Dealing with Recanting Faith

(trigger warning: discusses Christian faith and graphic descriptions of abuse)

One of the most difficult issues I have personally dealt with in my healing journey has been remembering the times I recanted my faith. I want to share from my own experiences, in the hope that this may be helpful to others.

Not every group uses the methods I describe, and not every survivor will undergo this. But some groups do, and some survivors of occultic abuse will. The amount and degree of effort will vary. The group I was from – the Jesuits – is one of the most extreme.

When I was 14, I became a Christian – a real one – in my American presentation. My life was transformed completely. For 3 months (which is unusual, I believe God protected me) I experienced the joy, love, peace of knowing the real Jesus and His forgiveness. Because I was already in a leadership position in the order, this could not be tolerated (they were Satanists, after all), and so after this initial 3 months, I went through terrible experiences to cause me to give up my faith and recant (these experiences went on for 6 weeks, culminating in watching the deaths one by one on crosses of my Vatican class of 12, who I considered closer than any brothers or sisters in my presentations). After the sixth was tortured in front of me, I recanted. I gave up, and denied Christ to save them.

At that point, I created a split based upon the despair and utter horror, who became “Christian 2”, the new presenter. This part agreed never to pray to the real Jesus, and lived a form of Christianity without its power. To seal the programming, I was sent on several missions to infiltrate Christian ministries in Europe and Asia, and was forced to other deeds, such as cursing the Holy Spirit,  and telling an effigy of “Jesus” that I hated Him, and other things.

For years, I struggled in my faith, and wondered where all the love, joy and peace I had experienced when I first came to know Jesus went.  All I felt when I prayed was tremendous guilt, shame and fear, without knowing why. I wanted to be Christian, but found it impossible. But eventually, as I went to Church, prayed, read the Bible, against all odds, Christian 2 became a Christian. Other parts deeper in did as well. In 1995, when I left the order the first time and fled to Texas, I began working on deprogramming. For several years, I was on “sabbatical” while they tried to determine what to do to me (during this time, my American children came to live with me as well). Then, in 2003, I went through a terrible time of reprogramming, when I was forced to recant again. The cruelty of what was done cannot be described (loved ones tortured to death in front of me, etc.).  This time it lasted 3 months. At the end of this time, I was in despair, weary and could no longer hold onto my faith in God, and so I recanted again, and denied my faith (choosing Satan) to “save” the lives of those I loved.

I also at that time swore my love and loyalty to “he who has come” who was a young child, agreeing to be his servant.

Over the next few years, I struggled with intense panic, the belief that I was “doomed to hell” and loss of faith. Prayer was painful. But while they were able to program me against hearing Scripture, or prayer, and to promote a false Kristianity, they could not program out the Holy Spirit. Over the next few years, I continued to pray in spite of the pain, and in 2007 left the order.

As the memories of my own recanting several times came up, it was tremendously difficult emotionally, and caused a faith crisis. I wondered if I had “crossed the line” where God could never forgive me. I wondered if all the verses in Revelation (about taking the “mark of the beast”) applied to me. I was in despair, believing that God would never be able to forgive someone who had recanted and denied Him not just once, but several times, and who had kissed the ring of the one who will be his enemy on earth.

As I have prayed and talked these issues out with others, I have come to believe that the true God is merciful, and He sees the difference between a reaction that is created out of fatigue, trauma and being pushed beyond physical and emotional endurance, and a true freewill choice.  I am not a theologian or minister, and I freely admit that I do not have all the answers to the questions these events raise (one day, I will ask Him face to face). But I do believe that I am forgiven: that the true God has heard my heart’s cry for forgiveness for these acts.

One thing that has helped has been to read books by Christians, such as Richard Wurmbrandt (who was tortured and in jail for years for his faith). Wurmbrandt describes pastors and others who recanted their faith in jail, and later came back to their faith: this means that if a person at a later date is no longer being traumatized, they can ask and receive forgiveness.

Another story that helped me was reading a story told by the early Christian historians (I believe Eusebius), about the apostle John. Apparently, when John was in his later years, he commissioned a young Christian adolescent into the care of the church leader there. John had to leave, and did not return for several years. During this time, the young man fell away from his faith, becoming friends with local rough men. He became the leader of a gang of robbers, and even murdered men. Years later, John came back to this church, and asked the leader what had happened to the young man. Upon hearing what had happened, John risked his life by going to the den these violent young men lived at, asking for the leader by name. Upon seeing John, and hearing his words of love and forgiveness, the robber leader fell to his knees, asked forgiveness, and was restored to the church. He eventually became a church leader.

