Blog

Understanding Frozen

My therapist seems to think my mind is coming unhinged because I am unable to sit with the idea of how little control I had over all the abuse that happened to me and others during my early childhood.

I admit, logically, the sense of responsibility I have for me and others getting abused doesn’t make sense.

My mind has taken a sharp turn into the land of everything was under my control, and I should have some how stopped it all.

I know the problem lies in that I am taking my adult brain back in time to look at these horrific events as if they are happening now.

My adult brain feels like it is all my fault. Everything.

I don’t know how I got to this place, but I am here.

Just last week I knew these things were not my fault. Today, my brain doesn’t comprehend that belief.

Today, I found myself telling my therapist she just doesn’t understand. Because there were no boundaries between anyone in my family, what was done by my family members is my fault because we share the same blood. I am at least equally guilty for sharing their blood.

I guess it stems back to that old notion of evil. If my family was evil, so must I be.

Regardless, my mind won’t allow me to believe it was not my fault. The atrocities I witnessed, my fault because I froze and did nothing as a child.

I don’t always save myself as an adult, but I do save others. I am that person you can count on. I am that person who will stop a bullet coming at you. I am that person you want in the fox hole with you.

How did I become the adult version of me after growing up frozen in the face of danger?

Frozen. That awful word from my childhood that plagues my being as I wrestle with my past.

I should stop trying to be logical about all this, I suppose.

My silence about cults

Screen-Shot-2014-03-17-at-2.04.53-PM

I come out today as a cult survivor in the hopes of being one more person to speak truth to the unimaginable trauma caused by these cults. It is a very scary thing for me to do as I have been taught my whole life to keep this secret, or risk death.

I have always known I have cult experiences in my background, but I chose not to mention it to people because I did not want to get dismissed as “crazy” because I have seen how people react to this topic.

I have two cult experiences in my background, and in some ways they were related. Both of my cult experiences revolve around an extremely twisted Christianity.

cult2

I was raised in what I call The Community. If it had another name, I wasn’t aware of it. The Community involved sexual abuse, sex trafficking, money, drugs, mind control, pedophilia based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, sadism, ceremonies, and what is now an extremely powerful church in the world.

The Community is something I am still reluctant to talk about openly, even though many of its members are dead or elderly. They were, and quite possibly still, very powerful.

The Community morphed from nothing into an extremely powerful church, which scares me in that I would imagine the current church stewards would go to any lengths to protect it, and not allow its beginnings to be public. I don’t disclose the church name out of fear.

Growing up, I lived in a Middle Class neighborhood that only as an adult did I realize was out of the ordinary or peculiar.

My neighborhood was unusual in that all of our family friends (other Community members) were both tied to the beginning of a church, and the children were involved in all types of sexual behavior from a very young age.

They raised us to be extremely obedient, and to not discuss what went on in our community to those outside. In fact, we didn’t discuss it in Community either. We just did what we were told.

As a very young child, I was told by my mother to show up at different places in the Community. Sometimes this involved meeting men who were considered prominent members of the greater community, but they all had ties back to the church.

When I met these men at their places of work, homes, or in a specific meeting place that was designated for these pickups, I was expected to do whatever these men wanted without complaint or any type of resistance. It was through these experiences, I learned my value to my family and the Community was sexual.

Obedience was life or death, so I complied and died a little inside with each occurrence.

One especially sick member of our Community was involved in the mind control piece. He would lock us in a little room for hours and scream at us in the name of Jesus Christ, and no response from us was the right answer to get him to stop. He always finished by telling us because we had not accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, we were going to Hell. Then he would sexually abuse us while talking in a whisper to Jesus.

My grandmother was a big player in this church. She gave a lot of her time and money to it. It was all she had since her husband was abusive to her.

My parents would periodically leave me at my grandmother’s house, and I always feared they wouldn’t come back for me.

My grandmother had very rigid religious beliefs. Her house was spotless, and there was no room for a normal child in that environment. She had very strict rituals about how meals were to be eaten, and no amount of crying would change the rules. When she bathed you, she scrubbed your skin in the most painful way to clean all dirt and sin from your body.

Still, my grandmother’s house was less abusive than what I experienced at home.

From time-to-time, a well known cult called The Way International (you can Google them or find them on Facebook) would come to town and my grandmother would give me to them. I would ride in the back of a station wagon with other kids I did not know to the bonfire in the woods where other Way members were gathered.

