Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
I have come to believe that by and large the human family all has the same secrets, which are both very telling and very important to tell. They are telling in the sense that they tell what is perhaps the central paradox of our condition—that what we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are—even if we tell it only to ourselves—because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier that way to see where we have been in our lives and where we are going. It also makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own, and exchanges like that have a lot to do with what being a family is all about and what being human is all about.
I don't-" I shake my head. (...) "What? What were you going to say?" This is another trick of shrinks. They never let you stop in midthought. If you open your mouth, they want to know exactly what you had the intention of saying.
People who are diagnosed as having "generalized anxiety disorder" are afflicted by three major problems that many of us experience to a lesser extent from time to time. First and foremost, says Rapgay, the natural human inclination to focus on threats and bad news is strongly amplified in them, so that even significant positive events get suppressed. An inflexible mentality and tendency toward excessive verbalizing make therapeutic intervention a further challenge.
One of the things that therapists do if you are suicidal, like a trick, is ask you about the future. They want to know what your plans are. Do you want to be the president? Do you want to be a rock star? They want to know if you want to live later even if you want to die now.
It's difficult. I take a low dose of lithium nightly. I take an antidepressant for my darkness because prayer isn't enough. My therapist hears confession twice a month, my shrink delivers the host, and I can stand in the woods and see the world spark.
After a while Mary said, Zsadist? Yeah? What are those markings? His frowned and flicked his eyes over to her, thinking, as if she didn’t know? But then . . . well, she had been a human. Maybe she didn’t. They’re slave bands. I was . . . a slave. Did it hurt when they were put on you? Yes. Did the same person who cut your face give them to you? No, my owner’s hellren did that. My owner . . . she put the bands on me. He was the one who cut my face. How long were you a slave? A hundred years. How did you get free? Phury. Phury got me out. That’s how he lost his leg. Were you hurt while you were a slave? Z swallowed hard. Yes. Do you still think about it? Yes. He looked down at his hands, which suddenly were in pain for some reason. Oh, right. He’d made two fists and was squeezing them so tightly his fingers were about to snap off at the knuckles. Does slavery still happen? No. Wrath outlawed it. As a mating gift to me and Bella. What kind of slave were you? Zsadist shut his eyes. Ah, yes, the question he didn’t want to answer. For a while it was all he could do to force himself to stay in the chair. But then, in a falsely level voice, he said, I was a blood slave. I was used by a female for blood. The quiet after he spoke bore down on him, a tangible weight. Zsadist? Can I put my hand on your back? His head did something that was evidently a nod, because Mary’s gentle palm came down lightly on his shoulder blade. She moved it in a slow, easy circle. Those are the right answers, she said. All of them. He had to blink fast as the fire in the furnace’s window became blurry. You think? he said hoarsely. No. I know.
I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, loving parents with far less conflict. After all, isn't that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?
Of course, a culture as manically and massively materialistic as ours creates materialistic behavior in its people, especially in those people who've been subjected to nothing but the destruction of imagination that this culture calls education, the destruction of autonomy it calls work, and the destruction of activity it calls entertainment.
