Getting Through the Winter Solstice and More on Boundaries

Winter Solstice

The solstice is tomorrow; it starts tonight if your cult celebrates on the evenings before. Hopefully, it will all be over at midnight. (I think the more “religious” groups end at midnight, as is their custom, while the more “secular” ones stop whenever they feel like it.)

We are headed into more hard days. Take out your lists of things you can do to help yourself get through them. Update those lists. Some things didn’t work very well, so you can drop them. You may have discovered new things that did help, and they should be added.

If you are still being abused, honor all the parts of you that have kept you alive through the horrendous things that have been done to you – and all the horrendous things you saw being done to others, animals and humans alike. I want you to know that I hope and wish with all my heart that you may get free, permanently, and soon. And I have faith that you are getting close to that day – the fact that you are reading these words shows how very far you have come.

For those of you who are out, you may have still be having flashbacks. I wish you comfort from people who care about you and the ability to give comfort to those parts of you who hold the memories, especially the emotional memories. And I hope you hold tight to the knowledge that these days do not last forever, and there will be respite.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

More on Boundaries

What makes learning how to set healthy boundaries so difficult for survivors? 

In words of one syllable – Extreme childhood trauma. Torture in childhood. Lousy parenting. No role models. I could go on, but I don’t need to. You know all this.

Plus which, there are obstacles in the present as well. Healing, itself, is stressful! And stress makes it hard to concentrate on setting boundaries. You may have left the cult successfully but find yourself without money or other resources. You may be surrounded by others who have not had a chance to learn about healthy boundaries. If this is the case, you may find it helpful to check out ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families.) It’s a Twelve-Step program for people from all sorts of dysfunctional families. You will find they are working on issues very similar to yours, even though they are not RA survivors. 

I remember meeting people in my teens who were loving to their children, communicated clearly, respected their children’s autonomy, and accepted them as they were. I was stunned. I watched quietly, soaking in new ideas about how life could be and how I could be in the world. I did not have to be like my parents. I could copy these people and trust that, in time, it would become natural to act like them, not like the adults in my past. That’s the joy of having role models. You can have them at any age – you just have to find them!

Even if you have set a nice clear boundary, it’s hard to keep track of it when you are having flashbacks and are primed to react to situations as you did as a child. Automatically, you fall back into the old, familiar way of doing things. That’s because the energy needed to remember the new way is directed back into the past. It’s okay. These things happen to all of us. When you have dealt with the flashback, you will once again be able to focus on the present.

Communication

You can have a clear idea of where you want a boundary to be, but that’s pretty useless unless others know about it. Not everybody needs to know, of course. The postman has no need to know that you aren’t going to work on weekends, for example. It should be pretty easy to figure out who should know and who would be puzzled.

What do I mean by clear? For years I would start with something like this. “Um, er…I was just thinking the other day. Maybe it might be a good idea to try – just as an experiment, you know….” Not any more! Now it is more like, “I have decided that….” You have a RIGHT to have self-protective boundaries. You even have a RIGHT to change your mind! And remember that you are under no obligation to give reasons unless you want to.

It is always harder to take something away than it is to give it. This means that when you initially set a boundary, the other person may accept it immediately. If you are pulling back, the other person may be hurt, angry, or disappointed. It takes some of the sting out of the perceived rejection if you can honestly say, “This isn’t personal. I am telling everybody that I am making this change.” It also helps if you can have a good reason that you are willing to share, like poor health or a new time-consuming job. It also helps if you can offer something that the other person might like without breaking your boundary.

Take a moment to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Rehearse it to yourself and run it by a friend, if you can, who is pretty good at setting and keeping boundaries. Ideally, you will come across as relaxed and confident. That can be hard if you are feeling anxious and guilty!

I have found that having clear, consistent boundaries makes my life simpler. I no longer have to consider the pros and cons of each decision – the boundary I have set determines the answer. Kids have to go to bed at a certain time on school nights but can stay up an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays. I will not eat potato chips except at parties. I can’t make pies for the bake sale, but I can contribute some nice store-bought cookies.

An aside – I am having a terrible time setting consistent boundaries around COVID. Not my fault – the risks keep changing, and I am always scrambling to catch up. It would be much easier if I chose to be 100% risk-free, holed up day after day in my own safe apartment, or if I chose to be a daredevil and do as many of the things I used to do as possible without regard to the consequences. For me, though, the sensible choice is somewhere in the middle – but where? And the middle keeps shifting with each new variant of the virus and with each study I read. I think I would be better off if I read less – maybe that’s a good place to set a firm boundary!

