Even Now

My best friend and I, as I have mentioned before on this blog, text every night.  Between 8:00-10:00-ish, we talk about our days and anything else that happens to come up.  It’s a great time, even when the subject matter is dark, because we are together.

Tuesday night was different.  Tuesday night found me unsure of his feelings toward me and terrified that I’d done something to push him away.  He wasn’t joking around about anything.  He wasn’t laughing, so to speak, via text.  He was simply answering me in terse phrases.  I was scared.

I asked if he was ok, and he answered in the affirmative.  A few texts later, I told him I felt like I was texting an acquaintance.  He said he didn’t know what to tell me.  Through the rest of the conversation, he had to assure me time and again that he was fine with me and fine himself.  I’m sure it tested his patience, but he stayed right with me.  I love him for that and many reasons.

This conversation makes me angry, now that time has passed.  Within the confines of the cult, I learnt that no one would like me other than my ‘family,’ those responsible for my training.  I was taught that the people who profess to love you would leave any time they wanted.  I avoided getting close to anyone, because I knew they’d leave anyway.  And it was always me.  I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough.  Or I was too good and punished for showing up the others.  Whatever the reason, love brought pain.

Now, many years later, I find myself falling in to that trap of not trusting people.  Trust is so hard.  For a while, it was impossible.  I met my best friend in January 2001.  Almost 17 years later, I had such a hard time trusting him that, in one conversation, I assumed he was ready to end our friendship.  This is SRA.  The systemised method of breaking down your natural sense of trust and rebuilding it with a sense of suspicion toward anyone you were not programmed to love.

I often wonder what happens next.  Will my lack of trust run off my FOC sometime?  Will I ever be able to relax enough to accept that they truly do accept me?  SRA is so damaging on so many levels.  Even now, some 17 years after escaping, I bear the scars, and I am devastated to know these scars affect the ones I love the most.

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Film Warning for SRA Survivors

This weekend, my best friend and I watched the film called ‘The Watch.’  And I barely slept for the night after.  In fact, I couldn’t sleep until sunrise.  This was quite the trigger, and, as it is a comedy, I wasn’t expecting that.  If you are an SRA survivor who has any experience with cannibalistic rituals or skinning rituals, foregoing this film will be in your best interest.

Active Denial

This post is aimed at helping others who have an SRA background.  By its very nature, though, any information about SRA can be triggering to survivors.  If you are a survivor, please take care whilst reading.

There are *things* going on in the world right now.  Triggering things about wars, possible wars, and all sorts of lovely potential disasters.  We’re bombarded with information about society’s failings, and everyone seems to have a story of death or destruction.  I’d like to propose a strategy: active denial.  Hear me out.  Therapy is excellent for dealing with programming when it gets set off, as well as for identifying and defusing triggers.  When *life* becomes a trigger, though, sometimes ignoring bits really is the best way to go.

I need to remain functional.  Therefore, I am allowing certain bits to pass through undetected.  I’m avoiding news programmes at all costs and being very careful about conversations.  If something feels like it could lead in to a trigger subject, I’m quick to ask the person if we could please choose another subject.  It’s not rude– it’s self-preservation.  Even last year, I would never have been able to take that perspective.

This morning, I told my therapist about this active denial, and she’s fine with it.  When and if things *do* get triggering, I’ll bring it up to her.  If I should happen to hear or see something that gets me quite upset, I’ll simply phone the therapist, and she will calm me down.  With that safeguard in place, I’m able to push aside triggering news bits that I can’t change and carry on with my life.  I won’t ignore past triggers, nor will I ignore SRA memories as they come.  I’m simply avoiding things that can create new reactions.

If you are a survivor of SRA, my message to you is *please* keep going.  Please know you are so much more than what you were put through, and you will be OK, no matter what they’ve told you.  Healing is possible, and the best part is you have all the tools you need for healing inside yourself!

Balance of Power

I’ve always felt like my therapist has some sort of power and/or authority over me.  I’ve been seeing her for almost four years, and she is amazing.  She’s made me more comfortable than I ever thought a therapist could.  Still, there is an imbalance in any therapist-to-client relationship.  Clients tell therapists their deepest secrets (sometimes), but we know very little about them.  It’s difficult, in the case of someone with my SRA background, to trust that this person won’t use my vulnerabilities against me.

Which brings me to the central focus of this post: for the first time ever, I lost my composure and cried in front of the therapist on Monday.  I’m not sure how this will affect our relationship.  On her end, I’m guessing nothing has changed.  On my end, however, she has even more power over me now.  I’ve seen people bloody *killed* for crying.  And no, it isn’t that I think my therapist is going to kill me.  I just don’t like having shown her so much vulnerability.  I don’t cry much anyway, and it’s always mortifying to me.  It makes me feel silly and childish.  I was, afterall, trained quite well to suppress that sort of emotional response.  What the cult didn’t do my mother completed in this regard.  She saw crying as something to ridicule or punish.