This young man wasn’t tortured beyond endurance; did not see loved ones die to make him leave the faith. Yet when he asked forgiveness, he was completely restored.

I believe that God, in His love and mercy and goodness, will do the same and more for ANYONE who asks, regardless of ANYTHING they have done (I am an example of this). I believe that the true God can and does forgive those who recant, including the terrible things they are often asked to do to “prove” their change of heart (such as killing Christians, leading pastors and church leaders sexually astray, etc.)

Basically, I believe that the true God is greater than any programming or setup that an individual can be put through. He is merciful beyond our wildest imaginings or hopes, loves us, and can restore even the most wounded. I am grateful for this love, and my hope is that sharing this will help others who may struggle with this or similar issues.

 

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Dealing with Rewards Programming

While survivors often disclose and struggle with punishment and pain programs, there is another, opposite side to these programs that often are not verbalized until later in the healing process. This is rewards programming.

Using operant conditioning principles, cult programmers will almost always program in these two opposites: extreme punishment (for disobedience) and extreme rewards (for obedience). Reward can take some of the following forms:

  • Bliss programming: this can include an emotional state of extreme joy or bliss that is put in as a reward that parts feel when they “do their jobs”. It can be machined in (using technology), enhanced with euphoria-causing drugs, and demonically induced as well.
  • “Heaven” rewards: as noted in the previous article on spiritual programming, starting in the womb, infants and children are taken through re-enactments of visiting the “celestial realms” where they are greeted by “stars” (ascended beings), “angels” and others, who all describe the joys of obedience and being rewarded with ascension.
  • Pain stopping: when a punishment or reprogramming sequence is running internally, and the individual “gives in” or stops the behavior being punished, one reward is that the pain stops.
  • Fulfillment of Deepest Longings setups: in this setup, which is cruel, the individual is asked what their deepest dreams are (this starts in early childhood). Then, the programmers do enactments in the programming labs, or through VRs, in which this deepest dream is fulfilled. Parts are allowed to spend time with a loved one in the setting they most desire, such as being married to a beloved friend, being allowed to raise children together, and having their dream job. This is a reward for “good behavior” and the parts (often presenter parts) are allowed to enjoy this reward for several days or weeks a year in return for obedience. They are threatened with the death of these loved ones, and the destruction of their dreams, should they ever disobey. This is unconscious, and the individual will have no conscious awareness of the programming. Instead, they will have the unconscious belief that they can only be “truly happy” or have their deepest dreams fulfilled, if they stay in the group.
  • Food rewards: sweet snacks and treats are often rewards for very young parts, and for parts trained to believe they are animals.
  • Sexual rewards: individuals may be rewarded by being held, caressed, or given sexual favors, especially parts that equate sex with love.
  • Status and promotions: this is a strong reward for cult parts, who have endured unthinkable pain and hardship throughout the growing up years. These parts are always given some kind of promotion to provide meaning.  The higher the status, the less the abuse is the belief held by these parts (which is untrue; it only takes a different form).  The chance to gain revenge on abusers is often part of this “reward”, and those abused in childhood will at times turn on those who hurt them badly, if they gain higher status. There are often special awards and recognitions given out to children who perform well at ceremonies for this purpose, yearly or more often. In some facilities, the child’s rank and performance, as well as the team rank, are displayed on a public digital board as an incentive to compete and work harder, since the children want to have a high score – and receive the medal or award at the end of the year.
  • Money: when individuals work hard for their group, they may be given financial rewards that the presentation is completely unaware of, such as a villa in Rome or on the French coast, or presents of money placed in accounts. The groups often state they will “take care” of the individual during their old age, if they work hard for them.

These are a few of the rewards that international occultic groups offer individuals. This is the other part of the struggle to heal when an individual chooses to walk away. They must be willing to become aware of the rewards and acknowledge the pull that they have on themselves and parts, and work out ways to provide incentives that are not given by the group.

An important part of healing is learning to “self reward”: to find healthy ways to get the needs that were previously met by organizational “rewards” (also known as “bait”) met. The needs are legitimate, and the longing and pain of giving them up can be part of the conflict that makes healing more difficult.

Candy and treats can be bought, and given to inside parts as recognition that they are saying “no” to outside summons or signals to go back.  Parts can be taught about the real heaven, or alternative internal joyful imagery can be created to replace the former “celestial” reward. Parts can ask for hugs from safe people to help meet the need for physical affection.

