Sharing an abuser with someone famous doesn’t make it any better

When I first started reading the New York Times op ed piece of someone famous recounting how they were abused growing up, my heart started tightening with each word on the page.

I knew, with every word written describing her abuse, and not naming her abuser, she was literally describing one of my many abusers. My chest was tight, and I was barely breathing.

I felt frozen. My mind was alternating between paralysis and flashbacks of this man we shared as our abuser.

She was able to describe every despicable detail of this man and how he started sexually abusing her when she was 14.

My mind was flashing back to a day of being in this man’s van, in my childhood neighborhood, watching in terror out the front of the van window as my mother and this abuser argued outside it. They were arguing about me, and something my mom wanted in exchange for me. I was only 7 or 8 years old.

This was a habit of my narcissistic, sadistic mother. She would trade me to men for things she wanted from them. I think she usually got whatever it was she wanted.

By the time I was in the van watching this “heated negotiation” go down, I was already broken by all the abuse I had previously endured.

My being was silent and resigned to this way of life.

As I write this, I can feel this disgusting man on top of me. His sweaty skin touching me. He was a pig.

My mom got what she wanted from this man for a couple of years. She wanted this former Olympian and pillar of the community to coach one of my brothers to become an Olympic swimmer.

I was excited for my brother because he could have made it to the Olympics. He was a great swimmer, and still has the body of a great swimmer some 40 or so years later. The chaos and pain of our lives derailed those plans.

For this negotiation to work out between the coach and my mom, I had to be on the swim team, too. Sadly, I was a pathetic swimmer, but had to get in the pool with some of the best swimmers who also wanted to be Olympians.

With each lap my weak body swam during those practices, I cried and screamed and wished I was dead while I went from one end of the pool to the other. Sometimes I would swim to the bottom of the pool and try to will myself into staying down for good.

Sometimes I focused all my attention on the cheeseburger I was going to get at the snack bar afterward. Food was scarce for me in those days, so it was a luxurious treat I wasn’t accustomed to.

By this point in my life, I was lost, alone, and like a robot. I didn’t feel human, and thought I was already dead floating around the planet with seemingly no control over my life. I had no one to turn to. It was just me, on my own, in a very cruel world.

My life has always felt ruined because no matter how many years pass, the horrific abuse I experienced is still there. My mind holds it alive for me and won’t let it die.

But, to read this famous person’s account of her awful abuse by this man, I felt terrible. I think she has always struggled to get people to believe her because no one wants to believe this Olympian and pillar in the community also molested children.

I don’t care if anyone believes me. It doesn’t matter to me in my healing.

I reached out to the famous person by sending her a message on Facebook with the intention of validating her by telling her he abused me, too. I never thought of anything past that.

The next day, one of her employees contacted me through Facebook saying the famous person wanted to talk to me.

At first, I was like sure, here’s my info. Then I felt panic and fear sink in. What had I done? I know better than to talk publicly about my abuse while my mom is still alive. It is more than forbidden.

A couple of hours later as I was at a baseball camp with my son, I see a call from Los Angeles come in. I listen to the message and it was her. The tears welled up inside me as this brought this particular abuse front and center in my soul.

I felt pathetic and ashamed because I didn’t even feel worthy enough to speak to her. Not because she is famous, but because I am so ashamed of me and my abuse history.

She has the courage to speak up because she is strong and has made something of her life. She can remember every detail of her story.

I grew up like a piece of garbage to my family. I was disposable as they let my life unfold the way it did. I never mattered to them, so often I don’t believe I matter to anyone but my children.

How can I explain to this strong, courageous woman that I am so worthless as a human being that my own mother facilitated my abuse with our shared abuser?

I can’t just join the “me too” campaign and rock on with my sisters in the world who admitted their abuse.

There is only a small minority of the world who understands the type of childhood I had, and the baggage that goes with it.

My mind shattered. I am not whole. I am a 50 year old woman who lives her life with different “parts” of myself who helped me survive the never-ending abuse of my childhood.

My brain and spirit are ruined most days. I continue to fight and believe that one day I might recover from the brutal experiences of my life.

It’s interesting. I have learned there are those who have been abused who want to punish their abusers, and there are those of us who are only trying to hold onto our lives and have no expectations of trying to get justice because holding onto life is hard enough.