My next appointment is in early January, and I really am curious as to how things between the therapist and me will change.  At this point, I’m guessing I’ll be more cautious of her.  If there are major problems, we’ll discuss it.  If not, perhaps we can just move on as if this bit never happened.

Transformations

I think one of the saddest things one can see is the transformation in the eyes of a child who goes through tragedy.  This change was quite clear in my sister’s eyes, and I’ll never forget that.

My sister was an accident, to say the least.  The cult wanted my parents to have only two children.  With my sister’s birth, then, came rather serious punishment for my parents.  Actually, her birth is what led to my parents’ divorce and my father’s moving to America.  So much changed with that child.  After my father moved away, my mother sister and I ended up living outside the underground compound.  Needless to say, that was preferable.  The cult was still a major presence in our lives, but we were in society, for lack of better terms.  There was more than just them.

I looked at this as a chance to give my sister a better life.  She was only a few months old when we went above ground, and I was thrilled that she would have no memories of that.  Of course, things changed when I started my leadership training.  She was aged seven years when we were taken back underground.  Even though she had lived with some cult violence, as well as the violence our mother sometimes inflicted, she had not experienced anything close to that underground world.  The transformation in her eyes was immediate.

I tried as best as I could to protect her, but we were eventually separated so that I could continue my training.  I have no idea what happened to my sister during that time.  She never spoke of it.  She did, however, look hollow when we re-emerged, and her laugh was guarded.  Everything about her was guarded.  It broke my heart.

My sister was almost ten when we got away from the underground world and moved to London.  Eventually, she started to thrive.  She attended a school with a programme specifically for students with behavioural disorders, and she quickly proved to be the most intelligent student in her year.  She was like a little adult, for the most part, with wit and nerve that challenged even my friends, most of whom were at least seven years older than her.  Words cannot do justice to the amazing person she was.

There was a darker side to her, though, and I’m guessing that’s what led her to take her life that December almost eleven years ago.  She died three days after her twelfth birthday, and her death, much like her birth, changed everything.  I’ve ‘introduced’ her to my family-of-choice and best friend through stories about her life.  They seem to love her, although they will never get a chance to meet her.  My brother-of-choice recently said nobody should have to carry around the stuff my sister had to carry in her mind.  His words touched me deeply.  I wanted so much to protect this child who was so much more fragile than she seemed.

As my former therapist said, my sister went out on a high note.  Her twelfth birthday was quite the bash.  We had music, cake, and all of the unicorn stickers she could imagine.  We also had the people she loved.  Her eyes and her smile that day were not the least bit hollow.  They were genuine.  I’d like to think that at least her last few days were spent in happiness.

It’s quite fitting that my sister’s favourite song, ‘Shades of Gray‘ by the Monkees, carries a message much more mature and regretful than any twelve-year-old should understand.

May the gods, goddesses, and any other pantheon of beings take care of this special child who is, I hope, surrounded by love and happiness.

And may they have the strength to keep her in check.

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I remember when the answers seemed so clear.

We had never lived with doubt or tasted fear.

It was easy then to tell truth from lies

Selling out from compromise

Who to love and who to hate

The foolish from the wise

But today there is no day or night

Today there is no dark or light

Today there is no black or white

Only shades of gray…

Torchwood Triggers

This post could be *very* triggering to folks with an SRA background. Please be careful.
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I *love* Torchwood. The first two series, that is. I haven’t seen the third series, a 5-episode miniseries called ‘Children of the Earth.’ Series Four is ‘Miracle Day.’ The show has been absolutely ruined, in my opinion. It’s like a crime/conspiracy show. I’m an SRA survivor. I have no problems at all believing in supposed conspiracies. I know quite well that many of them are true. However, the sensationalistic plot lines in this installment of Torchwood are more likely to perpetuate the belief that things like government conspiracies don’t exist. Perhaps enough information is being put in to each episode to allow *dis*information to make it through undetected.

Torchwood rant aside, I feel it necessary to warn others with an SRA background that very serious triggers pop up at times. In this series, everyone is immortal, causing an immediate overcrowding of the Earth. Last night’s episode included categorising people in to qualities of life and locking those who were ‘walking dead’ in to ‘modules.’ These camps were set up in unused army bases. Imagine that. Part of it involved ‘extermination’ of people who were alive but should have been dead based on their injuries. They were locked in to what amounted to large ovens on the army bases and burnt alive. One character was even conscious. Immortality, governments categorising life and death, camps on army bases, human extermination. Sounds like your average underground Tuesday, no?

*Please* be careful if you or someone you know are an SRA survivor interested in Torchwood. This latest installment will not likely be safe for you. Don’t make the mistake I did and have flashbacks for hours just from one episode. I have yet to calm down even the physical symptoms. Take care of yourselves. We’ve all been through enough…

The Disappearing Blogger…

It occurred to me today that I should update this blog.  And the other blog, for that matter.  My disappearance from the blogosphere can be explained in one word: school.  Summer courses are incredibly difficult.  I’m currently taking a course that condenses 16 weeks of material into 6 weeks.  Absolute madness.  I’m taking a shorter course as well.  Even though I spent *hours* studying almost every day, I’m behind.  Professors have a socially accepted form of torture.

