Trauma survivors know all about perpetrators.
Dissociative trauma survivors know all about sadistic perpetrators.
Dissociative trauma survivors with a background in ritual abuse, or mind control, or sex slavery organizations know all about truly evil perpetrators.
Those of us in the world who were not directly exposed to such darkness have a hard time grasping its depth. It seems surreal to us. Unfathomable. While many therapists may truly believe “in their heads” that abuse and evil exist in this world, having that head knowledge is still a far cry from truly knowing and experiencing yourself as the target of evil.
I’ve been working almost exclusively with dissociative trauma survivors for over 30 years, and I have listened to and believed what my clients have told me. I know the politically correct answer is to say that I can neither confirm nor deny the abuse of others, but let’s face it. Either trauma therapists believe their clients were genuinely abused or they need to get out of the field and go work somewhere else.
But do therapists really know what evil is? I dare to say, no, most do not.
They have head knowledge, but most mental health therapists have not experienced evil. They haven’t been the target of a predator. They haven’t had their soul ravaged or clawed into. They haven’t had their body destroyed or ripped apart. Of course, there are some wounded healers that have truly been able to rise above their own traumas and actually do have a genuine sense of how deeply evil can wound, but these are a rare find.
(But be careful, there are far too many wounded who should spend more time on their own healing before jumping into the helping profession. If you happen to find a therapist that truly has done their own healing, then you are very fortunate – that person will be able to help you. But please watch out for the professionals who are still mid-process. They can cause a lot more harm than they might mean to cause.)
Despite my sheltered upbringing, for the past few decades, I have been getting a deeper grasp on how cold and evil people can be. I’ve had a closer look at the destructive handiwork of predators. Initially it took me off-guard, because I really believed in the goodness of people. I was raised to trust, to forgive, to love, and to see the best in others, and I do that easily.
So being targeted by the calculated coldness of predators has been quite an eye-opening experience. I still shake my head in surprise, completely amazed at how vicious people can be. The lies, the twists, the deception – the depths to which people will sink when they have no conscience to guide them – it’s totally mind boggling to someone raised by a family who truly believed in goodness.
How does someone protect themselves from blatant attacks by a predator trying to destroy them?
When someone is trying to rip at your very core, how do you stay safe and solid within yourself?
First, know that they don’t know you — not the real essence of you, the person you are, the true nature of your spirit and soul. They don’t recognize or understand your ability to genuinely belong to the side of light, and the genuine feelings of love, care, kindness, and compassion.
They know what they want you to be, but they don’t know who you truly are apart from them.
As a result, they don’t speak the truth about you, or about anyone. They speak through the tools of their trade. They tells lies, they create deception, because these are the things they know. They know darkness, and they know cold, calculated, purposeful destruction of people. Yes, they purposefully work to destroy good people. But they are not you. And they are not me.
You don’t have to listen to them.
You don’t have to believe them.
You don’t have to be who or what they say you are.
You don’t have to do what they say to do or think what they tell you to think.
Abusers and perpetrators are flat wrong in their words, their actions, and their motives. Learn who you truly are, apart from their lies and their manipulations and their tricks. Learn to think for yourself, neither in obedience to them nor in reaction to them, and that will help you to separate yourself from them.
And believe in your true self.
Your life, your beliefs, your heart, and your soul belong to what you are willing to fight for and to what you stand for when there is nobody but you yourself telling you where to stand.
You don’t have to give any of yourself away to the dark, cold emptiness of a predator. If you know and connect to your true self, that alone can be a protection against any predatory attack on your self. Knowing who you truly are is an armor against the lies and tricks intended to destroy you or hurt you by telling you who and what you are.
And learn how to compassionately love. Or recognize that you already know how to compassionately and genuinely love.
Hold onto that gentle love you feel, and never let it go. Evil does not love. If you can genuinely love and care for others, you are not one of them. Stand solid in the knowledge of your own goodness, your spiritual faith, your strengths, and your ability to think and to feel and to love. Let that repel the evil away from you.
Separate yourself from them.
Know who you are apart from them.
And stay far away from them. The best protection you can have is not to give them the opportunity to say or do anything to you. Protect yourself. If you know that somebody is a predator or a perpetrator, stay away from them.
Because you are not them. And they are not you.
You do not belong to them, no matter how much they come after you.
You do not belong to them, no matter what they did to you or what they said to you or what they made you do.
Stay true to yourself, and be who you are. Be who you truly are. And let the power of compassionate love overcome any darkness that tries to change you.
If you forget, remember the beauty and simplicity in an opening quote from the movie, “The Notebook”:
“I am no one special – just a common man, with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me, and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect, I’ve succeeded as gloriously as anyone who has ever lived.
