Connectedness to Words

I have always loved words. Even when I was tiny I loved words.

When I am really stressed, like during finals weeks, instead of just reading over the textbooks, highlighted texts, and my notes, I often would read a whole book. I never had time to read a whole book as well as study.

I was reading lots and lots of words, hundreds of pages worth. It took me a while to understand why I was driven to do this. I was filling myself up with words, into my mind and body.

Another ritual abuse survivor told me that she used to read pages and pages of words before being ritually abused. She told me that she could recite the paragraphs in her mind and that was what helped her to dissociate away from what was abuse she was going through. It helped her to stop feeling the emotions they were putting her through.

Thinking about writing this post made me realize something that I think is important. Most of the time I have words. I can’t think of many circumstances when I do not have words inside me. When I am triggered or having a panic attack or even very upset, I don’t have any words. It’s hard to speak. It is hard to think. It is hard to have any words inside of me.

I need to think and feel about this some more. I think that there are times when I am not upset when I can consciously think about words and my connections to them. I will be exploring how my connections to words can become stronger and help me in all areas of my life. Words are something that are real, very real to me, but they are also things that I do not have to touch in order to feel them.

Human Trafficking

 

Survivor Resource Pages (Forty pages of resources, non-profit organizations, articles, and healing support for survivors of child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and dealing with the aftermath of child sexual abuse.)

CAST: Coaltion to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking

Understanding Slavery & Trafficking

Key Statistics

ECPAT USA: End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Exploitation

Statistics

Amnesty International: Trafficking FAQ

Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking

Resources Page

Human Trafficking Fact Sheet

Labor Trafficking Fact Sheet

Ritual Abuse/Trafficking Articles

Ritual Abuse Links

Child Victims of Human Trafficking

The Commercial Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

Their Protection is in Our Hands: The State of Global Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes

Trafficking in Persons 2010 Report

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet

International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery & Organized Crime

Forced Labor & Human Trafficking: Estimating the Profits

Free the Slaves

Polaris Project

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Anti-Slavery

Body and Sold

Blog: Human Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation

News Articles

The Reality of Human Trafficking

I know that nowadays most people grasp the concept that there is human trafficking of human beings, across borders and boundaries, exploiting workers and enslaving them. Trafficking can also happen in one country, as young teenage girls are being promised a good job in the city only to find armed guards and a debt they will never be able to pay by sexual slavery. I do not use the term forced prostitution, as that does not accurately describe what happens to these children and adults.

This happens worldwide and is understood to involve children and adults. This is the modern-day face of slavery. I created a page of resource links on the topic of human trafficking and it is posted here on my blog:

Human Trafficking Resources

This is the reality we face now.  I hear about it on the national news. I heard it a lot when I was living nearby Mexico last year. Though there is usually a lot of denial that it happens here in America, it does. Most news stories are about trafficking being transporting citizens of other countries into another country illegally.

There isn’t a lot of stories about the women who become captured and sold into sexual slavery, except in other countries. There are some, just not that many. There aren’t a lot of stories about teenagers who become enslaved to someone who is selling them as prostitutes due to physical and sexual assaults and threats. I saw one story. There are some other stories, just usually not about it happening in the United States. It does.

Although there are stories in the news of children being sexually abused by family members, I never hear about all the children that are  sold sexually to other adults by their parents or siblings. This is not rare.  This is also a type of human trafficking, but no one is talking about it in the media. Being a child member of a family where abuse is happening is the reality of a captive childhood. They are selling children’s bodies for profit. And no one is talking about it in the national media. I was abused like this.

There used to be frequent stories about child pornography and organized sexual abuse and the online efforts to catch them. It is very rare to hear about it now, a big case here or there that caught many with computers full of child pornography. It used to be a topic in the national news magazines.

Now the level of awareness has devolved into sexual offenders making a date with a teenager and instead being caught on the show To Catch a Predator. Yes they are predators and yes they are sexual offenders. They just aren’t child sexual abuse predators. Those seem to not be on news programs anymore. Why? They are still out there. Why is abuse made so invisible in our culture/country?

There aren’t any stories on the news or news shows about ritual abuse and how they obtain, use, enslave, and abuse women and children. Well there is this huge funky denial about ritual abuse in our country. All the acccusations of lying therapists and evil attorneys against innocent parents have brainwashed people into believing it doesn’t happen, it never did happen. It happened. It still happens.

I am a ritual abuse survivor.

Springtime

I’ve been dreaming of nicer weather for some time. My only bike, at the time, died in early December, so I was more housebound than I had planned on this winter. I was doing okay, except for days that were warmer or I was feeling sick, then my cabin fever would emerge. I would dream of going to the coffeehouse. I miss going to the coffeehouse so much.

It’s been nicer weather this past week and I’ve been enjoying it. A few days ago I sat outside with a dog. The sun was out and within a few minutes her fur was warmer and I hugged her and felt so happy. I’ve missed throwing the ball with her outside, but slowly we are retrieving some fresh air time together.

I rode about three miles on my bike one day recently, doing some errands, going to the library, and stopping for a snack. For the first time in a long time I rode my bike with my jacket unzipped and with no hat or gloves on. It was so sweet.

Spring is almost here. I always find myself at this point. Spring is almost here, but it isn’t here yet. Snow is expected in less than a week. I don’t want to hear about that. I don’t want to think about that. But snow will come nonetheless.

I’ve been thinking over many other springs and what they have meant to me. I love spring. It is my favorite season of the year. I love getting outside more, feeling the sun shining on my skin, warming me. I was thinking of times I played outside in the spring as a child and all the springtimes since.

I want to say I survived the winter. But the winter isn’t over with yet. I want to jump up and down and celebrate. But the time for that has not yet arrived. I want to honor my survival and what I have done with my life in the past six months. A little more patience and I can.

For the time being I will reflect on something that helped me get through many winters in my life and in my healing. I remember when I found the book The Tree That Survived the Winter by Mary Fahy. I got it from a used store and took it home.

It looks like it may be a children’s book, but it isn’t. It’s so much more. It’s a book on healing. A little tree wakes up one day to greet the arrival of spring. As she honors her survival of winter, she looks forward to all the joys of spring.

We loved this book. It touched us deep inside. I found it when I was working on being a ritual abuse survivor and having Dissociative Identity Disorder in therapy. I found a lot of resonance in the book. There was a lot that I could relate to. My childhood was winter, one year after another.

So we brought it to therapy and asked our therapist to read it to aloud during the session. She read it to us. We sat close to her and were overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and love for her. The book ends with the tree celebrating and sharing it’s survival with the sun, the sky, and the evening star.

My therapist looked at me as she finished the last page. She said, I can tell this book moved and touched you. What about it do you relate to? I started crying, I told her somewhat difficultly through the tears, I survived the winter.  

I survived the winter. We all have. Happy Spring.

Lost Emotions

When I was young, most of my emotions were a dull throbbing pain inside of me. Most of what I felt was not even really the emotions that I thought they were. Mostly what I thought of  emotions was feelings of grief, rejection, terror, and sadness, in a surprising number of shades.

I didn’t know that until I was an adult and on my own, when slowly real emotions started seeping in and I had to figure out what they were and naming them and trying to find out what to do with them. I worked on healing for a long time. I had a wide range of emotions and they each could have different resonances and vibrations.

I started teaching my inners about emotions, as they emerged, worked on being in the world, and started feeling their feelings, their loss, and their sorrow. A lot of healing happened. We made a lot of progress.

I went to several different therapists. Some things worked, some things didn’t, some therapists were healing, some other therapists were godawful and wounded me. I always had my feelings.

I was trying to find a new therapist while having a lot of flashbacks. I had contacted several only to be told that I had to go to one year of DBT first. I explained that I was not in need of DBT and didn’t want it.

I couldn’t find a therapist who did trauma therapy for DID clients who had experienced ritual abuse. They kept insisting that they knew my functioning and skill level better than I did. No, they didn’t. They didn’t know anything about me. Finally I gave up and got into a DBT program, because I needed to have someone to see in therapy while going through my disability claim. I hated DBT.

Being coerced into doing DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) changed my emotions. It supressed all my emotion, no matter what I was working on. The two therapists I saw individually, at different times, were both awful. They interrupted me when I was talking. They changed the subject. They ignored what I was going through.

I told them that I was dissociative enough, I didn’t need more skills to dissociate from what I was going through. I even got that from supposed DID/trauma therapists. They were wrong.

I was a Christian and believed in keeping my spirituality out of my therapy and yet the creator of DBT stole aspects of Buddhism and especially Zen and Tibetan Buddhism and put them directly into DBT and then tried to say it wasn’t religion, because she was so stupid she didn’t know that Zen was Buddhism, even after studying it for years. It was my right to decide how much I wanted to share on my spiritual and/or religious life. I had a right not to have another religion forced upon me. I was against practicing another religion and my concerns were ignored and actively invalidated.

I believe in telling myself I am a good person. I need that to counteract the self-loathing and self-hated. I was told that neither good or bad were descriptors I should use. It took me years to believe, even in a small way, that I was good and deserved to be loved. I wasn’t going to give that up.

They actually tried to tell me that the skills the were teaching were not dissociative, but rather associative. They weren’t.

They actually tried to tell me that they didn’t judge me or their clients in the group, but instead accepted us all right where we were at in our lives. I wish I could say that was true. That never happened. I would think the concept of forced change negates the concept of acceptance and evaluating someone as being all right where they are in their life.

The therapists were on the side of other therapists in the clinic, rather than finding out what happened in any incident, before judging me. Yet judging the clients was something that they weren’t supposed to be doing. I prefer that a therapist is there for me, rather for someone else who isn’t a client. I never thought that would happen, but it does.

The last time I was in DBT it had managed to supress a lot of my emotions. Maybe they are really there, at times I see myself acting as though I am feeling love, or loyalty, or something else. Maybe they are there, I just don’t know where there is. I feel as though I’ve lost my emotions. But the truth is someone buried them and now I have to find them again.

I Told My Doctor

When I was in a ritual abuse support group, many years ago, the members told me how important it was that I tell, how important it was that those who give me health care and mental health care should know about each other and what I am dealing with. I could see how it was important to them. I could see they believed it was important. I wondered how safe I would have to feel in order to tell.

I never told anyone and I certainly never signed a disclosure form so they could talk about me from the clinic, to my therapist, to my doctor, to a psychiatrist. No, I didn’t want anyone talking about me. I didn’t find that helpful or healing.

I have been seeing my doctor for care for about ten years. I had told him that I was a survivor of abuse and dealt with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knew that I was depressed.

I had been trying to tell him for a couple of years now, but the words just wouldn’t come out. Finally I told my doctor that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It was so difficult. I cried and got so upset while trying to tell, thinking about all the ways that we are not believed and are stigmitized and rejected. I didn’t want to be unsafe or judged or mistreated at the clinic because other staff would find out and act unprofessional towards me.

I told him I want to feel safe here and treated the same way and I don’t want to have to go and find another clinic to go to because things are unsafe or uncomfortable for me here. He was very reassuring. He said this will still be a safe place for you to come, nothing will change, there is no reason for anything to change. I hope so.

The Aftermath of a Ritual Abuse Trigger Day

I had a bad trigger day this week. I had forgotten that it was approaching, but my body, my system knew. That’s the thing about ritual abuse, you never forget, even if you try to put it out of your mind, it is still there and keeps coming around.

It came creeping up on me days in advance. Everything made me cry this past week, so sentimental movies were out of the question. So I tried to catch up on tv shows I had lost track of. Even so the plot twists in a normal show were still leaving me in tears.

I had been crying more often in the past few weeks. That is a good sign. I have been feeling much safer in my new place and with safety comes the return to a deeper healing. That is nice, not crying per se, just that I am accessing deeper healing.

I was very withdrawn this past week, well for me. I was still doing a lot of stuff online. I went outside once in the past week and that was on the trigger day. I just needed to see the sun shining. It was lovely.

I used some of my self-care/comforting skills. That was nice. I have my computer working and that was great. At times I just sit and do something online with a page open to my blog and I check on it a lot. For me, that is amazingly comforting and reduces my anxiety.

I found some more Songs for Self(ves) to post. Usually I find ones that represents me singing the lyrics to the system, giving them my love and support. I found one that is about me singing to the system asking for their love and support. I think it is a real turning point for me, that I believe that I am worthy of their love and support.

Overall emotionally things have settled down. But the stress and the triggering and the anxiety of us going through an annual trigger date has contributed to my feeling sick. Not sure yet if it is the flu or a cold. I’m trying to fight it off. Trying to take good care of myself and get well, because I deserve it.