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Archive for May, 2011

A reader asked me to address any knowledge that I have about the Freemasons and ritual abuse. My sister is convinced that she and I suffered ritual abuse at the hands of the Freemasons. I don’t have any specific memories (yet??) of this connection myself. I guess that, for me, the fact that I was being abused was what I focused upon. I am not sure that I really cared why or who, only that it was happening and that I wanted to protect my sister. (My sister and I were “controlled” by threatening the sibling. I believed that my sister would be killed if I did not obey and keep the secret.)

Working with the memories that I have recovered, I am convinced that the people who ritually abused my sister and me were an organized kiddie porn and prostitution ring. I think the black robes, bonfires, and other “Satanic” elements were simply “covers.” “Clients” could rape children, both on and off film, while masking their identities, and if I ever told anyone about it, nobody would believe me because the entire idea of Satanic ritual abuse is so “crazy.”

I have no question that my abusers were well-organized and highly secretive. I also know that my sister and I were not their only victims. We were assigned numbers (used in place of names), and we were not numbers 1 & 2. Also, my sister has memories of being in charge of watching the younger children while some of my abuse was going on.

Back when I started recovering memories of the ritual abuse, I did some online research on ritual abuse in general and on the Freemasons in particular. One thing I found interesting was a comment/observation someone made about there being numerous rumors about the Freemasons’ involvement in ritual abuse, yet there are not similar rumors for comparable groups, such as the Lions or the Elks. The lawyer in me must point out that rumors do not equal proof, but I do find this to be an interesting observation nonetheless.

The only other thing I can share about the Freemasons is that I am highly triggered when I learn that somebody I know is a Mason. That is certainly not proof, and it is entirely possible that this reaction ties into what my sister has told me versus a repressed memory. At this point, I simply don’t know. I will say that the two men that I know who are active in their Mason groups are low-level, and they are both really great guys who would never condone abusing children. Some of the Freemason rumors say that those involved in ritual abuse are high-level masons. Other rumors say that it is just one sect of the Freemasons that not representative of the entire organization.

I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. On the one hand, I do think that when there is a lot of smoke, there is concern about a fire. On the other hand, I am not ready to make sweeping judgments about an organization that I know has some good men in it – men who I trust.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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As you know, I took last week off from blogging because I had a very busy week juggling both of my part-time jobs. On top of this, I came down with a cold on Sunday night, so it was quite a week. On Wednesday, I put in an 11-hour day at one job, two hours at the other job, and did all of this while dealing with a cold. I was worn out!

In the middle of all of this, my son pulled something that he got from his father … something that drives me absolutely out of my mind. I made a comment about cutting me some slack because I was sick. His response (just like his father) was, “Oh, you’re not sick.”

Let me tell you – If you want to p@$$ me off, that’s the way to do it. Don’t presume to tell **ME** what **I** am feeling. You are not in my body. You are not qualified to tell **ME** what **MY** body is feeling.

Coincidentally, I had my annual physical the day before this conversation, and my doctor noted that she could see evidence of my virus, both in my red throat and my swollen lymph nodes. So, I popped off at my son that I am so sure that he, at age 10, is in a better position than a MEDICAL DOCTOR to make a determination about whether or not I am sick.

Now, I know exactly why they both do this. They view me as superwoman, and I am supposed to take care of them. If I am sick, then they might have to – G*d forbid – do a few things themselves. I don’t ask them to take care of me. All I ask is that they back the f@#$ off and not make additional demands on me while I am feeling sick.

The same thing happens sometimes with how I am feeling (although not really with the two of them – neither is particularly perceptive when it comes to emotions). People will try to tell me what I am feeling or how I should be feeling. My feelings are **MY** feelings, not anyone else’s, and nobody else gets to tell me how I feel.

I suspect this topic is such a hot button for me because my needs were disregarded so much as an abused child. Even my own body was not “mine.” I didn’t get a say in what was done to it, and my abusers sure did not care about how it felt. Perhaps that is why comments like that are so triggering to me. Regardless, it really p@$$es me off when people try to tell me how I am feeling. I already know how I am feeling, and they don’t get to override that.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Hi, everyone.

