By Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D., August 5, 2003 (Updated January 26, 2005 and again on November 16, 2010)
I. The pain and torment associated with abusing or killing others is often:
A. The greatest obstacle in personal healing and recovery. Many survivors “get stuck” in their journey toward healing because they cannot face that they have abused or killed others.
B. The most profound factor that prevents people from seeking freedom. The pain and torment of having abused or killed others is a profound factor in keeping people in the role of abuser/programmer, since to seek freedom includes having to face the full truth, including one’s true feelings and conscience about having abused or killed.
II. There are many kinds of things that drive abuse/killing:
A. Programming. Much programming is perpetrated to develop parts who will abuse or kill for the abuser group. Some of these kinds of programming include:
1. Programming to develop self-states, usually unconscious to the host, who take over the body and fulfill program directives to abuse or kill, driven by unconscious fear of horrendous abuse. Such parts were generally tortured beyond their endurance until they complied with abuser directives to harm or kill others. In the unconscious inner landscape, such parts continue to perceive themselves as still being painfully tortured and punished for any defiance of directives to harm or kill others.
2. Programming to develop self-states who perceive themselves as deeply evil or murderous and aligned with the agenda of the abuser group. Such parts were usually intentionally induced to form through torture that continued beyond all parts who “came up” and refused to comply, until a part finally emerged who agreed to commit the required act (abuse, ritual sacrifice, etc.) This part was then immediately named “Evil”, “Murderer”, etc. Torture and manipulation continued until this part demonstrated complete loyalty and servility to the abuser group, and the group declares this part “one of us”, etc. This usually occurs within the context of systematic destruction of any positive attachments that the child might have, in order to further bond the child to the abuser group.
3. Programming to develop self-states who believe that they freely chose to harm or kill others, and are thereby irredeemable evil and irrevocably tied to the abuser group. Such parts were placed in no-win double-binds in which they were forced to “choose” between two options, both reprehensible to the self. The choice is usually reducible to, “Harm this person or animal or we will do worse harm to them, or we will harm or kill someone you love”. A classic example of this “false choice” set-up is in the book and film “Sophie’s Choice “, in which the Nazi soldier forces Sophie to give him one of her children or he will send both to the death camps. The victim feels responsible, as if he or she chose to commit the horrific act. In fact, the victim only avoided the worse inevitable consequence.
4. Robot-like entities, who are less like personalities, and more like conditioned, behavioral sequences, “implanted” (hypnotically suggested during torture) and conditioned through torture-based programming, and, in some cases, perceived to be “powered” by spiritual evil that was attached, against the child’s will, usually at a very young age (see E below)
B. Fear of consequences of not doing the abuse, sacrifice, or murder, including:
1. Threats of harm or murder to loved ones, usually in the context of having already witnessed the abusers follow though on such threats.
2. Horrible torture/punishment for not doing the harmful act, including pain and terror of levels (and duration) incomprehensible by those who have not experienced such torture, with no option of death (though often wished-for), including programmed “catchers” to prevent suicide.
3. The horrible act will be done to the intended victim anyway, by someone, and the survivor knows this at the time, and this knowledge is involved in the “decision” to submit to the directive to abuse or kill.
C. Defensive identification with aggression and power strivings to defend against terror, helplessness, pain, and violations of one’s conscience, including:
1. Assuming an abusive, power-hungry persona, to be able to do the things one knows one must do anyway (due to the above), since one cannot commit these acts within the identity of the self, since these acts violate one’s true self and conscience.
2. Displaced anger, revenge, finally released against the designated victim (often combined with the effects of programming and fear of consequences, above).
3. Identification with the aggressor (to defend against consciousness of feeling helpless and terrified).
4. A choice to embrace abusive power, temporary or more enduring, because being a victim has become unbearable.
5. Feelings of “addiction” to the excitement and adrenalin rush of aggression, much like occurs in some combat veterans, and then believing oneself sub-human or morally reprehensible.
D. Torture of such intensity that an animalistic survival instinct takes over, and the person instinctually does what is necessary to survive, an evolution-based self-defense response.
E. Influence of spiritual evil (clearly a controversial subject), including:
1. Perceived possession by foreign human spirits or fallen angels (demons) in the present.
2. Perceived influence of foreign human spirits or fallen angels (demons) in the present.
3. Perceived influence of foreign human spirits or fallen angels placed within the person early or earlier in life.
4. Spiritual abuse and programming that convinced specific personalities that part of their spirit is held captive by abusers, and that to not follow directives to abuse, or not assume the identity of an abuser, would cause death or living hell to the host.