I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and for me, that is always good enough.“
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Tracey wilson says
Powerful post! We are really struggling at the moment. Mothers day is coming up and the advertisements have begun. Our internal system is in chaos as a result! I’m very early on in my journey and have only known I’m DID for a few months, as a result I don’t know How to communicate or how to help my others that are suffering! It all seems so impossible and overwhelming at the moment. We are running out of energy and it’s just noise and sobbing and heart break inside my head. How can I help them?
Hi Tracey Wilson,
So glad that you posted here. Personally, I think that one of the first really positive steps that you can take in helping your insiders is coming here. Kathy and Laura are incredibly knowledgeable and experience when it comes to DID not to mention sincere compassion and understanding. You will find solid, truthful and safe information here on these website blogs.
Secondly, you have now introduced yourself to a great community of folks who are at various stages in their respective healing journeys. We are here to hold welcoming and empathetic space for you, to share our experiences, to give you suggestions of what worked for us and … most importantly … to offer you hope when you are going through difficult times (like now).
You have just started your journey Tracey and wow … can that ever be confusing. Rather like opening up a jar of a whole lot of chaos, pain and crazy!!! But, I can assure you that it does get better, more manageable and even fun at times. It takes time, patience and a whole lot of self-love, nurturing and soothing.
Hum … but that does not help with what you are going through right now. Try searching on the following blog articles that Kathy has written that will no doubt help:
Mothers and Mother’s Day for Trauma Survivors
A Painful Mother’s Day – the Cards Not Written
What Did Your Mother Teach You?
Doubly Difficult Days for DID Survivors
Right now, it is probably most important for you to try and find some way to sooth your little ones who are upset. If you interact with them (i.e., communicate directly with them) you could try to hold them, rock them and sooth them with your kind words. Or, maybe you have an inside helper that can do this. I also created a safe place (in my mind) for my little ones – their sunshine tent made from yellow sheets. They have special pillows, blankets and stuffed animals in there with them. When things are particularly unsetting, I ask them to go to their safe place. It helps to comfort and sooth them. You can also do activities that may distract and sooth them as well such as crafts, play music, read them a book, look at some of the fun videos that Kathy has posted on the website, go for a walk somewhere that they like, etc.
Be kind and gentle with yourself Tracey and try and do some things that are soothing for you too (like a hot bath, or a nice cup of tea, nice fragrances, fun movie, etc.).
Sending warm and positive energy your way.
Thank you so much for you very kind words. You are such an encouragement to me. I’m very grateful that you helped me find my way around here when I was about to give up. I’m grateful my simple words touch your heart the way your words and the words of so many here reach into inner spaces that need some fresh air. You have a way of giving feedback and sharing your thoughts about this…this whatever this is… that is hopeful and heartfelt and authentic. Thank you.
Your Story Keeper sounds like a good helper. Rather like an advocate, a bridge, a guide.
This is such an incredible journey. Frightening. Maddening. Triggering. Confusing. In many ways simply unbelievable. Inner spaces that are very real but not in a concrete way that I can touch them with my hand…but still real in their own way. And inhabited.
My T and I talk about goals for the week. A game plan. It’s not rigid but it helps me when I am confused or anxious to have a plan. I have so much chatter in my head all the time that I feel like I’m inside a room with a group of people and they are all talking at once. So my T suggested asking my insiders if perhaps they could take turns. That helped. It got a little quieter.
I met an inner guardian named Raven.
This week my T asked me to see if any insiders would like to write to her or would like to say something in the journal that I keep. She asked if I had a sense of whether or not that was something anyone would like and, surprisingly, I felt an inner calm. Kind of calm and scary at the same time. I think my insiders liked knowing my T wanted to hear what they had to say. I told her that it seemed they would like a seat at the table. That night was, surprisingly, the first time I have slept well in a very, very long time.
The first thing that came out of my invitation to open up some communication was a page in my journal upon which was written, “The littles want to know if that lady (my T) likes ice cream.”
Step by step…
Kathy, thank you so much for this. What a powerful and impactful article.
I keep reading it…and re-reading it. All evening long. Over and over.
Dollswise points out a very painful piece to all of this. Some of the perpetrators in my life went to great lengths to isolate me, make other people think I was lying or confused or had problems. And they bought it…and I was left feeling abused all over again. Being invalidated is so bitterly painful.
Keith, thank you for speaking up. People forget boys and men can also be sexually abused, sometimes brutally so. I’m glad you survived. Thank you for being brave.
Pilgrim, you are right. It IS hard to put a band aide on yourself when you have been ripped apart. Our pain can sure make people uncomfortable. I am thankful, all over again, for the T’s in this world who are willing to listen and willing to help us as we figure out our path toward peace.
