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

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)
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
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.)

Yet Another Identity Crisis

I came across this piece I wrote a dozen years ago for the Aug/Sept 2003 issue of the Survivorship notes. It’s now 2015 and I’m still right in the middle of this particular identity crisis.

By the way, there is a Blue Moon on Friday and Lamas is on Sunday.  (A Blue Moon is the second full moon in a month.) Stay safe!

When I got my first ritual abuse memories back in the late eighties, I assumed that my therapist knew what he was doing. This was based on little more than the fact that Mike had heard of ritual abuse and that he was in a study group for therapists dealing with incest. My naivite served me well, for I would have been petrified if I had known he was winging it.

It took me a couple of years to figure out that he was no expert. By this time I was through the initial crisis phase. I had figured out that I wouldn’t die of fright and I was beginning to come to terms with an identity I had neither wanted nor imagined. I was staring to feel like a “real” ritual abuse survivor.

I decided to move to San Francisco, the RA healing capital of the world. Although I was moving for other reasons, I was really excited by the thought of being in the same city as Survivorship, BAWAR, and all those wonderful, knowledgeable, experienced therapists. Now I could start healing in earnest!

It didn’t take me long to figure out that Survivorship’s address was a P.O. box and that all those great therapists lived mostly in my imagination. There weren’t very many therapists dealing with RA and most of them weren’t taking new clients or couldn’t work with me for other reasons. It started to dawn on me than San Francisco had just about the same amount of resources as Boston – not many.

All this time I had been reading everything I could get my hands on, hoping to find an instruction manual for healing from RA. The closest book was Safe Passage to Healing by Chrystine Oksana, and even she kept saying, “Trust yourself. Look within for the answers.” Well, I didn’t trust myself, and there were mighty few answers inside, only tons of questions.

As time passed, I started working for Survivorship. (Old social workers never retire, they just volunteer.) I met more and more survivors and put them on pedestals as paragons of healing, assumed they had all the answers that I didn’t. But they were muddling through just as I was. No instruction manuals, no simple and foolproof directions, no gurus. Just a lot of hurting people doing the best they could with what they had. Sigh.

Slowly, slowly, I am coming to realize that I am the world-expert on my own abuse and my own healing. Nobody else’s – just mine. And each person I meet is the world-expert on their abuse and healing. Chrystine was right all along. We have to trust ourselves, hard as it is, and look within, for that is where truth and integrity lie.

I hope you can laugh along with me as I struggle to assume this new identity: “Expert on Healing from Ritual Abuse.” And I hope you realize that this is your identity, too, although it’s probably as uncomfortable as a brand new pair of hiking boots. In time it will soften and fit better.

And when we put our collective wisdom together, we will have an instruction manual for the next generation of survivors. It will probably say something like, “Don’t self-destruct. Get through the days the best you can. Trust yourself, and look within, for you are the expert.”


That’s me! I never think to ask for help until after a crisis is over. Then I tell people what happened and they get mad at me for not letting them know at the time. They are frightened (what if something bad happened and they had no idea what was going on?) and rejected and feel I don’t trust them. It’s natural to feel those things. Only then does it dawn on me that I should have at least let them know I had a problem and give them the opportunity to help me.

This goes for big things. Once my doctor put me on a new heart medication that dropped my blood pressure and slowed my pulse. I called for an appointment and got one the same day. Since I didn’t feel faint, I got in my car and drove the few blocks. I forget what my blood pressure was, but both systolic and diastolic were in the double digits. My pulse was 28. So I was kept for observation for a few hours and amused myself reading lot of junky magazines. When he checked me at the end of the day, he asked me how I got to the office and was appalled to hear I had driven myself. It had never even occurred to me to call a taxi, let alone tell somebody in my family or circle of friends. Oh, and I only thought of calling 911 as I wrote this!

It goes for little things, too. I no longer use step ladders so I no longer change light bulbs. Instead of asking my best friend, who would gladly do it, I automatically adjust to less light. Bulbs only get replaced when he notices that they are out. Which reminds me, there are at least four that are burned out right now.

This has been a habit of mine since childhood. The adults in my life could not be counted on to be helpful; when I asked for help in every-day life they usually blamed me and scolded me. I learned at an early age to keep my problems to myself and take care of them as best I could. That was an eminently sensible decision, because I was the most reliable person I knew. By the time I was an adult, being independent was deeply ingrained in me.

Psychology books see excessive independence in a slightly different light. They conceptualize counter-dependency as leaning over backwards to avoid dependency. It masks a deep yearning to be taken care of, to be held and cuddled and fed when hungry and cooed at. Later in life to be tucked into bed and read to and praised and fed healthy meals and given bandaids for scraped knees and smiled at for no reason at all. I would have liked very much to have had all those things, but, for the most part, I had to live without them. Both my description and the books’ description of counter-dependency are true — they go hand-in-hand.

As I age, the situation is changing. There are fewer things I can do for myself, no matter how much I want to, and so my choice is to ask somebody or do without. Naturally, there is a lot I do without these days, and consequently my life has shrunk considerably. Being barely able to walk means that if I go someplace I have to be sure there is parking real close by. I can’t use public transportation because the stops are too far away. I no longer drive at night and that means no concerts or plays. It’s sad.

There is an upside to this, though. I think of asking for help more often and I feel I am growing in this regard. I have been given the opportunity to see people in a different light, as helpful and non-shaming. I am slowly breaking the rigid role my parents cast for me. I try and see my loss of independence in a positive light — an opportunity to go and learn something new rather than as a loss of one thing after another. Some days that’s a comforting and uplifting attitude, other days it seems awfully goody-two-shoes.