AddressingCommon Challenges to Healing Work

By Jo Getzinger

Note: the following material is from the upcoming New Training Manual for those who Help Survivors from CARE; used with permission

1. Demonic Control

Survivors of ritual abuse not only need to greatly increase their joy capacity in order to consciously handle their horrific stories held in the unconscious mind; they also often experience demonic control over the emotions, information and parts that contain those memories.  During ritual events, survivors are frequently forced to accept demonic spirits over parts.  Demonic spirits then dictate to those parts the amount of disclosure, if any, intensify traumatic emotions and they can flood memories and traumatic emotions if memories do begin to emerge in order to overwhelm the survivor.  Parts who have cooperated with agreements to commit sin in rituals (these parts are often coerced through threats or punishment and torture) are vulnerable to continued demonic control and punishment due to un-repented sin.  The sin gives ground to the demonic to continue to control these parts. 

Furthermore, parts are often reluctant to accept Jesus and His forgiveness because of the programming to believe He would never accept them; they could never be forgiven for the evil they participated in; and/or through cult trickery the parts are convinced that Jesus is duplicitous, evil, condemning and untrustworthy (parts have been introduced to false Jesus actors who are actually cult members dressed up like the historical Jesus and then participate in evil). Clarity regarding who Jesus really is is important for healing this wound.

Important truths for addressing demonic hindrance to memory work

– God is willing and able to forgive all sin committed by the survivor

– Vows, covenants and agreements made with the demonic, whether under duress or ‘freely given’, are NOT permanently binding and can be broken (the demonic do not truly keep their sides of the agreements anyway). They are also sin and should be repented of, renounced and revoked.

– These spirits are easily removed by the true Jesus as the survivor repents and gives Him permission to do so

2. Vows and Agreements

In cult rituals, survivors are often ordered to take vows and agreements against their healing.  Common agreements in the form of vows are “not to remember” the ritual or traumatic event.  This vow will commonly manifest in the presenter system or host system as saying, “I don’t know” to any question asked that pertains to the traumatic event.  The host is unconsciously repeating the very vow they originally agreed to take.  This becomes a continued agreement with the demonic to keep the information buried in the unconscious.  When the host utters the words “I don’t know”, she agrees to forget again and nothing is remembered.  Through the perceived experience of the host, these words anchor to nothing and she really feels like she does not know.  It is common to find parts in the system with the name and role “I don’t know”.  These are blockers to remembering and healing.  Until the host and presenter systems are ready to challenge vows like “I don’t know” and repent of agreements made with the demonic, memory work will likely be impeded. 

3. Internal Conflicts

In internal conflicts regarding memory work, there are parts who want the memory work to happen, and parts who do not. These conflicts are often invoked by concerns about the ‘cost’ or ‘consequences’ of the memory work: beliefs that memory work would lead to insanity, chaos, destruction or jailtime; beliefs that memory work would cause loved ones to be hurt by the cult; beliefs that God can’t really help with memory work so bad things will still happen, and so on.

Parts who are reluctant to trust the true Jesus have likely been taught to trust only themselves and their own self-strength and self-sufficiency and to do the cult’s bidding because it appear to be the path of least resistance.  These parts were subjected to dealing with the demonic and cult member’s torture, rewards and punishment system from the time they were young. This causes them to readily make deals with the demonic and cult members in order to survive and save love ones.  These loved ones (those who the parts are purposefully bonded to in the cult group) are also threatened by the cult and used by the cult to blackmail the survivor into vows and agreements against one’s own healing and doing evil deeds for the cult to buy time for self and others to survive.  They often believe they have no choice but to continue to cooperate by attending rituals in order to minimize punishment from demonic torture and increase rewards (perceived saving self and others from punishment while receiving other fleshly perks). 

The rituals always require a price to pay to demonstrate obedience and loyalty to the demonic and cult members.  While saving self and those they love from punishment, they are forced to participate in harm to those the cult has chosen as victims.  Frequently, those they love are also victimized but not as badly they are told as these loved ones would be treated if the parts decide to become disobedient to the cult.  The evil deeds the parts are forced to do to show their loyalty and accept vows “not to remember” in order to buy survival for themselves and loved ones becomes a demonically enforced amnesic barrier to the traumatic event.  This is coupled with the fear that the cult and the demonic will carry through with their threats that worse will happen to self or loved ones if the disobedience continues and more is remembered and reported to outsiders.  It is common for survivors to report seeing internal walls that keep the survivor from seeing what is behind the wall.  This can be a self-constructed wall patterned after a real wall where the original trauma took place.   This serves to remind the host that she cannot go past the wall or she will remember what she does not want to see.  There is often forced sacrificing in front of this wall to make a covenant not to remember anything beyond the wall or anything done in front of that wall to seal the memory in unconsciousness.

The internal conflict is the desire to remember and heal while also not wanting to remember because it is too awful to remember and something worse will happen if it is remembered.  Hopefully, the above example of this common internal conflict clarifies why these conflicts need time and work between the survivor and helper together.  THIS WORK CANNOT BE RUSHED.  If the helper gets pushy or impatient with these parts who feel as if theirs and their loved ones’ very survival is riding on discovering the truthful and correct answers to their dilemma, they will withdraw and continue to strike bargains with the demonic and cult members. 

The conflicted part’s questions must be answered to their satisfaction about the historical true and living Savior, Jesus.  There must be time given to them to test the truth of His Word by attempting to give Him some control to see if He is consistent and powerful enough to protect parts from demonic retaliation.  They must have time to begin a relationship with the true Jesus to experience His great love for them.  I have never seen the LORD introduce Himself to parts in an impatient, pushy way.  He is willing to wait patiently and will gently be a helper to them when they are ready to ask.  He is always “an ever present help in times of trouble” Psa. 46:1.  When parts are satisfied that they have their questions answered, the deceptive beliefs that were infused by the cult conquered, and the character of the true Jesus firmly understood and experienced, they will be ready to ask Him to forgive vows they made and evil deeds done.  They will be able to trust Him to protect themselves and loved ones from demonic and cult retaliation instead of continuing to bargain with terrorists for their lives. 

They will need to see from you, the helper, the modeling of LORD’s true character (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control).  Once they see that there are real Christians who do their best to live out the gospel, the host can learn to model the same to parts. They will be drawn to the LORD’s character and love because you and the host have been consistently demonstrating the loving-kindness of the LORD to them.  They will be more open to believing the LORD is different from the example they saw in the cult because of the example of your life and they will be open to experiencing His love directly from Him.  You and the host are often His bridge to these wounded and deceived parts who carry some of the greatest conflicts and obstacles to healing.  We will discuss more on various common internal conflicts in a later chapter.

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