So what else is new, you ask dear reader.  Not a great deal.  I and mine just went through a ridiculously difficult time of it regarding flashbacks.  Something in therapy started a chain of SRA programming that threw me into near constant flashbacks for a week.  My grip on reality was nonexistent for a few days, and I had to be very careful after my mind returned.  The memories involved human experimentation and all sorts of lovely activities.  Odd things turned into triggers, so I had to become *very* aware of my internal climate, lest I lose my grip and go completely off my face.  Very happy to report that things have settled nicely since then.  I’m back to the socially accepted torture mentioned above.  🙂

And my best friend and I are going away for a long weekend starting Thursday!  We’re both quite excited.  He could use time away from his semi-mad family, and I could use time away from studies.  We’re going to a nearby city that we both enjoy and haven’t visited in quite some time.  It will be absolutely lovely.  Hopefully, I’ll get a few nice photos out of it (and scan them in since my digital camera is now resting at peace) and a few nice memories as well.  We are both looking *so* forward!

That’s my blogging update, then.  Classes end in a few weeks, and I’ll make my grand re-entrance to the blog world soon after.   🙂

On the Outside

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the ‘technical’ aspects of SRA lately.  The what is done and how it’s done bit.  Programming is *incredibly* sophisticated, and I don’t really want to go into that at the moment.  I do, however, want to recommend a song: ‘When I’m Gone’ by 3 Doors Down.  Driving to school a few weeks ago, I heard this song for this first time in years.  The first two lines struck at the centre of me.  So much stays locked up inside SRA survivors, even to those closest to us.  In talking with my closest friends, I avoid certain areas.  No one will benefit from hearing the more grisly aspects of life inside a satanic cult.  I’ve always tried to express what talking with ‘outsiders’ about SRA feels like.  That protective hesitance.  These lines from ‘When I’m Gone’ express it perfectly.

There’s another world inside of me that you may never see.

There’s secrets in this life that I can’t hide.

The whole song expresses quite well the things I could never say.  I’ve been trying to put into words what it’s like to separate the emotion (as much as possible) from the business of SRA, for lack of better terms.  That’s how it’s done inside cults.  I had to suppress emotions, sometimes as a means for survival, and carry through with things.  In the early years, thinking about my younger sister got me through.  There were so many times when we were separated, and I was terrified of what might have been happening to her.  If this song had been out all those years ago, I’d have told her to sing it to herself.  The chorus is exactly what I’d want to say to her.  I wanted to tell her she could keep her faith in me, even when I wasn’t around.  I wanted her to know I’d always be the something stable she could hold on to.  Still, she got me through so much– I *had* to get through in order to get her through.  In that sense, we saved each other.  I was never able to let her know just how strong and powerful she was, even as a small child.  She was my motivation and the strength I needed to get through some of the darkest times in my life.  She was amazing.

Anyway, the song ‘When I’m Gone’ is performed by 3 Doors Down, from their 2002 album ‘Away from the Sun.’  It was written by Brad Arnold.  Click here to listen to the song.

There’s another world inside of me

That you may never see

There’s secrets in this life that I can’t hide

Somewhere in this darkness

There’s a light that I can’t find

Maybe it’s too far away

Or maybe I’m just blind

Maybe I’m just blind…

Chorus

So hold me when I’m here

Right me when I’m wrong

You can hold me when I’m scared

And love me when I’m gone

Everything I am

And everything in me

Wants to be the one

You wanted me to be

I’ll never let you down

Even if I could

I’d give up everything

If only for your good

So hold me when I’m here

Right me when I’m wrong

You can hold me when I’m scared

You won’t always be there

So love me when I’m gone

Love me when I’m gone…

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When your education x-ray

Cannot see under my skin

I won’t tell you a damn thing

That I could not tell my friends

Roaming through this darkness

I’m alive but I’m alone

Part of me is fighting this

But part of me is gone…

Chorus

Love me when I’m gone

When I’m gone

When I’m gone

When I’m gone…

Good Night

Anyone else out there having quite a bit of trouble with night these days?  I have had *tremendous* issues with programming and cult-stated prophecy lately.  I make it through the days relatively well, but night is terrible.  It’s like as soon as the sun sets the prophecies take over my mind.  That statement alone lets me know programming has a definite part in this situation.

I’ll need to close this post soon, as I’m actually starting to trigger myself.  The point is, nights, as Mairead would say, suck eggs.  Time is a trigger.

Five Hundred Years

My brother-of-choice once told me to think of the fact that the cult in which I grew up has been wrong for 500 years.  He asked how many groups I’ve heard of that, after 500 years of being wrong, all the sudden turn out to be right.  I’m holding on to those words today.  Hope is the best and most effective weapon against a group that creates people who know no better than to act out of hatred and pain.

Stay safe on this Solstice day.