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Upcoming Holidays

December

12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day

12/24 Christmas Eve

12/25 Christmas Day

12/31 New Year’s Eve

January

1/1 New Year’s Day

1/2 New Moon

1/6 Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day

1/7 St Winebald’s Day

1/13 Satanic New Year

1/17 Full Moon

1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

 1/17 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve

 1/31 New Moon

February

2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels

2/14 Valentine’s Day

2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday

2/16 Full Moon

2/21 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday

2/25 Walpurgis Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

1/16 – 1/17 (sundown to sundown) Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)

 1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII

 1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)

 (NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas,

~~~~~~~~~~ 

You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Boundaries

What makes learning how to set healthy boundaries so difficult for survivors? 

In words of one syllable – Extreme childhood trauma. Torture in childhood. Lousy parenting. No role models. I could go on, but I don’t need to. You know all this.

Plus which, there are obstacles in the present as well. Healing, itself, is stressful! And stress makes it hard to concentrate on setting boundaries. You may have left the cult successfully but find yourself without money or other resources. You may be surrounded by others who have not had a chance to learn about healthy boundaries. If this is the case, you may find it is helpful to check out ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families) It’s a Twelve-Step program for people from all sorts of dysfunctional families. You will find they are working on issues very similar to yours, even though they are not RA survivors. 

I remember meeting people in my teens who were loving to their children, communicated clearly, respected their children’s autonomy, and accepted them as they were. I was stunned. I watched quietly, soaking in new ideas about how life could be and how I could be in the world. I did not have to be like my parents. I could copy these people and trust that, in time, it would become natural to act like them, not like the adults in my past. That’s the joy of having role models. You can have them at any age – you just have to find them!

Even if you have set a nice clear boundary, it’s hard to keep track of it when you are having flashbacks and are primed to react to situations as you did as a child. Automatically, you fall back into the old, familiar way of doing things. That’s because the energy needed to remember the new way is directed back into the past. It’s okay. These things happen to all of us. When you have dealt with the flashback, you will once again be able to focus on the present.

Communication

You can have a clear idea of what you want a boundary to be, but that’s pretty useless unless others know about it. Not everybody needs to know, of course. The postman has no need to know that you aren’t going to work on weekends, for example. It should be pretty easy to figure out who should know and who would be puzzled.

What do I mean by clear? For years I would start with something like this. “Um, er…I was just thinking the other day. Maybe it might be a good idea to try – just as an experiment, you know….” Not any more! Now it is more like, “I have decided that….” You have a RIGHT to have self-protective boundaries. You even have a RIGHT to change your mind! And remember that you are under no obligation to give reasons unless you want to.

Remember that it is harder to take something away than it is to give it. This means that when you initially set a boundary, the other person may accept it immediately. If you are pulling back, the other person may be hurt, angry, or disappointed. It takes some of the sting out of the perceived rejection if you can honestly say, “This isn’t personal. I am telling everybody that I am making this change.” It also helps if you have a good reason that you are willing to share, like poor health or a new time-consuming job. It also helps if you offer something that the other person might like without breaking your boundary.

Take a moment to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Rehearse it to yourself and run it by a friend, if you can, who is pretty good at setting and keeping boundaries. Ideally, you will come across as relaxed and confident. That can be hard if you are feeling anxious and guilty!

I have found that having clear, consistent boundaries makes my life simpler. I no longer have to consider the pros and cons of each decision – the boundary I have set determines the answer. Kids have to go to bed at a certain time on school nights but can stay up an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays. I will not eat potato chips except at parties. I can’t make pies for the bake sale, but I can contribute some nice store-bought cookies.

An aside – I am having a terrible time setting consistent boundaries around COVID. Not my fault – the risks keep changing, and I am always scrambling to catch up. It would be much easier if I chose to be 100% risk-free, holed up day after day in my own safe apartment, or if I chose to be a daredevil and do as many of the things I used to do as possible without regard to the consequences. For me, though, the sensible choice is somewhere in the middle – but where? And the middle keeps shifting with each new variant of the virus and with each study I read. I think I would be better off if I read less – maybe that’s a good place to set a firm boundary.

An aside to the aside – I read an article in Esquire on Janelle Monae. She joked, “I am a Quaranteenager.” Me, I am a Quarantine Ager.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Upcoming Holidays

December

12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day

12/24 Christmas Eve

12/25 Christmas Day

12/31 New Year’s Eve

January

 1/1 New Year’s Day

1/2 New Moon

 1/6 Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day

 1/7 St Winebald’s Day

 

 1/13 Satanic New Year

 1/17 Full Moon

1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

 1/17 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve

 1/31 New Moon

February

 2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels

 2/14 Valentine’s Day

 2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday

 2/16 Full Moon

2/21 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday

 2/25 Walpurgis Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

1/16 – 1/17 (sundown to sundown) Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)

 1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII

 1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)

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

~~~~~~~~~~ 

You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOUNDARIES

A friend of mine gave a training on boundaries to a group of paraprofessionals in the mental health field. Much needed! I don’t think that ethics and boundary issues are taught widely, and they should be. She also sent me her slides from the workshop and gave me permission to use her ideas.

Now this isn’t about client/therapist boundaries, it’s about boundaries in general, so the ideas are applicable in all situations. I found that I already knew all of the, material but I didn’t think about it. For me, it really helps to put words to the concepts. It’s like a little cloud is floating through my mind, and I meet it and say, “Oh, there you are. Now that I look at you closely I can see you are made of water vapor and bits of ash and some bacteria and lots of other things, too.” And then I feel I know clouds a little better. Make any sense?