I hate to do it, but I am going to have to take this week off from Blooming Lotus. I have one more week to go of crazy hours with my new job, and now my “old” job is starting up again, too. I will be putting in well over 40 hours this week between the two part-time jobs, so I won’t have any spare time to blog.

I hope everyone has a great week. :0)

– Faith

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Yesterday, I addressed the topic of whether a child abuse survivor can get triggered without having any memories of flashback associated with the triggering. On that blog entry, a reader posted the following comment:

I had always thought my triggering was me just being unbalanced and messed up. I was verrry hard on myself and also thought I was wrong and “over-the-top,” emotionally unstable, etc. I relate with Brynn in that at first, I didn’t have memories or flashbacks attached. I would just be having some kind of “irrational” reaction, with nothing associated with it and then would come the hailstorm of self-abusive thoughts- “What’s wrong with you?? Why can’t you function like a normal person! You’re feeling like you want to die because you saw a child crying from dropping his ice cream cone?? Don’t you think that’s a little RIDICULOUS? You’re a complete messed up loser case.” ~ Jackie

Jackie did a great job of describing how it feels to be triggered without knowing why (or even knowing that what you are experiencing is being triggered). I would like to build on what Jackie shared with my own experiences as additional examples.

Throughout my life (before awakening to the realities of the child abuse), I would feel a sudden onset or sway in my emotional state without knowing why. That’s just the way I always was, so I guess I didn’t realize that it wasn’t “normal.” I sometimes worried that I was mentally ill (especially since my mother was clearly mentally ill, although undiagnosed), so I never talked to anyone else about it or asked if they had this experience, too.

A good 5 or 6 years before recovering my first flashback, I remember sitting in my cubicle at work trying to understand why I was having such a severe reaction to something so “stupid.” I shared a cluster of cubicles with two other women who invited me to go to lunch. I declined because I had brought my lunch, and I didn’t want to disappoint my husband by spending money by eating out. (I now marvel that I used to think like that!)

The women returned from lunch laughing, and they finished a conversation in one of their cubicles that apparently had carried over from lunch. I was bombarded with deep feelings of shame, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Strange thoughts were racing around my head – “They are laughing at me. They hate me. They think I am so stupid for not going to lunch with them. I will never fit in anywhere. Nobody will ever like me. I am a stupid, stupid person who is completely unlovable. Why would anyone ever like a stupid person like me?”

Keep in mind that I had already earned a graduate degree from a Top Ten university, so I am clearly not a “stupid” person. Yet, the word “stupid” used to rattle around my brain and undermine my confidence, even though I knew objectively that I was smart. These women had invited me to join them for lunch, so they clearly did not dislike me. They probably did not think a thing about my declining their invitation other than that perhaps I didn’t have much spending money. (I later became close friends with one and got along well with the other, so I wasn’t picking up on any unspoken vibes.)

I wanted to react to this flood of emotions that came from seemingly nowhere, but I also knew objectively that I could not trust them. So, I had a lot of inner thoughts about recognizing that I cannot trust myself. I cannot trust these weird floods of emotions because they are not grounded in the reality around me. I made a conscious choice never to act on these floods of emotions and, instead, use only the logical part of my brain to decipher how I should logically act in a situation. Because I logically had no reason to be upset, I would disregard these feelings and try very hard to act like I don’t feel them. I certainly could not “trust” anything that I felt because it was so “off” from reality. It was exhausting to live this way, and it also prevented me from listening to my intuition.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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On my blog entry entitled Living in the Present to Dismantle Triggers, a reader posted the following question:

I have a question about triggers. I have only recently begun to uncover memories as vague pictures in my head, so there are not many of them. Whenever I read or hear about people being triggered by something they usually refer to memories or flashbacks that come with them. I feel triggered by things all the time since I was young—objects, specific words, actions, etc.—but I have no memories or flashbacks that come as a result. Instead, I feel a strange sense of panic, shame, and arousal. Are these technically still triggers? If not, what are they? ~ Brynn

What Brynn describes is very common for child abuse survivors who have not begun or are early into the healing process. Child abuse survivors react to different triggers without knowing why. They only know that they are phobic of different triggers or have unexplained reactions to them. Child abuse survivors might even find that they suddenly feel a negative shift in their mood without having any idea why. It might take them years to connect the dots to a particular trigger.

