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Posts Tagged ‘dismantling programming’

I only trust two people on this planet enough to let them read momster’s last letter to me – my best friend and my therapist. I trust them both with my life and know that neither would use anything in momster’s letter to try to influence or hurt me. After I realized that my intense triggering came from that letter, I sealed it in an envelope and gave it to my best friend to read. She is going to hand-deliver the letter to my therapist since she will see him before I will. That way, my therapist and I can hit the ground running talking through it when I see him.

I handed her the sealed envelope at a park, and I ran an errand with my kid before meeting up with her at her house, which gave her time to skim through the letter quickly. The look on her face when she opened the door was scary – she looked like her mind had just been blown. She said we needed to talk privately away from the kids.

She talked me through what was in the letter (parts of which I did not remember – presumably from being so triggered when I read it), being very careful to speak in generalities and spoon feed me with enough information to validate that this letter was EXTREMELY triggering. Knowing my history, she would have expected me to be very triggered and VERY ANGRY at so many words (well over 30) that directly reference triggers from childhood, such as “kill,” “dog,” “pants,” and “chain,” and she noted that some of the words (such as dog) did not fit within the context of the paragraph. She said that the absolute last reaction she would expect from me – or anyone – reading the letter would be “peace” and a desire to connect with the author because it was “f#$%ed up” (she rarely uses profanity) and the most disturbing letter she has ever read.

*** possible ritual abuse triggers ***

She said there was a recurring theme throughout it of mothers and children returning to each other, but it also had a story about different types of cows and how the mother cow will kill her calf if the calf is not removed, so the calf is placed with a herd of a different type of cow to raise. It also had lines from an inappropriate skit involving a man taking the pants off a woman and being the “boss” of the “little girl.” This was right before the directive for me to email her, which I felt a strong compulsion to do after reading the letter.

*** end possible ritual abuse triggers ***

The most disturbing thing is that these are the only parts she felt were safe enough to talk with me about. She wants my therapist to read the letter and offer his own thoughts. She could tell how triggered I got about the cow part and said no more, which I think was the right call. She wanted to walk the fine line between validating that my getting triggered by the letter was completely understandable and that my feeling peaceful after reading it was not “normal” while also being careful not to tell me enough to trigger me again.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I talked to my sister about momster’s letter and made her promise to talk with her therapist about it. Her reaction (and she says her therapist’s reaction) is that I am overreacting to the contact because I am fighting processing momster’s mortality. Momster has had three surgeries in the last couple of months, and they believe that I am fighting facing the reality that momster could die before I work through my issues with her.

My reaction is that this is complete BS and so far off the mark that I couldn’t see it with a telescope. I do not have unresolved feelings toward momster. She “died” to me in 2003 when I recovered the memories of the mother-daughter sexual abuse, and the only reason there is any sliver of connection between momster and me is because we are both still in my sister’s life. The only information I receive about momster’s health, etc., is through my sister, and I endured three months of internal emotional hell before and after seeing momster at my sister’s graduation in 2009, not because of unresolved feelings toward momster but because my love for my sister was stronger than my very strong repulsion at the thought of seeing momster.

I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in therapy working through my feelings toward momster in 2003-2006. I recognized that while I grieved the loss of having a mother, I was not grieving the loss of HER as a mother because she did not offer motherhood to me. She was something I endured and survived by the skin of my teeth. I have no unresolved issues with her because I resolved them quite well through years of therapy. If my sister was not in my life, all connection with momster would be 100% severed, which would be a relief. I endure the limited information about momster because of my love for my sister—I do not keep a relationship with my sister for the purpose of maintaining a connection with momster. I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this topic.

My sister and her therapist strongly encouraged me to talk with my therapist about all of this, which I have already done through an email. He has not been able to see me yet because of family medical health issues, but he is aware of all that is going on and wants to meet when he can focus on my stuff so we can process everything.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Believe it or not, I wrote all of the blog entries over the last two weeks in one long sitting. This is part of my process of addressing priority #1 – dismantling the programming. My head is killing me, my reflux is acting up, and I feel anxiety running through my thighs (where I “hold” my terror). Despite all of this, I have already written and pre-published nine blog entries to roll out over the next two weeks shouting my story from the rooftops. I will NOT be held hostage to cult programming.

I wrote all of these blog entries (including this one) on Saturday, 7/28, which means I have only been aware of the programming for fewer than 72 hours. I am not yet ready to address priority #3, which is talking with my sister about all of this, but I know that has to be on the to-do list. I am hoping to talk with her before all of this publishes. However, if I can’t, then I guess I run the risk of her reading about it first. If that happens, I will deal with it. I need to put on my own oxygen mask before I can deal with someone else’s.

