Posts Tagged ‘internalized messages’

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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On my blog entry entitled Traveling the Child Abuse Healing Journey Together, a reader posted the following comment:

I’ve wondered if you experience repeated messages in your spirit – mine have told me to die over and over. Some time ago I read about being brain-washed by ritual abusers primarily to prevent telling. I recognize some of this in my past experiences but it befuddles me that messages may still exist. Lately I have spoken to my brain quite forthrightly trying to “change” the messages and it has worked to a slight degree. I wake up without fail around three AM each morning. Lately I’ve been telling myself that is not necessary and direct my brain to sleep through the night. I’m curious if you suffer from such messages. And if these messages become more dominant during these ritual abuse “holidays.” ~ Esther

Yes, I have struggling with dismantling quite a bit of “programming” or “brain-washing” – whatever you want to call it. And, yes, the programming tends to kick in at certain times, particularly when I feel unsafe, such as around occult holidays.

For example, I was suicidal as a teenager. I used to think about how I wanted to die, and I settled upon swallowing a jar of pills – just go to sleep and never wake up. My father (the “good” parent) died suddenly when I was a senior in high school, and my mother started sexually abusing me again. I became suicidal again. However, this time, I knew exactly how to do it (and almost did!).

I locked myself in my mother’s bathroom (ah, the symbolism) with a razor. I wanted to “slash my wrists” and “watch the lifeblood flow out of me.” How many seventeen-year-old girls have any idea what “lifeblood” is? There was no choice or decision. This was “programmed” into me – to self-destruct to “protect” the cult.

I was also “programmed” to self-injure through head-banging. I endured numerous difficult life experiences – child abuse, losing my father, infertility procedures, the adoption process – and yet I never self-injured other than one isolated incident when I clawed up my arm … but that’s another story. I even went through a year of therapy – dealing with heavy issues surrounding mother-daughter sexual abuse, etc. – with no self-injury.

As soon as I started to recover memories of the ritual abuse, I started banging my head. I forced myself to use a pillow, but I was “programmed” to bang my head into a wall – not just any wall but a particular brick wall. I can still see it in my head – it was sloppily put together with the mortar in blobs of dried cement. When that part of myself is triggered, I “need” to bang my head into that wall.

This blog entry is getting long, so I will wait until tomorrow to talk about what Chrystine Oksana has to say about programming in her book, Safe Passage to Healing.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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