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.)

Feeling “Less Than”

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

* Looking for people who have been impregnated in a cult setting and lost their child through forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption for submissions for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

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I’m near the end of a two-week trip to visit my kids and attend my high school reunion, which was earlier this week. I felt a little awkward at the reunion because every one seemed to remember me and I didn’t recognize some people. When I learned their names, I didn’t remember them from high school, either.

Outside of that, I was pretty comfortable because at the last reunion I had told everybody (in one of those tell us-what-have-you-been-doing meetings) about my RA background. It went pretty well. Some women were sort of clueless, but nobody thought I was making things up or was crazy or evil. This time, although I didn’t refer to it often, I felt okay mentioning it when it was appropriate and didn’t have butterflies in my stomach, not even once.

The catch-up group was the last meeting of the day. I was next to last to talk. All those women were doing so much, accomplishing so much! They seemed to have so much energy, such great organizational skills, and so much creativity. I began to feel more and more inferior. I thought about the number of projects I have on the back burner and how little I get done. I felt myself getting smaller and smaller as each woman described her life.

Finally I pulled myself together and thought, “Taking care of my body is a half-time job in itself. Besides, it is natural to slow down as you age. It is unrealistic to think you can do all you did even ten years ago.” Of course we all were the same age, so that didn’t explain much.

Then I thought, “Anything I do takes a lot of effort because it always brings up my own history and issues. I am wounded. Whatever I do, I must fight the old tapes that I will fail, I will never do anything right, I am helpless, and the situation is hopeless.” I know these things are not true now but I still have to spend precious energy dealing with them.

“And everybody else with a ritual abuse history is wounded. That’s why there are so few organizations, so few grass-roots movements. It takes so much courage to fight the lies and threats we were made to believe and to actually do anything for ourselves and for our community.” I felt a little better.

I realized that our need is great and our resources are few. Our perpetrators and oppressors are so very powerful. But you know, I, and thousands of other survivors, keep on doing things for ourselves and others. We may not do as much as we would like to, but we do what we can…over and over again.

Then I was honest and said what I had been thinking, even though it was scary to be so vulnerable. I had some perspective and no longer felt less than all the others in that room. I felt I was real and that I was sharing the real me. No more hiding behind a curtain of silence!

In writing this, I realize that I see people, today, who are moving mountains, and they make my heart sing. I think they are amazing and I cheer them on. In turn, there are people who think I do amazing things. Maybe they are deluded or maybe it’s just that I was trained to have no confidence in myself. Practically speaking, it doesn’t matter. I am just going to continue doing as much as I can. And that is enough.

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UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

October

10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/24 Full Moon
10/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallow’s Eve/ Hallomas/ All Souls Day/Start of the Celtic new year.
November

11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/22 US Thanksgiving
11/23 Full Moon
December
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/22 Full Moon
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups

10/12 Hitler’s half birthday
10/15 Death of Goering
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
11/9 Kristallnacht
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

 

Empowerment

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

* I’m looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting to submit prose or poetry for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors you know who work with survivors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

 

Here is something I wrote in 2011. It has, I think, a different tone to it than my present day writing because I was writing for the Survivorship newsletter. I had a connection with a piece of paper; the readers were only an abstraction to me. That’s because there was absolutely no feedback, so I couldn’t tell how I was being received.

With the blog though, the readers are very real. I know some through the comments and others I know from reading their blogs or from other contexts. I feel the sense of connection comes through in my writing, which seems less stilted and warmer. Also, I try not to give advice, because, with feedback, I’ve learned it usually falls flat.

I’ll make a few comments at the end of the piece.

 

Empowerment

“I was musing on how people get from being passive little wimps to assertive movers and shakers of the world. At first it looked like magic to me, but as I turned it over in my mind I could see that it was likely that the process was quite down to earth, even a bit dull.

“Only two things are needed: doing something you are afraid of for the first time, and then practicing what you just did. It’s just like learning to ride a bicycle. At least that’s how I get from can’t to can – maybe others do it differently.

“Not so long ago I was very shy. I tried to fade into the wallpaper to avoid drawing attention to myself. I thought I had nothing to say, nothing that others would want to hear. But when I realized I had been subjected to Satanic ritual abuse, I knew I had to speak, like it or not. (Of course, most people didn’t want to hear about it, but that’s a different story.)

“The first time I spoke up, it was excruciating. I was sure I was going to die of fear. My heart was racing very, very fast and I was sweating all over and stammering. The second time I was sure it was going to feel just like the first time, and it did. However, I was pretty certain I would live. If there was any other difference, it was so small that I couldn’t perceive it.

“I kept speaking about ritual abuse. I practiced and practiced, and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I sounded strong and confident. I spoke to fellow survivors, to friends, to family, to dentists, to taxi drivers. I spoke one to one and in groups. I even spoke at the United Nations! I went from “I can’t, I’m going to die” to “of course I can.”

“I’d like to invite all of you to challenge your “I can’t” thinking. Pick one little thing you would like to be able to do and do it just once, as an experiment, and see what happens. If it’s not totally terrible, consider practicing the new behavior. After a while, you, too, will feel strong, confident, and empowered. It feels great, and you did it all yourself!”

 

Riding a bicycle – gotta share this with you-all. My mother was pretty out of it as far as raising children went. The year I graduated from high school, she decided I was too old for summer camp and signed me up for a bicycle tour in France. Lovely idea – except I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I had never been given one. I didn’t protest (protesting was not safe in my family) and so off I went with no idea how I would manage.

Luckily, the trip started with a home stay with a French family. They were appalled that I didn’t know how to ride a bike, and lent me one. Their son taught me to ride. On cobblestone streets, no less. In two weeks I could ride, sort of.

So, covered in bandaids, I made the trip. I don’t remember having a map, but somehow I managed to follow the directions. I was usually riding alone because I was so slow. but they always kindly saved some dinner for me. Actually, I liked riding alone because nobody could see how inept I was, I could stop and rest whenever I wanted, I could walk up hills without being ashamed, and I could give the beautiful countryside my full attention.

Looking back at my teenaged self, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered. Of course I was still living by cult and family rules back then, so pleasure in any accomplishment was out of the question. I felt inferior to the other kids, ashamed and stupid. I was sure they were laughing at me. I arrived late for dinner with my tail between my legs. I wish I could have arrived with a broad smile, bragging about my amazing accomplishment.

I’m glad I found this bit of writing because I had forgotten how much courage it took to talk about ritual abuse. I was breaking a cardinal cult rule and risking being punished by the cult and being called crazy and being ostracized by others. The cult left me alone, thank goodness, but many people ended the conversation as soon as they could and made sure they didn’t have to talk to me again. It took courage, despite losing friend after friend, to keep on talking and risk losing still another person.

It also took courage to accept feeling connected and valued and respected and believed, because, except for my children, I had not experienced that in my fifty-odd years. I had found a family, a community of people like me. It takes courage to risk being connected because, having never before taken that leap of faith, it is a totally new feeling. The unknown is always frightening for me, probably because I don’t know the rules of this new game and have no idea how to navigate within the unfamiliar parameters.. At the time I didn’t feel brave – I just felt compelled, as if had no choice. In retrospect, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered.

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/17 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
August
8/1 S N Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/26 S Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 N Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)