These Way members were all fairly young, mostly in their early 20s. At these gatherings, the Way members would drug us, and teach us about our destinies as children who were chosen to sacrifice themselves in the way Jesus did. They also would talk of bloodletting as a practice to show our allegiance to God. After our religious teachings, the Way members would take turns having sex with us.

Some would say this is fantasy, and that’s ok. I don’t need anyone to believe me at this point in my life. I live with the scars, and have no interest except to try to heal from this.

Part of my point of this writing is to express that the work of the Devil can also be done through those who believe they are practicing Christianity.

In my cult experiences, the only time Satan was brought into the picture was to teach me if I did not embrace these Christian teachings, then Satan would be waiting for me.

When your foundation in life comes from this type of disturbing beginning, you don’t escape unscathed. Your mind is damaged almost beyond repair, and for me, this beginning was partially responsible for my development of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

This is not simply religious extremism. This is a perfect example of how children are subjected to organized abuse.

As much as I would like to believe these people and groups don’t exist, they do. My memories are clear, and always have been.

Unfortunately, every single child I know from this Community suffers from mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Many of us may have physically escaped a cult, but find we can never seem to outrun the cult indoctrination completely. It lingers in our minds and comes out at certain times of the year and through certain triggers we may not even understand.

The mind control programming that goes with cults is extremely challenging to overcome, and with so many people skeptical of the cult concept to begin with, there are very few people in the world who even know how to help people who have received this type of programming.

I would like to say I am in a place where the programming and fear from the cults no longer affects me. Unfortunately, I still have parts of me who believe in these teachings, and when I try to talk with my therapist about these experiences, sometimes my brain takes off like a rocket into paranoia and dangerous false beliefs.

Parenting with Dissociative Identity Disorder

I am blessed to have two amazing children, ages 6 and 12. My spouse and I adopted both of my children at birth through open adoption (when the birth parents choose who they want to adopt their baby).

Both of my children are happy, healthy, and smart kids. My life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t have them in it.

Neither of my children know their mom has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The older child does know that I sometimes gets depressed, and that some bad stuff happened to me when I was a child, which is why I am so protective of her.

If you have seen the television show “United States of Tara,” my life is nothing like that. My parts do not freely and recklessly interact with my children, and there is a reason for that. That show makes me cringe from a parenting perspective, though I know other people with DID disagree with me about it.

Every person with DID has what we would call a system of parts (or some might call them alters or alternate personalities), and every person with DID has a very different system at varying levels of recovery, functioning, and beliefs about the world and how they fit into it. This writing is only about me and my parenting beliefs and choices.

I have been diagnosed with this disorder for 28 years, and I have made incredible progress in creating a system that is less chaotic and more cooperative than when I was first diagnosed.

My system is less chaotic in that I do not switch to another part without any control or knowledge of what is happening. Usually, I switch under extreme stress/triggers, or when in therapy to work on trauma my parts have experienced. I can control which parts of myself are out with my children through the internal cooperation we have with each other in our system.

I also have co-consciousness, which means I am aware of what is happening when another part is out. I may not have control over what the part is saying or doing, but I do know what is happening. Not everyone with DID is lucky enough to have this ability, and I didn’t when I was first diagnosed.

My system is cooperative in that everyone in it knows there are certain rules in place when it comes to the outside children. For starters, we don’t let our outside children see any of the many inside children that live in this body. I knew this would be confusing to my children, so I made this rule early on.

As someone who was terribly abused as a child, it is extremely important to give my children the stable and loving life I never had. And every part inside of me agrees with this goal.

I don’t want to give you the idea that my life is a bed of roses and has no affect on my children. My level of functioning fluctuates, especially more so over the last 3 years. I was out of therapy for many years until a series of traumatic events happened to me, which unfortunately destabilized my DID quite a bit.

I experienced a Major Depressive episode about 1 1/2 years ago, and as a result I spent the better part of 17 months in my bed unless I absolutely had to be at an appointment or one of the functions for my kids. My kids noticed this change, and we talked about it with them giving them limited, and age appropriate detail. We also had the ability to have both of the kids in therapy to deal with any anxiety or other feelings they had about it.

My children have experienced me leaving for weeks at a time when my DID, PTSD, and Depression became too severe and I went to a treatment facility. This caused them a lot of anxiety as they worried whether I was going to go away again because I had to do it several times over the last three years.

My children aren’t aware that I have suicidal thoughts on a very frequent basis. My system of parts who often argue that suicide is the best way out of the pain we experience, will not make a suicide attempt when they are reminded how much this would hurt our outside children.

