In the ring.

Recently I’ve been listening to a female survivor and boxer talk to guests about trauma and all things related. Her name is Tiffanee Cook and her podcast is “Rolling with the Punches.” It is excellent. She talks a lot about why she was drawn to boxing and what she felt like the ring represented to her. It made me reflect on why I’ve been drawn to boxing and what fighting was like.

I think I always wanted to fight, but more than that, I think I always wanted someone to punch me in the face. I remember backpacking overseas when I was 19. Our first stop was Amsterdam. We took a lot of drugs and it was a crazy time. I went with my brother and his two friends. After three days, Chris, one of my brothers friends declared he was leaving. He missed his girlfriend. He was going home! All the way back to Australia. I got back to the backpackers stoned out of my head to find out the news. Everyone was walking him to the train station so he could get to the airport. Well I wouldn’t have a bar of it! I walked along badgering him, rambling off all the reasons why he should stay and continue travelling with us (we were off to Egypt, Tel Aviv and South Africa… we’d only just begun!). I started ranting, calling him a pussy, telling him it wouldn’t last, on and on and on. Finally we got to the train station and he yelled at me to stop and pinned me against the wall. I looked at him square in the eye. “Go on, do it”, coaxing him to punch me. I wanted him to regret it. He backed off and left and we continued our travels on without him. The relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last long. We never spoke when I got back. I remember wanting him to hit me so badly. I wanted to get hit the way my sister got hit by my father, I wanted external scars. I wanted to feel the pain and for people to see the effect on the outside.

Years later, in boxing, I found it hard to hit back. I wrestled with the feelings that I deserved to be hit, I deserved to be beaten. At times I did hit back, of course, and it felt good, but I mostly felt like I was the victim, not the aggressor. It’s changed somewhat as my skill has developed, but it’s still not as instinctual as it might be for others. I’m less scared for sure.

I wanted to be in the ring so people could see me getting abused. So people could see me beaten. I think I wanted sympathy.

Now I’m just free writing tonight so this is just coming out. Is it really how I feel? I don’t know. Did I really want such patheticness to be on show? Surely I wanted to be strong and a winner? I never felt like a winner. I didn’t have a boxing persona. I didn’t want to put on a charade anymore. I think deep down I knew it was all false and I just wanted to show up in the ring and be truthful. And I guess that meant I was deeply afraid and vulnerable. Maybe I just wanted people to see it. To mirror it back to me.

Suffering in healing: a reflection

I learnt in AA that “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” This quote is an old Buddhist saying popularised by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Here, suffering is seen as a choice, rather than as part of the process, of healing and recovery. In the context of ritual abuse survivors, to deny or negate suffering minimises the tragedy of what is done to innocent children. Ritually abused children are tortured, gang raped, trafficked, filmed, spat on, pissed on, shitted on, sworn at, defiled, yelled at, electro shocked, drowned, covered in blood, tied up, buried, suffocated, terrorised, forced to have babies, kill babies, put in cages and boxes, prodded and abandoned and threatened and terrorised until their mind splits and they dissociate. Not once, but multiple times. Sometimes fully formed, sometimes only fragments. Sometimes with purpose, other times discarded or results of experiments gone wrong. How can one not expect the child to suffer?

The split parts remain buried and amnesic and are tortured and terrorised into silence. Life happens in one form or another and the absence of memory muddles the survivors perceptions and feelings. For me, it is often like walking around in a body and mind that is not connected to itself at any given time. As though, my body seems to be in one place but I cannot seem to reach it to connect. There is rarely congruence. It is an existential emptiness. An intangible suffering that seems like it may be optional. Feelings of despair may be present for months. I may sit in self loathing and depression for weeks or years or only days.

Without a connection to self, the suffering the survivor feels is not a choice. It is a reality.
Likely, the survivor works hard to create a connection to its selves to address the suffering, yet that is where things get difficult. To sit with even a shred of the pain and memory is so excruciating, the mind dissociates. It’s a tormenting cycle – a push pull of pursuing recovery, connection and healing and burying one’s head in the sand. Today, at the RA and Mind Control event, “poems of suffering and healing”, I was reminded of those who have walked before me and those who continue alongside. The survivors who have self published their books, set up groups, conferences, published academic articles to build legitimacy, written blogs, newsletters, produced wiki pages, podcasts and more. I was reminded of the ritual abuse survivors who have lost children, family and friends, careers, hopes and dreams. Those who have suffered a reduction in physical and mental capabilities and who live in despair.