It is important to process both the traumas that preceded the “bliss” or rewards as well; and to become aware of how the programming was installed. Parts who underwent this, and who are grieving over the loss of rewards (sex, status, power, money, dreams) will need to have their feelings acknowledged, as the individual helps them through this process.

Eventually, the individual will discover a greater reward than the groups that use mind control can ever offer: a life free from abuse, where their wants, needs and choices are honored. The reward of a life free from receiving love only at a great cost. Freedom of choice and freedom from manipulation become rewards themselves, that can help greatly in the healing journey.

 

 

The Greatest Healing Tool

In this blog post, I wanted to talk about the greatest healing intervention that a survivor can experience: love.  During my own healing journey, over the years, I have discovered that the most healing came not from what a person knew, but how much they cared.

I do believe it is good to be informed about how programming works.  It can be tremendously helpful for a survivor to feel validated as he or she remembers, that others have gone through the same. But survivors of mind control and ritual abuse have been hurt in a relationship – and healing will often come through a relationship that is non-abusive, and offers caring concern.

I have had several people support me through my own healing journey, to varying degrees. I have had therapists, who offered an hour a week (or, an occasional crisis session). While this was helpful, it wasn’t enough. I had a lifetime of attachment and bonding to people who since I was in the womb told me they loved and cared for me – and I had parts who believed this. It wasn’t until I met individuals willing to demonstrate real, nonabusive caring, that I had a new paradigm to work from: not everyone is hurtful, and not everyone wants to use me to get something.

Genuine caring does this. When I say “love” in the supportive relationship, I am not talking about romantic love, or sexual love (the survivor has already experienced plenty of this). I am talking about a relationship where the survivor is listened to, respected, and their reality validated, or at least the question of whether memories are “true” is put on the shelf until more information is processed, and parts share more.  This kind of relationship, which can come from a friend, or someone willing to walk alongside the survivor, is in my opinion the most important tool for healing, even more important than understanding programming.

The people who cared about me enabled me to break my bonds with my abusers. These individuals helped me learn new ways of relating. They listened to grouchy parts (who were quite unhappy with my choice to leave the group); loyal parts (who came out sinister, angry or silent and tried to sabotage relationships), and false Christian parts (who wanted to turn everything into a simple “praise the LORD, let’s not look at the past). They showed these parts compassion, and so I learned to show myself compassion. They believed I could heal – and helped overcome the terrible despair that would hit at times (the “maybe I was hurt too much to ever get better” type).

One of the most important tasks for a survivor who is healing is to try and build support, and caring friends.  It can take time. Sometimes, there is no one available (I have gone through those periods, too, and it’s tough); but the true God is always available; the true Jesus is there, and will hear prayers that God will provide friends.  It doesn’t take a lot of friends; most of the time, I have only had one or two in my life; but they are a true blessing, and such an important part of the journey.

I am learning to be a friend to others now.  This is the result of caring: the survivor as they heal will want to help others too. This is a process, since real caring isn’t what I know, or what my past was. It is learning to listen to others, hear what they are saying about how they feel, and being there.  My prayer is that the LORD will raise up many who will be willing to help survivors heal, and be part of the blessing of seeing someone heal.

 

 

 

What My Healing Journey Has Been Like

I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about what healing has looked like, for the past few years, as I have worked on memories. I realize that the articles I have posted (in hopes of helping therapists and those who support survivors understand more about programming done, and the issues that survivors face) sound very organized, calm and logical. This is in large part because they have been written after some of the hardest part of a very difficult journey has been completed.

In 2007, I had gone through a very difficult time in my life. I was in a very abusive marriage, and had moved back to Texas after leaving the state for a year. A former friend saw me, was concerned about how I looked, and asked me “Are you okay?” I asked her if we could talk; and shared with her my concerns about my safety and my life in my current situation. She then told me that I could come and stay with her.
I went home; packed up my clothes (my husband was working), grabbed my dog, and fled. I literally had one bag of clothes, and almost nothing else. My friend, who had another friend living with her as well, became part of a difficult and highly emotional journey for me.

Journaling, collaging and self therapy

I began journaling daily, for hours. Parts were sharing their thoughts, concerns and fears on page after page, which included drawings of internal parts with “thought balloons” like cartoons, where they shared their thoughts with me. As the parts shared what they looked like, and their terror/panic/anger and shame, a picture started taking shape; one that horrified me as I saw what had really been going on, and the history of my life.
I filled three boxes full of journals over the course of the next two years. I created numerous collages, as parts put on paper their histories. At one point, I bought a cheap set of dolls of different ages, and hand-sewed costumes that included white lab coats, dark robes and other costumes, as younger parts did “play therapy” and showed me with the dolls what had happened to them.

