Dissociation Was a Real Friend on Christmas

* 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 survivors’ loss of babies 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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Before I start talking about myself, I want to wish all of you a safe Christmas. For those of you who are afraid you might be accessed, it’s not too late to work out a safety plan. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B just in case something goes wrong with plan A. Give yourself lots of credit for doing this because it is hard to think through the options and it takes a great deal of courage to face the possibility of present-day accessing.

For everybody, I wish you, not an absence of triggers, but the wisdom to handle them well so that they may contribute to your knowledge of yourself and your past and bring some resolution and peace to all inside. And may you get some joy in the day, whether it is from a Christmas tradition, being with people you care about, or something else entirely.

I used to send cards with a lion walking hand in hand with a lamb. It said, “Peace on Earth – may it begin with us.” May it begin with all our inner selves.

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I’ve been thinking about my childhood Christmases, wondering how I could ever have gotten through them after what happened on Christmas Eve. In my family’s tradition, holidays began at midnight. Sometimes they ended before dawn, sometimes they went through the next day, or even a couple of days, especially if they occurred on a Friday.

So the “night” Christmas was on Christmas Eve. The next day, exhausted and traumatized, we woke up to the regular “day” Christmas, which, in my opinion, was really over the top. My brother and I opened our stockings before breakfast and then, later in the day, were showered with expensive presents that we really didn’t want. Although I asked for books almost every year, I cannot remember getting any. Of course, we pretended to be delighted.

How did I get through Christmas? Dissociation. What had happened the night before was a thousand miles away, a thousand years away, tucked away in a corner of my mind that would not be visited for forty years. Looking back over old photographs, I can spot when I needed dissociation so much to protect myself that I was totally tranced out.

I have a picture of me on Christmas Day, in my pajamas, hair neatly combed. I am looking…at what? At nothing, because nothing had happened. There was no shadow to glimpse, no half-remembered bad dream. I call that tranced-out look “the thousand miles stare” because I am looking at what didn’t happen, what never existed, except perhaps a thousand years ago, a thousand miles away.

Looking closely at the photo, I can see lots of wrapping paper but no toys. It’s as if they, too, had never existed or as if they had disappeared, like magic. The only thing that brings a little smile to my face are the icicles on the tree. They were made of long slender strips of lead and they made the Christmas tree lights dance and reflect out into the room. The tinsel sold today is far safer for pets and babies but not nearly as pretty. The lead tinsel must have been expensive for we picked every strand off the tree and saved it for the next year.

Amnesia for the Satanic Christmas spread out into the real Christmas. I cannot remember what we ate that day. I only remember a few things I received – soap in my stocking, a doll that wet itself after you fed it, complete with a trunk full of clothes. This was when I was three. I remember a Lego set with directions on how to build a brick house. I must have been ten or twelve then. And chocolates in my stocking, although I was overweight. I asked my mother why she had given me candy, and she said that they had fewer calories because they contained nuts. That made no sense to me at all.

It was just one of an infinite number of double messages. Do this, but don’t do it. Don’t do this unless I tell you to and then it is your fault because you did it. Our regular life was filled with such contradictions. And, of course, I could not see the contradictions between my “day” life and my “night” life, because I couldn’t remember the “night” life. (Who knows what presents were given to children the night before Christmas?) My parents, who were also amnesic for all that, were just as dissociated as I was and just as full of contradictory messages. All of us were stumbling along in a sea of things that didn’t make sense, trying our hardest to keep our heads above water.

I could not have handled it if I had remembered and so, when things got rough, I dissociated. Not just from the horrors of the Satanic life I led, but from everything that was around me. In the moment this photo was taken, I was not aware of the tree or the presents or of my parents and brother in the room. All I was aware of was nothing, and that was a blessing.

I still dissociate at times when things get tough. But now I am in control and I can plan around triggers and can build new, healthier traditions. This year I am spending Christmas at home and a much-loved niece is visiting. We are going to have Dungeness crab and lobster on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are going to plan the days as we go, doing what we feel like when we feel like it. We will probably go out into the woods unless it rains all the time she is here. No presents will be exchanged. There will be no need to fake being pleased or to push the memories out of my mind because they were so awful.

It’s so much better this way!!!!!

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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
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/20 Full moon
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
February
2/2 S Candlemas/Imbolc
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/19 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons. Christian and Jewish holidays are often desecrated.)

My Brain is Wired to Forget

Everybody has ways of defending themselves against thoughts or feelings that are just too hard to face. Know anybody who says, “Oh, it’s nothing,” when it really is a pretty big deal – like an abcessed tooth, for example? Or “I don’t really feel sad,” when a pet dies? That’s minimizing, a defense that allows you to feel calm instead of flooded by strong feelings.

It’s normal to have defenses. And it is also normal for a person to have one or two ways of defending themselves that they use a lot more than others. Favorite defenses, defenses to turn to automatically every time the going gets tough.