I was also reminded that there are so many of us who have had their self esteem stripped away but yet have chosen not to hurt, but to serve and love others. Suffering is not an option for ritual abuse and mind control survivors, it’s part of their experience. To deny that denies them. The torture that was done to RA MC survivors persists into each day/ it is sometimes numb, sometimes throbbing with intensity. Yet, there is an incredible spirit and resilience and compassion amongst survivors. A fierce determination that inspires me. I always wonder; how did they survive? If they are still standing does that mean I can stand to? My survivor sister says to me; “we are waking up now because we are strong enough to integrate it.” When we see suffering as part of a process of healing, like as offered in Romans 5:4, we can also then rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Rat race notes

Working in a large institution has led me to discover a few things.

– things are constantly shifting and changing under the guise of being a dynamic and evolving knowledge space. Yet really it is a clever ploy to eliminate accountability and transparency. Too many shifting guards to pass blame between.

– the saying “nobody knows what they are doing” is true. It’s a large city with thousands of municipalities. There are pipelines and procedures but too many laneways to get lost in.

– leadership is found in the library not in departments.

– critical minds lead to critical evaluation, which leads to dissent and disruption.

In my head

I’m trapped in my head. I think the hardest things about SRA are the feelings of shame and worthlessness. It’s like they are within me, weighting me down. It’s an indescribable pain. If I pay attention to my body I end up shaking and dissociating. Usually work helps but at the moment it is just stressing me out.

I am away at this conference and it’s been really lovely. At the same time there is this massive gaping hole within me. It’s like black lava. I am surviving but as I said to a survivor friend today, I constantly feel like I am on the edge of a breakdown. I don’t think you could pick it (I could be wrong), but inside there’s a part of me thinking, any day now, you’re off to the loony bin. Maybe I will re-emerge all bright and bubbly with a sharp witted personality and razor edge humour.

A writer spoke at the conference this afternoon and all of her jobs and networks were built at the bar. Too bad for me. Being an ex alcoholic I can’t hang out at those places. Sometimes alcohol gets you places but I’m one of those people where it just took things away. It made me feel even more disconnected. One of the worst things about being an academic is the belief system “if you can’t do, you teach”. I don’t look at other teachers this way, but I look at me like that. It supports the belief I am a failure. I have nothing to bring to this role. I shouldn’t be doing it.

I am thinking of changing industries, yet I have no idea what I would do. Mental health work seems obvious given my head. I seem to have lost sense of what I do and what I can do. Like I have a set of skills but they’re not mine you know. I guess that’s dissociation. I spoke today to someone and started talking about arts education and creative practice and a part of me was like “oh yeah, I forgot I like that. That stuffs cool.” Its like I have to remind myself what I do again. As though the projects give me grounding and purpose. Otherwise I forget the point of living. Maybe I’m switching I’m not sure. I just think I am in a depression.

I keep wanting to defend myself. I’m exercising you know. I prayed and tried to meditate with God this morning, you know. I had moments of reprieve today and it was nice. Then I sensed me again or saw me in the mirror and felt sad.

I feel a lot of shame about sharing my depression and poor mental health. I feel embarrassed. As though it’s my fault. I’m perpetuating it by writing about it. I’m a victim. Keep surrendering moment by moment. Inch by inch.

Cycles

The depression is real. I feel it like a weighted blanket. It is comfortable I guess. I am tired. I keep thinking I would be better off dead. I have little energy to make it… to do life. Today I slept in a bit, then went for a run whilst S rode alongside me. We were out for about two hours. It was a good effort. So even though I’m running, I’m exhausted you know. I’m doing the right things. I need to pray more. I miss God but let’s face it even when I had God I was depressed. Maybe there was hope. I feel like I’m in a battle. I want to change things up but can’t muster up energy. What to do? I’m in a constant state of confusion again. On Tuesday interstate for a conference and I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to staying in a hotel. I need to request a bath. I am so desperate for a bath. I’m going to stay in the hotel and order in and sleep. Then the conference will be very busy. Wednesday is my job interview for the job I’m in. I’m nervous. I feel uninspired. I want to tell them to F off but I would never do that. I want to run away, but I would never do that. Today I thought about buying a super cheap house in the middle of rural Australia and just laying low until life is over. Because when I try to make meaning it doesn’t seem to last. I’m not sure if that’s the depression speaking.

Ritual Abuse Survivors Read Their Poems of Suffering and Healing

I am sharing an event that I am part of. The below information was written by Jean Riseman. I am going to be reading some poetry at this event with some other amazing survivors. Sign up details are included in the information below.

