A Ritual Abuse Survivor Writes Her Dentist

Another survivor has sent me an account of her experiences as a breeder and given me permission to share it on the blog. I’ll post it next time. And there is a third person who is also interested in sharing.

I think it would be wonderful – and possible – to put together an anthology. I can do the editing and set up, but I need your help to let people know that a book is in the works. It would mean posting a notice on your blog, if you have one, and letting all your RA/MC contacts, therapists as well as survivors, know about the project. Ask them to spread the word. And, if this is in their background, ask them to consider writing something – an account of what happened and how it affected them, a rant, a poem, whatever moves them.

There are 300-plus people following my blog at this point, and if, say, half of them helped out this way, I am sure it would come together quite quickly. And I would feel SOOOO supported!!

 

Once again, Forsaken Phoenix has written a marvelous article and given me permission to reblog it.

 

Dear Dr. ***

I know you have a much bigger work load right now and I know that means it’s tougher for you to spend the amount of time with each patient that you’d prefer. So I hope this letter will help both of us prepare for my upcoming fillings.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you worked hard to earn my trust and respect. It’s not easy for me to be at the dentist’s office and it’s even more difficult for me to actually *trust* a dentist. However, believe it or not, you’re one of my most trusted medical professionals and that’s the only reason I have the courage to even attempt this. So thank you, for being the person you are and patiently allowing me to trust you in my own time.

When you first met me, you told me that we were going to work together and fix my mouth so that it wouldn’t hurt and that it would no longer put me at risk medically. You never once fought *me* but instead, you fought *for* me and *with* me. You never once belittled, invalidated, or ridiculed me and you always told me that my comfort level was important to you. You respected my needs and requests.

After our last appointment, I was terrified. But not for the reasons one might expect. I was terrified because I thought you were mad at me. I felt like I let you down. My abuse history says you *should* be mad at me. It says that because I now have cavities, I’ve let you down and you no longer have a responsibility to care about me or my comfort levels – much less my well being. My past says you now have the right, to quite literally, kill me.

But that’s only what *my past* says and not what you’ve ever said or implied. It’s not fair to you, for me to treat you as though you’re one of them.

You only want to save my smile. To help me stay happy and healthy – and for me to assume that you would now torture me or kill me is not fair to you.

So far, you’ve given me no indication that you are giving up on me – so for now, I promise not to give up on fighting for you either.
I recently found out that sedation is not a possibility with my insurance for the fillings. Now, my only option is nitrous oxide. You were also willing to let me try getting them done without Novocaine. I’ve been thinking hard lately and I believe I’ve found a way to at least attempt this. I also think the risk of attempting without Novocaine is too high. My concern is that it might be more painful than I expect and then be processed as torture.

If we could use both nitrous oxide, and a topical anesthetic before the Novocaine injection(s), I think we might be able to make it work. But I would also need your help to get through it.

I would need you to tell me to close my eyes before I have the chance to see the needle. Not seeing the needle will help me to remain calm.

If you could say “1, 2, 3, poke” when doing the injection(s) it would help me feel more like a team player and less like a victim. Having the nitrous oxide and the topical anesthetic would help me as well as I fight to cope.

When you do the injection(s), hearing your voice telling me calmly that I’m doing good, that you’re proud of me – that would help as well, as it would remind me that I’m in the office with *you* and not being tortured by one of my abusers from the past who used to enjoy drugging me.

Before the procedure, having you look me in the eyes and *promise* me sincerely that you *will not* kill me that day would be inexplicably helpful. It may sound silly, but the abusers could never make that promise because the threat of death was part of their fun.

During the drilling, I’m terrified that I will switch or get triggered. My biggest fear there is the fear that you will then be perceived as a threat and I will either attempt to physically attack anyone nearby – or I will dissociate, be unable to move, and end up being retraumatized. Aside from the obvious reasons, I also don’t want that happening because I don’t want my current understanding of your role in my life to be undermined by my past.

One of the biggest ways I know to avoid such worst case scenarios involves your help as well as the hygienist’s. I need to hear your voices talking to me. Reassuring me. Not really telling me what you’re doing – but telling me *how I’m* doing. Telling me I’m doing a good job, that you’re proud of me, and that we’re in this together. That you’re not going anywhere. The abusers from my past enjoyed telling what they were about to do and how they would do it as a shock/threat tactic. So keeping me up to speed on what you’re doing would not be helpful – but updates like “we’re almost done, just X minutes left” are helpful as they show me ‘this *will* end.’

If one of you gets up to leave, please let me know that. Please reassure me that you will be coming back. Please remind me that together, we will get through this, and that you’re proud of me. Knowing you’re proud of me before you step away will remind me that you’re not leaving because I’ve done something to displease you and cause retaliation of some sort. It will remind me that I don’t need to be scared of what will happen when you come back. It will remind me that you are you and not ‘them.’

The ability to bring a blanket and or a stress ball will help me as I will have a comfort item to help remain grounded and something to squeeze so that I’m not digging my nails into my hands.

I mentioned that the sound of the drill will trigger me and I feel as though you’ve earned the trust level to know why. The sound (for me) is close enough to that of a bone saw. A tool my abusers used to threaten me with to force my cooperation. I don’t tell you this to upset you or incite pity – but to help you better understand the severity of my past abuse and how real and difficult coping with the sound will be. I’ve considered bringing headphones to either block out some of the sound or play music – but I feel that would only cause more confusion for me as I fight to understand where I am and who you are throughout the procedure.

Something you’ve never once said to me but I feel you should be aware of is to not say, “Breathe.” Saying that word alone is part of my past programming and will cause me to immediately *stop* breathing. I will then pass out on you. Instead, simply reminding me “you’re safe, we’re all right here” will cause me to instinctively take a deep breath.