Sadly, Justice left me the moment I was born. Justice is overwhelming and complicated for me. It is not for me.

In the end, I am fairly sure there is no real justice for any of us who have been abused, because you cannot change the lost innocence and the damage done to those of us who manage to carry on with our scarred lives.

My silence about cults

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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.

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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.

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.

An Extraordinarily Brutal Life

I am just an ordinary person who has led an extraordinarily brutal life. My life between 0-11 was the most horrific of all, spending almost everyday being sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and neglected. It didn’t stop at 11, but that was the worst of it.

I have had the cruelest mind tricks played on me, which in some ways were worse than the overt acts of abuse I experienced.

My mother used to think it was funny to take me 10-15 miles from home in a beach town and leave me at some random place when I was 5 years old. I had no ability to do anything in that situation. I usually waited until nightfall when my father would find me and bring me home. So yeah, I have good reasons to feel an intense fear of abandonment.

My father never spoke of this abuse he knew my mother perpetrated on me, because at the end of the day, he loved her and wanted to be with her more than he cared for me.

So-called dignified people in my community had sex with me whenever they wanted, and my mother was so narcissistic and sadistic she helped facilitate this abuse, and I am sure got something out of it for herself.

I’ve been locked in rooms with our local State Farm agent and his children screaming at me that I must accept Jesus Christ into my heart if I wanted everlasting salvation. No matter how many times I tried to say what they wanted, it was never “right” because they were relentless in their brainwashing that I was, and always would be a sinner, doomed for hell. They always ended this special kind of torture by sexually abusing me.

My mom used me as a surrogate spouse when my daddy disappeared on a drinking binge for days or weeks at a time. What seemed like a special relationship with her always turned to a disgusting, sexual experience with her drunken passed out body on top of me.

When she wasn’t sexually abusing me, she spent her time hitting me for no reason, or telling me how much she hated me and how ugly I was. She was quite strikingly beautiful herself, so she often criticized me regarding just about everything that existed within me.

My mom used to make me go to our town’s most reputable pediatric dentist after school so he could sexually abuse me and torture me with dental devices. He used to drill me teeth for the fun of it, and I had no knowledge of what Novocain was until I was a teenager.

My grandmother used to give me to a cult called “The Way” when they came to town. I was driven with other children I did not know out into a dark wooded area where these cult members, mostly in their 20s, would drug us, teach us that we were supposed to cut our wrists and let all our blood out to sacrifice ourselves for Jesus, and then they would sexually abuse us around a big bon fire. Needless to say, I have some very confusing ideas about religion.

My older brothers were what people might have called “troubled” if they were using nice words. Since they were older than me, I really don’t know what they were exposed to to make them so out of their minds. Sadly, they were drug addicts and drug dealers at an unusually young age. This brought me lots of unwanted sexual abuse, torture, and violence.

My oldest brother was like my mom, sadistic and sociopathic. He would go out of his way to torture me with pleasure. He would rape me regularly, sell me to his friends for sex, and often try to see how close he could come to killing me without actually killing me.

My middle brother sexually abused me to around age 7 or 8, but one day he was the first to tell me that you are not supposed to have sex with family members. He never personally had sex with me again, and would try to protect me from my oldest brother when he was around. Still, he could not even put a dent in the madness and abuse that came my way from all sorts of places. Though he is probably the most troubled in our family now, I imagine that is because he had a conscience and suffers from extreme guilt and sorrow over what happened in our family.

The strange thing about our middle class family is that all the kids in our “community” had sex with each other from a very young age. This was an all the time thing, and sanctioned by our parents. This was our normal, and usually involved group sex, but not always.

I’ll never forget spending the night at one of the boy’s houses when I was about 7, and he was having sex with me in his bedroom, and his mother came in and put the laundry away while it was going on. It was as if nothing was wrong, and nothing needed to be said about it.

I would venture to say that by the time I was 6, I had more sex with people than most people do their entire lives.

Why I chose to survive this life I was living is often a mystery to me. A life where no matter how “good” I tried to be, I was repeatedly abused, neglected, tortured, and exposed to mind control and religious craziness.