The emotions

Some days, I would shake with fear, as parts shared about the programming traumas they had undergone. Other days, I would cry for hours, as I recalled losses; and as parts grieved what they had done in their past. I remember feeling suicidal as retaliation programming would be set off after parts disclosed high security memories, wondering if I would make it through the day. I decided to take life one hour, or even one minute at a time, and to choose to believe I would make it.

The despair would hit, and I would want to curl up into a ball and never get up. And still the memories came, and the journals filled up. I learned to find things that brought me joy, such as listening to songs my littles like (“Nala the Chihuahua” was a top favorite, as well as the gummy bear song in French, and the theme song from “The Titanic” in German). I would color, and finger paint, and play with clay. I took walks every day (with a friend, for safety). I found out to my amazement that I could dance; some ways that were joyful and fun; other ways that saddened me. I sang and played guitar, and made up songs to encourage my parts. I gave inside parts medals of commendation for courage and bravery, as they shared their stories, and helped others in the sharing. I played with my dog and hugged her.

I learned about the families I had grown up with in other countries, and felt disoriented and dislocated, as I realized that the life history I had always believed was a cult fabrication. I then felt deep anger at myself, for having “bought the lie” and at my perpetrators for controlling my life to this degree.

I dealt with rage, taking a sledge hammer and breaking rocks (which helped my friend, who was building a rock foundation and fence on part of her property). I was depressed and felt horrendous betrayal as I remembered my children accessing me, and taking me to be hurt; and realizing that it would not be safe to have contact with them.

The Toughest Times

Some days, I wondered if I would ever heal. I wondered if anyone heals. I wanted to know somebody who HAD healed, who could tell me it was possible to do it.

I got angry at God, yelling at Him, and telling Him I wanted nothing to do with a God who created a world where the types of abuse I was remembering were possible. I then felt His love and concern, and patience, in spite of my pain and hurt.

It was a difficult, hard and lonely process. My friends were supportive, but they had no background to understand the types of programming I was dealing with. I remembered being put in negative sound rooms, and isolation tanks; going through tech torture using Tesla waves, harmonics and machine brain entrainment, and while they cared, they could not really relate.

I missed my loved ones in the group, terribly, and cried as I worked at breaking the bonds. I drew pictures of them. I made pictures of perpetrators, and cut them up with scissors in rage; then would remember that I had also deeply loved these same people. I battled the inside shame and grief of realizing I attached to the very people whose abuse I despised.

I found parts inside who were just like them, both the good and the bad; and struggled to see both sides of them at once. I created an internal healing team of the healthiest parts inside whose job was to hold, love and nurture the young parts who felt scared about all we were remembering; and to help them through the anguish of missing the people they were bonded to.

I didn’t know anyone else who had gone through this, because I didn’t have any contact with any other survivors during this time. But I did have one thing I am very thankful for: when I asked my friend if I could ever heal, ever make it, during the worst times, this friend said “Yes”. When I said “I don’t know anyone else who has been through this type of stuff who has completely healed” my friend said “then you be the first. Show your kids and the people you miss that people really do get out – and stay out.”

I divorced my husband. I made new friends (and was very selective about who they were). I literally started my whole life over, at a time when most people my age were watching their children graduate from college.

It has been a difficult and emotional journey over the years. But it is so worth it. I now know my life history; the gaps are filled in. I remember my loved ones, with a mixture of joy for the love I knew, and sadness over the abuse we all endured, and perpetrated. I enjoy living a life now where people are no longer hurt; where “performance” is not the measure of a person’s worth. I am learning to forgive myself for the things I did that were wrong; and to forgive others who taught me to do those things.

This blog is in a sense part of my restitution, just as my earlier articles were. If sharing my journey is helpful to even one other in their journey, it will be well worth it.

Working with internal pantheons

Note: this article describes how one group programs internal systems and is not meant to comprehensively describe programming in all groups; survivors from other groups may have internal leadership structures that very from this.

In the occultic group I was raised in, leadership in various systems was ranked in various ways. One ruling group in each presentation was a pantheon, or “council of the gods” that oversaw various functions and roles within the system.