I do not believe my sister is complicit in any of my mother’s programming efforts. She has been too faithful in too many ways for me to question her loyalty to me. Nevertheless, if I am vulnerable to such an “attack,” then my sister likely is as well, so I do believe I need to let her know what is going on with me so she can have a “heads up” to protect herself, doubly so since both she and her children continue to remain in contact with momster.

Making my sister aware of what has been going on with me has the potential of rocking her world, and the timing isn’t great in light of what is going on in her life right now. She reacts to things differently than I do, though, so it might just be a blip for her. Who knows?

Regardless of her reaction, I need to let her know that momster is dead to me – as well as her family – and why. I don’t want any messages passed through my sister from momster: I want all connections between momster and me severed. My sister will need to know this. She has always been respectful of my boundaries re: momster, and I do not expect anything different in this situation. I just cannot focus on this aspect right now because I am so overwhelmed in dealing with the other two areas of healing, which need to come first.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I really wanted to take Thursday off, but I had to work to make up for the sick day on Tuesday, so I toughed it out. I work from home and by the job, not the hour, so I was able to work in a 90-minute nap. I slept like the dead. I continued the inner dialogue of being loved and safe.

I was calmer on Thursday since I understood what was going on. I went back and forth slightly about whether my theory was right or not, but I chose not to question it for the following reasons:

  1. This answer came to me immediately after prayer, and I trust my faith. I had not remotely considered this possibility before that light bulb moment.
  2. This piece of the puzzle makes sense out of the last seven months of my life. Before that puzzle piece, nothing was making sense.
  3. After this realization, a large, wounded alter part emerged. I don’t think that is coincidence.
  4. The steps I am taking in reaction to this theory are resulting in healing, not further emotional damage.

Since there wasn’t much more I could do about priority #1 (that is going to take time and lots of self-love and acceptance), I moved on to priority #2 – accepting the reality that momster continues to be a threat. She is both mentally ill and of below average intelligence, so I have underestimated her – a mistake I will not make again.

The bottom line is that she knew the combination to the safe in my head to unleash the programming in this alter part. I can only see two explanations for this: either she was in on the programming when it was done to me as a child, or she is in current contact with ritual abusers who gave her the combination. (It is also possible that both are true.)

I am angry that momster is still trying to f@#$ with my head, and I will give her no further opportunity to do so. I will throw away any further letters that she sends me and tell a safe local friend about it. I am also cutting all contact with her and well as members of her side of the family. (I currently exchange Christmas cards with her sister and a couple of cousins on that side of the family.)

The good news is that this attack has removed the conflict that I have wrestled with for so long. Momster is not some innocent child abuse victim who is so broken she does not remember what she has done. She is not some wounded person that I am hurting by staying out of her life. She was a co-conspirator in trying to break me as a child, and she continues to use their tools to try to break me as an adult. I am 100% DONE with her, and it feels good to have the internal conflict resolved.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and all the puzzle pieces fell into place. My mother’s letters triggered this reaction in me. She had activated programming to return to her (and presumably the cult), but the healthy part of myself was resisting the pull, putting me into internal conflict that had been battling it out for months. That’s why I haven’t been able to sleep, why I overreacted and felt out of control, why I had reflux all year (I booked the flight to my sister’s graduation, where I thought I would see my mother, on January 6 and was incapacitated by reflux within two weeks.)

For the first time in a while, I felt sane. All of my actions and reactions had seemed so illogical all year, and THIS made sense. I was having a very logical reaction to defying the programming. My subconscious viewed the broken foot as punishment for my defiance as well as “breaking” the child, and the timing of my mother’s card arriving the day before receiving this news sealed the connection in my head. (Yes, I know logically that the broken foot has no connection to the letters, but the traumatized alter part believed this to be true.)

I immediately called my friend, and she said it all makes sense. She said that X, Y, and Z had seemed “weird” to her but that this explanation addressed all of what she had seen as “off.” She also said that even though she has never met my mother, she really hates her for doing this to me.

I did not have alone time to begin processing all of this until Wednesday evening. I identified three areas I need to address in priority order:

  1. Dismantle the programming by healing the wounded/traumatized part of myself that was programmed.
  2. Process the reality that my mother continues to be a threat.
  3. Address what is going on with my sister.

I only had the energy to begin focusing on the first priority as I laid down to sleep. I have always processed healing alter parts as I lay in my bed at night. I invited that part to come out and took the same steps that I also do to heal alter parts, only I was much more thorough since this part is so much more wounded.

I repeated ~ 100 times, “I love you. You are safe. I am sorry they hurt you.” I did deep breathing as I did this. I told this part that I WILL NOT OBEY the programming but that the part did not have to be afraid – I will keep her safe. Obedience to the programming will not keep her safe, but being loved and accepted by me will. I could feel the alter part tentatively trying to integrate.

More tomorrow….