It’s happening! I’m excited and hope it is the first of many similar events.

Back in the days when there were a great many survivors in the Bay Area interested in 12 step meetings, Survivorship conferences, and other ways of meeting survivors, we held poetry readings at bookstores. They were well attended and both fun and inspiring. Now there are few independent bookstores and it would be much harder to get enough people to attend.

So we turned to the Internet. This the first U.S. reading of RA poems since the turn of the century, as far as I know, and surely the first virtual one! I would love to be wrong, of course. If there have been others, I hope you will tell us about them in the comment section. And let us know if more are being planned.

We have asked six poets from varying backgrounds to read some of their work during the first hour. The second hour will be open to everybody attending to ask questions and share comments. If the reading is enthusiastically received, we will schedule another.

We want you to know ahead of time that we will give a general trigger warning at the beginning of the program, along with suggestions for self-care. Individual poems will not have trigger warnings. Not all of the poetry is heavy.

Sign-up is through Eventbrite and the reading itself will take place on ZOOM.

Here is the link to the Eventbrite announcement and sign-up for “Ritual Abuse Survivors Read Their Poems of Suffering and Healing.”    

https://ra-mindcontrolpoetry.eventbrite.com.au.

If you don’t have ZOOM on your computer, laptop, or phone, download it now and play with it to familiarize yourself with the basics. It’s pretty easy. https://www.wizcase.com/download/zoom/

The reading is taking place on Saturday, July 10. I am hosting it and Leni is the Chair and technical organizer. If you would like to get to know Leni, her blog is at https://ourdissociativelives.wordpress.com. One of the poets, Daniel, has volunteered to help with the chat.

Here are some popular time zones:

Saturday, July 10, 4-6 pm Pacific Time  

Saturday, July 10, 5-7 Mountain Time  

Saturday, July 10, 6-8 Central Time  

Saturday, July 10, 7-9 pm East Coast Time 

Sunday, July 11, 9 -11 am Melbourne AEST (Leni lives in Australia and is always a day ahead of the US, Canada, and Europe!) 

Also, I am putting together a mailing list called “RA MC Events and Information.” Everybody who signed up through Eventbrite will be added automatically. If you want to be on the list, but can’t attend the reading, just drop me a line at rahome@ra-info.org or in the comments section after this post, and I will add you.

Please share this information with anybody you feel might be interested. 

We hope many of you attend with all your friends!!!

Jean and Leni

Hypnosis session 2.

I went to today’s hypnosis with an intention; to work on my relationship with money as it is attributed to memories around child prostitution. Although I have come along way with money over the past couple of years in particular (thank you Barefoot Investor book), I still find that I have feelings of fear around it. It’s like I want to get rid of it. It feels like I shouldn’t be holding on to it, I don’t want it and I don’t deserve it. At the session today it also came out that getting money was associated with getting hurt. After we talked and set the scene, I lay on the table thing and the hypnosis woman D put a weighted blanket on me. She asked the parts who had fears / feelings around money to join in if they wanted. Then she put me into trance, which is nothing scary, I started in my safe house meeting / lounge room, then went down five stairs to a room underneath. The room was really pretty and safe and she asked me to invite some healers / people of strength around, so I had Jesus and an angel and a lion there. Then she had the parts who were involved join and there were 12 of them and she asked how old they were and their ages ranged from 3 to 12, maybe 13. In the middle of the room was a large fire, a safe one and she had me put all the feelings I had around money and the prostitution in a box and to breathe in then out and on the out breath to push out the crap. My body started to shake and get all weird and then I had to turn over as the pain was hurting so much and she asked me where it’s hurting and I said between my legs. She asked me something like what did it look like or if it looked like an object what was it and I said a knife. She then began pulling it out and praying over me or something and I was in a lot of pain. But eventually the memory just shook through me and I was okay. And then a part asked what do we do with the box and she laughed nicely because she could see we were okay. She said to let the light take it, just let it disappear because it’s not my stuff. And that was it. When we debriefed she said she felt like she had all this strength of light behind her helping her shift this stuff out of me. She got emotional when she told me that. It made me feel nice and protected.

I came home and went for a half marathon run. I felt good. Lighter. More focused. Determined.

Hypnosis session.

