More on Isolation: Secrets

Upcoming Holidays

November
11/23 Thanksgiving (Search for Thanksgiving
on this blog.)

December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice (Search for Yule on this blog. The information there also applies to the Pagan background of Christmas.)
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day (Search for Christmas on this blog. These posts are personal rather than on the historical background of Christmas.)
12/31 New Year’s Eve

January
1/1 S New Year’s Day
1/7 S St Winebald’s Day
1/12 Full Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi leaders in WWII
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 

My Schedule

I want to tell you that I am going to spend Christmas with my friend in Arizona and fill my soul with beauty. I really don’t know how much access to the Internet I will have, but I doubt that it will be a lot. So I am going to skip the December 20 and 30 bog entries.

Because of lack of Internet access, I also won’t be approving comments from December 13 to January 4. Write them anyway! They will be just as appreciated even if they appear late.

I’m going to miss your comments a lot. If I do manage to get to a computer, I’ll sneak in and approve them. Sound okay?

More on Isolation: Secrets

The topic of isolation really seemed to resonate, so let’s go ahead with it.

I think that any time we have a secret, isolation follows. I’m not talking about not telling what you are going to give somebody for their birthday, I’m talking about the kind of secret that would get you or the other person or persons in trouble. And ritual abuse survivors sure have been made to keep a whole lot of that kind of secret!

Obviously, the secret puts a barrier between you and those who aren’t supposed to know about it. You have to be careful not to slip and tell by mistake and you have to keep your feelings to yourself. You are walking on eggshells, and danger seems everywhere. What would they do to you, or what would happen to those you told, if you made a mistake?

So we live like this until we learn that healing comes through telling rather than staying silent. That is a really hard concept to absorb after so many terrible threats over so many years. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to speak out.

Then there is the guilt that was bestowed upon us. Whatever happened, it was our fault We were stupid and lazy and bad and it was our fault for doing something wrong because we didn’t try hard enough to get it right. We believed that, and we saw that others didn’t believe that about themselves. We were always the weird ones, stupid, lazy, bad, and at fault.

This basis of childhood guilt lays the foundations for more complicated forms of guilt. Take survivor guilt, for instance. We feel guilty because another child was hurt, and we weren’t, especially if we were told that it happened because we did or didn’t do something. It’s much, much worse when somebody was not just hurt, but killed. It’s tormenting to be alive after witnessing such things. And if we were made to do that?

Reading about PTSD in vets, you will find that seeing a buddy die or seeing combatants you were responsible for die is excruciating. Flashbacks to these events occur over and over and can, without support, lead to addictions or other self-destructive behaviors. I’d say we know that path all too well.

For years I blamed myself for not having done anything to stop them from hurting other people. When I finally accepted that I was little and powerless and did the best I could, I still blamed myself for not having suicided rather than be forced to hurt anybody else. It took years, decades really, to acknowledge that my life force fought against dying, even by choice, and that they had taken so much of my power that I could’t have suicided even if I had chosen it and had had the means. I was truly a helpless little kid.

At the time I was struggling with these issues, I was going to Survivors of Incest Anonymous groups for ritual abuse survivors. When I tried to talk about guilt at not protecting others, I didn’t feel understood. Not rejected, but our heads were just in a different place.

Finally I found a twelve-step group for perpetrators. My therapist was opposed to my going for fear it would increase my guilt. But it was such a relief! We all had different stories and we all had the same feelings about ourselves. As I felt compassion for the other group members, I learned to view myself with compassion.

One of the most powerful experiences I have ever had was when I co-led a group  called “Guilt After Killing” at a conference. There were about forty people there. The two of us leaders spoke for about five minutes each and then encouraged people to talk to each other. They didn’t really need encouragement! They talked until we were told that the room was needed and then continued talking in the halls.

