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Posts Tagged ‘Ritual Abuse’

For some reason, I seem to uncover more pieces of my story on Saturday nights. A friend pointed out that the ritual abuse likely happened on Saturday nights, so that might be the connection.

Last night, I knew that I had more memories to release. I was in front of the bonfire again at the 6 o’clock position, and my sister was at her usual 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock position. I realized that I have never – not in all of my flashbacks to date – seen anything at 3 o’clock. So, I forced myself to look through the darkness and saw my mother.

My adult reaction was that it made sense. My child reaction was both anger and deep grief at the betrayal. My own mother was there watching as I was gang raped, photographed, etc., and did nothing.

It gets worse…

I don’t think I have shared that my mother/abuser has always been obsessed with animals. We bought a large plot of land (well over 100 acres), and she had a ton of animals – 7 or 8 dogs, multiple cats, chickens, horses, cows, a goat, etc. The animals always came first to her. If we were low on food, a trip to the grocery store was not a priority unless and until she got low on dog food. Once she needed dog food, we knew that she would buy more food for us.

The one memory I have of the ritual abuse in which my mother did not pull me out of bed, drive me there, and then drive me home was the time they killed my dog. This was an unwanted puppy from a stray dog my mother took in who was already pregnant. The plan was to adopt out all of the puppies, but I begged to keep one puppy – H. She was my dog, and I loved her dearly. That was the dog that my abusers killed in front of me. That was the only time that S & L (my most sadistic abusers) took my sister and me camping with my dog, so they had access to us and the dog without my mother around.

The reason they wouldn’t want my mother around is that she might have intervened for the dog – the unwanted dog. She would sit there and watch (never participated) as my sister and I were gang-raped, photographed, and tortured, and do nothing. She could be trusted not to intervene for me – her own child – but could not be trusted not to intervene for an “unwanted” dog.

To the adult me, all of this is in perfect character with my mother. To the wounded child inside, I feel so amazingly betrayed and valueless in her eyes. I want to kick and scream, and I want to shed a flood of tears. Of course, hub and child are home today, so I can’t do that … so I am writing it all out here.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Fire (c) Rosanne Mooney
A fellow ritual abuse survivor contacted me with questions about “unbelievable” ritual abuse that she suffered. She was having a hard time believing that the ritual abuse happened because, from a logical standpoint, it did not seem possible.

Chrystine Oksana’s book, Safe Passage to Healing, calls this phenomenon “The Real Unreal” and “The Unreal Real.” What she means is that ritual abusers are masters at setting up the child to believe some things that did not happen while not being able to believe other things that actually did happen. To put it more colloquially, they are experts at the “mind f@#$.”

Here is an example of one of the mind f@#$’s that I endured. I am putting up a trigger warning because the incident is very disturbing. Please only read the section in triggers if you are in a good place.

+++++++++ ritual abuse triggers +++++++++

When I was around nine, the cult told me that I was going to be initiated into a higher level within the cult by killing a child. I did not want to do it, but the cult, as always, was not asking my opinion. They put me in a robe and laid a child at my feet. Her eyes were closed, as if she was sleeping.

The cult leader, who was wearing his black hooded robe as usual, stood behind me and placed a large knife in my hands. He then put his own hands around my hands so I was unable to drop the knife. He pulled my hands straight up in the air and held them there for a very long time, so long that my hands went numb.

As the cult leader held my hands up, he was making this long speech about inducting me into this new level. While I stood there, terrified and going numb, somebody shined a flashlight into my eyes the entire time so I could not see. (This was at night, so I could not see a thing.)

The cult leader finally forced my hands down hard with the knife, and I felt the knife sink into something. Lots of blood poured all over my body, much like in the climactic scene of the movie Carrie when someone poured pig’s blood all over Carrie at the prom.

++++++++ end triggers +++++++++

This was one of the few memories I recovered with another person in the room. My Reiki master “saw” the flashback along with me while I was receiving Reiki. I did not tell her about having a flashback. She just started asking me about seeing a lot of blood.

My first reaction to recovering this flashback was extremely intense, as you can imagine. I did not think I could survive having “murdered” someone. However, with lots of emotional support from the right people, I was able to see through the charade and realize that the entire episode was just one big mind f@#$.