A trigger is anything that connects the dots in a child abuse survivor’s head between a present day reminder of a past trauma. For example, I have always had a phobia of Russian nesting dolls but never knew why. Whenever I saw Russian nesting dolls, particularly if they were “opened,” I would feel shaky and lightheaded. Even writing the words now causes a panic reaction in me. My blood pressure rises, my breathing becomes shallow, and I feel a tightening in my private areas. This is a common reaction to a severe trauma, and you don’t have to remember the “why” to have this reaction.

I used to get triggered by being around my mother/abuser (Go figure!) even though I had no conscious memories of her abuse. Whenever I visited with her, I felt very lightheaded and dizzy. This was being triggered, but I didn’t know it. I had trouble staying focused around her. It was like looking at her through the wrong end of a telescope or trying to communicate through a fog.

Whenever I was with her, I would feel very strong emotions (including anger – something I rarely felt otherwise), and I would make mental notes about things I wanted to tell my friends about the visit later (all things to mock her). However, when I left her presence, I had trouble remembering the visit. I would go straight home with the intention of making fun of my mother to my husband, but I couldn’t access those memories. I simply couldn’t remember much about the visit, even though it had just happened.

The triggers are already in place because the trauma has already happened. Whether or not you understand the connection does not factor into your reaction – you will still get triggered whether your have accessed the memory or not. The difference is that, through healing, you can dismantle the trigger as you understand the origin. That is where therapy comes in as well as other alternative methods such as EMDR.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Administrative Note

Everyone,

Please bear with me in responding to comments and emails. This is the busy season for my new job. I am working well over 30 hours a week in addition to my other responsibilities, so I am very behind on reading comments and emails. I am triaging by reviewing all comments that go to the moderator queue, so all comments should be appearing now. My busy season ends 6/1, so please bear with me for a couple of more weeks. :0)

~ Faith

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Building on what I was discussing in my last blog entry, sometimes a person experiences trauma even when the one causing the trauma did not intend trauma. I see this dynamic in some of the comments posted to my blog entry entitled Enemas, Tubes, and Object Insertion as Part of Child Abuse. While the perpetrators of this form of abuse are sometimes clearly using enemas, etc., with the intention of traumatizing the child, some readers wrestle with whether or not their parents (or other adults) intended the enemas as abuse or if they truly did not realize they were traumatizing the child.

My therapist advises me to stay out of my abusers’ heads, but I am going to disregard this advice for the purpose of this blog entry because I think this is worth discussing. You can have two children who suffered trauma from being given enemas repeatedly. In one case, the abuser fully intended the enemas as part of torturing the child. In the other case, the mother/father/perpetrator was misguided in believing that giving the child repeated enemas was good for the child or at least never intended trauma. Despite the intent of the one administering the trauma, the child grows into an adult who wrestles with the aftereffects of trauma (which is why my therapist advises me to stay out of my abusers’ heads – their intention doesn’t change my experience).

I fear we might have another generation of children growing up experiencing trauma at the hands of parents who might not intend to inflict trauma. This is in the form of giving their daughters virgin waxes and botox treatments – I am talking about children as young as eight years old! Neither waxing nor botox is a comfortable experience, and I cannot fathom why an eight-year-old child could possible need either. (It sounds like this is more common in the kiddie pageant circuit – Don’t even get me started on that topic.)

My guess is that most of the parents administering these treatments to their children are not intending abuse (although I am sure there are some who are). Nevertheless, from the perspective of the child, how different is this from unnecessary enemas and tubes? How many of these children will be posting comments on my blog in 10 years about struggling with the aftereffects of trauma?

What are your thoughts on virgin waxes and botox for children? Are these treatments abusive? Do you think that these treatments are traumatizing to an eight-year-old little girl?

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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