ME+WE, are we not a wonder? All of us who survived such soul-battering events are truly remarkable people. All the outsiders. All the insiders. I don’t know my whole story yet. I believe someone inside is the Story Keeper and has all the pieces parts of our truth, all the shattered fractured truths. Whether or not other people believe us, whether or not their solutions are to help us or them…the truth is that we are here. We survived.
The proof of our courage is in every single breath we take. We validate ourselves every time we inhale.
Wow Wren … “The proof of our courage is in every single breath we take. We validate ourselves every time we inhale.” I do not have words sufficient to the task of expressing my sincere gratitude for your presence here and for the beautiful way that you have of reaching in and touching my heart, mind and soul with your inspiring words Wren.
We are a wonder one and all!
You have not been on this path long Wren (from the standpoint of knowing your insiders) but you are approaching your journey with the kind of welcoming heart that will surely draw out even the most fragile and frightened of your insiders I am sure. I have a Story Keeper of sorts in my system who is an old woman (the only elder in my system). She does not tell me the stories of my insiders although I know that she knows everything. I have asked her to please tell me what I need to know. She tells me to be patient, that my insiders will tell me their stories when the time is right. Sometimes I get frustrated and want to fast-track understanding but she always speaks softly, kindly and knowingly to me to “be patient, stand still in peace and let the chaos whirl around you but do not touch … the time will come.” At other times when I ask her for guidance she will say to me, “it is time’ and I know that it is time for me to ask questions, or approach an insider about an issue or some such thing. Two of my little ones were also lost in the woods (most of my insiders live on a beach next to a woods where some of my other insiders live). My elder insider told one of my boy insiders (he calls himself a spirit walker and holds much of my spiritual self) where to find the two little ones and to go and get them because, “it is time”. That is how these little ones came to my understanding on two different occasions.
What I am trying to say here (not nearly as eloquently as you Wren) is that it takes time for your insiders to feel the safety and, sometimes, maybe even a dash of curiosity, to come out. Little ones are often very shy and very fragile because many of them are the ones who experienced the trauma. Compassion, safety and an open heart are the best beacons of light to draw them out of their darkness.
Walk your path with a soft foot and an open sense of being to hear the subtle messages of understanding that your insiders whisper in your ear. Even in the darkest lyrics of innocence lost, your heart music can be found. Just think how breathtakingly awe inspiring it is that your little ones treasured you so much that they found a way to survive the unthinkable evil of the thieves of innocence. Trust that they will know when the time is right to peek out of the shroud of silence that has been their safe refuge all of these years and speak your truth.
Hum … I think that I am going to plan a party of celebration and gratitude for my little ones. Ice cream, chocolate cake, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, games, movies and songs … oh my …
Oh my Pilgrim … you have really zoned in on the essential core of Kathy’s posting for me too – having your “soul ravaged” and “clawed into.” Wow … the power of those words and the life images that they conjure up. Makes me rather weak in the knees.
And, how you have capsulized the frustration and agony that others cannot see that we are the walking dead. We cannot find all of the pieces of our shattered selves let alone simply paste them all back together again. I often feel that such solutions are offered up by family and friends more for their comfort than for my healing.
I am so glad that you posted here Pilgrim. It brought this article to my attention. Thank you.
Oh, and so remarkable your gift of inspiration and courage Keith. Thank you for that. I am trying to find my voice as courageously and openly as my friends here.
we like how you phrased it- having your sould ravaged and clawed into. that’s exactly what it feels like.
people just expect you to put a bandaid on that and make it better all by yourself. but thats hard, when you have been ripped apart.
Me Thinks says
Wow … Just Wow! It’s so true … “I like me/us”. I love. I am loved. Adored & depended on in healthy relationships … but I didn’t get it until I read this. I’m not ‘one of them’ … I am me & ‘me’ cares about others & has successfully & truly loved with all my/our heart. Wow … I’ve been fed a crap of lies! Just Wow! Thank You for these insights. I’m feeling better already. 🙂 And that brings my peace back. Thank You for writing this Kathy.
Hope for survivors of sexual abuse:
Keith Smith says
My name is Keith Smith. I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. It wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. It was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet suburbs of Lincoln, Rhode Island.
I was able to identify the guy and the car he was driving. He was arrested and indicted but never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in Providence before his court date. 34 years later, no one has ever been charged with the crime.
In the time between the night of my assault and the night he was murdered, I lived in fear. I was afraid he was still around town. Afraid he was looking for me. Afraid he would track me down and kill me. The fear didn’t go away when he was murdered. Although he was no longer a threat, the simple life and innocence of a 14-year-old boy was gone forever. Carefree childhood thoughts replaced with the unrelenting realization that my world wasn’t a safe place. My peace shattered by a horrific criminal act of sexual violence.
