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Posts Tagged ‘terror’

I had another night of nightmares with the central theme being sheer terror. Oh, joy! I had to sleep with the New Age music station tuned to my television in order to go back to sleep each time. The music helped me calm back down and relax after each time I jerked awake in terror.

I am not sure how figurative or literal the dreams are because they involve horses, which is not something I typically dream about. It could be figurative because any mode of transportation represents how in control you feel about your life. I used to dream about trains a lot (no control over where you are going). As I have healed, I have moved to cars. I do not recall ever dreaming of using horses as transportation. It could be literal because my mother/abuser had horses throughout my childhood.

There was a part of the dream that definitely represented my mother. In my dream, I scanned over a city that has significance in representing my mother.

As for the horses … One dream was particularly terrifying. I was riding a horse and ran into a “bad guy” who approached me on foot in a cavalier manner to harm me. He very clearly was going to take what he wanted, and even being on horseback was not going to rescue me. He pulled out a gun before I woke up with my heart racing and adrenaline pumping hard.

That is the part that has me confused. All of my flashbacks of childhood abuse involve someone I knew or being handed over to a stranger by someone I knew. I have not recovered memories of a complete stranger coming upon me by chance and harming me. However, this does play out in my dreams sometimes, as it did in this dream. That adds a whole new level of terror because, if the person did not know me or my family, what would stop him from doing whatever he wanted, even killing me?

As I write this, it occurs to me that some of you who suffered from ritual abuse have shared about cult “set ups,” so perhaps I was set up to be harmed by a member of the cult that I did not know to create this additional form of terror?

However, it could be a figurative representation of the first time my mother harmed me. She could have seemed like “a stranger” because hurting me was “strange” up until that point. I simply don’t know.

On another note, the eating has not been “effortless” as it was last week. Whatever memories I am dealing with have triggered the urge to compulsively overeat, but I find no satisfaction from the anxiety if I start to nudge that direction. I am hoping to disconnect the two in my head and recognize the urge to binge eat as a symptom of more pain to be healed. I keep hoping that, at some point, I will have worked through all of the big stuff and will no longer be slammed like this any longer. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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Writing the blog entries about ritual abuse this week has been hard. I have a major headache right now, and I have been feeling triggered as I worked through the topics this week. The worst part is the terror – the deep-seated fear that I am going to be “punished” for breaking the silence of the cult.

Ritual abuse and terror go hand-in-hand. I suffered from many forms of abuse at the hands of many people, but none of the forms of abuse is coupled with the same level of sheer terror that I felt from the ritual abuse.

I am not worried about the cult members coming after me. For one, I have been very careful to shield my off-line identity. Also, this abuse happened back in the 1970’s, so most of my ritual abusers are either very old or dead at this point. I have not been in touch with any of my ritual abusers in decades. Also, I am not providing any identifying information, so they are safe from any sort of punishment for their actions at this point.

Instead, it is an internally-generated terror that bothers me. The terror comes with feeling very cold. In fact, whenever I have nightmares involving the cult, I have to pile blankets on top of myself in order to fall back to sleep, even in the middle of summer. The coldness permeates my bones and reaches down to the very core of myself.

Whenever I think about the ritual abuse (which is not very often), I remember the icy coldness. The abuse always happened outdoors in the middle of the night, so I was cold from that. But it was the coldness in the ritual abusers’ eyes that really froze me. It was like they were not human. It felt very much like how Harry Potter describes the dementors in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was as if the ritual abuse tried to suck the life out of me.

However, they did not succeed, and I am very proud of that. They had all of the power, and yet they still could not control one little girl. No matter how hard they tried, they could not succeed in breaking the will of one little girl. I never became like them, and I never will. Their actions have affected every single area of my life, but they could not turn me into one of them. I can live with the terror, so long as I know that I am my own person. I have the power to make my own choices. They never controlled me, and they never will.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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