Archive for September, 2009

On my blog entry entitled Getting Triggered by Halloween Preparations, a reader posted the following comment:

I hate to repeat things too! What is that about.. do you think? I really really HATE it! Any insights appreciated. ~ Mia

I, too, have a difficult time with repetition. It took me a long time to be okay with saying things in unison at church, such as the Lord’s Prayer, because the repetition really bothered me. Heck, I cannot even stand to listen to the song Holly Jolly Christmas because it is so repetitive.

I think my problem is that chanting was used as part of the ritual abuse, so anything that reminds me of the chanting is triggering to me. Outright chanting, such as that used at the end of the song Whispers by Evanescence, can put me over the edge. However, even something that repeats a lot without out-and-out chanting, such as the song Kumbaya, really bothers me and always has.

I have been able to push through some of my aversion to repetition, such as speaking in unison in church. I now find that ritual to be comforting. However, I would rather jump off a bridge than listen to Holly Jolly Christmas, so I clearly have a long way to go.

Now, if I am the one creating the ritual, it makes me feel safe. For example, I always check my alarm clock exactly three times before I go to sleep, which is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) thing. This ritual makes me feel safe and secure, knowing that I have set my alarm clock correctly and will not oversleep in the morning. However, I have little to no patience with rituals that others set up and impose upon me.

I chalk it all up to the ritual abuse. Does anyone else have any theories?

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Feeling Present

What does it mean to feel present? It is hard for me to define it, but it is amazing when I feel it. I still remember the first time I felt present. I was at a park watching my son play on the playground equipment. I felt at peace. The colors around me were vivid, and all felt right with the world. I felt like I had always watched my life from a distance, but, at this moment, I had been “beamed” into my life and was actually experiencing it. I had never felt anything quite like it.

That moment of presence did not last long, and I wasn’t quite sure what it had been once it was over. While it felt peaceful, peace was not really the word for it. It took experiencing it a few more times to get what was going on. It felt like I was finally putting my arms down after holding them up over my head for decades.

I have been thinking about presence a lot because I spent the day yesterday moving in and out of being present. It was amazing. The colors around me were vivid, and I noticed and appreciated things that typically would not even catch my attention. I felt like I was a part of this world, and the world around me was filled with so much beauty. The best way to describe this is feeling “zen.”

I do not yet know how to “make” myself feel present. I have some tools that help, but I cannot yet simply choose to “be present.” I have to silence my mind and not think about the past or future. It helps to focus upon what is around me and appreciate its beauty. These things help, but I still don’t have the ability to “be present” like turning a light switch on or off. Right now, I am just trying to enjoy the beauty of presence while it lasts.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Thank you for being so patient while I took a break last week. I was overwhelmed with many areas of my life, some of which I wrote about here. I am going to try to blog daily this week, but don’t be surprised if I need to ease back in. I try to write ahead, and I am writing this in real time.

On Friday, I did my monthly shopping trip to Target. I have a Target Visa that gives me 10% off one-day of shopping if I use my Target Visa enough, which is sooo not a problem. I always send my nephews a small Halloween present, so I went into the Halloween aisle to look for one. Mistake!

Seeing the black robes, etc., was triggering for me. I did not have a panic attack or anything, but I could feel the “tugging” on my brain in reaction as a part of myself sought to flee the triggers. We are just moving into the Halloween season, so I know I have an entire month of similar experiences ahead of me.

I have decided to try dressing up again this year. I have historically always dressed either as a little girl or a slut, and it took someone else to shed some light on why that was a problem. It seems so obvious now – that I associate ritual abuse with my being a “slutty” little girl – but I really did not see this until someone else pointed it out.

Two years ago, I decided to try dressing up again. (I had stopped ever since having that epiphany.) I was torn between being a spider witch (complete with a black robe) or an injured teen in a prom dress. I chose the spider witch and wound up getting very triggered in the costume – go figure. I decided that I clearly had not pulled myself out of being in the ritual abuse mindset at Halloween, so I did not dress up for Halloween last year.

This year, I am going for comedy, so we will see how this goes. I am going as Ugly Betty. I found a costume kit with the glasses, braces, and wig. I have put together some really tacky clothes, and I will wear sneakers (good for walking to trick or treat with my kid) with a skirt and really loud striped socks. I am hoping this will help me break the “slutty little girl” mold once and for all. We’ll see how it goes.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Needing Rest

Hi, everyone.

