Drifting

Drifting toward health.

Drifting toward death.

It doesn’t seem like this should be so confusing, but it is.

Some days ago, a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, stood in my childhood bedroom watching in freeze mind as my mother threw out her toys into the big green dumpster my mother had wheeled into the room.

This child did not understand, as any reasonable person wouldn’t, why her mother insisted on stripping every bit of humanity out of her.

She caused no trouble in the house. She did everything her mother or brothers told her to do. She had sex with whoever wanted it. She tried not to breathe as she was afraid it would upset them. Her existence was so minimal.

Still, with trying to do everything right, her mother hated her with such sadistic pleasure.

Her mother had made sure to strip her of everything.

Decency. Humanity. Love. Free thought. All gone.

She was forced to live in a room that only had a bed and a piece of office furniture. There could be no signs of a human child living there. Only nothingness, so she would always know she was nothing and nobody.

The little girl is stuck in this place, long past trying to understand her life.

Confusion, obedience, and an ounce of pain belonged to her.

I watched her for days. She was stuck there. I was stuck watching her. I had no explanation to give her. Yes, it was all vaguely familiar to me, but I wanted to keep it “not me” because that looks like such a painful, awful existence. Who would want that?

Feelings of suicide had been circling us as a system. I was not in as much control as I usually am, partly because watching this little girl made me want to die.

So I let the others inside me deprive the body of oxygen until I reached an altered state of consciousness. Here, I could go to the little girl in the bedroom.

Like I would do with my own wounded outside children, I reached down and picked her up and held her. She had never been held before, but she did not resist me and gave in to trusting me and let me carry her away.

I held her tightly against me, with her legs wrapped around me, and I could feel her pain and confusion. It is stuck in my heart.

I wanted to promise her that she would never be hurt again, but I knew I couldn’t do that in this very imperfect world.

She had endured more pain and suffering than a nation of people.

She would experience it no more.

I delivered her to the angels in heaven as I knew of no other place that promises the end of suffering. I told her she would be safe there, and the angels would love her and take care of her.

After I delivered her, I gasped for breath to get some oxygen in my earthly body. I was barely there. I was barely making it out alive.

I struggle to care about the damage done to my brain, or my almost lost life. It seems unimportant in the scheme of things.

I look to my childhood bedroom everyday since then, and it is empty. She is gone. She is free from the cruelty dealt to her.

I am relieved to have set her free. And uncertain as to what this means for me.

Namaste

Hiding from my truth

I was getting too close to acknowledging the intense pain of my childhood abuse. It was coming for me. I got really scared.

As someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I managed to dissociate it from my awareness, and eventually switch to an Identity that doesn’t experience abuse and lives in the here and now.

My system is mad that this Identity went to therapy this week and basically “wasted” the session by talking about mostly nothing.

Our experience seems normal on the outside. We are taking care of the kids and participating in life to some degree.

Our memory is still severely impaired. My son asked me my neighbor’s name, who I know well, and I couldn’t remember it. So, so frustrating.

I don’t know how long we can hold out in this safer position. I feel sadness and suicide creeping around nearby tonight.

I read an article about Designer Kate Spade’s suicide at age 55, and found myself jealous. She left a note to her 13 year old daughter telling the daughter it wasn’t her fault. My children have always kept me from doing it.

I have a mostly good life, yet I selfishly want to end it. What is wrong with me besides the obvious?

Facing the truth of our childhood

Where do you belong in the world when you were raised as nothing or no one that mattered by your family of origin?

I find that lots of people try to tell me that this history doesn’t matter—that I am still someone–no matter how horribly I was treated. I find these well intentioned people have one thing in common: they were all raised by at least one parent who thought they mattered and cared about their wellbeing.

I keep coming back to the metaphor of a house to explain my thoughts. In order for a house to be strong, sturdy, and even to stay standing, it must have a solid foundation. When it doesn’t, people can keep throwing money at the house to try to repair the faulty foundation or build around it, but they never end up with the strong home they long for unless they tear it completely down and rebuild it.

My start in life was bad. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and my mother was hitting her peak of alcoholism when she was pregnant with me and during my early years.

My parent’s alcoholism didn’t just affect them. It affected my entire family system.

For reasons I may never clearly understand, my parents were involved with some sick and on the fringe behavior and people.

I have two older brothers, but my parents wanted a girl, so they tried one last time. I had always thought they wanted a girl for the normal reasons one might want a girl after having two boys.

I was wrong. My mom hated me for as long as I can remember, and possibly from the moment I was born. I was never good enough for her, and she criticized me daily about who I was.

What has become clearer to me recently is that both of my parents treated me in ways that no child should be treated.

From a very early age, my value in my family was to meet the sexual, sadistic, and financial needs of the family.

My entire family sexually abused me on a regular basis. I tried to deny it as long as I could, but my dissociative barriers started really breaking down, and my childhood amnesia is starting to get filled in.

With the memories of my incestuous abuse from a very early age, I can no longer deny that my family not only didn’t love me, but they also didn’t even care for me enough to treat me like a human being.

I was intentionally hurt for their pleasure or financial gain. “Parts” formed in response to keep me alive through this horrific childhood. My spirit died, but my body stayed alive. This distinction is important because I am not sure one can recapture a dead spirit, at least I haven’t so far.

I live today with many, many parts who are like people sharing my body with me. Some people may think it is cool, but I do not. I envision many souls trapped in one body leaving all the souls to live an incomplete existence under the best of circumstances.

The many parts living within me are all smack in the middle of facing the truth of our childhood in many different ways. The truth has taken our breath away. Some sit paralyzed with this new information, others feel extremely despondent and broken with this realization. It isn’t easy for any of us in our system.