There were ritual abuse survivors, mind control survivors, and veterans in the same room, but we all spoke the same emotional language. In that room, some spoke of things they had done for the very first time. Some heard stories both like and unlike theirs and perhaps shared their experience to help others. Together, we weakened the power of the secrets we had been carrying for so long and came away a little bit lighter.

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Isolation

Upcoming Holidays 

November
11/23 Thanksgiving
December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1  New Year’s Day
1/7  St Winebald’s Day
1/12 Full Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
11/12  Birth of both Rosenburg and Goering, Nazi leaders in WWII
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 

Isolation 

As ritual abuse survivors, we have probably suffered alone for most of our lives. Most of the survivors I have met were amnesic for their abuse until adulthood. I did meet one young woman who had learned of her abuse when she was a child, but, although she believed it had happened,  she did not remember any of it.

This means that, as children, we started off feeling – and being – different from others. Since I cannot speak for everybody, I’ll share my experiences with isolation; I do believe, though, that they are pretty typical.

I had few opportunities to be around other children before entering first grade. I did notice that other kids knew more than I did, and it was embarrassing. I remember when I was three or four watching my cousins color. I watched them carefully and copied what they did as I had never seen crayons or coloring books before then.

When I got to school, I thought that the other kids knew the rules of the game of life and I didn’t. I was mortified and hid it the best I could by being shy and aloof. Of course I didn’t have friends. Slowly, I watched and learned how to jump rope, play tag, make Cats’ Cradles. By sixth grade, I had made a friend, and in seventh grade, I made another. Both friends were, like me, outsiders.

Inside the cult, all the children were pretty much in the same boat. It was easy to imagine how they felt and easy to imagine that I would feel comfortable with them, if only we had been allowed to talk to each other or play. The children were kept apart deliberately as a means of controlling them. If any two children were allowed to get attached in any way, it was only to put them in double binds and make them hurt each other.

I didn’t belong in grade school. Or high school. Or college. Not at work, not at home, not as a wife and mother. I felt like I was from Mars, simply because I was the only person I knew, or thought I knew, who grew up in a cult but didn’t know it.

When I remembered, two things happened almost immediately. One was that most of my “friends” disappeared when they heard about it, either from me or second-hand. Looking back, these were not friends, they were people I knew. Luckily my kids and my therapist at the time stuck around. I remember my therapist consoling me by saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum. You will attract new people.”

The second one was there was an instant connection between me and other ritual abuse survivors. (My therapist was right! And it only took three weeks!)

I felt so at home with ritual abuse survivors. We did not reject each other because of the enormity of the abuse. There was no need to walk away in order to protect ourselves from the knowledge of how deeply cruel people can be: we already knew. There was a kinship that cut across  boundaries of gender, race, age, nationality, and social class. We understood each other and nobody was shocked by my twisted sense of humor.

Of course, survivors are like any other people. Some got on my nerves or hurt my feelings and I hurt people, never on purpose, but from ignorance, misunderstandings, or my own hang-ups. There was the ever-present possibility of triggering somebody or being triggered, sometimes without knowing it. The initial glow wore off and I learned that even if there was a strong connection, being friends with a survivor can be hard work.

I was blessed to be living in a place where it was easy to meet survivors in person through twelve-step meetings, conferences, peer-led groups, task forces, and poetry readings. There was so much out there that it was, at times, hard to choose.  The Internet was always there and I e-met people from many different countries.

For a variety of reasons, it became harder to meet people in person, most notably because of the chilling effect of the False Memory people. We became much more cautious, even fearful, around fellow survivors. But for about twenty years I did not feel isolated. I was not a Martian, an alien, an outcast, but a regular human being who had had a horrific childhood like so many others.

These days I’m starting to feel isolated once again, but in a different way. Part of it has to do with the difficulty in meeting survivors; you have to work at it. Many of my friends have moved away and some have died. Others have broken with me and we are no longer in contact. Luckily it’s much easier over the Internet. I do not know what I would do without my beloved computer.

