Another Chorus in My Life’s Song

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* I’m looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting to contribute to an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused in this way, could you spread the word? Tell all your survivor friends and any therapists or pastors you know who work with survivors about the project and ask them to tell others about it, too. They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

* Satanic and Neo-Nazi holidays in April, May, and June are at the bottom of this post.

Another Chorus in My Life’s Song

Sounds better than “Old Tapes” doesn’t it?

That line came to me as I was trying to go to sleep the other night. I was lying in bed thinking of all the clueless and stupid things I had done or said over the years. Of course every time you think of something you strengthen the memory, and then it is easier to think of it again. “Don’t think of a purple rhinoceros or what you said to Jane in seventh grade.” Guess what you are immediately going to think of?

So the sensible thing would have been to think of something else.

I, being a sensible person at heart, tried telling myself to think of something pleasant. Like…. But I couldn’t think of anything pleasant. Then I was off and running again, thinking how dumb it was that I couldn’t think of a single pleasant thing even though I knew there were plenty of pleasant things in my life, past and present. Also plenty of pleasant things to think of that weren’t part of my life, like….. Nothing came to mind. Total dead end.

Bitterly, I thought, “Just another chorus in my life’s song.” And that broke the spell! I fell asleep thinking of verses to go with that chorus. And, when you come right down to it, it is pleasant to create a song, even if you don’t remember it the next day.

The phrase itself isn’t either pleasant or unpleasant. It isn’t judgmental or critical or a phony affirmation that makes me feel dishonest and shallow. Can’t tell if it is either true or false. No value judgement in it.

The next day, when I was rested and thinking more clearly, I realized I had given a name to the process I was going through. That’s akin to a meditation technique I used to use a lot. When a thought came unbidden to mind, I would say, “thought” and turn my attention back to breathing and silently saying my mantra of the day. Same thing with emotions or sensations – I just gave them a name and redirected my attention. They floated away and dissipated like wispy clouds.

Once, when I was highly suicidal, I did sensible things like give my best friend all my kitchen knives to hold for me and promised to talk to him before making an attempt. It wasn’t enough, though, and I still had to fight the urges several times an hour.

So I started saying, “programing” to myself any time I thought of ways to off myself. The urges became less frequent and less intense, and after about three days they had gone completely. I was very aware of how often I said “programing” and appalled at how wracked I was with thought of killing or maiming myself. It was easier to remember the name of the process than the content of the program that had been kicked up. I was emotionally exhausted at the end, but felt clean and peaceful.

Naming the process is, for me, a powerful tool in handling any situation. Just wish I could remember to use it more often!

 

Upcoming Holidays

April
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects)
4/29 Full Moon
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
June
6/17 Fathers’ Day

6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
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
5/8 V-E Day: Victory in Europe, WW2
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

The Attitude-Language Connection

I’ve been working for a long time on treating myself at least as well as I treat others. Think I’m about 80% there now. (sigh)

A couple of weeks ago I noticed how I describe the way I walk. I have arthritis in one knee, my spine, and my hips and so my gait changes with the changes in my joints. Right now I sway from side to side much more than I did before.

I found I called it “waddling.” That doesn’t sound very nice. The least I could do is say I walk with a limp. It’s just as accurate but, at least to my ears, it doesn’t sound deprecating. I wouldn’t say anybody else waddled, so why should I describe myself that way?

Dictionaries often give us a new look at familiar words. Didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about waddling. So I looked up lazy, because that’s how I think of myself these days. Lazy, to me, denotes somebody who doesn’t want to do things, who lounges around all day-dreaming and resists lifting a finger if it can be avoided.  But whoa, is that really me?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines lazy as “1. disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous; 2.  moving slowly.” Does this describe me? Well, yes, all but the disinclined bit. I move slowly and don’t do a lot because I have a disability and moving hurts. I also think we all slow down with age. But “disinclined?” No way! I  constantly wish I could do more and I push myself hard.

I need an adjective that says in one word, “I can’t do what I used to, and it really bothers me.” Aging comes closest, but then I think of a 75-year-old man I know who still skis and shovels snow. He complains about politics, not his body. For now, I’ll have to live without that word and just try and carry the attitude around in my head as an antidote to “lazy.”

You see, our language is formed by our attitudes and if we change one, we can change the other. It’s like that mind-body connection — attitude-language connection. If I think of myself as beautiful, I will take the time to comb my hair, stand up straighter,  and make sure my clothes look good together. The net result is, even if I can’t make myself really beautiful, I’ll look a lot better! And if I fuss lovingly over my appearance, I will start to think of myself as pretty.

One caveat: this doesn’t work if you are trying to deny reality. Most of us probably tried to act as if we had a normal childhood, and we didn’t get very far. Smiling to hide depression doesn’t work, either – it just makes it worse. And acting as if you don’t have an addiction, when you do, is a guaranteed disaster.

What I am talking about is those areas that are not black and white. I’m not going to be transformed or destroyed if I consider myself old instead of lazy or pretty instead of ugly. I’m just going to be a smidgen happier. And isn’t that worth it?

What Is the Matter with Me?

It echoes through the years…a refrain, sometimes soft, sometimes loud. “What is the matter with me?”

It’s nothing medical. “I have this horrible pain in my tummy — what is the matter with me?” Nope, those words never appear when I am worried that I am sick.

They are put-downs. If I mislay my glasses, if I forget somebody’s name, if I drop a glass.  “What is the matter with me?” Well, nothing, actually. Those things are perfectly normal. Everybody does them occasionally. There is no need to worry — I’m not becoming demented.

It’s an old tape from childhood. Adults said, “What is the matter with you, Jean? You know better than that!” when I did something that annoyed them. Their voices sounded critical and had a frustrated, angry edge. What was their problem?

The problem was that they believed that children learned when they were told something once. They don’t. It takes patiently repeating over and over and over until they do what you want automatically. Eventually they become like Pavlovian dogs, saying “please” every time they ask for something. But for years they had to stop and think before they said “please” — and what little kid has the self control to do that when they want something now! Right now!!!

In the best case, hearing those words made me stop and think and I remembered what it was they wanted me to do. In the worst case, I froze and tried to figure out what was the matter with me. I couldn’t come up with anything and I didn’t remember what they wanted me to do so I just stood there in silence, which annoyed the grown up even more.

Nowadays nobody says that to me. It’s only a little voice inside me. That little voice doesn’t sound like a frustrated, angry grown-up. It sounds like a younger me. How many times I must have thought, “What is the matter with me?” I was trained like that dog in Pavlov’s lab to question myself and now I think that anytime I make a mistake.

Oddly enough, it’s only little mistakes that call forth that voice. Big ones, like trusting an untrustworthy person or running a red light get an entirely different response. After an emotional storm, I react like a mature, problem-solving adult and do something sensible. (I guess when I was a kid I didn’t get to run red lights.)

I have learned to re-parent myself when I hear those words. I carefully explain out loud that there is nothing the matter with me, that I am normal and smart and trying my very best to do things right. Everybody makes mistakes, and it is no big deal. It would have been great to hear that when I was a kid and needed reassurance, but better late than never.

Did you notice that this has nothing to do with ritual abuse? Not every little neurotic thing stems from ritual abuse. The world is large enough that your mind can get messed up by something outside of the cult! Something normal, something shared by lots of people without a cult background. Amazing!