The cases described in this section (The Fear of Being) may seem extreme, but I have become convinced that they are not as uncommon as one would think. Beneath the seemingly rational exterior of our lives is a fear of insanity. We dare not question the values by which we live or rebel against the roles we play for fear of putting our sanity into doubt. We are like the inmates of a mental institution who must accept its inhumanity and insensitivity as caring and knowledgeableness if they hope to be regarded as sane enough to leave. The question who is sane and who is crazy was the theme of the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest . The question, what is sanity? was clearly asked in the play Equus . The idea that much of what we do is insane and that if we want to be sane, we must let ourselves go crazy has been strongly advanced by R.D. Laing . In the preface to the Pelican edition of his book The Divided Self , Laing writes: "In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all of our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal." And in the same preface: "Thus I would wish to emphasize that our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities; that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities." Wilhelm Reich had a somewhat similar view of present-day human behavior. Thus Reich says, "Homo normalis blocks off entirely the perception of basic orgonotic functioning by means of rigid armoring; in the schizophrenic, on the other hand, the armoring practically breaks down and thus the biosystem is flooded with deep experiences from the biophysical core with which it cannot cope." The "deep experiences" to which Reich refers are the pleasurable streaming sensations associated with intense excitation that is mainly sexual in nature. The schizophrenic cannot cope with these sensations because his body is too contracted to tolerate the charge. Unable to "block" the excitation or reduce it as a neurotic can, and unable to "stand" the charge, the schizophrenic is literally "driven crazy." But the neurotic does not escape so easily either. He avoids insanity by blocking the excitation, that is, by reducing it to a point where there is no danger of explosion, or bursting. In effect the neurotic undergoes a psychological castration. However, the potential for explosive release is still present in his body, although it is rigidly guarded as if it were a bomb. The neurotic is on guard against himself, terrified to let go of his defenses and allow his feelings free expression. Having become, as Reich calls him, "homo normalis," having bartered his freedom and ecstasy for the security of being "well adjusted," he sees the alternative as "crazy." And in a sense he is right. Without going "crazy," without becoming "mad," so mad that he could kill, it is impossible to give up the defenses that protect him in the same way that a mental institution protects its inmates from self-destruction and the destruction of others.
And so, it is not astonishing that, though the patient enters therapy insisting that he wants to change, more often than not, what he really wants is to remain the same and to get the therapist to make him feel better. (4)
The manic relief that comes from the fantasy that we can with one savage slash cut the chains of the past and rise like a phoenix, free of all history, is generally a tipping point into insanity, akin to believing that we can escape the endless constraints of gravity, and fly off a tall building. “I’m freeeee… SPLAT!”.
Underlying the attack on psychotherapy, I believe, is a recognition of the potential power of any relationship of witnessing. The consulting room is a privileged space dedicated to memory. Within that space, survivors gain the freedom to know and tell their stories. Even the most private and confidential disclosure of past abuses increases the likelihood of eventual public disclosure. And public disclosure is something that perpetrators are determined to prevent. As in the case of more overtly political crimes, perpetrators will fight tenaciously to ensure that their abuses remain unseen, unacknowledged, and consigned to oblivion.
The dialectic of trauma is playing itself out once again. It is worth remembering that this is not the first time in history that those who have listened closely to trauma survivors have been subject to challenge. Nor will it be the last. In the past few years, many clinicians have had to learn to deal with the same tactics of harassment and intimidation that grassroots advocates for women, children and other oppressed groups have long endured. We, the bystanders, have had to look within ourselves to find some small portion of the courage that victims of violence must muster every day.
Some attacks have been downright silly; many have been quite ugly. Though frightening, these attacks are an implicit tribute to the power of the healing relationship. They remind us that creating a protected space where survivors can speak their truth is an act of liberation. They remind us that bearing witness, even within the confines of that sanctuary, is an act of solidarity. They remind us also that moral neutrality in the conflict between victim and perpetrator is not an option. Like all other bystanders, therapists are sometimes forced to take sides. Those who stand with the victim will inevitably have to face the perpetrator's unmasked fury. For many of us, there can be no greater honor. p.246 - 247 Judith Lewis Herman, M.D. February, 1997
A combination of fine tea, enchanting objects and soothing surroundings exerts a therapeutic effect by washing away the corrosive strains and stress of modern life. [... It] induces a mood that is spiritually refreshing [and produces] a genial state of mind.
How do we find words for describing levels of betrayal and emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual torture that fragment and destroy a child or cast and case traumatic shadows over the whole of adult life? We might, as a society, slowly find it possible to accept that one in four citizens are likely to have experience some form of emotional, psychical, sexual or spiritual abuse (McQueen, Itzin, Kennedy, Sinason, & Maxted, 2008), in itself a figure unimaginable and hidden twenty years ago. However, accepting the way a hurt and hurting parent or stranger re-enacts their disturbance with a vulnerable child or children remains far easier to digest than to consider the intellectually planned, scientific, methodical, procedures of organized child-abusing perpetrators-in other words, torture.