There was a time over the past 3 years when the intensity of my pain and psychological distress was so great that I did self-harm by cutting into my arm in hidden places. My oldest child accidentally caught a glimpse of a scar on my arm that had the initials of someone who hurt me. I lied about it and told her it was a scar from something else, and she never brought it up again, and my system made the rule that we would never self-harm again in that way. So far, we haven’t.

I go to therapy three times a week to work on the trauma I experienced as a child. Some days I feel the feelings I dissociated as a child, and they are awful, so sometimes the best thing for me to do after therapy is to go to bed to take care of myself.

Some days my PTSD gets triggered so severely I can’t function. This can cause younger parts of myself to be “out” in the body. This is when my spouse and I have to work together closely as a team.

Noises are a major trigger for me when my PTSD is activated. Having two young children doesn’t equal a quiet household. My spouse is really good at trying to shield me from their noise when this happens. Fortunately, my PTSD doesn’t happen to this degree often.

I do have other parts who interact with the children. These are parts of me who are adult, and who most people wouldn’t detect as different, and would just chock it up to me being in a different mood.

Sadly, I have parts of me who don’t claim any relationship or interest in the kids. They stay far away from the kids, and usually don’t pay much attention to what is going on with them. By far away, I mean they don’t come out for anything that has to do with the children.

In some ways, my children are better off because they have me as a parent. They get a super caring parent who understands things from many different perspectives. They also get someone who will fight for them like nobody’s business, and teaches them to fight for other, less fortunate people in this world. They have a strong sense of justice.

I do realize one day I will have to decide whether to tell them my story, and this huge piece of my life as someone with DID. I imagine when they get older I will tell them my story, but it will be super hard for them because they will learn some horrible things about people they love, and would never dream are capable of such horrendous things. That is a challenge for another day.

Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world. I didn’t get to pick my parents, and they caused me great harm. My children didn’t get to choose us as parents, and I hope they will always feel grateful for the love and kindness we have given them as parents.

I believe loving your children unconditionally, and all the time, is the best recipe for happy, healthy kids despite what other issues are part of the picture.

Pounding my PTSD head

Agonizing torture. This is what I experienced today in the name of medical care.

I had a special MRI today, one that would show more advanced pictures of my spine.

I have had MRIs before, and the closed ones are always difficult for me to make it all the way through. But, I manage, somehow.

Today’s MRI was different. They asked me if I had medication before I entered the room, in which I responded “no” because nobody had mentioned it to me.

I approached the room and for some reason it was set up in a hard-core scientific way that made it so no one could mistakenly enter. There were lights all around the door frame, and it was sealed in a let’s keep the zombies out kind of way.

My anxiety level went up.

I entered the room and took one look at the MRI machine and my anxiety went up more seeing it was a closed MRI that was actually closed longer that the last one I had been in with a struggle.

I could feel myself starting to come unglued inside, but fighting with myself that I needed to get this done.

I started dissociating, and laid down on the table, placing my neck in the head device. I was starting to feel a panic attack coming on, which is not something I typically experience.

The true horror of the situation came into being after I resolved to myself that I must do it and can do it. That’s when the technicians places a mask-head cage device over my head so I couldn’t move my head if I wanted to.

I could feel myself crying and panicking all in one. I am thinking to myself this is the worst thing that has happened to me since my horrific childhood abuse. I am thinking I should tell them I have PTSD.

But, I close my eyes and tell them to go ahead. All the while knowing how emotionally damaging this is to me.

The loud noises are crushing my mind and spirit until I am the living dead in this machine/torture chamber. I am so dissociated I can no longer move, think, talk, or do anything for myself. Severe collapse resulting from severe retraumatization.

My living dead status enabled me to make it to the end. I could not move at first as I wasn’t self aware enough to know what was happening. I couldn’t talk to the technicians afterward. They didn’t seem too concerned about my changed mental status.

I finally made it back to my car. Totally wrecked by the experience. Split into many pieces at once. Some believe they drilled into our head during the procedure. Fragmented all over the place.

New trauma. I let it happen for what I thought was the greater good. I think I should have stopped it when I saw that head cage.

My spirit can’t take this type of experience. But what was I to do?

9 hours later and my body and brain are still shaking and crying.

And this is modern medicine.

The darkness from within

Today I went to therapy and had parts that have relationships with cults and religion out in session.

I am not happy about it because I do not like people to see this side of me, not even my therapist. It just seems like it is better left unsaid and unexperienced by the outside world.