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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My friend was worried about me because I sounded so “off” on the phone that she came by unannounced, and I almost didn’t let her in. She has only done that once before, and that was when an alter part had been triggered, and my son called my friend because he didn’t know what to do about his mother shaking and crying asking him not to hurt her.

She came over on Tuesday with her 11-year-old son, and both of them were shocked by my appearance. They said I was not myself. My friend said that I even “looked different” – it was like I was not there. My body was, but I was not. I thought she stayed for about 10 minutes, but she says she was there an hour and that I talked the whole time. She said I looked better when she left – not good, but better.

When I picked up my son from tutoring, I told the tutor that I was upset about my son’s foot, and she said, “I can tell because you don’t look like yourself.” Again, not I did not SOUND like myself or ACT like myself but LOOK like myself.

I was “off” and “not me” all day. I felt defeated and anxious. I could not handle my life, and everything was out of control. I had reached a breaking point.

However, something snapped back into place that evening after dinner, and I felt better – not good, but better. I thought about the day and decided to celebrate the victories – I did not consider suicide. I had a fleeting thought of self-injury but quickly dismissed it. I did not binge eat. I did choose to eat a snack as a tool to help calm me down but not in a “stuff it down” kind of way. I had not been triggered that badly in a very long time, and I got through it without being self-destructive. In fact, I had taken steps of self-care, such as calling a friend and taking a day off work to get my head together.

The next day (Wednesday), I awoke tired from insomnia but otherwise in an OK place. I got through my work and was holding my own until my best friend called to check on me. That was when she told me about the day before (not looking like myself, etc.), and she made a well-meaning comment about overreaction to the foot being broken (she was very diplomatic). This triggered a less intense emotional reaction that I AM NOT OVERREACTING and that EVERYTHING IS OUT OF CONTROL.

As I drove to pick up my kid from camp, I decided to pray and ask what the f@#$ is going on with me. I said that I have no idea why I am this “crazy” right now, but G*d does know. Please reveal to me what’s going on with me so I can heal it.

Immediately, I “saw” my mother’s letter, and I had the sickening awareness in the pit of my stomach – she did this.

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I stayed in this place of limbo over the summer. A horse stepped on my kid’s foot and broke it (at this point, I thought it was only sprained because the fracture did not show up on the initial X-ray), so I had bigger issues to deal with than writing momster back. I would occasionally think about the letter during the day but then decide I’ll deal with it later – I had too much else going on in my life to worry about writing momster back. I also lost the desire to send her my email address as the weeks passed.

My family went away for a week on the trip from h@#$ (another story for another time), and it took all of my endurance to survive the week emotionally. You also know from the topics I have been blogging about that I have been reevaluating many areas of my life, including my marriage … which just hit me – My husband was my safety net away from momster. I am not sure it is coincidence that I am reevaluating my marriage at a time that I was also feeling a pull to reconnect with momster. That’s not to say that the issues in my marriage are not valid, but the timing seems suspect.

I had to sort through a week’s worth of mail on Monday, 7/23. I saw the return address of a card from momster, and I wigged out. I thought that was a weird response because the last two letters were so peaceful. I was surprised that I would go back to my old reaction rather than a continued peacefulness from the contact. I wasn’t sure what that meant. The card was actually for another family member, not me, so I set it aside.

The next morning, I took my son to the orthopedist and learned that his foot was, in fact, broken. After I got him to camp, I came COMPLETELY UNGLUED. I have not been that out of control emotionally in a long time. I called my closest friend to tell her about the foot, and she thought I was just majorly overreacting to the news. I kept thinking that I am NOT OVERREACTING and that she doesn’t get it. I knew I could not handle my life any longer and shut down. I called in sick to work and just laid down. I felt like I had fought the good fight but that it was hopeless (even though I did not know what “it” was).

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Soon after this trip, I received a letter from momster. My reaction to seeing the envelope in the mailbox was very different from any reaction I have ever had – I was not bothered by it at all. I remembered my positive experience in reading the last letter and thought that I don’t need anyone else to screen it for me this time. I must be healing enough that momster no longer has the power to trigger me. It’s OK that she wrote me. I’ll just read it.

This letter was again very different from prior letters, and I felt so peaceful reading it. I noted where she referred to herself as an elderly woman who needs to keep her mind active. I thought that if she was smart enough and a manipulative person, that comment would have been the perfect thing to say because I saw that she is no longer a threat. I could see her as this safe, old woman who could no longer hurt me. She is no longer a threat. I don’t need to stay away from her.

I wasn’t even bothered by her asking me for my email address so we could stay in touch through email. I thought, “I could do that,” and wanted to email her immediately as well as write her back. However, I did not. I thought that this was such a 180 in my reaction to momster – there is no rush in taking action. Let me sit on it. If I still want to send her my email address or a letter, I can do it in a week or two. She has waited over nine years for a reconciliation. I don’t have to do it today.

