“My Love Is Poison”


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

* Note: Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Labor Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/labor-day/
Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
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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A psychologist, describing one of his clients, once said to me, “He believes his love is poison.” That resonated with me; it described my feelings about myself to a T. I finally had words for what I felt about myself, although I had no explanation of why I should feel that way. I felt that one way or another, I harmed everybody and anything I loved.

That was forty years ago, and my self-perception is just now beginning to change despite my valiantly challenging that negative core belief over and over again. Nobody can tell me that change is always quickly and easily achieved.

It helped a lot when I figured out that I had been born into a cult and that they taught me that I was evil through and through. I was evil when I obeyed their commands, and I was even more evil when I tried to get around them. I believed them at the time, and apparently, I was going to believe them until the end of time.

Five years after I figured why I felt that way, I still, deep down, believed I was rotten to the core. I started, among close survivor friends, to refer to myself as a poisonous toad. I daydreamed of making a sculpture of a toad. It would be fashioned out of fine-mesh fencing and filled with dirt. It would be realistic, toad-like, covered with large warts. The whole thing would be about five feet around and three feet tall, and it would go squat in my garden. Over the years, we would see what filth grew on it.

Inside, in the middle of all the dirt, there would be a tiny baby doll, naked and asleep.

My friends started giving me toads. A green one that sang “Jingle Bells” in a ribbety voice. A small brown wooden one covered with warts and looking very fierce. They didn’t seem the least bit scared of me – not my friends, not the toads.

I finally grew bored of struggling with this warty self-image and turned my attention to the business of every-day life.

And now, about fifteen years later, the issue has resurfaced. Rather than trying to battle my distorted self-image using internal resources, the challenge is coming from the outside in the form of other people’s feedback. That’s called a reality check!

It started with me asking my therapist if she had a constant image of me over the time we had worked together. I wanted to know because I don’t feel like a classic multiple with separate alters, but I also don’t really know who I am. For practical purposes, I operate from what I hope is a constant set of values, but, when I look inside for the “real me,” I find that I believe I am a random set of molecules that other people are hallucinating (interpreting?) as Jean. I know this sounds pretty weird, but it makes sense to me.

My therapist convinced me that she sees me as a kind, intelligent, moral person with a practical streak. I became aware that the feedback I get from friends matches her description of me. We discussed this, and also reviewed things I have done over the years just because they were the right thing to do. There was nothing toadish to be seen.

There were mistakes in judgment, mistakes because of lack of information, mistakes because I was dissociated a lot of the time. If everything had been perfect, I would have concluded that it was a facade designed to cover up something very different. But my intent was steadfast – I never hurt anybody on purpose, and my actions came from a desire to be kind and helpful.

The final piece of confirmation happened when I was cleaning up my office. I came across cards and letters I had saved from clients, fellow survivors, and people I had worked with over the years. The people who wrote those thank you’s had the same image of me as my therapist and current friends. There was a me that had remained constant for decades!

That little baby inside the toad had been protected during the cult years and had grown up to be me. I wasn’t really encased in a vile toad – I was having a memory of the times when I believed the lie they told me. I am not evil, my love is not poison. They tried to make me evil, but they failed big time!

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Upcoming Holidays

September
9/2 Labor Day (US)
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast
9/13 Full moon
9/13 Friday the 13th
9/23 Fall equinox
October
10/13 Full moon
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of 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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
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 annual complete cycle of reading of the Torah)
11/9 Kristallnacht State-ordered pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria)
(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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Recycling My Denial

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

* These conferences address dissociation in general. Proposals for presentations on ritual abuse for the February 2020 conferences are welcomed.

An Infinite Mind is presenting a “Healing Together” regional conference.
September 21, 2019
McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA. (just outside Boston, MA.)
Space is limited to 100 attendees. Registration fee is $89.
Information, including agenda, at https://www.aninfinitemind.com/healing-together-boston.html   

An Infinite Mind’s 10th annual “Healing Together” international conference.
February 7 – 9, 2020; Orlando, FL
Submit proposals for presentations before August 15. 
Submission guidelines, vendor information, and hotel information at https://www.aninfinitemind.com/healing-together.html

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Survivors often find that they come back to issues they have worked on and go further, go deeper. They also often criticize themselves for not understanding everything about that issue on the first go-around. “OMG, how could I have missed that?” “I was weak and didn’t finish the work.” “I just peeked and then shut everything down because I didn’t want to know.”