I didn’t survive because I was so strong and could see me making a better life for myself one day. I survived because my mind split off over and over to deal with my reality. I didn’t intentionally do it. It is supposed to be some lucky source of creativity and intelligence in my brain that allowed me to do so (which I don’t fully agree with).

The splitting of my brain has left me as an adult with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly called Multiple Personally Disorder. It is not fun or interesting to have DID. Maybe it is fascinating to those who don’t have it. My life is an absolute cluster f*ck on most days.

As someone with DID, I have more parts of myself than I can count. I am so screwed up that half the time I don’t even know myself that I am not the personality that is “out front” talking to someone. My brain is seriously impaired memory wise. It is like having dementia since I was 21.

I can’t remember huge and significant parts of my childhood, and even positive memories of my adulthood. It is all a mystery that I continue to strive to figure out and fix.

Honestly, I don’t really know if there is a “fix” but since I have kids and won’t kill myself because of this, it leaves me with little else to do but to try to fix myself, and help others who have suffered similar plights.

In psychiatric, psychology, and other mental health schools, they teach that this is a rare condition, and spend virtually no time teaching people how to recognize and treat it. It is by no means rare.

So many children are abused at this level to create this disorder. I know people don’t want to imagine abuse on this level, but it is true. People just don’t end up with this disorder without suffering extreme abuse or trauma at a very early age.

For the fun of it, you can visit the endless pages of survivors who have DID on Facebook. You will see this is not isolated to a few of us, or isolated to any one country.

DID is real and awful to live with, and those of you who care should be doing more to help the most wounded of us.

Do you realize if we go to an emergency room and tell the people we have DID, we will likely be completely discredited as crazy and possibly put in the psych ward even though we are coming in for a medical issue?

Do you realize the majority of mental health treatment facilities refuse to treat those of us with DID? Heck, the majority of therapists in all countries don’t want to treat DID, and thus refuse to.

People like to think of us as dangerous and scary, but in reality, people with DID are often the kindest people you will meet. But, we can’t change the Hollywood version of DID that is probably the only knowledge most people have about DID.

In a world where there is so much injustice, I guess I can’t expect you to care about this abuse of DID people as adults. But if you do care, I hope you will help me make the world a better place for those who are most wounded amongst us.

Stand up for what is right. Stand up for the most wounded.

The mistaken survival of the soul-less child

 

681b5a8aa699a740d4474eb363281471I have walked through my entire life a fraud. A nonexistent soul using the mortal body of no one. I am a fraud because from time-to-time, I would use this body to pretend as if I was a normal human being. Though, I always return to my place of nothingness. The place where those without souls return.

As a child I tried my best to be as invisible as possible. I tried being very still and quiet. I do not want to be noticed because I know I do not belong to this world. This world is confusing and cruel and scary. I don’t like it, so I am happy to not really belong to it. Yet, somehow, I got stuck with this mortal body that always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no making sense of the life this mortal body was given. The people who come in and out of it. The constant desire for it to die.

To be human is to claw your way through everything to survive. This soul-less being does not wish to survive this cruel human world.

This body does not know love, comfort, happiness, safety, or anything that would be good or pleasurable. This body knows darkness, sadness, hatred, pain, evil, death, anger, and a strong desire to turn out the lights on this mortal body.

Without hope, there is death.

This soul-less body was created from birth with lies, pain, shame, fear, and brutality. It was programed to be obedient, to never disobey, and to serve the greater human species to which it did not belong.

How can an entire species be so cruel, even to the soul-less body who was never one of them? But it is true, and that is the way it is.

A wrecked soul-less child body who mistakenly survived. It was never supposed to survive. There is not upside for this being. There is no better. No nothing. Especially a real life on the human planet.

It is so confusing to figure out what to do with this fraud of a soul-less body. Oh children, why did you survive? I suppose some instinct, or maybe they made you with their confusing lies. I don’t blame you. I promise I hold no anger toward you. You were only babies and toddlers and youngsters doing what you thought you were supposed to do.

Now we have this fraudulent body built through evil lies, and there is nothing for it to do but to lay in bed until it dies. Oh wise one, you are correct in that we could take it from this earth sooner by our own hands. But, they say it will ruin the human children in this new family.

