangerous. And since we grew up believing everybody was untrustworthy, we did not learn how to find trustworthy people. We didn’t know what red flags to look for or how to test the waters by asking for something small and observing how the person reacted. That’s the way you build trust – small tests over time until you are secure that the person will stay in character and not turn on you.

Some cult survivors had families who were not part of the cult. Or if they were cult, they behaved lovingly in the “day life.” This must be really confusing. My family did not torture me outside of cult settings, but they weren’t particularly trustworthy. If I asked for something, it was more likely or not that I wouldn’t get it because it was not what they wanted for me.

For example, I remember asking for books for my birthday and even giving them the titles. Did I get those books? No. Did I get any books at all? No. Why? “Because you read too much.” I didn’t get it. I had just spent four whole years learning to read, and now I was not supposed to? Why had I I bothered?

Sometimes my parents would say they would do something I asked of them and then change their minds without explaining. This was just as disappointing as having my wishes ignored. What happened at home reinforced what I was taught in the cult. You can’t count on anybody but yourself.

But you can learn to trust later on in life. All you have to do is make yourself believe that some people are trustworthy, learn how to identify them, and then take a giant leap of faith and just do it! Easy-peasy! (Not.) That’s why I am still working on it after all these decades.

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Upcoming Holidays

October
10/13 Full moon
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of the Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
November
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/12 Full moon
11/28 US Thanksgiving
December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year, Day of Judgement)
10/8 – 10/9 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/13 – 10/20 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, harvest festival)
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s actual half-birthday
10/21 Hitler’s alternative half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and 10/20. His alternate birthday is celebrated on Easter of the current year and his alternate half-birthday six months later.)
10/21 – 10/22 Simchat Torah (celebration of the complete annual cycle of reading of the Torah)
11/9 Kristallnacht State-ordered pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria)
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)