A Huge Commitment to Myself

* 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 for an anthology 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.

* The Plural Positivity World Conference is on March 30, March 31, and April 1, 2019.

Here is the link to the conference Itself: http://www.youtube.com/pluralevents

There is a panel which includes me scheduled for 
Sunday, March 31, 2019 10 AM – 11:30 Eastern Daylight Time (1:00 – 2:30 Pacific Daylight Time) “Coming Out & Being Plural in a Singular World” – Panelists: The Crisses, Sarah& Clark, PrincessProto, Dr. Serseción, Jean Riseman

My interview is on Sunday, March 31 at 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time) “(S)RA Myths Debunked – The benefits of connecting with other survivors.” – Jean Riseman

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I have done something very bold. I, who am quite risk-aversive, to say the least, have made a three-month, twelve-hours-a-week commitment to myself. I’m doing this in the hope that it will pay off in terms of improved health and that I will not sacrifice all the wonderful things I get from the Internet, nor my sleep, nor my social life, nor anything else that is really important to me. How I will do this is not yet evident.

Some of you probably know that I have osteoarthritis of the lower spine which limits my mobility and causes me a fair amount of pain most days. What I haven’t shared is that I am getting tingling and numbness in my hands, which strongly suggests that my neck is starting go, too. Since I plan to live another ten to fifteen years, this is serious.

I heard of a chiropractic clinic that uses very gentle techniques to correct imbalances due to injury and subsequent changes in posture: changes for the worse, of course. I had tried going to a chiropractor about twenty-five years ago and was terrified by the spinal adjustments. Not knowing when to expect them triggered flashbacks and I was also afraid that they would worsen my arthritis, not help it. I tried two different practitioners and each time quit after a few sessions. Going gave me no relief, only increased fear.

I had to overcome my initial impression of chiropractors in order to make this commitment. I was told about the clinic and its approach and I read up on it on the Net. It all seemed very sensible. Then I made a mini-commitment for an evaluation and found I was treated with respect and that the approach continued to make sense. The people were nice, too; they enjoyed their work and believed in it and were open and friendly.

I had an awful lot to overcome. There were negative core beliefs from childhood that argued strongly against my availing myself of this opportunity.

I think lots of people can relate to the feeling that I’m not worthy and I don’t deserve this. I can see that other people are deserving of care but I get uncomfortable when it’s pointed out that I do, too. After all, I wasn’t raised to see myself as just as good as others, just as entitled to having my physical and emotional needs met. I was raised to see myself as a tools of others with no intrinsic worth. If it pleased others to see a pretty little girl I was bought pretty clothes and if it pleased them see me filthy dirty and shaking with fear they made sure I was filthy and terrified.

Today I know better intellectually, but that early belief surfaces at times and gets in the way of taking care of myself. Even after years and years of challenging those teachings and coming to understand why I considered myself worthless and forgiving myself for having swallowed their lies, those core beliefs still sometimes show themselves.

There’s another barrier to accepting help for physical problems, especially those that cause pain. You see, the members of cult I was abused in were very pious. Pain was considered an offering to Satan, just as being moral and praying and helping others is a way of pleasing God in Christian churches. If you tried to get rid of pain, it was an insult to Satan, like shoplifting or having sex outside of marriage is considered a sin by Christians. I learned to bear pain stoically, without complaint, and even, at times, to welcome pain or seek it out. I’m going completely against my upbringing by trying to slow down the progression of the arthritis and diminish the amount of pain I live with.

Working hard and spending good money and lots of time every day for three months to avoid pain? The old tape says that Satan is not going to be pleased one little bit. I should be terrified. I should make sure I sabotage the treatment and get worse, not better. I should…I should….but I won’t. I’ve made the commitment and I am going to keep it. It will be a great adventure!

Upcoming Holidays

April
4/1 April Fool´s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/14 Palm Sunday
4/19 Full moon
4/19 Good Friday
4/20 Holy Saturday
4/21 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
May
5/1 Beltane
5/12 Mothers’ Day
5/18 Full moon
5/18 Armed Forces Day
5/27 Memorial Day
June
6/9 – 6/10 Pentecost
6/16 Father’s Day
6/17 Full moon
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/19 – 4/27 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/20 Hitler´s actual birthday
4/21 Hitler’s alternative birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and his actual birthday and half-birthday on Easter of the current year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
5/1 – 5/2 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)
5/7 – 5/8 Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day, Day of Remembrance)
5/8 – 5/9 Yom HaAtzma´ut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark

Self-Care in December

Upcoming Holidays

December
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 New Year’s Day
1/1 Full Moon
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels 
1/31 Full Moon

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc
2/13 Mardi Gras
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/14 Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)

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

Self-Care in December

Glancing at the ritual dates above, it’s clear that the ten days between the solstice and New Year’s are going to be rough. I usually remind people that not all cults observe all the holidays listed, but for these four days (12/21, 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31), all Satanic cults surely celebrate all of them. Satanic and demon revels, Da Meur, and the Grand High Climax are not part of the Christmas Eve rituals for most cults, but that is the only consolation.

I hope all of you can stay safe and keep your courage up. Try to remember that you have survived many other Decembers and that you have more experience in coping with hard times than you did last year.

This is a good time to plan ahead. If you start the project today and then review it every day, adding things and making changes as you think of them, you should have a pretty solid plan by the time the shit hits the fan.

Do you by any chance have a copy of a survival plan you have made for other holidays? If so, it would be a great starting point. You know which things were helpful and which missed the mark. You can go through it point by point, copying some, changing some, and omitting some. If you don’t have an old one, make sure to keep a copy of this plan for future use.