Over the past 34 years, I’ve been haunted by horrible, recurring memories of what he did to me. He visits me in my sleep. There have been dreams–nightmares actually–dozens of them, sweat inducing, yelling-in-my-sleep nightmares filled with images and emotions as real as they were when it actually happened. It doesn’t get easier over time. Long dead, he still visits me, silently sneaking up from out of nowhere when I least expect it. From the grave, he sits by my side on the couch every time the evening news reports a child abduction or sex crime. I don’t watch America’s Most Wanted or Law and Order SVU, because the stories are a catalyst, triggering long suppressed emotions, feelings, memories, fear and horror. Real life horror stories rip painful suppressed memories out from where they hide, from that recessed place in my brain that stores dark, dangerous, horrible memories. It happened when William Bonin confessed to abducting, raping and murdering 14 boys in California; when Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered Megan Kanka in New Jersey; when Ben Ownby, missing for four days, and Shawn Hornbeck, missing for four years, were recovered in Missouri.
Despite what happened that night and the constant reminders that continue to haunt me years later, I wouldn’t change what happened. The animal that attacked me was a serial predator, a violent pedophile trolling my neighborhood in Lincoln, Rhode Island looking for young boys. He beat me, raped me, and I stayed alive. I lived to see him arrested, indicted and murdered. It might not have turned out this way if he had grabbed one of my friends or another kid from my neighborhood. Perhaps he’d still be alive. Perhaps there would be dozens of more victims and perhaps he would have progressed to the point of silencing his victims by murdering them.
Out of fear, shame and guilt, I’ve been silent for over three decades, not sharing with anyone the story of what happened to me. No more. The silence has to end. What happened to me wasn’t my fault. The fear, the shame, the guilt have to go. It’s time to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my long-time friends and my family. It’s time to speak out to raise public awareness of male sexual assault, to let other survivors know that they’re not alone and to help survivors of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience.
My novel, Men in My Town, was inspired by these actual events. Men in My Town is available now at http://www.Amazon.com
For those who suffer in silence, I hope my story brings some comfort, strength, peace and hope.
For additional information, please visit the Men in My Town blog at http://www.meninmytown.wordpress.com
Kathy Broady says
for your comment, for your courage, for your inspiration, and for speaking your story.
You have offered a powerful message to all survivors — I can only assume your book is just as uplifting.
You’ve done well — really really well….
I wish the best for you —
Thats weird, bout you saying bout ‘Evil’.
I dunno that I was hurt much. But I do know we have this thing bout evil eyes, dead eyes.
We tried a little bit to explain bout bout ‘Evil’ to T’s, we asking do they UNDERSTAND???? They say, not really.
Thats why we don’t really like to look people in the eye, cuz we afraid to see dead eyes.
But I dunno why, noboddy know why.
I wished there was not Evil in the world, but there is.
So mebbe we just goto try and make more good to make up for it somehow…
Truly appreciate this post.
The problem is that predatory people suck in other people who also maybe come from loving homes, and just cannot imagine the depravity or how much they are being used and lied to, so that the predator can seem noble, long suffering and get the attention off what their deeds have been, or motives are, so the thing is one gets hit by the people such predators suck into their webs of deceit.
Its some twisted form of Munchausens or something, whereby the predator ellicits and gets the sympathy and the actual victims get the disparagement for supposedly being the injuring parties.
I hear what you are saying about holding to who I actually am. But every time I get blindsided by yet another person sucked in by my parents, it just does hurt – and is actually damaging, and there is not a damn thing I can do about it – because these people do not actually know me, nor are we in circumstances where I there would be an opportunity for them to learn who I actually am.
Why do predators need to be seen as the victims themselves? What can one do when people dont know what they have done, but believe what they have been told – because the obverse just is too perverse to even conceive of.
What do you do about that?
What do you do about the “well meaning” people that such predators enlist in their cause against you?
Because the truths just are stranger than the fictions which just seem more believable.
I can live and love and be who I am and stay away from the actual predators – but I will spend the rest of my life running into their so well programmed minions, who havent a clue what is actually happening here.
And these walking time bombs, they just are devastating.
My dad left a hell of a legacy, and I run into it almost everywhere I go or try to go.
So many people who dont realize the only reason he said all this stuff was to create destruction, but he did so so convincingly -who are you going to believe – the actual charming pervert – or the edgy still kicking daughter.
I left home at 16, he was very busy for 40 years reaching every person he could get his hands on, and his grasp was and is so much farther than I will ever reach, largely because he poisoned so much of the waters.
So what do you do when the people enlisted by the predators – dont realize that they are doing exactly what they were programmed to do?
How do you defuse that? I have absolutely no idea.
Mimi Jo says
I relate so much to what you write.
The perpetrators manipulate others’ perceptions to protect themselves and make us look bad.
As you say, the fiction is so much easier to believe than the truth, which is very strange. As Kathy points out, very few have any conception of just how evil perpetrators can be.
What I am being taught is getting to know our insiders is the key.