I don’t have the dates written down, but the timing is consistent with when the insomnia started. Out of seemingly nowhere, I could not fall asleep. I would awaken in the middle of the night with my heart pounding, and I could not get back to sleep. I took various sleep aids that have always worked (at least some of the time) to no avail. I used my many tools for combatting insomnia, but nothing has worked. This has been a sleepless summer for me.

Another very important point – this letter was my secret. I felt very strongly that I wanted to reconnect with momster and did not want anyone else talking me out of it because they would not understand. So, I told NO ONE. I did not blog about it, and I did not tell my closest friends. I did not mention the letter to ANYONE until I told a friend while we were across the country, and it was a “by the way” light mention along with me believing my different reaction was a sign of healing. I was in tears when I got back to my hometown. I thought it was for a different reason. Now I wonder if it was because I “told” about the letter.

More next week…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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In early June, my sister and I took our kids to the beach for a long weekend. While we were together, we talked about momster. My sister has chosen to maintain contact with momster. She says this is how she stays true to herself – she does not believe that a mother should EVER be shut out by her child no matter what she has done. My sister also sees staying in contact as being compassionate – that nobody deserves to be alone.

My sister says she respects and understands my position with momster, and she does not ever pressure me to change my position. She also takes on a lot of responsibility with momster that could cause her to resent me (by my choice not to do it), but she does not seem to hold this against me. As an example, momster has had two surgeries in the past month with a third on the way, and my sister, as next of kin, keeps driving five hours each way to be at the hospital during the surgeries.

My sister does not tell my mother when she and I are seeing each other. Her children love their grandmother (although they get that she is “crazy”) while their cousin (my son) does not know her, and my son has told them that I won’t let him see her because she is mentally ill. My sister’s life would be less complicated if I could tolerate being around momster.

In the course of our conversations, I told my sister I thought it was weird that momster did not seem to be triggering me much anymore. I had received a letter that was pleasant and did not trigger me, and I would have been OK if she had shown up at the graduation. My sister said that I need to remember that I have done a lot of healing work since I last saw momster and that I am not the same person now that I was then. I might not need to keep my distance any longer.

A part of myself has always been in conflict over the separation from momster. Momster is clearly mentally ill and of below average intelligence, and it hurts me to know that I hurt and embarrass her by refusing to have contact with her. If she truly does not know the reason I have cut off contact (at a conscious level – I know that she knows subconsciously), I hate that I am hurting her, but I have to protect myself first.

I have also had various people who I respect tell me that being able to heal myself enough to put this all behind me and then help heal my abuser is a higher calling. My abuser, just like me, was an abused child and knows similar pain. I thought that perhaps I was reaching this place of healing myself enough to then help heal her. Perhaps that was why I felt this pull to consider reconnecting with momster. For some reason, I did not want to discuss that I was mulling this over on the blog or with any of my friends.

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I do not blame my friend for not knowing that the letter was encoded with programming. She has no history of ritual abuse, and the wording that was woven in seemed innocuous. I saw no red flags at the time. However, in retrospect, I recognize that programming was included in the letter based upon my reaction to it.

My first reaction was that the letter was different because it stayed within the boundaries I set, which rarely happens. I told momster that if she wanted to maintain contact with me, she must contact me no more frequently than once a month, must not address anything in the past, and may not talk about increasing contact. Her letter complied with all of the above.

That’s not the red flag, though. For 9-1/2 years, my reaction to reading a letter from momster is to get triggered. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach and generally feel “off” for days. I blog about it to work through my triggers, and I talk about it with my friends to help me process the triggers, and they tell me AGAIN that I don’t have to read the letters.

My reaction to this letter was very different. I noticed that the letter was different from the others but could not pinpoint why (beyond staying within the boundaries). I felt peaceful and “good” about it. I did not get triggered by it, and I did not blog or tell anyone about it. Only the one friend who screened the letter even knew I had received it.

I noticed my different reaction but never suspected that programming was being uncorked. I thought this was a sign of my degree of healing. I thought about how I had been adamant that I would not see my mother again after what I went through when I saw her at my sister’s college graduation, but then I had an about-face in January, decided to attend my sister’s graduation for her master’s degree (even though my mother planned to attend), and thought I had just had this big leap in healing.

Now that I write this, I wonder if the programming activation started before January because I did not really think through seeing my mother at the graduation. I just decided impulsively that I was OK with it – and even hoped she would be there – and bought plane tickets after saying for 2-1/2 years that I would not put myself through that again. This would have been right after Christmas, and she did send me a letter at Christmas, so the process might have even started sooner. (Side note – My sister is earning two master’s degrees and wound up completing one before the other. So, I went to the first graduation and momster will go to the second – sister did not tell momster I was coming to the first graduation.) That could explain why I have been battling reflux all year – My first bout of reflux coincides with me buying the plane tickets to my sister’s graduation. Interesting…

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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