For the white, or presentation systems, this pantheon was a Greek pantheon, with numerous gods from Greek mythology represented; in the black, or cult presentation, a Roman pantheon oversaw executive functions. For instance, in this system:

  • Jupiter(Zeus) oversaw the meting out of punishment and rewards and oversaw overall system integrity
  • Hera oversaw witchcraft
  • Poseidon oversaw amnesia (with a spear that would spear fetal and infant parts if the amnesia broke)
  • Aphrodite (Venus) oversaw sexual programs
  • Minerva oversaw internal “justice” and gave counsel to parts and system controllers on how to best act within situations to avoid punishment
  • Nemesis oversaw vengeance and psychic killing, with the help of Thantos and Phobos (terror programs)
  • Chaos brought internal confusion to prevent the degradation of programs, and external confusion to help promote agendas during missions
  • Morpheus oversaw dream programs (installed in delta state), including those sequences used for reprogramming at night
  • Hypnos oversaw suggestibility and believing everything the cult programmers told parts
  • Prometheus (Vulcan) oversaw punishment protocols that linked back to the core
  • Saturn oversaw reprogramming systems
  • Pan oversaw keeping the internal children happy and engaged in Neverland, to prevent their coming out unexpectedly or without authorization

Beneath each of these parts were various controllers who reported to them. These parts lived within internal “temples” dedicated to each, where internal daily sacrifices were conducted (on a rotating basis, starting at 2 am), to keep the spiritual power that drove the programming at a high level.

The pantheons were programmed to believe that they were a wise leadership council whose responsibility was to lead the systems into ascension, and to prevent the degradation of programming (and so, prevent resulting punishment).  These parts were internalized first prenatally, with actors talking to the birth mother and fetus, and sharing who they were. During infancy, the programming was installed further, with the programmers dressing in a costume representing the part coming to the infant’s bedside, talking kindly to the infant and sharing who they were, and what they did. They would each bond to the part that had been created (through severe trauma), and would tie a golden cord between themselves and the infant, saying “you are me, and I am you”, as they spoke the scripts accorded to the part.

Behind these pantheons is a third pantheon, consisting of the “ancients” and “those who existed before time”.  These “beings of light” were part of the core system, and were first installed prenatally by shining a bright light on the abdomen of the birth mother. The fetus then heard the words “I am a god, and have come to bring you light and enlightenment” and other scripts. This “council of light” internalized was very unemotional, was programmed to believe that it represented “universal consciousness” and would “bring the child into her destiny.”  These light beings spoke “prophecies” over the fetus, and later, over the infant, and over time, were internalized.

They sounded quite benevolent, logical and empathetic.  They were considered “guides” that the child was to listen to and receive direction from; and they consistently rewarded obedience to the Order (called the path to ascension) and punished instantly any disobedience to group directives (considered the path to descension, which would end in “utter darkness”).

Over early childhood, the programs for all three pantheons were installed more robustly, with re-enactments of Greek, Roman and ancient festivals, and with being dressed in the appropriate robes or dresses depending upon the role being played. By late childhood, I was able to play the role for other infants in the facility, and help with their programming, just as I had been programmed. When in the role, the internal part would rotate out, and I actually believed I was that god; it was no “act” but instead, allowing an external dramatization of the internal reality.

Healing of the pantheons has involved getting to know the histories of each one, including the traumas that created them, and how they were programmed. It has meant accepting each, valuing the gifts and abilities they bring to the system, and helping them to see that the old roles are no longer needed; but there are new and better options for them.  Each one has had specific conflicts and concerns about giving up their old roles, and healing has meant allowing them to journal, create art, and verbally process their feelings and memories.  It can take time to choose to give up or change an important job or role inside, and it is important to offer safe alternatives.

It has meant trying to accept without judgment or criticism what the parts have shared, especially when it conflicts with what the presentation system believes.  With time and healing, these parts have added great stability to help to the whole.

Healing has involved healing the infants that these parts came from.  Often, high controllers such as these will have a small infant attached to or near them (who during reprogramming, are retraumatized with the original traumas by VR to keep the programming intact).  Developing trust with these parts, helping these infants come into present reality, and finding internal safe parts willing to help hold and nurture these infants, has helped to promote intra-system cooperation and mutual caring.

 

 

 

Why Getting Memories Back Can Be Difficult

Often, when a survivor of ritual abuse and mind control begins to recover memories, there is significant discomfort, whether fear, physical pain, or other symptoms, that goes beyond the normal emotions involved in grieving and processing memories for those without programming.  I have heard survivors make comments such as “I feel awful because I am working on some difficult memories”, or “I am feeling terrified, I feel as if I will go crazy if I remember this” or even “the terror is unbelievable; I’m not sure I will survive remembering.”

