By Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D., 2007
(This list only provides common indicators. Most survivors of programming will have many of these indicators. However, the presence of indicators does not prove the existence of programming trauma. Their absence does not mean a person has no such trauma.)
1. Suicidal and self-harm impulses and/or thoughts that do not feel like they originate in one’s true feelings, but feel relatively unconnected to the self.
2. The perception of inanimate, mechanistic, mathematical, or laboratory-like objects “in the mind” or elsewhere in the body.
3. Repetitive, robotic statements that do not make sense in context of dialogue, e.g., “I want to go home”.
4. Obsessive, robotic thoughts, e.g., singing the same song, irrelevant number series running through one’s mind.
5. A pattern of suddenly leaving home for the evening or weekend, or longer, to a motel or park, etc. The individual may create a conflict with loved ones, that is understood later as having been driven by the need to leave. This indicator is of greater weight if these sudden trips occur yearly at the same times, or if the person has no continuous memory for how he/she spent the time.
6. Dread of one’s own birthday, Christmas, Easter, or other days, without conscious memory of a frightening event on that date. Increased depression, anxiety, self-harm, or suicidality on holidays, birthdays, equinoxes, solstices, etc.
7. Large gaps in memory, often for an entire year or more of one’s childhood, with greater recall for times before and immediately after that period of time.
8. No memory for particular past places of residence.
9. Telephone reactions; e.g., strong fear or startle response to the phone ringing, many hang-up calls coming to the home, a compulsion to make calls (often toll-free), finding the phone in one’s hands in the early am hours without any memory for having made a phone call.
10. Increased incoming “dead-air” phone calls (noone answers to “hello”) around birthdays or ritual holidays.
11. Tremendous sensitivity to indoor lights, often needing bright lights to be turned off or dimmed.
12. Fear responses to benign stimuli, e.g., indoor lights and mirrors (very common), colors, shapes, animals, hearing one’s name called, cartoon characters, etc.
13. Unexplained behavioral compulsions, such as a strongly-felt need to eat or drink a particular thing, go to a particular place, perform a particular act, etc.
14. Fear responses to water; may not be able to drink it, rain may feel as if it is burning (hot or like acid), fear of bathing, difficulty taking showers.
15. Art, sand trays, poetry, dreams, or fears of:
a. watching eyes, faces, figures, or entities;
b. being placed underground, in coffins, in dark holes, in cages, or underwater;
c. snakes, spiders, rats.
d. battles with weapons, often swords, sometimes guns.
16. Memories of trauma are regularly followed by a statement; e.g., “I must have made it all up”.
17. Progress in therapy or memory recovery increases suicidality, self-harm (burns, drug overdose, cuts, esp. in patterns), depression, anxiety, cancelled sessions, urges to stop therapy, and in therapy sessions; sleepiness, lost time, feeling “stuck”, a feeling of having been “called away” for most of session, inability to speak to the therapist or hear the therapist.
18. An inability to disconnect from relationships that the person deems harmful to the self, often including uncontrollable urges to re-connect with these people, call them, see them, etc.
19. Severe flinching and spasms (as if being electro-shocked) when approaching trauma material.
For an overview of Mind Control, see the article on this website: “Mind Control: Simple to Complex”.