I am sorry to have posted such an intense blog entry like Ritual Abuse: Forced Cannibalism and Other Forms of Eating Flesh and then disappear, but I needed some rest. My job has kept me hopping for the last couple of weeks, and I simply needed a break today. I may or may not get something written for tomorrow. If not, I’ll start fresh on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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One form of child abuse that is rarely discussed is forced cannibalism and other forms of being forced to eat flesh. My experience with this was with my beloved dog, which I talked about here. That memory is one of my most traumatizing ones. It ties into my aversion to eating, or even smelling, seafood because I had eaten fish earlier that night and then vomited up the fish after being forced to eat the flesh of my dog. Seeing my dog slaughtered was bad enough – being forced to “eat” my dog was more than I could bear.

Some severely abused children were forced to eat human flesh. This is called “forced cannibalism.” I cannot even imagine the reaction of a child having to endure this level of trauma. Being forced to eat a dog’s flesh was bad enough!

I know that some people reading this blog entry will have a hard time wrapping their minds around this form of abuse. It is incredibly sadistic and extremely emotionally traumatizing. For these reasons, many people who have suffered from this form of child abuse are afraid to speak out. Many of those who suffered from forced cannibalism believe that they were the only ones and fear that nobody will believe them.

This blog is a safe place for those of you who suffered from forced cannibalism to be heard. I will believe you and support you. I know that this level of evil exists in the world.

If you suffered from forced cannibalism, you are not alone. You need not suffer in silence any longer. It is okay to talk about this. As with any other form of abuse, no abuse that you suffered could change the value of who you are. You are not responsible for eating flesh – that responsibility sits squarely on the shoulders of your abusers.

You are not alone.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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Do you remember when I urged you to contact your congressmen to pass the Protect Our Children Act? Our efforts are already bearing fruit. I received the following email from the National Association to Protect Children, which is the organization that provided me with specific information about how to get that bill passed into law. To learn more about this wonderful organization, click here.

The call from the police officer came late at night. His voice cracking, and tears in his eyes, he said he had just carried a three year old girl out of her home in his arms. In handcuffs was her “father”… a monster who had committed unspeakable crimes.

He was calling to thank PROTECT for making that child rescue possible.

Now we’re thanking you.

New proof is rolling in from the U.S. Justice Department that PROTECT members get children protected…

Thanks to a major PROTECT victory last February in Congress, 124 very special jobs are being created across America right now. These jobs, being filled as this message is written, are dedicated solely to rescuing children from the horror of child pornographers and sexual predators.

That’s 124 new warriors… 124 new soldiers in the war to protect our children. Each will do his or her part to work thousands of new cases, bringing down an iron curtain between predatory pedophiles and tens of thousands of child victims.

We’ll be watching and reporting.

What will never be reported are the countless boys and girls who will be given a chance to flourish and grow up happy, free from abuse, because of you.

Without PROTECT members, these 124 new soldiers would simply not exist. The investigations would never get started. Arrests would never be made. Children would never be rescued. In a world full of “feel-good” talk about children, I thought you would want to know this concrete proof that your investment in PROTECT is paying off.

You did this, PROTECT members. And I’m so proud to be on your side.

–David Keith


Image credit: National Association to Protect Children

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Alter Parts: Understanding Sad Parts, a reader posted the following comment:

I keep having this huge need to just sob LOUD and long, and it’s accompanied by stinging behind my eyes like I’m about to cry, but I can’t do it. That doesn’t feel like “mine”, do you know what I mean? It feels like I’m faking it, like I’m doing something I don’t feel. It’s spontaneous and I’m trying to make it go away, actually! … I want to try to help that younger part; these waves need to go away. Is there anything I’m missing here? ~ Mamarosebud

A sad alter part is a part of you, but you split off the sadness because you couldn’t handle the sadness when you experienced it. You need to grieve, but it feels odd because it doesn’t feel like you, but it is you. Yes, I understand this because I have been there.

The first time I really let all of the tears spill out was a bizarre experience. I began sobbing, and I kept experiencing “loud thoughts” that I was just putting on a show and crying for attention. I felt shame for crying. However, I fought back, thinking, “There is nobody else here, so for whom am I putting on a show??”

I have had sad alter parts that desperately needed to weep, but I could not bring myself to access those tears. I had to keep coming back to that part of myself before I could release the pain. I could feel the weight or heaviness of the sadness, but I did not feel sad because that part felt so separate.

What worked for me was listening to a sad song and invite the alter part to come out and cry. It took several passes before I was successful. After I finally did reach that part, I sobbed and sobbed. It felt miserable in the moment but much, much better afterward.

The only way for the sadness to “go away” is for you to give the sadness a voice. You don’t have to experience the tears as “mine” yet. Just invite the sad part out to grieve, and comfort that part of yourself, even if it feels foreign to you. Fighting it is useless because it is just going to keep coming back and might even become more powerful. Instead, invite that part of yourself to grieve, and love that part through it.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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