It is not the memories themselves that cause these types of feelings, but the programming to not remember, which the survivor agreed to in their past, that is responsible.  A non-programmed memory will cause a natural amount of sadness, grieving, fear that resolves fairly quickly once the memory is brought into conscious awareness and the emotions are processed.  A programmed memory may be surrounded by barricades inside designed to prevent the survivor accessing the memory, or even wanting to remember; and if the survivor does remember, they may re-experience not only the memory, but the feelings associated with the programming to prevent remembering.

Why do cult and other groups that use mind control do this? One important reason is that if the survivor gets back their personal history, and remembers who they were and what they did, this could alarm the group they left for several reasons:

  • They may be considered a “security risk”, e.g., someone who could disclose information the group wants kept confidential.  This is why many mind control survivors will be programmed with various “security levels” for information inside, with the least important information to the group the most easily accessible by the survivor; while highly confidential information is kept in deeper layers with more retaliation programming involved if the person remembers and/or discloses to those outside the group.
  • If the individual remembers their own programming, they can break it, and will no longer want to do their old (programmed) jobs for the group.  Programming will not run successfully if the individual remembers how it was put in, and sees the setups, VRs, and lies; this is one reason why internal programmer parts (who know how things work and are done) are kept extremely isolated and barricaded from the parts who simply do their “jobs” inside, or from the young parts who believe that they were “loved” by their abusers.
  • Recovering their personal life history gives the individual an internal locus of control; once they can see the “big picture” they no longer need to depend on outsiders to tell them what reality is, or what parts of it to believe.

To prevent the above, most groups that do mind control will put in various forms of programming that punish the person if they remember events they were not “told” to remember, or who  break their amnesia.

Retaliation Programming

Most systems will have various forms of retaliation programming installed. In its simplest forms, if the individual begins to recover memories, or have bleedthrough of events, there will be parts programmed to immediately punish – severely  – with physical or emotional pain. This pain will often be linked to traumas (torture) done when the programming was installed.  Retaliation programming is based upon the punishing (retaliatory) parts believing that if the person remembers, bad things will happen. The scenarios can vary, and include: getting hurt; someone they love getting hurt; people will die; I will get overwhelmed with feelings; I and my systems will get flooded and “go nuts” or “be destroyed” and other scripts.

One form of retaliatory programming is internal parts that look like loved ones (in the group) getting punished if the individual remembers their past. This can occur because the individual has made agreements to forget (to be amnesic), or their loved ones will get hurt or killed. If a memory comes forward, the survivor may not remember the agreement, and instead, will fear terror, or reluctance to remember, and wonder why it is so difficult for parts to share information. Once they underlying traumas are resolved, the individual will be able to remember and not undergo retaliation.

Barricades and Barriers

Groups that use mind control will often create various barricades and barriers to remembering.  Common barriers can include:

  • Earth, wind, fire and water: the elements may be used to create barriers between systems and between parts; these elements are used in very painful traumas, and information can only be passed between systems by going through them, unless an authorization code is given (then, a bridge or communicator will be able to cross and parts will not be harmed). Taking down these barriers may include remembering the traumas used to install them, including any rituals that involved the elements, and helping parts to come into current (safe) reality that live within the barriers.
  • Walls: most groups will create walls between systems, and between front and back (presentation and cult host) parts. These walls will be put in place with terrible traumas that can include seeing a loved one killed, and used in the brick and mortar (with the warning that others will die if the wall is ever taken down or breached without permission);  or loved ones and the survivor being tortured on top of the wall, or even being “buried alive” beneath it (the person is rescued with their promise to never cross the wall).  Over the years, re-traumatization and reprogramming will be done, with other traumas (such as battering infants against a wall) to keep it in place.
  • Extreme Emotions: some barriers between systems and parts are created using extreme emotions that have been stored from years of trauma. These can include hopeless despair (if the person remembers, they will feel hopeless despair and/or suicidal); rage (including killing rage); terror; and extreme abandonment.  In some systems, these emotions are given to “guardians” in deeper levels who hold the feelings, which then drive this type of programming.  Once the survivor is able to get in touch with the parts that hold the feelings, and process the traumas, there will be less emotional retaliation for remembering. In many survivors, anti-healing and anti-memory programs can include the threat of the emotions being unleashed, and the survivor being overwhelmed. It can help to remind the survivor that these threats were made in the past, in a programming lab or other unsafe situation, and that remembering in a safe place with a safe person is very different.

As the various parts heal, and realize that they no longer need to obey their programming to not remember, the memories will often start coming more quickly, and with less fear or retaliation.  The survivor will start to remember and recover their own personal history. As this occurs, they may experience deep anger and rage at the manipulation by others that they are now realizing; deep grief over the abuse, as well as a deep sense of finding themselves and discovering who they truly are.  The latter is what truly makes the healing journey worth it.