The girl was not sleeping – she was unconscious. Unconscious people are not going to struggle, which means that there would not have been blood flying around as in a struggle. Second, even if I had hit an artery, there is no way that amount of blood would pour out of a child like that. The amount of blood involved was way over the top. Third, having a flashlight in my eyes at night would have blinded me to anything going on around me. I was relying on what I felt and what others told me was happening. And, finally, there was plenty of time to make the switch. The long speech was just to provide time to move the girl and replace her with something else – maybe a slab of meat.

She story sounds unreal, and yet the terror I felt in the aftermath was very real. If I had told anyone about the incident, the cult could have produced the child that I claimed to have “killed” and proven that I was a “liar.” Because I felt complicit in the “murder,” I was much less likely to blow the whistle on the cult. It was a win-win situation for the cult. Whether I told or did not tell, they had the power.

Ritual abusers do mind f@#$’s like this. It helps them break down the will of the child and ensures that the child never tells. Nothing is too “unreal” for ritual abusers.

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Fire (c) Rosanne Mooney
As a person who suffered from several years of ritual abuse, I take issue with including the word “satanic” in the descriptor. (Many online discussions of ritual abuse use the initials “SRA” for satanic ritual abuse.) I never refer to what I went through as “satanic ritual abuse.” As soon as you throw around the name “Satan,” you are asking for people to think that you are a nut.

I do not know why my ritual abusers did the things that they did to me. I know that they were sadistic, and I know that they were organized. However, I do not know what “creed” they were using to justify their despicable actions toward me, my sister, and the other children they harmed. Their “creed” never mattered to me. I just wanted them to stop hurting me.

However, the things they did to us are in keeping with the stuff that you hear about with satanic ritual abuse, such as meeting in a rural area after dark around a bonfire. There was blood and feces involved. There were black robes and hoods, probably because they were too cowardly to show their faces in case anyone ever testified against them. People who hide behind hoods and masks are always cowards.

I honestly do not know why they did the things that they did to me. The people who, along with my mother, brought my sister and me to be ritually abused were wealthy, and the husband was in a prestigious position in a Fortune 100 company, so one could argue that there was some sort of ladder-climbing connection there. However, most people do not feel the need to rape children in the middle of the night in order to become successful in business, so I find it hard to believe that was their motivation.

My therapist gave me the wonderful advice to stay out of my abusers’ heads. Their reasons for harming me really are irrelevant. They hurt me, and I have healed myself. That’s pretty much all that matters. It also helps for me to see them as weak people rather than powerful hooded entities that could harm me at any time. I am now an adult – they have no power over me.

I am not comfortable with including the word “satanic” in describing what I experienced because I do not know if “devil worship” was their motivation or not. The bottom line is that it really does not matter. My focus needs to be on healing myself, not on what was going on in my ritual abusers’ sick minds.

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Storm clouds (c) Lynda BernhardtThis week, I have been focusing on the topic of not fitting in, which is a feeling that often plagues child abuse survivors. This feeling is even more prominent for those of us who suffered from childhood ritual abuse.

The book Safe Passage to Healing by Chrystine Oksana does a wonderful job explaining why this is. Ritual abusers do not want the child telling anyone about the abuse. So, they isolate the child, making him feel like he will never fit in anywhere other than with the cult.

Of course, ritual abusers really do not have to make much of an effort to bring about this feeling of isolation. It is hard for the child who has been raped and tortured to find a lot in common with the average child. When my weekend was filled with being gang-raped and buried alive, there really wasn’t much common ground when talking with another ten year old about her weekend. The only ones who could understand my life were those who were living it, and they were the last people I wanted to be around (other than my sister).

I felt particularly isolated in middle school. The onset of puberty really amplified my feelings of isolation that I was already experiencing. That was when the suicidal urges started. It wasn’t that I wanted to die: I just did not want to continue living if this was what my life had to offer.