Forget the processing and grieving of what we have been through. How does one even pick up the pieces to carry on with knowledge that no one loved us, or cared one bit about our innocence as a child. We did not matter to anyone for a very long time.

It is hard to face the truth that we were merely a “thing” for people to do whatever they wanted with. Either they did not see us as a human being, or they had no humanity within them.

Facing the truth, and not believing the fantasy version of my life I created, is an extraordinarily painful state of being.

I alternate between these states: incredible sadness, suicidal feelings, anger, self-harm feelings, and feelings of being lost and numb.

I don’t know what the next step is for me. My therapist worries the memories and feelings are too overwhelming for me. The way I look at it is I have two choices: I can face the truth and hope I don’t die in the process, or I can stay dissociated and keep myself living in La-La Land.

Neither of them sound appealing, honestly. Since I have been living a dissociated life for my entire life, I suppose it makes sense to travel the newer road.

As I choose this new road, I worry about the questions I can’t answer right now. “If I am not who I thought I was, what does that mean for my identity today?” “If I accept the truth that I was treated like garbage by my family of origin, can I still exist knowing that my creators valued my life at zero?” “Is there something inherently wrong with me that my family decided to treat me as garbage who didn’t matter to anyone?”

I can’t find sufficient words to describe my feelings about this journey. I have never quite understood how this journey works, but somehow I have always had the feeling that someone else, someone wiser and more powerful, has control over the path this journey takes.

There is comfort in knowing I am not in control of the journey, perhaps because I would hope a higher power would show me more mercy than I give myself.

Not able to name my perpetrators

I have been struggling a lot lately with the idea of naming my abusers, or even publicly claiming my abuse.

I realize I am still holding overwhelming shame and fear about the abuse I suffered. With every mention of child abuse on my Facebook page, I worry what my mother would do to me if she found out I was telling anyone. What would my oldest brother do to me who is a narcissistic, psychopath living a seemingly proper life?

I have more abusers than I could actually name if I wanted to. I did name one recently who was a very public figure, and now I am being asked to help others take him down in a very public way (he is actually dead, but still has prominence in the world). Not sure what I will do about this situation.

My abusers did a really good job in keeping me quiet. Even at my very adult age I still fear naming those I could name.

It is complicated for me. Every day it is a struggle to keep my fragile mind intact with regards to the severe trauma I endured during my childhood.

My brain was so fragile before age 11 that I truly cannot remember most of my childhood. I mostly remember snippets of abuse, but I can’t remember hardly any “normal” or good memories.

Most of my abuse happened before age 11, but still lots of abuse happened after age 11, too. Once you get branded with the invisible “V” on your forehead to let the predators out there know you are a victim, new predators can find you easily.

Because my child abuse was severe and happened when I was so young, my mind did not come together the way it should have through proper development. Instead, the trauma caused me to develop Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which can still wreak havoc on my life today.

My mind is a jumbled mess of brokenness.

My emotions, memories, capabilities, and needs are broken into separate parts of myself. Though I can appear very strong, there are many days when I am at my breaking point and no one outside of myself even knows it.

I know I must stay functioning and strong for my children. They need me and are more important to me than anything else in this world.

Sadly, I don’t even feel a need for justice toward my perpetrators by naming them.

I barely survived my childhood, and still struggle to survive in my adult self.

Just about every kind of abuse has been done to me, including mind control. And I am weak because of this.

So, forgive me if I am not in a place to name my perpetrators. I believe I would do it if I knew of someone in imminent harm by one of these people.

One day I will be stronger, but that day is not today.

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.

It will never make sense

I often find myself in a place where I am trying to make sense why abuse has happened to me throughout my life.

It is common for abuse survivors to think about “the why.” I can get stuck in this place because I want to believe I had some control over what happened to me. In other words, if I can just figure out what I am doing to cause the abuse, I can change my behavior and it won’t happen anymore.

I struggle with the idea that there was nothing I could have done differently to stop the abuse from happening. Admitting that degree of powerlessness is extremely scary.

Instead, I struggle to accept there is no logical or spiritual reason these awful things have happened to me.

I have to accept as an adult the people who abused me were sick people, and it wasn’t my fault even as an adult. Power imbalances are still in a lot of places as an adult, and I certainly never learned as a child how to stop predators from hurting me.

You would think I would let myself off the hook for the severe abuse that happened to me as a child. Nope. I am always looking to make sense of it, wondering what I did to deserve such horrific things to happen to me.

It is especially hard to understand when I meet other adult woman around my age who haven’t suffered any abuse as a child or an adult. This knowledge does a number on my thinking, and my beliefs.

My “go to” belief about myself in trying to understand the abuse I have suffered is to believe there must have been something inherently bad about me when I was born.

My therapist often can help me pull out of that belief at least temporarily by asking me about my own children and whether they could have been born inherently bad. Knowing the innocence of a baby, I know it is not possible, except maybe in a Hollywood movie.

On a good day, I have to understand that I will probably never understand the cruelty and sickness of others, and this is probably a good thing.

Accepting that some people are just sick and twisted for their own reasons, and it isn’t going to be logical, is hard for me.

I know, on an especially good day, that both in adulthood and childhood, I did nothing to deserve the abuse from the many sick souls I encountered.

I know I am a good person. I am not perfect, but overall, I am a compassionate and loving person who carries around a lot of deep wounds underneath.

I have to stop trying to make sense of my life, and why so many people hurt me.

The logic will never explain the behavior of sadists, narcissists, and pedophiles.

I hope to one day be free of trying to take any ownership of “the why,” because no one deserves what happened to me.

No matter what.

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.