I hope this is helpful. I’ve also signed a release for my therapist to communicate with you. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask him. There may be things he can help clarify or things he sees as helpful for you to be aware of that I haven’t thought of. He is my *most trusted* medical professional and he has my explicit permission to share any and all relevant information with you as he sees fit for the interests of collaboration.

Forsaken Phoenix

 

Upcoming Holidays

March  
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/25 Palm Sunday
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 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
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
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.)

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Healing from Ritual Abuse: Phase One

I found an old notebook and read it through in one sitting. My best friend told me not to do that, but I am not one to take good advice, even advice I routinely give others.

The notebook covers nine months, from early October 1988 to late June 1989. It includes, in late March, my discovery of my ritual abuse background. Ellen Bass
calls this the crisis phase. I had had so many other momentous things happen in the preceding couple of years that crisis no longer felt like crisis — it felt like more of the same. So I call it phase one of dealing with ritual abuse.

I sat down to read it, knowing that it was a journal about abuse, but not knowing the date or whether it included ritual abuse.’The first entry reads: “I see an image far away of the garden the lovely garden I remember someone shelling peas they are green and smell green and taste green and smell green under my fingernails.” (Something bad happened in that garden, of course.)

The last entry: “If this stuff didn’t happen and I’m making it up, something else worse happened to make me make it up.”  Quite a change in viewpoint.

It was strange to read it. I remember writing most entries and remember the events that I wrote about. Other times it’s not familiar but it comes back if I just sit quietly for a few moments. And sometimes I can’t remember for the life of me. Seems I felt strongly about people whose names I don’t even recognize. I feel guilty, like I am disloyal to them. But I remembered far more than I forgot.

Everything was so raw. My unconscious was close to the surface and spilled out over every part of my life. I can follow the patterns in my writing and I see that my unconscious is working in the same way today, but in the background. It has been   a steady companion through the years.

Today I appreciate, for the most part, the calm, the ability to enjoy ordinary things, the joy I get from contributing to my community. Other times I would like to be open and passionate like I was in the beginning of the process. I could, and probably will, read that notebook over and over just to get a taste of that intensity.

As the memories and feelings flowed through me back then, I was filled with a great sense of love for people I knew, people in general, myself, and life itself. I remember the fear and horror and I remember being paranoid and delusional. I was afraid to be with my cats, for example, because I thought they could read my mind. But I don’t remember being filled with love. I find that very strange. Love came roaring out, like a lion released from its cage. How could I have forgotten that?

I see the effects of experiencing that burst of love, though. Before I remembered the ritual abuse, I thought I was incapable of love. Or that I could love like everybody else but I was incapable of recognizing it or feeling it. When I thought of my inability, I was filled with a yearning to feel love, both given and received. Now I know who and what I love even though I often feel constricted in my ability to let it in and express my feelings. But I am secure and no longer feel like a one-legged alien.

I’d like to transcribe it all and send you every word. I think that’s a bit much, though. I will probably just make selections and offer them to you with comments.

Ritual Abuse Survivors Are Allowed to Be Silly

I’m not feeling very verbal right now, so blog writing is hard. I’m tempted to post a cat video.

In Arizona, I found a cat collar made of very good leather with brass letters that said MEOW. When I am feeling punk I wear it as a bracelet. Bet nobody guessed I sometime feel punk!

I read an article that said that in the 1800’s cats were either feral or barn cats. Then some woman got the idea to bring one in the house and treat it as a pet. It became a fad around the turn of the century – went viral!. It also became grounds for divorce. One man stated that his wife had 37 cats and the house smelled. Divorce granted.

I have two cats and there are times the house smells.

Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of lavender or fabric softeners. So if you rub lavender all over you and stuff your pockets with Bounce they will not bother you. And they are scared of wind.

I didn’t envision free association being suitable for this blog. It is supposed to contain Serious Meaningful essays about healing from ritual abuse. But I suppose dying one’s hair blue and wearing cat collars and remembering articles found when I was careening around the Web instead of being productive are suitable subjects for “Healing from Ritual Abuse.”

In the initial phases of dealing with ritual abuse, there was no room for silliness for me. The flashbacks, the terror, the feeling that I would die from remembering consumed me 24/7. (Being afraid that remembering would kill me was a flashback, too, but I didn’t know that back then.) Now, in a later phase, there is room for other things. I never even imagined that could be true, but it turned out that it is.

I can’t remember when I first became open to other things, but I do remember that the change came slowly. My attention turned to something non-RA for a moment and then I was once again immersed in the horror. Over time, my attention could stray from RA for longer and longer periods.

Now I can read newspapers. I can get upset about other kinds of evil and all the ways people hurt each other and abandon each other. Wars, famines, prisons, destructive greed, stupidity; all these things have little to do with RA. Neither do most domestic violence and most child abuse. Apparently there is room for plenty of different kinds of evil in this troubled world of ours.

But I’m also aware that there is kindness and generosity and beauty in the world. Want to see something beautiful I found yesterday? Check out  http://www.cameraflora.com/index#

Backstory: Bert Shankman was a retired systems analyst and quickly became bored with all the leisure. He joined several clubs, including a camera club. He shot landscapes but got bored with that, too. He turned to flowers and became entranced. The members of the camera club were appalled because he photoshopped his work, so he told them to think of them as paintings. I think they are gorgeous!

Moral of Bert’s story: when bored, try something different. And if you are met with criticism, don’t take it too seriously – follow your heart.

Moral of this post: I dunno. Maybe if you are in crisis, hold on, don’t kill yourself, and just wait. I promise things will change. Maybe, eventually, you are allowed to be silly even if you are a ritual abuse survivor.