Even on message boards for abuse survivors, it can be hard for those who suffered from ritual abuse to feel like they fit in because many of their experiences are so different from those experienced by others. All abuse is bad, so I am not negating the pain that anyone suffered when being abused. It is just that survivors of ritual abuse have an added layer of stuff to work through that can cause them to feel like they don’t fit in, even around other child abuse survivors.

My favorite message board for abuse survivors took care of this by creating a forum specifically for ritual abuse survivors. Because there was so much overlap, this forum also grew to encompass anyone with dissociative identity disorder (DID), even though not every person with that diagnosis suffered from ritual abuse. This has become a tight knit community within the community because of the common experiences.

The other isolating factor is society’s widespread belief that ritual abuse does not happen. If you say that you were ritually abused, then you must be “crazy.” Well, my sister and I have both been diagnosed as “not crazy,” yet we both have the same ritual abuse memories. The stories I hear from other ritual abuse survivors have too much in common for us to make it all up. Besides, why would I make this stuff up? There have been many times that I wished it was all in my head and that I was just “crazy.” That would be much easier to live with.

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Warped Reality of the Abused Adopted Child

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Fire (c) Rosanne MooneyMany people who suffered child abuse struggle with night terrors. Unfortunately, that is my story, too. I still remember my first night terror back in college. I awoke as an anxious mess in the safety of my dorm, but I could not even cry about it without waking up my roommate. The night terror haunted me for years. To this day, I can get worked up if I think about that one.

Night terrors are different from nightmares, and you can definitely tell the difference when you have one. They occur in a different stage of sleep, making it much more difficult to pull yourself out of the dream. I have had night terrors in which I have tried to wake myself up at least seven times in the dream, only to find myself still stuck in that scary place. For me, this drives home the reality of how unsafe I was as a child.

I have had many night terrors over the years. All of my night terrors tie into the child abuse. I had another one last night, which is why I am writing about it this morning. I am still very shaken and will likely stay anxious and “off” for the rest of the day. Happy Easter, Faith. I believe that Easter is what caused the night terror. I suffered from ritual abuse as a child, and Easter is one of the days that ritual abusers desecrate through their sick ceremonies.

My night terror was all about the ritual abuse. In the dream, I was sleeping in my bed when I heard/sensed someone entering my room. I opened my eyes and saw a hooded man, and all I could see of his face was eyes glowing out of the darkness of the hood. This was the way my ritual abusers dressed (without the glowing eyes), and it scared the h@#$ out of me.

I tried to wake myself up, and I “woke up” in my dream to see sunlight shining through the blinds. I looked at the clock and saw that it said 6:00 a.m. I knew I had no chance of falling back to sleep unless I did things to comfort myself, so I got up and went to the closet. I took out a comforter and focused on feeling the material to make sure I was really awake. Then, I took out a blanket and did the same thing. I piled both on my bed and snuggled up under them. (Piling on lots of covers makes me feel safe because I always knew more abuse was coming when I felt the absence of covers on my body as a child.)

I closed my eyes to sleep and sensed the presence of more people again. I opened my eyes and panicked when I saw two hooded figures with glowing eyes coming for me. I jumped up and tried to force myself awake. I even clawed my face to make sure I would wake up. Again, sunlight was shining through the window. I looked at the clock, and it had been turned off. I banged it on my night stand several times, but it would not work. I clawed myself again and then went to the closet and removed the blankets, focusing on their feel to make sure I was awake. I laid back down to sleep.

Once again, I sensed the presence of the hooded figures, and they were there when I opened my eyes. I heard a young child and reached out to grab and protect the child from them. I said, “It’s okay, ____ (younger sister),” and the child said, “No, mom. It’s me, ___ (my son).” Before I could completely panic about protecting my son from the hooded figures, my body jolted into my son, who had climbed into my bed during the night, and I woke up for real. Fortunately, my son had his elbow aimed right at me, and my body jerking into it woke me up. Thank goodness.

The weird thing is that I did exactly what I did in my dream. I looked at the clock, which said 1:00 a.m. There was no sunlight shining through the blinds. I got out the comforter and the blanket and piled it onto my bed. I was shaken as I tried to sleep. I am still shaky this morning.