 

Interview with Jo Getzinger of CARE, INC. Part 1: For Those Helping Survivors

Jo Getzinger, MSW is the President of CARE, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping survivors of ritual abuse, complex trauma and human trafficking, and to helping educate those who support survivors.  She has more than 30 years of experience in working with complex trauma and graciously granted an interview.

svali: Jo, could you share some initial thoughts on healing?

Jo: When society typically thinks of healing, they look at things like functionality. Some survivors have had a hard time functioning in life, or managing a job; and initially, they will work on these issues. But I can think of many individuals who have worked on these issues, and are able to hold a job, but aren’t very healed, because what can occur is pseudo-maturity: they look functional, but the problems aren’t resolved and show up in their intimate and family relationships.

In order for there to be healing, there needs to be good intact relationships for the survivor. When an individual is able to maintain good relationships, and maintain a coherent identity, that’s what we consider a healed survivor.  Many individuals have had much better success at this over time as we have focused on the relational and belonging needs of survivors.

svali: What are some things you think might be helpful for therapists and those who are new to working with survivors?

Jo: First, I would like to address the question regarding how long the healing journey takes, since this is asked so frequently. It can take years for someone with complex trauma, particularly ritual abuse, to heal.  These individuals often have abuse backgrounds that involve family dysfunction and outside perpetrators as well, with a childhood history of a great amount of abuse, characterized by broken relationships. It takes a while to actually heal from this amount of trauma, because the answer is that healing actually occurs through relationship. Because it takes time for the survivor to build trust, healing won’t be a “quick fix”.  It can’t just be goal oriented with tasks assigned; helping involves a relational healing journey between the therapist and the individual.

svali: What I hear you saying is that when working with survivors, be prepared for the journey, and not just a few quick sessions or a couple of prayers?

Jo: Yes.  I think it’s important that the helper is able to look at their own wounds; everyone is wounded from some trauma in their life at some point.  It’s important that therapists have a good handle on their own issues, and that they are healed to the extent they are able to “go the distance” with the survivor. Survivors have wounded backgrounds, and all types of problems will surface over the course of the healing journey. When working with someone who is so wounded, anything in your own life that needs attention and to be worked on will be pointed out by survivors.  For instance, if you struggle with shame yourself and you are working with someone who struggles with shame, or any of the other difficult emotions, the survivor will find that emotion and bring it up in you, often through testing the relationship. If you don’t know how to handle emotions in a healthy way for yourself, it’s going to be difficult to help them resolve those feelings.

svali: Sometimes, supporters raise the question of not being a trained person, and the concern that they might do harm due to not knowing what to do?

Jo:  That’s why I believe it’s important that the group of supporters that develops around the survivor works with the therapist, who must take the time to train the support system. Creating a support team was one of the single most helpful things that we began to do here at CARE. In the past when I tried to do this type of work with only one hour a week in an office setting, it simply wasn’t enough.  The hourly session was kind of a contrived relationship, not something that helped the survivor live in a practical way outside the office so they could actually experience safety, or the modeling of good relationships. In the traditional office model, it was impossible for them to develop a give and receive relationship in a way that modeled healthy and safe attachments.

svali: It sounds like you are describing the fact that not only survivors need support and teaching in the therapeutic relationship, but supporters , or the support team also need help learning what’s helpful and what’s not helpful.

Jo: that’s right. Because if helpers don’t have any training, as they try to help, they are going to be tested in the relationship. Typically, helpers aren’t used to being tested or dealing with the fear that is introduced into the relationship by the survivor. If you think about it, a survivor has often lived with a lot of hurt and betrayal, abuse and pain, where nothing is ever safe; that’s all they have experienced in life. Suddenly someone comes along and says “I want you to trust me, and I’m going to love you,” and survivors can’t receive from the helper, because they’ve only experienced pain in relationships, and they’re fearful. They will have to test the supporter. Testing is a process of making a relationship. The motivation behind the testing are concerns like these:  “If I don’t do things perfectly, or if I blow it, or if I show fear, or anger, will you still care for me?”  Survivors will try to push the supporter away because of thoughts like this: “I’m afraid that if I let you get close to me, you’ll do something to hurt me, or drop me.” It‘s a normal process of push away and pull close, until that person learns that the other is going to remain consisten and constant through the testing process.

svali: What has personally helped you in your over 30 years of helping survivors?

