Archive for June 26th, 2009

Yesterday, I talked about my personal experiences with programming after ritual abuse. Today, I would like to focus on dismantling the programming.

The best resource I have found to help understand ritual abuse programming and how to dismantle it is Chrystine Oksana’s book, Safe Passage to Healing. If you suspect that you are battling programming, this book is a “must read” for you.

Here are some of Chrystine Oksana’s words on programming from the book:

To dismantle programming, pay attention to cues. These may be auditory such as words, phrases, names, tunes, whistles, patterns of knocks, and rings, or other sounds; visual cues may include symbols, pictures, writing, finger or hand signals; sensual cues may include special handshakes, running a hand over your face or your forehead, touch or pressure applied to the body, often in certain patterns, contact with certain fabrics. Try to associate taste and smells. Odors/perfumes can be cues as well. If there are explicit programmed messages or instructions, it is usually important to remember the exact words. ~ pp. 193-194

This was the most encouraging part of the book on programming:

The body/mind strives for health/wholeness, and spirituality. Ritual abuse programming runs counter to all of these. It acts as an unwelcome foreign body within the body/mind system. A healthy body-mind system will fight to expel this “foreign body”…As a result, survivors have an excellent prognosis for recovery. ~ p. 66

While the many mind control techniques may seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember that they all represent conversion under coercion. Traumatic learning begins to lose its hold once you uncover and confront your abuse. Once the coercion is brought into conscious awareness, you can choose not to act on it. You can refuse to play their game. ~ pp. 69-70

What I took away from reading the chapter on programming is that my best defense is healing myself. In my case, I had alter parts that had been programmed. For example, I had one alter part that was triggered by Sophie’s Choice kinds of positions. If my husband told me that I must choose between two unacceptable alternatives, this alter part would emerge and start banging her/my head. Healing this part of myself enabled me to make the choice whether to act on the impulse/programming.

I have found that healing the programming has been easier to do than healing the internalized messages that I gave myself, such as that I was fundamentally unlovable, etc. I refuse to allow someone else to control me, so I have the strength to fight back and choose not to act. This took some time and hard work, but I did it. The messages I told myself have been much more difficult to dismantle.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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