So boundaries between people are made by saying “yes” and “no.” It’s so simple! But for folks like us, who often freeze up and stutter, it is hard to know whether we want to say “yes” or “no,” whether we dare to, what consequences might occur if we say one or the other. Without a “yes” or a “no” there is no boundary and the other person can do what they want.

My family often answered questions by talking around the topic. Say I asked for seconds of dessert. Instead of saying I could have seconds or I couldn’t, my mother would talk around the subject for ten minutes. If I kept asking, she continued talking and still didn’t give me a clear answer. At some point, I would give up and go away, which was what she wanted all along. As an adult, I caught myself talking in circles when I didn’t know the answer and was embarrassed to admit it. It was hard to break the habit!

It is believed that everybody knows what they want or don’t want, and they simply have to learn to be clear. But what about people like us, with parts? Chances are, different parts will have different desires. If there is an internal disagreement, you might not know what “you” want. Or if the parts switch, one might say “yes” and the “other “no,” and no boundary gets set. So please remember that it isn’t quite as simple as it sounds for multiples.

Here are some different types of boundaries. 

Physical Boundaries

Personal space – how close somebody can come to you. Touch – who can touch you, where, and under what circumstances.

Intellectual Boundaries

Respect for ideas and opinions. Listening without putting somebody down, not stealing ideas or plagiarizing, not mocking somebody’s opinion.

Emotional Boundaries

How much you are willing to share with another. You might express anger at your partner but not at a police officer. Who you share which parts of your past with.

Sexual Boundaries

“Sex” includes physical sex, sexual feelings, and thoughts about sex. You might fantasize about somebody but never even kiss them, you might get turned on but never act on it, or you might be cold and disconnected while you have physical sex. (I had always known I had different boundaries with different people but, until I saw this slide, I did not have words for the different aspects of sexuality.)

Material Boundaries

Money and possessions – who you will give or lend them to, how much, how long. What is mine, yours, or ours.

Time Boundaries

How you spend your time. How long do you allot for work, self-care, socializing, and play.

Access Boundaries

How available you are to others. Who do you willingly turn your attention to, and for how long.

Responsibility Boundaries

How much responsibility – work, friends, or family – do you take on for other people or projects. 

Privacy Boundaries

What personal or professional information are you willing to share with whom, and what is private.

One last distinction – personal and professional boundaries are quite different. Employers or licensing boards make the rules for professional boundaries, not you. They are generally more constrictive and more rigid than personal boundaries. It’s important for all concerned not to break a professional boundary even if the desire exists on both sides. Whereas with personal boundaries, you are entitled to move from one set of boundaries to another if it is consensual. 

Take the example of dating a friend and dating a client. The first is fine as long as both people want to change the relationship, whereas the second is forbidden and unethical.

A little about the development of heathy and unhealthy boundaries – 

Personal boundaries protect you, keeping you safe and in charge of your life. There are people out there who will, if given the chance, take advantage of you. Some are motivated by greed, lust, or desire for power over another person. Others are socially clueless or in such pain and need that they will cling to anybody who will let them. Regardless of where they are coming from, if you let them take more of you than you are willing to give, you will find that you become frightened, angry, and resentful. What is happening is not good for you. 

Ideally, a child is born to parents who take care of the newborn baby and slowly shift control for decision making to the child. The older the child gets, the more he/she is allowed to make decisions and to act out of a sense of self-control and autonomy. The six-year-old doesn’t get to drive the car but is trusted to get a learner’s permit ten years later.

Abused children are not allowed to set their own boundaries. They are not seen as individuals with their own need for safety and their own desires and ideas. They are treated as objects, and the abusive adults feel they can take what they want from them and then toss them aside. They are made to obey at all times because they are seen as being there to fill the adults’ needs and indulge their desires. The adults set the rules, which are often inconsistent, even contradictory.  

Under these circumstances, children grow up without the skills needed to protect themselves and set boundaries. They may not even know what boundaries are, let alone how to form and maintain them. Survivors must learn about boundaries as adults, slowly and painfully.

Like all learning, learning to set healthy boundaries involves trial and error. Try not to be too hard on yourself – it isn’t your fault that you don’t know where to start, how to tell whether you are making progress – everything that goes into becoming proficient at protecting yourself at all times and in all situations. Think of it this way – You can’t hop on a bicycle and ride 100 miles without falling off if this is the very first time you have gotten on a bicycle. So expect to fall off, and be kind to yourself when you do and proud of yourself when you get back on your bike.

I feel that’s enough to absorb. I plan to keep talking about boundaries next time.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Upcoming Holidays

December

 Sundays of Advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19

 12/18 Full Moon

 12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day

 12/24 Christmas Eve

 12/25 Christmas Day

 12/31 New Year’s Eve

January

 1/1 New Year’s Day

1/2 New Moon

 1/6 Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day

 1/7 St Winebald’s Day

 1/13 Satanic New Year

 1/17 Full Moon

1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

 1/17 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve

 1/31 New Moon

February

 2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels

 2/14 Valentine’s Day

 2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday

 2/16 Full Moon

2/21 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday

 2/25 Walpurgis Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)

1/16 – 1/17 (sundown to sundown) Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)

 1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII

 1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)

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

~~~~~~~~~~ 

You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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/