5. Hexes and vexes currently influencing the self.
6. Curses, claims, covenants, etc., (usually early, can be later) having had a defining influence on the self.
F. Once a person kills, there is a sense of no turning back, of being forever trapped in irredeemable evil, of having sold one’s soul to the devil. The main reason abuser groups force victims to kill is to bind them in this psychological and spiritual trap, to normalize killing.
III. Understand how each of these factors worked. Deeply explore the influences that drove your actions.
A. Explore how these factors (or others) psychologically and spiritually influenced your actions. Search for deep understanding of what happened. Ask, “what was going on inside of me?”, vs. approaching this question with self-condemnation. Remember how powerless you were in many situations. Remember how young you were in some events. Imagine a victim of the same age and level of powerlessness and terror. Ask yourself what choices that person truly had. Ask yourself if you would negatively judge that person for succumbing. There are answers. There is truth to be discovered. We are not born evil!
B. What was the psychological and spiritual long-term effect on you of having committed these acts? I.e., what was the cumulative effect of having abused or killed? Did this contribute to feeling increasingly trapped as bad?
C. What is the level of personal responsibility for each of the above influences? In some situations, the person has no responsibility. In other situations, some personalities have some responsibility. But in all cases, these responses are human, situation-specific (occurring in the context of extreme abuse), forgivable, and do not define the person as irredeemably evil!!
IV. Once self-understanding is achieved, then use this understanding to psychologically and spiritually resolve the pain of having done these things.
A. Work as hard as you can to defeat the factors that cause victim/survivors to abuse or kill:
1. Overcome the effects of mind control.
2. Triumph over fear-based and anger-based choices and living.
3. Spiritually prevail over all perceived spiritual evil.
B. Embrace the truth. Embrace self-understanding vs. self-condemnation.
1. Connect to your deepest source of wisdom within, and/or ask your spiritual source, to shed the light of truth on all of the elements of this that you are struggling with. This often yields both insights and additional memories that help survivors develop greater understanding and compassion for the self.
2. Strive toward a deep realization that beating oneself up cannot reverse the past, and that the wish to do so is based in unrealistic wishful thinking. No amount of self-torment, self-torture, or self-loathing today can change what happened yesterday. Neither can self-torment prove your goodness to yourself or to anyone else. You can let the self-torment go, and still be a good person! Self-torment, self-loathing, and self-condemnation are just what the abusers want their victims to feel, as it increases the likelihood that their victims will remain in, or return to, the abuser group, or if they have broken free from abuser contact, that they will be internally bound in misery forever. Freedom does not only mean breaking free from external contact from one’s abusers; it also means breaking free from the internal binds to one’s abusers.
3. Do not judge yourself from the perspective of others who have not lived through ritual abuse and mind control, and who may wish to believe they would never have committed these acts of abuse. It is only with a deep understanding of the effects of ritual abuse and mind control that one can grasp the complex forces described above that cause one to abuse. Those of us who have never been tortured have no right to judge the actions of those who have been tortured. If you feel a need to confess, or to receive understanding and forgiveness from others, carefully choose with whom to share this material. Not all therapists, not all clergy, not all friends or loved ones, have the willingness and emotional fortitude to bear witness to the level and complexity of abuse you endured, nor the complex human responses that occur and are manipulated under such dire circumstances.
4. Let your more mature and wise parts help your more self-condemning, terrified, and/or younger parts understand: a) all of the complex forces that contributed to what happened, b) that they are now safe and no longer in the sites of their abuse, and c) that they can safely express all of their feelings now, including anger, grief, and sorrow.
C. Formal declarations and prayer. Refuse to succumb to the lies your abusers wanted you to believe. Embrace and formally declare the truth. Formally renounce one’s self view as evil. Formally reject all claims, proclamations, curses, and covenants (forced agreements) and replace these with decisions and healing intentions or blessings of your own choosing. In formal declaration or prayer, change any abuser-assigned names that were meant to define you as evil to names of your own choosing representative of the truth, freedom, hope, etc. And in prayer or meditation, express your sorrow and grief to anyone you harmed or were forced to harm, and do good works in their memory.
D. Commit yourself to helping others heal or toward other service, not in the service of self-punishment, but in the service of kindness, to self and others!
E. Help others with their torment of having abused or killed by being an example of self-forgiveness!! Choose life. Pam Perskin (co-editor of “Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-First Century”, 2008) writes: “I believe that all life is precious and that every victorious survivor is cause to celebrate. Surviving is the only way to truly challenge perpetrators and perpetrating cultures that foster that kind of behavior.”