Here are some issues I suggest you consider.

1. External safety. Do dangerous people know how to reach you? Is there some way to minimize the chances they could access you? They probably will use words or objects to trigger you into attending rituals. You are adult now, even if not all of you believes this, and they can no longer just pick you up and take you away. That’s called kidnapping and they would far rather rely on triggers than do something that could be dangerous for them.

If you are worried that somebody may break in, buy an inexpensive alarm that you can hook over the door. Or arrangement to be with somebody safe, either at their place or yours.

2. Internal safety. Even if nobody triggers you, the time of year in itself is a trigger. Chances are parts of you will yearn to be with your family. Perhaps, just perhaps, there will be a perfect Norman Rockwell-type Christmas this year, with presents and good food and good feelings all around. It’s hard to talk yourself out of giving them just one more chance to respect you and love you and be proud of you.

That’s not too hard to understand. What may seem strange is that you are attached to your abusers, attached to the pain, disappointment and degradation. As a child you thought that if you could please them they would not hurt you; they were punishing you because you were bad and, if you were good, they would reward you. So you kept trying. It gave you a sense of control, no matter how small or how delusional.

Also, they were there and they were the source of attention and the basics of life, like food and water. A child is born a need for others as strong as the very life force, and if all you have is people that abuse you, those are the people you will become attached to.

3. Both these issues point to the need to talk to your inner parts, especially to the little ones. They need to know that you will protect them the very best you can and that they do not have to obey the cult any longer. Their desire to return must be acknowledged as natural and understandable and then soothed. They are very brave to try something different and to trust you.

4. Self-harm. What has helped in the past? Make a list of the people you can call if you need to. Hotlines. Your therapist if you have one. Friends you have been able to count on in the past. Also list any groups you have found helpful, like Twelve-Step groups or on-line support groups, or message boards.

If, despite all the precautions you have taken, you are afraid you might hurt yourself badly, please, please, call 911. You need to live for yourself, for me, for every RA survivor. Here is a poem written and illustrated for ritual abuse survivors by a ritual abuse survivor. I can’t tell you how many times I have read it. http://dadig123.ca/reasons_not_to_kill_yourself.html

5. Self-soothing. You might find that people or activities that can distract you are helpful, too, especially for your littles. Taking a break and having fun can be just as healing as a long serious conversation or having the chance to cry without being judged.

Make a list of things you can do alone that will please your littles (and don’t forget your older parts!) and get together any materials you might want. Coloring books, crayons, magic markers, colored paper, your journal. A musical instrument if you know how to play one, a playlist of favorite music. Videos to dance to – whatever you think might appeal to you and would be more fun than rushing around trying to find things at the very last minute.

6. Prepare a special place for yourself. You could stock it with tea and snacks and stuffies. Cozy blankets, soft pillows, your favorite pj’s would all be welcome. You could decorate it ahead of time with drawings, real or paper flowers, encouraging affirmations. Let your imagination go wild!

These are just suggestions. If you have found something to be especially helpful, it would be a great gift to share with others in the comment sections.

So my wish to all is to stay safe, keep your misery to a minimum, and remember that December is almost over.

Self-Care is not a Dirty Word

Up-Coming Holidays
2/28 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
3/1 Ash Wednesday, beginning of Lent
3/20 Spring Equinox: more info at  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/

I have been writing short little essays on RA and living with its after-effects since 2000 and each time I sit down to write one, unless I have planned it out well in advance, I clutch and think I have nothing more to say. However, I pretty much always find something to write about, even if I think it is trivial.

This week, it’s not that I’m convinced I have said every last thing there is to say about ritual abuse and healing, it’s that I am just plain exhausted from the first few days of February. I took off a very long weekend, getting out of the house only to go to the garden. And I did a lot of crosswords and on-line jigsaw puzzles and very few things on my to-do list. I have learned to call this self-care, not procrastination.

It’s amazing how life does not fall apart when I don’t do things I want to do or I think I ought to do. The cats get fed, I get fed and washed, I take my meds. I give the cats their meds. Everything else is extra. And that is okay – no need to get crazy about it.

This is a relatively new development. For a long time I have understood that keeping doctor and dentist appointments, eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising counted as self-care. Doing the dishes, too – although that feels more like dishes-care. After all, I could use paper plates or eat right out of the pot, couldn’t I?

My mother made sure I wore pretty dresses (her taste, not mine), had styled hair, clean fingernails, and good manners. I did not learn self-care from her efforts because these things made me feel like a piece of furniture that was so ugly it needed layers and layers of slipcovers. I still know those things and can do them if necessary but I am much happier ignoring them. School didn’t teach anything that looked like self-care, either.

Starting out on my healing journey, like with so many other things, I had no role models to figure out what self-care for an RA survivor looks like. But these days I do. Many, if not all, of the survivor blogs talk about self-care. I can read about what others do and find out if it works for them or not and I can try it for myself. Obviously, not everything works for everybody, so there is no need to feel a failure if something that comes highly recommended does nothing for me.

If you would like to check out some blogs, go to http://ra-info.org/for-and-by-survivors/blogs/

Oh, there is something extremely important about the concept of self-care. If you are exhausted and need to rest, call it what it is, rest. Not procrastination or vegging out or being lazy or being depressed. That is not being kind to yourself! It’s an old tape from long long ago and there is no need to keep it going. Go and get a brand new shining tape and see what it does for you.

(And then tell us all about it.)