This process is natural and happens over and over again. You realize something, you take time to absorb its impact, you move on to something else, believing the work was completed. Well, in a sense, it was completed because you have worked it through as thoroughly as possible given the sum of all the information you had at the moment and where you were in life. After all, this is only one piece of all that is on your plate. No matter how important it is, there are still dishes to do, bills to pay, addictions to struggle with, all the other many messy, demanding parts of life.

Later on, another trigger comes along, and the issue resurfaces. It’s human nature to get down on yourself and to feel you are not going about healing correctly. It’s human nature to need time to shift from self-criticism to acceptance. This is the way healing works, in a spiral fashion, always understanding and feeling on a deeper level.

The analogy that came to mind is not very glamorous – learning how to spell. Kindergarten brings the alphabet, first grade brings cat, dog, the, and, I, and me. Each year you feel you have stuffed your brain to the maximum, but the next year always brings additional challenges. I remember being seven and staring in dismay at the word “enough,” thinking I never in a million years would be able to learn to spell it. Yet I rose to the occasion. Year after year, I rose to the occasion and learned new words. I’m still at it, and I still get down on myself when I don’t effortlessly type some word I seldom use.

Acceptance, Jean, acceptance. You can’t know what you don’t know. There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. That’s the way the process works.

My denial weakened a bit more recently, thanks to being triggered by the news about Jeffrey Epstein, I’ll give you some background about my process.

Back in the early days of remembering, I read about people who remember being raped by Santa Claus or a cartoon character and figuring out the deception. (Mickey Mouse had a zipper in his crotch area, for example.) I was filled with relief! It was wonderful to believe that at least some of the scenes rising up through my amnesia were faked. And if you could trick a person into thinking it was Santa Claus, you probably could trick them into thinking it was a celebrity, too.

I knew that the perpetrators were braggarts and wanted me to believe they were far more powerful than they really were. I still believe that today. It’s a method of control and intimidation that all cults and other abusive groups employ.

Some claims seem too sweeping, too over-the-top, to be likely. Surely not all the presidents of the United States were Satanists. Surely not all current European royalty are Satanists. But I know for sure that many Satanists, especially those at the top, have an impeccable presentation. One would never think they ever did anything out of line. So I do not really know if those claims are real or not.

I’ve gone through the “Not me!” “Not my Daddy!” and “Not my Mommy!” phase and have come to the reluctant conclusion that, yes I was born into a generational cult and yes, my whole family was involved. Now I am being challenged to reassess how many influential people are involved.

What was the trigger? Reading that Prince Andrew attended many of Epstein’s parties. Perhaps he was set up and blackmailed and, out of fear, did what he was told. Perhaps he enjoyed the parties. Perhaps the parties “only” involved pedophilia, or perhaps there was lots more that has not yet come to the surface. I don’t know, and I probably never will.

What I do know for sure now is that pedophilia and ritual abuse are more common than I once thought. It’s not so much a question of being convinced by new evidence as having opened my mind and admitting to myself that I had been minimizing the prevalence of ritual abuse all these years.

Back in the 1990’s, Survivorship conducted a survey of its members: over 600 questionnaires were returned. One of the questions was, “Where did the abuse occur?” Most people listed more than one location. I never finished tabulating the results, but there must have been at least 3000 locations listed. Every conceivable kind of place was on that list, from small country towns to large cities, military bases, hospitals, even the Vatican.

That was when I took a mighty gulp and came to the realization that ritual abuse was far, far, more common than I ever thought.

Here I am now, once again coming to the realization that ritual abuse is far, far, more common than I ever thought.

(I think this post his more disorganized than usual. It’s because my mind is hopping all over the place, picking up little pieces of the picture. In a few weeks, I will have settled down and become more coherent – and probably less interested in writing about the continuous process of trying to figure out what is real and what is not.)

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Upcoming Holidays

Note: Additional information on the following holidays is available at
Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/  
August Ritual Dates – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
 
Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/ 
Halloween – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/ 
Halloween (more personal) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh

8/15 Full moon
September
9/2 Labor Day (US)

9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast

9/13 Full moon

9/23 Fall equinox
October
10/13 Full moon
9/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year, Day of Judgement)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
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.)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

 

Patterns of Healing

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

* Remember that two anthologies are seeking submissions:

1. Jade Miller is working on an anthology about the difficulty of finding a therapist who can work with DID or other forms of dissociation. Write her at thetraumasurvivorstale@gmail.com

2. I am seeking submissions of accounts of forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption of babies in a cult setting. Contact me through the comments section, rahome@ra-info.org or RA Projects, PO Box 14276, 4304 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114.