Today I did hypnosis. I have recently gotten private health insurance and I noticed it as an option so thought I would give it a go. I have done hypnosis before. In fact I’m actually trained in it. That’s a story for another day, but I’m one of those people who have a certificate in everything. It’s quite funny really. In my twenties I was so desperate to “be well” that I undertook a lot of courses and programs to try and change. I ended up getting a master practitioner certificate in NLP which taught hypnosis. I became a level one reiki practitioner, learnt how to do soul retrieval’s and got a certificate in EFT. Not to forget I also did a real estate course for wealth building… which didn’t work out. I was all over the place. The only one I really value is a trainers certificate in laughing yoga. That was a fun one and I got paid a couple of times to deliver some training. The rest I burned through money I didn’t have and never did anything with these things.

I digress, I went today to just talk about my programming and see if anything could be done about bridging the gap between me and my parts. The woman seemed open to multiplicity and satanic ritual abuse and I appreciated that. She believed me and that was important. Although some of her beliefs differed from mine (she did say she believed in Jesus), I felt her practice was ultimately connected to God or in pursuit of and so I didn’t feel it was too new age. She got me to renounce lies, programming and beliefs which I have done many times in the past with prayer ministry. I think it is very important and have experienced big shifts from this kind of work. That took some time as she was feeling very cold and sensing lots of dark energy. I didn’t feel this darkness thankfully. Then she took me through a visualisation exercise and I connected with a part. She helped me to look after her and take her to hospital to get treated. I gave the part an oxygen mark and told her everything was okay now. I am here and can look after her now. I just remember showing the part a lot of love and just being there for her. I asked for the parts forgiveness. She accepted it. I felt very tired in the session but when she woke me out of the trance she said I would feel refreshed for the rest of the day and I did. I am glad I went and feel okay tonight. In some ways it feels a bit anti climatic. I am going to go another two times just to work on some other stuff that’s been bugging me. Stay tuned…

Adult self

Yesterday my therapist reminded me I am adult. The adult part of me wants to work together with my system as a team. I saw a picture of somebody hanging. Then I just felt despair. I recognised it was a feeling – a memory state of despair. My T says that is my memory and that’s the bit I think, “really, is it?” And she says, yes, and I need to validate it otherwise the parts will feel mistrust again.

I spoke about a part coming up who really doesn’t like my partner S. I am going to compare what my adult self and this part feels about S so I have record.

Adult part: S is very kind and smart and loving and funny and a bit nerdy and strange. She is quite innocent, very beautiful, creative, a good conversationalist, caring, full of life, witty, talented, clean, organised, careful, mature, considerate, healthy and wise. She is also soft and sweet and thoughtful. She is politically minded and wants to contribute to the world we live in.

The part that doesn’t like her thinks that she is too young and naive and is going to change her mind and move on and then say “I was only in my 20s back then, i didn’t know what I was doing.” She is too skinny and immature and taking advantage of everyone until she gets her shit together.

The tension is that my adult self does feel concerned about the age difference so this part gets triggered by that. It’s a delicate balance of working out what’s my stuff vs the parts stuff. My T suggested the best thing I can do is to work on my attachment issues and regain a sense of self so that if anything happens, then I know that I am okay to face it. I have a lot of attachment and betrayal trauma issues but I don’t feel I understand this very much so it plays out unconsciously. I have quite a limited understand of attachment and betrayal, so need to read more about it.

Sand tray therapy continues

Last night in therapy we did sand play work. T invited the part who came out last week to join in. I don’t know whether it was them that appeared or not but T suggested we pick some objects from her shelf that appealed to us. The part picked a toy puppy, a penguin, koala, panda and monkey. T suggested we choose one to speak for. I felt very shy so she went first, selecting the puppy. He said hello to everyone and went for a scoot around the sand. I picked the monkey, who said hello and that we were having a meeting.

T then picked the panda and said that she was hungry. We got the panda some bamboo and added it to the sand tray. Then T asked me what each of them represented. I said the monkey was the leader and he was wise. The puppy spoke for the littles, the penguin; mother nurturer type and the panda represented the parts of me that felt stupid and the koala those that felt fear. T suggested I pick an object for each of them that made them feel safe. I picked a bed for the penguin who was carrying a baby penguin in her pouch, so the baby penguin could have a nap, an eeyore toy dog for the puppy, a tree for the koala, a gold jewel for the panda and a lovely mosaic stone for the monkey.

We talked about what would happen at the meeting and the monkey said that issues could be discussed and anything else the parts wanted to bring up.

Finally, T asked if I would like to reposition the monkey as he was sitting opposite the koala, as she thought it might help the koala feel less fearful. The photos below show the objects I got for the toy parts and also the final position that everyone ended up in.

Then the session was over. Today I woke extremely exhausted and dissociative but I’m feeling okay now.