The more a defense is used, the more it becomes “wired” in the brain, and this happens pretty early in childhood. In other words, the kid’s brain thinks, “Well, it worked last time, let’s try it this time.” If it works often enough, it gets used over and over. If it doesn’t work, it loses its appeal and doesn’t get chosen very often.

My go-to defense is forgetting. I was carefully and systematically taught to forget what happened in cult settings. I was taught not to speak to outsiders about anything that happened because it was none of their business. I was threatened with harm to myself, my pets, or my brother if I remembered and told somebody and I was also hypnotized to forget. Anybody ever heard the phrase “Remember to forget and forget to remember?”

I learned very well how to forget. To the best of my knowledge I told nobody until my early fifties – and when I say nobody, that includes myself. I was totally amnesic for what happened back then.

Besides serving the cult well, my skill at forgetting protected me most of the time against constant terror, fear, and guilt. I couldn’t have strong feelings about what I didn’t know. Instead, those feelings were dampened and displaced onto other things. But forgetting spread out over innocuous things, too. I no longer forgot “that:” I forgot everything.

Of course, everybody forgets to some extent. Things they stop using, like algebra, fade out and make room for more useful things, like how to use email. But I experience that in spades. In school, after I took the final exam, the course material rapidly faded until in a few months it was as if I had never taken the course.

I lived in a house for twenty-five years starting in my late twenties. Now I am driving myself nuts trying to remember details. Where did I store the towels? The dog food? Who did we give the purple couch to? What did we sit on before we got the purple couch, and what happened to that first couch or those first chairs, if there was no couch?

I knew a man who could remember lots of facts, including a huge number of nice meals he ate. I imagine that his mind was filled with sensory details that wove a rich tapestry. And the pleasure he got recalling them! His life must have seemed much fuller than mine, even though I had more varied experiences than he did, to put it mildly. Knowing that this is possible for some people makes me sad because, when I look back, I remember so little that my life seems really empty.

I had hopes that dealing with the abusive events that taught me not to remember would free me up to remember more every-day things, but the results were temporary, for the most part. I’ve come to an acceptance that things may get a little better, but I can’t expect anything spectacular.

As I explained in a previous post, I went a little crazy fearing I had incipient dementia from memory loss. Now I have started to be able to separate my base-line memory problems from new developments. It’s reassuring to find out that not much is new. Still, I wish I were more like that lucky man. <sigh>

 

Upcoming Holidays

March 
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon: second full moon of the month)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/29 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
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.)

 

 

When You Lose Weight, Where Does It Go?

Recently, I have been thinking about where my weight goes when I lose it. Now of course I know that fat weighs something, and that fat gets metabolized when I need extra energy, and therefore my weight drops. Quite scientific.

But that’s not what I mean. I think the little fat cells leave my body and go someplace else. Right now I think they have gone on vacation, probably to Palm Springs. I have never been to  Palm Springs, and would like to. Would I run into them on the street? Would we recognize each other?

I don’t often mention this to people, but if anybody would understand and not think I was bananas, it would be you guys. So now you know. Please don’t reject me, at least not for this fantasy.

I lose other things, too, in mysterious ways. What happens to the fingerprints on the doors when I look right at them? The door I see looks freshly painted; the real door has accumulated months and months of fingerprints.

This vision problem explains why I can look right at my glasses five or six times and not see them. Or lose a chair in my not-so-big apartment.

My current theory is that the fingerprints haven’t moved. There is something wrong with my eyes, something which comes and goes and which doesn’t show up during the few minutes each year I am at the ophthalmologist. I have Googled for intermittent problems with vision and found nothing to explain this. I should give it a name and write an article about it so that the next person searching for this condition won’t be as frustrated as I am.

There’s an opposite phenomenon, too. Things arrive from some unknown place and land in my apartment. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they leave. The more I care about them, the more apt they are to take off. A tape of Cory Hammond’s Greenbaum speech, bought right after the conference before it was made unavailable, comes and goes quite regularly. I always put it in a safe place, and it never stays there.

Recently two identical black long-sleeved t-shirts arrived in my bureau drawer. I don’t remember ever seeing them. Shoulder pads which had been cut out, so they were definitely vintage. I like them, but I would not cry if they disappeared, which means they will be around for a long time. Not complaining!

I used to be careful to ask everybody who had visited if they had left a sweater or socks or a hat. Nobody ever said yes, so I figured I could enjoy them. They would know they were appreciated and feel that their journey had been worthwhile.

Now I am sure that some of you are giggling and thinking that multiples often put something away or hide it and then switch and have no idea where it is. Or one alter buys clothes and nobody else knows where they came from. To the best of my knowledge that doesn’t happen to me because I believe that my system is organized differently. Could be. Nothing ever shows up on my charge card, but I frequent thrift shops a lot.

I don’t rule out anything in this crazy life, especially with dissociation. So far, all the evidence I have suggests that I have a poor memory, as do many people who aren’t dissociated. But I am ready to accept any new external facts that I find or internal insights that offers a different explanation. Keeps life interesting, doesn’t it?