My strongest cult part came out when they weren’t satisfied by the way the part before them was handling the discussion with my therapist. This part is quite intelligent, definitely more so than me. It has access to knowledge of religion and cults that I don’t keep in my accessible part of our brain. They can be scary and mean, too.

The time before when this part came out we were at a residential treatment facility in California. The therapist there really wanted to speak to this part, and I was surprised it came out.

He debated religion and discussed his feelings about the value of modern day human sacrifice as similar to what Jesus did. He believes in bloodletting and human sacrifice and claims this is necessary so other people can continue to live on this planet.

By the time he finished speaking to our California therapist, she was visibly rattled, and ended up calling the emergency crisis team to evaluate me. Though we didn’t get admitted to a hospital because we know that game, we were discharged from that program a couple of days later for reasons that are unclear to us.

Today, our regular therapist got her first glimpse of him, and I don’t think she likes him or us any more. She would deny this because that is the type of person she is.

But, let’s face it, no one wants to go down this rabbit hole with us. It is scary and dark and no good can come from it.

Evil scares people, and they fear this is what evil looks like up close.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Robot Me is Supposed to Stay Alive

What a crap day. I woke up ok, but then went to therapy. I told the therapist I didn’t really have anything I needed to talk about. She smiled with the “are you kidding” look.

I rambled into discussing how I feel like a robot because I don’t need love the way other “normal” people do. I don’t like to give love or get love, except for with my kids and my dog (though, the therapist discounted the dog because it isn’t a human).

I tried to tell the therapist that the people who systematically abused me as a child have ruined me and there is no coming back from it, so what’s the point of life.

Apparently, robot me is supposed to stay alive to raise my kids because that is my purpose in spite of the misery and sadness I feel everyday. The therapist doesn’t care.

She thinks the purpose of the game is for me to stay alive. I disagree.

Fuck her. She has her own happy little life and my suffering is just a speck of thought in her life.

Today she said her usual “see you tomorrow” because I have another appointment with her. Every time she says that I think this is the time I will kill myself so she can’t just get away with “see you tomorrow” and hope for the best.

Yeah, I am pissed at her because it feels like she doesn’t get my pain or doesn’t care enough about my pain. I wish she cared about me more, but I have no idea what that would look like.

I am the pathetic adult today. I have no answers, just a whiny, psychotic grasp on life. Sometimes I really wish I would just let go of life, but I know not all of those who live in my body agree with that plan.

So, I am stuck in this miserable life. I know others inside feel blessed by our children. I feel psychotic with a headache. Seems like I got the short end of the stick.

And that’s the way it fucking goes.

The unbearable shame of sexual trauma work

I feel like dying today. One of my younger parts went to therapy and talked about how bad they are because they wanted to have sex with other kids when they were little.

This younger part talked of wanting sex to fit in with the other kids who were having sex, and wanting it because it felt good. It is so intolerable just to type this.

The shame is so deep, and is ricocheting through my body from part to part. I actually feel nauseous when I am not feeling like killing myself or cutting.

Though it is not sexual abuse in the way that someone forced us, the Therapist says it is abuse because adults introduced us to this sex as a child and condoned/expected the children in our community to engage in it.

I am so humiliated to have this as part of my foundation as a person.

I mean, we are not talking about occasional sex between children, this was more like everyday sex. It was so normalized.

When I was 6, my mom and another mom in the community had a marriage ceremony where I married the boy from across the street. From that day until I was 10, I had sex on an almost daily basis with this boy. At his house, his mom would come in the room while we were having sex to put away his laundry.

The shame runs so deep when I think about her coming in the room while we were having sex. I can’t even pretend they didn’t know.

I feel like such a whore. How else can I be expected to feel. My only value as a child was to have sex. No one had any other interest in me for any other reason.

The Therapist says I shouldn’t feel like this because it was my parents’ fault. But, she does not understand that I share DNA and blood with them. We are one, no matter how hard I try to disown them.

The violent and humiliating sex that came from my home to the other kids in the community feels as if it is my fault. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was my family and others who did some really bad stuff to other children, and I can’t seem to separate myself from them. This was my life, so it was all I knew.

Often, I try to convince myself this didn’t really happen, but too much of me knows it did, and frequently.

It makes me sick to think of it. It makes me want to die from the shame of it. I am trying to hold on and get through these coming days of misery of accepting the truth and the feelings that go with it.

I don’t understand why God put me in this family. There really aren’t words for understanding any of it. I will try my best to stay grounded in the present so my other insiders don’t act on their suicidal feelings. I want to take a pill and go to sleep for a few days, but I can’t if I want to heal.

I must sit with this unbearable shame.