...Things happened when you were little. Things you don't remember now, and don't want to. But they need to escape, need to worm their way out of that dark place in your brain where you keep them stashed.
It is fear that makes you believe that you are living and that you will be dead.What we do not want is the fear to come to an end. That is why we have invented all these new minds, new sciences,new talks, therapies, choiceless awareness and various other gimmicks.
Because the problem of ritual abuse and mind control has not gone away - the survivors are still there - many more therapists have learnt about it. Survivors have spoken out and written their stories, and therapists have learnt a great deal from those brave survivors who have discovered what was done to them. There is a large special interest group on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control within the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. Those therapists who have learnt in isolation or in small private online forums are once again sharing their knowledge widely, and books such as this one are beginning to be published again. The work is still very difficult and challenging, but we now know so much more than we did. We know that there is not one massive Satanic cult, but many different interrelated groups, including religious, military/political, and organized crime, using mind control on children and adult survivors. We know that there are effective treatments. We know that many of the paralyzing beliefs our clients lived by are the results of lies and tricks perpetrated by their abusers. And we know that, as therapists, we can combat this evil with wise and compassionate therapy.
Those of us who work in the field of trauma and abuse, whether psychologists, psychoanalysts, social workers, doctors, counselors, or psychotherapists, have been provided with beautiful tools for understanding the impact of trauma. We become adept at understanding the dynamic of why the messenger is always shot and broadcast the Bionic insight of why the visionary is not bearable to the group. However, when it comes to military mind control, abuse within religious belief groups or cults, and deliberately created dissociative identity disorder, we enter the least resourced field of all.
... once you were in, they put a note in your file that said you were in therapy, and all your teachers saw that file. They might as well have tattooed CRAZY on your forehead. The next year every teacher would be watching you for the first weird thing you did—and has there ever been a kid who never does anything an adult considers weird?
There were nights when I left the sessions physically and emotionally drained after hearing the anguish pour out like blood from a gaping wound. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different – psychotherapy is one of the most taxing endeavors known to mankind; I’ve done all sorts of work, from picking carrots in the scorching sun to sitting on national committees in paneled board rooms, and there’s nothing that compares to confronting human misery hour after hour and bearing the responsibility for easing that misery using only one’s mind and mouth. At its best it’s tremendously uplifting as you watch the patient open up, breathe, let go of the pain. At its worst is like surfing in a cesspool struggling for balance while being slapped with wave after putrid wave.
Happiness is the consciousness of growth. [...] If my definition has validity, it suggests that most people come to therapy because they sense their growth has been arrested. Certainly many patients look to therapy to reinstitute the growth process. (33)
I don’t have any regrets, a famous movie actor said in an interview I recently witnessed. I’d live everything over exactly the same way. That’s really pathetic, the talk show host said. Are you seeking help? Yeah. My shrink says we’re making progress. Before, I wouldn’t even admit that I would live it all over, the actor said, starting to choke up. I thought one life was satisfying enough. My God, the host said, cupping his hand to his mouth. The first breakthrough was when I said I would live it over, but only in my dreams. Nocturnal recurrence. You’re like the character in that one movie of yours. What’s it called? You know, the one where you eat yourself. The Silence of Sam. That’s it. Can you do the scene? The actor lifts up his foot to stick it in his mouth. I reach over from my seat and help him to fit it into his bulging cheeks. The audience goes wild.
What daily life is like for a multiple Imagine that you have periods of lost time. You may find writings or drawings which you must have done, but do not remember producing. Perhaps you find child-sized clothing or toys in your home but have no children. You might also hear voices or babies crying in your head. Imagine that you can never predict when you will be able to have certain knowledge or social skills, and your emotions and your energy level seem to change at the drop of a hat, and for no apparent reason. You cannot understand why you feel what you feel, and, if you are in therapy, you cannot explore those feelings when asked. Your life feels disjointed and often confusing. It is a frightening experience. It feels out of control, and you probably think you are going crazy. That is what it is like to be multiple, and all of it is experienced by the ANPs. A multiple may also experience very concrete problems, even life-threatening ones.