I know we don’t belong. But there is a speck of dust, maybe love, in this soul-less body that makes me think how sad it would be for these human children to be ruined by our actions.

We may know we never belonged, and wouldn’t have ever wanted to belong to this world, but now we have somehow become connected to these two children who look to us to keep behaving in a fraudulent way because they need us to.

Why, with no soul inside, do we have to always be the good guys? Why?

Because that’s the way it is.

 

Ghost Child

 

Imagine growing up in an environment where you don’t really exist. Most of the time no one sees you, hears you, or even thinks of you and your basic needs. You don’t exist, but you do.

You know you exist because you can see them. Sometimes they sound muffled, sometimes you are drifting away, but you know you are there. You can feel some things like hunger, pain, and fear. You have to be real to feel those things. But most of the time the world acts as if you don’t exist, unless it is one of those times when the people want something from you.

As an adult, I am always fearful when someone asks me a basic question about my childhood. I am afraid my secret will be exposed. My secret that the things I could discuss with a regular inquiring human don’t exist for me. I don’t remember the normal happenings of any given day from my childhood, though I am sure I must have had some. I only have memories of the bad, or the quiet moments when it seemed like the world stopped and I was just walking around in it alone.

I don’t tell people that I can only remember 3 memories of Kindergarten, and have no memory of 1st through 6th grade, except for a few traumatic memories that involved school.

Now that I know I have DID, I suppose the logical explanation is that those memories are stored somewhere in my brain as experiences of another part of me. I try and try to remember, but I can’t. It is hard to make sense of things when you don’t have complete memories.

There is this really shitty group out there called the False Memory Foundation. They would dismiss all my memories because of the significant gaps in memory I do have. They like to say people with DID are faking it because they are trying to avoid responsibility for a crime, or perhaps the fake DID person just wants attention. We won’t go into their motives for saying that here.

I am not avoiding responsibility for a crime, and I certainly don’t need attention, especially of this nature. There were times when I denied it was real, but there is just too much that meets the criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder that I experience.

I have distinctly different parts who have distinct personalities, cognitive functioning, and beliefs about the world. They have different names, genders, sexual orientations, ages, bodies, and so much more. Though we experience ourselves as separate people, we do know there is only one body that we all share. We just don’t all agree on what the body looks like. Younger parts actually see small bodies when they look at our body.

Almost all of us experience terrible amnesia that affects us just about every day. We have learned techniques to hide it, but anyone who has any insight into this disorder would easily spot it with a few questions. I tried to write it off as dementia at one point, but then that doesn’t explain the parts who have very good memories and can recall all sorts of details I would never be able to recall.

My DID helped me survive horrific abuse, neglect, constant exposure to violence and alcohol/drugs, and mind control. By the time I reached 7th grade, my DID seemed to settle down some and I remembered more of my life from that point on, but definitely still experiencing periods of amnesia.

My parents decided for reasons I will probably never know to move to another state and start the family over in 7th grade. We became this new fake family that just tried to blend in with the rest. For the most part we did, considering so much was still going on.

I was still being raped by a family member during that period, but that seemed tolerable compared to my younger years.

Though I never mattered much to my family of origin, my life did become a little more normalized despite the ongoing abuse, violence, police interventions, drug dealing, suicide attempts and prostitution that still went on in our family.

Though I had friends my entire life, I have always felt alone because of the disconnect between my fake world and real world. I was taught early on that the real world I lived in was never to be discussed with anyone. And it wasn’t until recently.

So, I have always sort of felt like this ghost person, one who was there and at times interacting quite normally in the world, but one who had no real identity and no connection to anyone, except maybe my pets. It is hard to explain. Some of my friends would describe me as quite social, but that is because I have parts of me who can do that without being our authentic selves. When you can’t be authentic, it is like you are not really there, but just playing a part of what we think a “normal” person would do in those situations.

Sadly, I have been disconnected from other people my entire life. My children are probably my closest connections, but even then it doesn’t feel 100% connected or authentic.

I have always known I was abused and neglected, but I used all my energy to push that away from my everyday thinking. The memories stayed everyday, but the feelings and thoughts about them stayed far away until my Senior year of college.

And that began the official deconstruction of my life.