* 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: (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
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!
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
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
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)