Another part has to do with aging. Now isolation is pretty common among older people, especially those who can’t get around very well. I’m no exception: I have arthritis and don’t have the stamina, physically, mentally, or emotionally that I did thirty years ago. I sure wish there were an easy way to hang out with other survivors, preferably with parking close by.

I recently spent the day with a survivor I have known for years. We didn’t even talk about abuse or healing. We talking about the present and did everyday things, like have lunch and go to the supermarket. But the connection, the understanding, was there all the time. We didn’t have to worry about saying something too intense and chasing the other one away. Our backgrounds were a given, like the color of our eyes.

It was such a treat to catch up on our lives and struggles, to implicitly honor each other’s strength and perseverance. Such a treat to be reminded that I belong someplace after all.

I Have Low Energy

Upcoming Holidays

November
11/3 Full Moon
11/3 Satanic Revels
11/23 Thanksgiving
December
12/3 Full Moon
1
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve

.

I Have Low Energy

I’m sorry I picked the 10th, 20th, and 30th of the month to post. I used to do the 5th, 15th, and 25th but I got behind and changed the dates, pretending to catch up. I like the old way better. There is just too much going on around the end of the month and I am distracted and don’t feel like writing. By the time I get five days into a month it is a bit better. It’s easier to write about ritual abuse, and easier, I bet, to read about it.

I still feel I have nothing to say about Halloween. If the whole country is putting up Christmas decorations, like they are here, maybe it will fade from national consciousness. Would that be a blessing, or not? Mixed bag, I bet.

I have very little energy these days. It’s better in the morning. I set the timer for ten to fifteen minutes and work on the computer and then set it for five minutes for housework. Dishes, cats, plants, laundry, tidying up. On the days when I have no appointments, I notice I run out of steam around four in the afternoon. When I come back from an appointment, it is generally around four or five and all I feel like doing is flopping down. I would gladly spend the rest of the day in bed reading junk and eating chocolates.

I am sure part of it is normal slowing down because of aging. Thirty years ago I was working full-time, keeping my house clean, and jogging! Plus I had a social life. Now most of that is impossible. The chronic pain of arthritis severely limits my ability to walk, and jogging or dancing and other such fun things are totally out of the question for the rest of my life. So I can’t blame not jogging three times a week on low energy.

I certainly couldn’t work full-time because so much time goes into taking care of my decrepit body. Doctors and dentists and physical therapy and exercise is equivalent to a half-time job, at least. And I tell myself that email and the blog and such are also another good twenty hours a week. Someday I should log it to see if I am kidding myself.

Chronic pain is also a ferocious consumer of energy. It wears you down. It takes energy to buck the pain and move the body or even to be civil. Pain also interferes with sleep, and poor sleep leads to low energy, which leads to more awareness of the level of pain I am feeling because it is hard to get lost in something interesting.

And then there is the question of sleeping with cats. It’s a terrible idea if you want to sleep through the night. They want to play, they want to have their chins rubbed, they get hungry, they want the other one’s favorite spot. Their meows are piercing. This is the one thing I have control of but so far I have not been willing give up the comfort of contented purring and warm furry bodies against mine. I’ve half-heartedly tried to exile them, but if I dare to go to the bathroom they shoot into my room and hide under the bed until I am asleep.

My state of low energy has been going on long enough that I can’t blame it on October. My best guess is that it is part of normal aging. Here I am, having wanted to be normal for years and years, and now that I am normal, at least in one respect, I hate it. Just hate it! No pleasing me, no siree.

Hmm. I think I am a lot more affected by Halloween than I realized. Felt sort of weepy all day, and forgetful, too. I forgot to post this on the day before Halloween and I have been unable to reply to comments because of some not yet understood glitch in either me or the software. I bet it is me. In a day or so I should be back to normal (haha)

Oh, well, it’s all uphill for now . . . until Thanksgiving.