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When I was much younger, I thought healing always happened in small steps; each hour, each day, I’d get better. And then one day, poof! I’d be all well and able to forget all about it.

Now I am older and wiser (I hope!) Some things work that way. Head colds, for instance. When I had my knee replaced, it got incrementally less painful. There was a base level of pain which worsened when I did the physical therapy exercises, but, after an hour or so, it returned to base level. The pain lessened a tiny bit each day until one day it had disappeared entirely. What joy!

(This lasted two years until I tripped and fell onto the wheels of my walker. Since then it feels like I have bruised a bone whenever I move a certain way. The doctor is not concerned, so I am not concerned. This is a kind of pain that doesn’t heal – it just stays steady. But it is infrequent and minor and thus easy to live with.)

I am talking about osteoarthritis, where pain increases as the disease progresses. There is an initial flare up, which leaves a small residue of pain. Then another flare up, which increases the level of pain. And another and another. If you made a graph, it would look like a flight of stairs.

When I look back at all the years I have been dealing with ritual abuse, these models don’t seem to apply. Healing didn’t proceed evenly, in a straight line to completion. Luckily, I was not stuck forever at a steady amount of emotional pain and dysfunction. Nor did I heal something, then take on something else, heal that, etc., creating a stair-like pattern leading to “all better.”

There is a pattern that people often speak of, and that is a circular, or spiral form of healing. You deal with something once, then go on to something else. Later, you come back and revisit it, but at a deeper level. It’s as if you needed time to absorb what you had learned. Each time it is really tough, but each time, you can do it. I’ve experienced this, but it isn’t my usual pattern.

This is how my journey looked. Without doing anything, I got used to my new reality. Perhaps it was like moving to another country; in time, just by living there, I picked up the language and got used to a new culture. I’m not entirely comfortable in my new identity, but at least I don’t feel crazy or evil any more.

At various times, I had a lot of flashbacks to different things that were done to me. I was distraught, but I bulled through it. I wrote about what had happened, I told people, sometimes I drew it. Gradually the flashbacks faded in intensity and became further apart. Each time I worked through a wave of flashbacks, I felt there was more of me, if that makes any sense.

Yesterday I had a flashback to something that hadn’t bothered me for fifteen years. What happened? New situation, unfamiliar people, same old triggers.

This involves dentistry, I had been going to a wonderfully kind dentist who patiently worked with me for about ten years of memories of dental torture. Then we had clear sailing for about fifteen years until he inconsiderately retired. 

I thought I knew how to explain to my new dentist how to prevent me from going into flashback by talking to me throughout the procedure. He didn’t understand: he thought I wanted him to explain what he was going to do. That was not enough to keep me in present-day reality. 

So does this mean I’m “not healed” from those experiences? I don’t think so. I think it means that being with strangers, in an unfamiliar setting, made me feel more vulnerable. Then the coping mechanism I had relied on for fifteen years failed. Since I didn’t know it would fail, I had no back-up plan. Before the next procedure, there will be a back-up plan;  hopefully, one that will work. I like this guy and don’t want to start over looking for a new dentist.

Having flashbacks after so many years of calm did not feel like a dismal failure on my part. It felt like a normal part of living long-term with the effects of ritual abuse. Something to cope with, nothing to freak out about. Just another pothole on the road of life.

This is why I don’t think in terms of healing or not-healing – or even getting better or regressing. I think in terms of understanding why I react the way I do to certain situations and then managing those reactions. I have figured out why I had that flashback and I have a plan for how to handle the next visit. That’s enough.

The more I learn about my past and the ways I deal with its after-effects, the more I accept how very different I am from people who have not been severely abused. And also how very much the same we all are in our common humanity. 

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Upcoming Holidays

June
6/24 St John’s Day

July
7/2 Total solar eclipse. Visible in parts of South America
7/4 Fourth of July/ US Independence Day
7/16 Full moon
July 16 – 17 Partial lunar eclipse. Visible in South America, Africa, most of Europe and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/15 Full moon
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)