If you struggle with night terrors and have lucid dreaming (where you know that you are in a dream), try screaming. That is how I usually wind up getting myself out of the night terrors. When I scream in the night terror, I have no voice, which freaks me out. However, if I keep trying, eventually my body will make a noise, and that will be enough to pull me out.

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Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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Microscopic View (c) Lynda BernhardtMany child abuse survivors ask the question, “Which type of child abuse is the worst?” I guess child abuse survivors want to figure out where they fall in the pecking order of pain. Some might want to reassures themselves that their abuse really was that bad while others are still trying to convince themselves that it wasn’t.

I asked my therapist this question. He replied that there is no value in comparing abuses. Pain is pain, and all pain hurts. I agree with him that all abuse is bad and that even “just one time” is enough to damage a child’s spirit. However, the question still remains: Which type is worse?

As someone who has experienced most forms of abuse, I can speak intelligently to this question. Physical abuse is hard because it is physically painful, leaves your body sore as a reminder of the abuse, and is terrifying because a much larger person is manipulating your body. You have the fear of losing your life at the hands of a much larger person.

Sexual abuse is hard because the abuse moves inside of your body to a place where you thought you were protected. Sexual abuse feels as if the person is reaching inside of you to harm your spirit. Also, the body can “betray” you by responding with positive sensations as you are being harmed, causing you to question whether you have any right to complain.

Ritual abuse is hard because you are being abused by “professionals” who have a calculated plan of how to harm you. There is nothing impulsive about the things being done to you. It is hard to work through knowing that these people conspired to break you.

When I looked back over my child abuse memories, the emotional elements of all of these abuses have been the hardest for me to heal. While my body would heal from the physical abuse, the emotional scars remained. The sexual abuse left no marks anywhere except on my wounded spirit. What made the ritual abuse so bad was the emotional element: That is where my ritual abusers put their greatest focus.

So, my answer to the question, “Which type of child abuse is the worst?” would be emotional abuse, and emotional abuse is present in all forms of abuse. This brings us back to what my therapist said when I asked him this question: All abuse is bad.

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Emotional Abuse category

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Fire (c) Rosanne MooneyMany people who suffered ritual abuse were “programmed” to self-destruct if they ever revealed their abusers’ secrets. While people who never suffered from ritual abuse might believe this sounds like a bad plot in a science fiction movie, numerous survivors of childhood ritual abuse share the same story.

When somebody’s behavior arises out of programming, that behavior feels compulsive and seems to come out of left field. For example, when I was a teenager, I struggled with deep depression and contemplated suicide. I thought about the various ways to die, and I settled upon swallowing a jar of pills to be my “method of choice.” I fought off and overcame my suicidal urges in high school and never revisited that deep dark place.

In my mid-thirties, I entered into therapy after I began having flashbacks. As the flashbacks moved from “regular” abuse to ritual abuse, I suddenly started having strong urges to slash my wrists with a knife. When these thoughts would come into my head, I would “think” the phrase, “Watch the lifeblood flow out of me.” I came to realize that this was programming. At no point did I ever “choose” the method of suicide through using a knife: This was chosen for me.

I also experienced programming in self-injury, and I later recovered the memory of the programming. As a teenager, my father died suddenly, and my mother began abusing me again. I never self-injured. I endured years of fertility treatments in which I desperately wanted to become pregnant. Despite very heavy emotions, I never self-injured. It never even crossed my mind to do so. I never self-injured as I recovered memories of my mother’s abuse or abuse by several other abusers.

As soon as I started to recover memories of the ritual abuse, I had very strong compulsions to bang my head rhythmically against a brick wall. It wasn’t just any brick wall but a specific one with mortar than was not smoothed out. I resisted the urge to bang my head into walls and forced myself to use a pillow, but I was powerless to stop the compulsions. When they hit, I had a very short window to reach a pillow.

Chrystine Oksana’s book Safe Passage to Healing is a wonderful resource for anyone who has suffered from ritual abuse. In this book, she talks about ritual abuse programming and how to dismantle it. The good news is that, because programming is “foreign,” it is much easier to dismantle than many of the negative feelings that a person develops in reaction to the abuse. One of the biggest hurdles is recognizing the programming for what it is.

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