Jo:  I would say my faith is the most important, because that’s what’s kept me going during the times when it felt like nothing was going well; when I got tested and when I got the push/pull from survivors. It was especially difficult when it felt like there wasn’t a lot of support from others. As my own healing and maturity issues came up in my face,  it’s really the faith I had and the LORD’s encouragement to keep going, and that He was working out things in me that helped most. After 30 years I can look back and say that I gained a lot personally from the work, with a lot of refining and burning off the “dross” in me. This is true for anyone who continues in this important work. It’s a matter of being willing to persevere and trust that no matter what happens, God is going to work it out for good; that He will do this in me, and in the survivor.

svali:  I’ve heard some supporters and churches mention their fear of warfare (spiritual attack) when they work with survivors.  Anything you found helpful?

Jo:  Well, from my own experience I have encountered warfare when working with survivors. This is an issue because there are spiritual strongholds that the survivor will bring with them because of the type of abuse they’ve been in, and part of healing is working out these issues. When I encountered this, what I found is that God had to get bigger in my life. The bigger He became, the less fearful I became of any warfare that would come at me.  The scripture that has really guided me in this process is that “suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces  good character,  and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint,” and I have really experienced that as true. God really does take everything evil and turns it around for good, so we don’t have to fear; and even when I don’t know why warfare is occurring or what might be the result of this warfare, I trust that He will bring the breakthrough and He always does.

svali: What are the characteristics of a good prayer minister or therapist in the context of working with ritual abuse/mind control survivors?

Jo: I think the characteristic of a good therapist or prayer minister is someone who is able to love; again, the Christian principle that “love never fails.”  You can be intelligent, or skilled, but if you don’t have love, you are basically a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13).  I think the most important thing is that the person you are working with senses that you do deeply care about them.  Even if you’re a brand new therapist, and you don’t know very much, “Love covers a multitude of sins”.  If the person knows that you care about them, they will understand that the therapist can make mistakes, and if you’re willing to be humble and apologize, and listen to that person, then they will understand that you are doing your best; especially if you remain teachable.

svali: Wait, you’re saying teachable, that the therapist can learn from the survivor? That’s a shift from the normal therapeutic paradigm.

Jo:  If you can remain humble and teachable, and a good listener, you will be able to hear what the person needs. I think that faith is important, too. If the survivor sees that you have a strong faith, they will be attracted to who your God is, because your faith will be tested in this relationship. If your God is big, they will see that, and that is what they need to have hope for themselves.

It can’t just be the therapist that brings strength and support to the survivor; it has to be the One they are introduced to by the therapist. You become a bridge for that client to God, and the client’s relationship with God can be repaired as well. This is especially true if the survivor’s background is ritual  ritual abuse: ritual abuse targets the survivor’s relationship with God, and often severely damages it.  Who they believe God is, because of the distortions created through the abuse, and who God really is, is an important thing to help the survivor examine.  The survivor can begin to repair their experience of God by the example of a good and true Christian life modeled by the helper.

Often, one of the basic questions asked by a survivor of ritual abuse is “Where was God when these things happened to me?”  This is one of the foundational problems created by the abuse: the idea that God didn’t care, or that He wasn’t powerful enough to help the survivor. If the helper can model faith while they’re relationally tested and can be patient and compassionate as the survivor experiences emotions such as hopelessness; and if  the helper can remain strong and trusting in God no matter what things look like, then the survivor can begin to see that there is something more, that might have been missed, about who God is. Survivors can begin to see that God can come through for them, too. Since the helper isn’t giving up on the survivor, maybe God hasn’t given up either.

svali: can you share more about what a healthy relationship with a therapist or supporter would look like?

Jo: It is someone who deeply cares about the survivor and puts the survivor’s needs first. The helper must maintain the ability to manage their own needs and set consistent, healthy boundaries. Survivor’s bonding experiences in the past came from abusive relationships, it’s a trauma bond, and the perpetrator makes it all about what they need; and all bonds that are formed are through manipulation. Trauma bonds do involve love, but most often the perpetrators  themselves are not free to demonstrate any kind of real love without manipulation and abuse involved in the bond.

svali; What I am hearing you say is that an important part of a good therapeutic relationship is offering a healthy alternative to a trauma bond to the person.

Jo: yes.  And a healthy bond would involve the client understanding that I am there for them; and that I am there to help them.  I am not interested in a manipulative, self-seeking relationship, but in one that really puts the person’s needs first, takes care of them first. That provides safety for them to actually heal.

 

Part two of this interview will discuss questions that survivors often ask