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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Administrative Note


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

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

I am reading Jodi Picoult’s book, The Tenth Circle, for my book club. I did not know that this was a book about teen rape when we decided to read this book. If I had, I would have voted to read another book this month. I am slammed with my new job and won’t come up for air until June 2, so this is not the best timing for reading a book about rape.

Nevertheless, I am reading it while I work out at the gym in the early mornings, and I am enjoying it despite its serious content. The book delves into the many facets of teen rape. You have a 14-year-old girl who was dating a 17-year-old boy with her parents’ consent (which I, personally, cannot imagine supporting as a parent). He broke up with her. This was her first crush, and she is having a hard time getting over him, so she follows her best friend’s stupid advice to make him jealous by engaging in dangerous behaviors.

In a nutshell, the 14-year-old girl attends a sex party at her friend’s house (where the ex-boyfriend is invited). They are playing the “Rainbow Game” – a game I had never heard of but will now be preventing my son from going to any unsupervised parties!! – where each girl wears a different colored lipstick and performs oral sex on different boys. The boy sporting the most colors on his “rainbow” wins the game. Yuck!

Anyhow, the girl participates in the “game” one time and then throws up. After everyone else leaves, it is just her, the 14-year-old friend, the ex-boyfriend, and another 17-year-old boy. The girl is wearing a sheer shirt, low-rise jeans with no underwear, and plays strip poker with the boys. The other couple goes upstairs. One thing leads to another. The girl just wants to kiss and make out (“second base”) with her ex-boyfriend. He interprets all of the above as consent to sex and rapes her. The rest of the book (or at least as far as I have read) explores the many facets of this scenario – sadly one that happens frequently at teen parties and on college campuses.

The 14-year-old girl never said yes to sex and was a virgin. Her reaction to the sexual contact is the same as other rape victims – deep shame, feeling dirty, dressing in baggy clothing, insomnia, etc. There is no question that her reaction is of one a rape victim.

The 17-year-old boy was at a sex party where all of the girls (including the 14-year-old girl) were providing all of the boys with oral sex. She was in a sheer blouse with no underwear, kissing him, and taking off her bra for him. Both had also been drinking. From his perspective, all was consensual. His reaction is dumbfounded.

How can the same act be absolutely devastating to one party and viewed as completely consensual by the other? I was in a similar situation with an ex-boyfriend in college (minus the sex party – we were alone in his dorm room talking about whether we could work things out). He took things farther than I wanted. I dissociated. He performed intercourse on my body – something I did not want, did not ask for, and had repeatedly told him that I was not ready for because I believed I was a virgin. He saw it as consensual. I gained 30 lbs and experienced numerous trauma aftereffects. I was terrified of him and was never alone with him again. He expressed befuddlement at my “rejection” since we had finally “consummated” our relationship.

How can the same act between the two parties involved be so different? How could he truly believe that sex was consensual when her reaction was with trauma?

Photo credit: Amazon.com

Read Full Post »

On my blog entry entitled “I Don’t Know If I Have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)”, a reader posted the following comment:

Faith, I was wondering if you could do a post about night terrors. Like when u wake up soaked in sweet and thinking its real. You stuck in the past. The cry. The heavy crying. And ‘body memories’ like if u wake up and you feel pain of someone hurting you? But its in your head. And not happening but u think it is. I hope I totally don’t sounds loopy. I’m being serious this happens to. And the feelings feel real and The feelings associated or direct me to a post if uve already done one? ~ Freckles

What Freckles is describing is dual consciousness. On the one hand, a part of you knows that you are lying safely in your bed while another part of yourself feels like you have been teleported back in time and are currently being abused.

I recently had a nightmare where I was being raped again. I could feel everything that I felt when I was raped as a child. It really did feel like I was being raped again in that moment even though I was safely asleep in my bed. As Freckles describes, I awoke feeling as if my body had just been raped even though I was reliving a memory that happened decades ago.

I have heard that some child abuse survivors can become so caught up in the reality of the past that they lose touch with the present during the flashback. When a loved one steps in to try to help, they lash out against the loved one, believing that the loved one is the abuser. I, personally, have not had this experience. I have been fortunate to stay grounded enough in the present to avoid “losing myself” to total immersion in the past while I am awake. Flashbacks in nightmares are a different story – When I experience those, I am only aware of the past, not the present.

Here’s the good news: You can use this dual consciousness to your advantage! As long as a part of yourself is aware of being in the present, you can use that part of yourself to comfort yourself through the flashback. I learned how to pause, rewind, and fast-forward a flashback.

I also learned how to talk my way through the flashbacks. Even though a part of myself was experiencing the abuse as if it was happening right now, another part of myself would walk me through it. I would tell myself that I already survived the abuse, so I could survive the memory. I would tell myself that I am OK, that I am safe now, and that it is OK to remember what happened. I would tell myself that I already know the ending – that I survived and am OK today. I would sometimes even play a song in my head to help ease the anxiety as I worked through the memory.

As for stopping the flashback … some of my flashbacks were too intense to deal with all in one sitting. As long as I promised myself that I would return the next night (and meant it), I developed the ability to “turn off” the flashback for the night once I had enough. I would process what I had relived that night and then be in a better place to move forward the following night.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »

On my blog entry entitled Issues with Body Image after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

It must be hard to have more than one part who is not happy with your body. That is something I would have never considered till you described it. I have enough trouble with just a single part that is frustrated with my body.

Could you speak to how you got these parts to be more accepting of your physicality and how you got to the place where you could be more in control and integrated in a physical sense? Does that question make sense? ~Mia

From the perspective of a multiple, I do have parts that reject my body. Sometimes I will experience a child alter part that views my adult thighs as fat because that part still feels like it lives in the body of a skinny little girl. The physical difference between a woman’s body and a little girl’s body is jarring to that part of myself.

However, you don’t have to have dissociative identity disorder (DID) to reject or hate your body. Many child abuse survivors who never “split” hate or reject their bodies for a number of reasons. Some reject their bodies because their abusers harmed their bodies, which in turn led to harming the child emotionally. Others hate their bodies because they physically resemble an abusive family member’s body. Many child abuse survivors find that they can harm their bodies as a way of managing their emotions, such as cutting their pain into their bodies instead of feeling it, “stuffing down” emotions through binge eating instead of feeling them, etc.

As for how to move past this, it all comes from self-love and self-acceptance. Whether you are a multiple or “singleton,” all of your parts are “you,” so you can choose to love your body today just as you have chosen to reject your body in the past. I am not saying that this is easy — nothing about healing from child abuse is easy – but you really can “choose” your way toward loving and accepting your body.

The first step is to stop putting energy into hating your body. If you have been thinking negative thoughts about your body every day for decades, you are not going to be able to snap your fingers and simply love your body in an instant. Before you can turn the ship around, you have to start changing course.

You do this by choosing to stop beating yourself up. Whenever you feel tempted to think, “I’m fat,” or “I’m ugly,” replace that negative thought with something positive or, if you cannot do that, at least with a different thought, such as, “I wonder if the Braves won the game today.”

As you stop fueling your negative thoughts about your body (stop feeding the evil wolf), you can start throwing some morsels to your good wolf. Look for things to like about your body – your eye or hair color, etc. I now marvel that my body could endure so much punishment – first from my abusers and then from me through an eating disorder and self-injury – and still be in as good of shape as it is. Keep feeding that good wolf, and you will gradually begin to love and accept your body.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »