*****TW***** I have tried to make this as non-triggering as possible. But if you’re a survivor, read with care.
As you probably already know, there are still various debates going on, and schools of thought about, Dissociative Identity Disorder and its relation to Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA), Trauma-Based Mind Control (TBMC), and various other aspects of these topics. I’ve written previously about it, although briefly, in my post “’False’ Memories,” but wanted to re-visit the subject again this year. 😉
First of all, I am not one of those people that immediately swallows everything that comes down the pike. I’d like to recommend that you not be, either. Sometimes I think a healthy dose of skepticism would do a lot of us a lot of good, at least as far as believing what’s posted on our newsfeed, or the viewpoint of anything being promoted on the local news channel. There is nothing wrong with questioning, investigating, researching, and suspending an immediate opinion until more facts emerge. In fact, I may be in the minority here in America, but that’s actually a much more reasonable approach to most things than jumping on the nearest bandwagon just because it touches something in our emotions, or validates something we want to be true. But in light of Americans’ swiftly advancing abandonment of petty things like, you know, facts and research, that might be asking too much. However, I’m not Matt Walsh, so I digress. 😉
Important note (edited from OP): I’m NOT saying by the above paragraph to be skeptical toward people who have abuse memories, whether of the S/RA or TBMC variety, or not. NONE of this post should be construed as me saying to disbelieve victims and survivors in any way. The pain is real and it comes from somewhere. I’m talking about the topic in general when I go into these things. If you counsel, minister to, or just love or care about or even know someone who has trusted you enough to tell you anything about their experiences, believe them. Believe them unless and until you have clear and concise reasons not to that go beyond personal doubts or feelings or theories. It would be better to believe someone and err on the side of trying to be a supportive and safe person and find out later that it wasn’t true, than to disbelieve them and reject them and find out later that it was true. These points are referring to the phenomenon of SRA/TBMC in general and do not denote anything about how I personally respond to survivors or recommend that you respond to them. On THAT topic, believe them. And treat them with love and compassion and respect.
I also want to note before getting started that I am not going to present convincing evidence for or against either viewpoint in this post. I’m not a professional researcher, I don’t work for any kind of law enforcement or government agency, and I’m not any kind of clinician. I don’t have qualifications that make me special; I read a lot. I notice (and investigate) proper sourcing of information, with the knowledge that the sources themselves might be biased. And, listen: I’m just some chick with some facts and some opinions about the facts. If what I say does not resonate with you, throw it out. I don’t know everything; I don’t know quite a lot of things. Freud was just a guy. Jung was just a guy. Bowlby and Ainsworth were just a guy and a lady who used observations to come to conclusions that got picked up by a bunch of other people and taken on as truth. They had theories, and they based them on experiences, and put them out there for the public to inspect, but in the end, they’re not different from you and me. Some days I wonder if the next generation (or maybe a few down from now, since ideas tend to take their time germinating) is one day going to hold in high regard some of the things me and my more indulgent friends have spent way too many hours tossing around while sitting in one of our living rooms, drinking iced tea. Just remember: I’m just some lady. I’m no better than you are. If you have theories, put them out there. Greater minds than mine are out there, and they need to be thinking on these things, and my prayer is that transformation and healing and wholeness will come like a wave when we work together to find solutions.
So I’m always mulling over various topics like this. My brain barrels like a freight train, whether I like it or not – the wheels are turning night and day. I do not have an “off” switch. My mind works on things that I see as problems even when I’m doing something unrelated, off-topic, and/or mundane. Something may be on the back burner for all practical intents and purposes, but it is not forgotten nor ignored.
Also regarding my neutral and non-sourced stance in this post, I’m going off memory of stuff I’ve read (either recently or historically) because I can’t access the actual websites at the moment (but it’s all free for the Googling!). Secondly, I’m just raising the issues involved. I do not have definitive answers. The topics (and debate thereof) trouble me greatly. I can’t fully choose a side because of these things presented below. There are too many problems with both opposing sides.
Let’s talk about SRA and TBMC. I’ll try to make this as non-triggering as possible, but please read with care.
There are several problems with an approach that believes that all accounts of SRA and/or TBMC are absolutely true in their entirety. Conversely, there are also several problems with disbelieving that anything even resembling SRA or TBMC is going on. (My unimpressive and vague opinion, not that it matters, is that SOMETHING is going on and possibly on a massive scale. I’m not sure that it’s actually exactly what we think it is, but I don’t know what.) Here are some of the issues that make it a problem for me to take a polarized stance.
- Where is the evidence? This is a very problematic consideration for me. If there are people (particularly children) being murdered at the rates they seem to be dying according to SRA survivors’ eyewitness accounts, where are the bodies? Where is the blood? Where are the organs and “leftovers,” etc? Are there mass graves hidden in discrete locations throughout the world? How do the bodies get there without being discovered first?
- For that matter, who are the victims who are treated as disposable for the sake of traumatizing/programming the keepers? I have gone round and round with this, too. There are possible answers to all of these questions, but the question is the plausibility. Many things are possible, but the more people are involved, the likelihood that someone, somewhere is going to be careless or vindictive or morally repentant enough to expose them increases exponentially. And there are such disclosures out there; but for every detail asserted as “fact,” there are ten more voices ready to discredit and debunk the explanation.
- Ignoring the first two questions, how could such a large body of “underground” members be coordinated enough to pull off something like SRA/TBMC in multiple countries around the globe for the sake of world domination? I mean, you have to admit, as a species, we’re just not that cooperative. Most of the time you can’t even find a group of people that can agree on something as petty as what to serve for dinner at a barbecue, nevermind coordinate a large-scale attempt to subdue a portion of the world’s population for the purpose of eliminating (or dominating) the rest of the world and ushering in a ruling body to take over whoever is left. Possible? I suppose, if you ignore quite a few practical problems. Probable? Not from a logistical standpoint. I’m just saying it’s not likely, not that it’s not possible or possibly even happening right now.
**Also worth mentioning is the fact that some of these facts or questions could actually be argued from either standpoint. The issues work both ways, depending on how you look at it. The same argument that could be proposed to disprove SRA/TBMC could, from a different perspective, be used to propose that it really is real.**
- Memory is in itself an issue. Memory is one of the most subjective parts of a person’s being; it is fluid (changes over time), suggestible, inconsistent, and interpretive. It’s my humble opinion that there is no such thing as an “accurate” or even a “factual” memory. There is just memory. It is open to interpretation, and then re-interpretation, as many times as a person’s mind does so. Two people who experience the exact same event can remember completely differing accounts of it. Eyewitnesses to crimes make this crystal clear. One instance from my own childhood is of being in my family’s car in a parking lot with a childhood friend; a stranger pulled into the space next to us and exposed himself. If someone else hadn’t happened by, he may have intended to do more than that, but as things stood, he fled. My friend, who was sitting inches from me, swore to the police that his car was green. I had seen it as a robin’s egg blue. I remember the cop looking at us both skeptically when we couldn’t agree on the color. We were both there. We both saw the same car. But we both remembered it differently. (Later, in high school, I learned that people’s eyes don’t even interpret color the same way all across the board. We could have literally “seen” two different colors when we looked at that car.) Similarly, on a more large scale note, growing up, my sibling swears I was the favorite in the family (ha!), while the way I remember things, they were the only one in our household that actually mattered. How can both of those things be true? Both of our perspectives are valid – because “true” shouldn’t really be a word that we use to talk about memory. Our beliefs make us notice things that validate what we already consider to be true, and we each felt rejected by our parents in favor of the other. (On a side note, I find it rather sad that neither of us felt valued.)
Memories and facts are like nature vs. nurture: they both influence each other. You can’t splice them apart. Memories are not black-and-white, true-or-false entities. When I was a teenager, what little memories I had of my childhood at that point were benign, nostalgic, broadly painted with the deception that everything was “normal,” and I was a regular kid growing up in a regular family. Now that I’m older, and I’ve gained a lot more understanding of what was actually going on, those same memories I’ve always had (even back when I had few others), have changed. Why? My perspective has changed; I’ve learned more facts (abuse, trauma, etc going on to an extent that I was blocking it all out) and now the memories themselves are not emotionally categorized the same way. I’m not under the illusion anymore that I was a regular kid in any sense, nor that my home life was “normal,” in almost any way. Memory cannot be consistently relied upon to accurately indicate details, facts or events. There can be, and are, cases where memories can hint at what probably happened in certain situations. But without video cameras recording, it is my unprofessional opinion that there will always be a subjective, suggestible, fluid, and inconsistent nature to this thing called memory that makes it unreliable. And all this without even considering the influence of trauma, dissociation, drugs, or alcohol on a person’s perceptions (discussed a few points down).
- The language used to talk about memories is not adequate or appropriate. As already mentioned, classifying memories as “true” or “untrue” is problematic. It’s possible to believe something specific happened but be completely incorrect when it comes to actual facts. This doesn’t make the person a liar. It doesn’t even make them deceptive. Lying and deceiving is knowing something isn’t true, and setting about to convince someone else that it is with full knowledge of its falsehood. There’s a huge difference in believing something happened a certain way because you remember it a certain way, even if it actually occurred differently, and intentionally misleading someone.
- Children’s “creative” interpretation of present (and past) reality. I have also chewed on this topic quite a bit. There’s the “magical thinking” stage, when children are not yet old enough to know what is reality and what is not. They literally do not have the brain development to differentiate that the monster on TV does not exist in the real world. We can’t expect them to know; their brains haven’t matured enough for them to understand it yet. Given that much of SRA/TBMC allegedly occurs at very young ages (it’s been said that the mind can’t start splitting past age 6 if it hasn’t already been split and developed the propensity for doing so), if this is occurring, it’s happening to children who are already so young that they can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t. I posted a thread in the Dissociative Initiative last month telling a story of having a conversation with a 5-year-old girl where she told me she’d been fed quiche for dinner while at a friend’s house the week before. She said she didn’t like it, tried to eat it anyway, “gagged it all up,” and the friend’s mom made her a turkey sandwich instead, which she liked and subsequently enjoyed. As a point of interest, I happened to mention the situation to the lady who’d allegedly made the quiche, only to find this out: it never happened. She’d never made quiche while the little girl was visiting. But yet, I know this kid, and I can tell you for sure based on my familiarity with her character: she wasn’t lying. She may have gotten her facts jumbled, but she wasn’t knowingly carrying out a plan to deceive me with the story. So in my line of thinking, two things can simultaneously be true, especially when it comes to what kids are experiencing: they can be completely inaccurate in their understanding of events, but also not lying. I’ve run through many different possibilities in my head as to what could have happened there that created this coherent yet un-(factually)true story: she’s mixed up several different experiences, of having to eat something she didn’t like, gagging, being comforted in a distressing event, receiving something she did like in place of something she didn’t. Etc. I can also testify that on any given day, I could talk to the same little girl – or a myriad of others of all different genders and persuasions – and be told that they are a fairy, a dinosaur, that they went to Disneyland yesterday (or a year ago, or five minutes ago), that they flew around the city in their super hero cape, that they have a pet unicorn at home, etc. And none of them would be lying. These are typical things that kids believe and interpret as reality at very young ages. None of them are plotting to deceive me; thus, I can’t call them liars. Yet none of those things are actually true in the dictionary-definition sense of the word. Considering the age of a person when they were abused is a crucial factor in the very puzzling process of trying to piece together what could have happened to them.
- Trauma and dissociation, and its effects on the mind and the body. I’m running out of writing time and I still have a bunch of other points to list, but everyone who’s reading probably already arrived at this blog with at least a minimum of knowledge about how trauma and dissociation can affect the mind and the body. Depending on the person and the situation, sometimes senses are heightened, sometimes they are dulled. Sometimes time speeds up, sometimes it slows down. These things can confuse the facts and make it harder to reflect on what we believe we experienced with factual accuracy.
- The effects of drugs and alcohol on sensation and perception. Most, if not all, SRA/TBMC survivors mention being drugged in some way or another at various times. Even people who haven’t been ritually abused have sometimes been given mind-altering substances by their abusers for various reasons, with the ultimate goal of being able to impose their will on the survivor more easily. Depending on the drug or alcohol being used, a whole host of possible effects on sensations and perceptions can occur. This influences what the person thinks is happening to them and the way they experience it.
- Methods of deception in alleged SRA/TBMC, and skewed perceptions in non-ritual abuse. There always seems to be the possibility that in combination with using children at impressionable ages, elements of deception can be used in alleged instances of SRA/TBMC to deceive the child/survivor into thinking something is happening even if it isn’t. Children who are already in the magical thinking stage, especially when given drugs, wouldn’t need too much other prompting to believe something terrible is happening even if the whole thing is staged. Regardless of whether an event is real or staged, the trauma that occurs by the child believing it’s real is basically the same. It doesn’t make it any less real to them. But, this is something to consider when contemplating the factual accuracy of memories.
- Would the governments of multiple countries do this to people? If so, why? These questions seem rather self-explanatory to me. I absolutely believe if the governments could pull it off, they would. (The bigger question is could they? Or, to put a finer point on it, are they?) Maybe that’s cynical, maybe it’s pessimistic, or maybe it’s completely plausible. Corruption at the government level isn’t new, surprising, or even notable. Could corruption occur on such a massive, coordinated scale? My opinion is: probably. If you look up MK Ultra, Project Bluebird, Project Paperclip, the Nazi research, etc, and consider that all of that information is just the information they ARE telling us about, what do you think they’ve kept to themselves? How much do you think has gone on (and is currently going on) underneath the radar? Classified?
- Is there an explanation for SRA/TBMC memories outside of a religious/conspiracy framework? The short answer from me is: I don’t know. Maybe. If there is, I haven’t found it. But that still doesn’t mean there isn’t.
- If SRA/TBMC doesn’t exist and never has in any form, how can so many people who don’t know each other, have never met or corresponded in any way, and in some cases don’t even live in the same country be remembering so many similar things? How could the accounts be so eerily similar if none of it is happening and there’s nothing going on on a grand scale? Another problem with totally disbelieving.
- How does a trauma that supposedly never happened have such a profound effect on the mind and the body? This is one of the many, many topics involving the brain that we don’t fully understand. There is research to suggest that even if something did not happen to a person, if they believe it did, it will affect them in largely the same way as if the thing really did happen. I have no explanation for this. I have also pondered the twin phenomenon quite a lot; where identical twins (where the egg was split, rather than two separate eggs) can be in two completely different locations but somehow one of them physically or psychologically taps into what the other one is experiencing – but without any clarity as to what’s happening until they find out what was happening to the other twin. As in the example of one twin being taken to the hospital with acute appendicitis, and the other twin being stricken with a severe stomach ache at the same time in another location. Experiences like these have also been reported between people who are just emotionally very close, and not twins (and in some cases not even related). Could this occur on a global level? Where SRA/TBMC does exist (but on a much smaller scale), and the atrocities they experience are such an egregious assault on humanity that a much larger – perhaps more psychic or more spiritually intuitive – group of people “tune in” to what’s happening and experience it in some way? I HAVE NO IDEA. Guys, I don’t have any answers. I’m just laying the issues out on the table.
- As with anything else, there probably ARE “copycats” and “wanna-be” survivors AND perps, but those things do not discount the possibility of “genuine” survivors and perps. This is sad to me, on both accounts. And I, for one, am not here to tell anyone what they do or don’t have. There are some days I feel I’d give almost anything to not be a multiple; to not have DID. To just be “normal.” So I truly cannot understand why anyone would want to be a multiple (at least from a trauma-based multiplicity perspective; if you subscribe to natural multiplicity, then okay, I could understand that a little better). I cannot understand why they’d pick something like this to try to feel unique or special or important. But, I CAN understand the desire to be all of those things, by whatever means. People are free to believe and pursue whatever they want; I tend to feel like I need to remind people that being a multiple is not what makes me special. I’m special in my own right. I’m special apart from my history, my diagnoses, my talents, my whatever. I’d be special if I weren’t an SRA survivor or if I didn’t know about or have any assumed experience of TBMC. It’s not what makes me, me, in my essence. And although I do my best to be gracious, I tend to get a bit guarded if I ever feel someone only wants to know my story for the sake of entertainment. Wanting to know, purely for entertainment, in my (hopefully not too inflated) opinion, is rather like spitting in my face. It’s extremely disrespectful of the fact that I’m a real person who went through real suffering, suffering that they may not even be able to imagine. For those that genuinely care, and even those who may not care as much but are still looking to learn from it for the sake of awareness or education, I’m willing to share what I can. Anyway, I’ll get off that soapbox now.
- There are measurable ways of indicating that alters may be present, but lack of conclusive results cannot be taken as absolute truth. There are brain scans that can show differing brain wave patterns for different alters, in some cases. This cannot be faked. However, even though I’ve been absolutely DYING to get ahold of one of those for myself, I’m also equally skeptical that my system would cooperate. I’m the guardian, and due to a lot of the associations my inside tribe has with the medical professionals, I doubt very much that any of my little ones would willingly let a doctor hook electrodes to their head. Along those same lines, although there are tests that can indicate the presence of alters, not getting results indicative of alters doesn’t necessarily disprove a person’s multiplicity. Not every system out there would be willing to cooperate, as I suspect of even my own. But even in terms of other things besides brain scans and brain wave patterns, there are documented cases of various alters having measurable physical differences between each other. Eyesight, blood tests (where one may have diabetes and another doesn’t), allergies, and other ailments have been observed and documented.
I wish I had time to round this out a little better, but I have to go for now. I will leave you with this excerpt from this website – VERY LITTLE ELSE of which I actually agree with – and also be sure to read the disclaimer if you go to the website because it was written with patients undergoing Recovered Memory Therapy in mind. Cheers. ~J8
Memories of SRA are profoundly damaging. A study of adult survivors in Washington State showed that most people who recover memories of this type of abuse have extreme difficulties holding down a job, maintaining their relationships, maintaining their marriage, and avoiding hospitalization. Many are suicidal; some attempt to kill themselves; a few succeed.
As you probably know, some people believe in the reality of SRA; others are skeptics. This shows up in their predictions of the number of children killed each year in the U.S. by Satanic cults. The numbers vary from 50,000 to 0. Satanic ritual abuse is a crime for which there are no available accurate statistics.
We feel that there are three possible beliefs about SRA:
- that the “believers” are correct. SRA is very widespread. There are tens of thousands of victims – perhaps more.
- that the “skeptics” are correct. SRA does not exist in reality. It exists only in the memories of survivors; and these memories are false. They are real-feeling memories of events that never happened.
- that the true scope of SRA is somewhere between the beliefs of the “believers” and the “skeptics”
|If (1) is true, then SRA is, by far, our most serious social problem.|
|If (2) is true, then tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of adults are developing false memories of SRA and being partly disabled by those memories. SRA is still a massive social problem.|
|If (3) is true, then we have many people being abused with SRA and many others being disabled by false memories of abuse that never happened. Either way, their memories are disabling them. We still have a massive social problem.|
Unfortunately, very little effort is being invested to prove which one of the alternatives is true.
Many survivors have difficulty convincing others of the reality of their abuse:
|Some people believe survivors;|
|Others think that the survivors are lying.|
But things are never that simple. There are always other alternatives. Sometimes there is a fourth.
Survivors themselves are often presented with two possibilities:
|The abuse happened exactly as they remember it to be, or|
|They are going crazy.|
Again, there are always other alternatives.