It’s Halloween weekend again — a season full of flashbacks and trauma for many dissociative trauma survivors. It feels dark. It feels scary. In some ways, it’s the worst time of the year, and if this is the case, the flashbacks are pretty horrific.
So……… let’s do a less scary flashback with this article.
Think back to 2010. That year, back in 2010, I was reminded of the dichotomy our society lives in during times such as Halloween.
There were the many people of the world who were enjoying the weekend on the lighter side of life. They were having some version of fun, gathering candies, creating pumpkin-flavored foods, and dressing up in costumes as innocent as pretty Little Bo Peep with some Sheep walking along beside her.
For many of us who lived in Dallas, Texas, Halloween weekend that year was about watching the Texas Rangers Baseball team finally playing a good game in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers won finally won the series, and there were many joyous celebrations all over the state of Texas. For all of these people, Halloween weekend was wonderful. It was a good time, full of harmless celebrations, and no one and nothing was hurt (except the pride of the San Francisco Giants!)
But for dissociative trauma survivors with a ritual abuse background, the Halloween weekend – and the majority of this month of October – is anything but fun. It is a time of darkness. It is a time where they were physically and emotionally forced into darkness, forced into worlds of violence, forced into worlds so hidden and evil that the happy candied people clapping and cheering in the baseball stadiums don’t even know the tiniest bit about it.
Ritual abuse and the horrors of ritual abuse have stayed secret from the surface layers of society for a few reasons – none the least being the idea that ritual abuse is so extremely sadistic that it is impossible for most people to fathom or acknowledge its existence.
For those not raised in the worlds of hidden ritual abuse, it seems too incredulous to tolerate or believe. It’s too mind-blowing to think that such intense evil, violence, gore, and pain could exist in the real world. It’s even more impossible for them to believe that these horrors could be purposefully devastating the lives of our local children.
Understanding that these atrocities can still be happening in the current-day lives of adult dissociative survivors is barely even recognized by trauma specialists in the mental health profession.
Besides, there are powerful dark organizations, most typically connected with the money-making sex slavery industries that help to provide massive cover-up’s for socially-complicated dicey issues such as ritual abuse. The phrase “money is the root of all evil” comes to mind as so much of the extreme abuse of trauma survivors is rooted in groupings of greedy soul-less sociopathic perpetrators making wads of dirty money while completely ignoring or insanely enjoying the suffering they are inflicting on survivors.
Trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID / MPD) can experience a lifetime of pain and mental torment from the ordeals they suffered through on Halloween. They re-live these horrors year after year after year in their flashbacks, body memories, and internal worlds. They feel the tortures. They hear the screams. They are paralyzed in their terror. Healing feels next to impossible because the pain runs too deep.
How are trauma survivors supposed to come to terms with the fact that someone they loved and cherished (usually a parent) did the ultimate betrayal by subjecting them to the horrors of sadistic ritualized abuse?
How are trauma survivors supposed to overcome the fact they were forced to learn to hate with such intensity that they turn completely cold and dark from the inside out?
How are trauma survivors supposed to overcome their reality that they were forced to hurt others, even those they loved, and to relish the moment as if it was joyous and full of ecstasy?
How does anyone overcome these experiences and not let them ruin or tarnish or their lives forever?
Is it impossible to unthaw the effects of such hatred?
Is it impossible to heal from such deep soul-wrenching wounds?
It feels that way.
Many, many, many, many days, it feels too impossible to heal. Ask any trauma survivor that. I bet they will tell you, without a doubt, that they have wondered if it was ever possible for them to overcome the depths of pain and agony and torment that they experienced in their lives.
But it is possible.
It is possible because there is such thing as NOT being hated. There are such things as compassion, understanding, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and yes, even the ultimate word – genuine love. (I do not mean the scary, creepy distortion of love – I’m referring to the actual genuine, true, God-filled love.)
Because as much as the hatred and violence and abuse of sadistic predators exist, the kindness and gentleness of true compassion and understanding exists as well.
And genuine kindness can trump violence.
After you’ve experienced true hatred, experiencing true kindness is a completely heart-reaching, life-changing, awe-inspiring experience.
Yes, when someone survived a lifetime full of hatred, it takes a LOT of kindness to overcome all that hatred. Occasional kindness helps, but for genuine healing, it takes experiencing a lot of kindness. Unfortunately, for many trauma survivors, the world just has not been that kind.
But don’t give up — there are kind people out here. They may be obliviously cheering in a baseball stadium at the moment, but they are out here, and they exist, and they can show you gentleness, acceptance, warmth, and love.
Years of hate can melt away with a listening ear, with cups of tea, with a soft smile, with a tender relationship, with a quiet conversation, with a safe hug. When someone feels genuinely cared for – even for moments of time – those moments can crack through the cold darkness created by hate and violence. They can allow other moments of warmth and sunshine to take hold, and the healing process can continue, one moment building upon other moments.
It’s not quick. And it’s not easy. The turning-over is gradual, slow, arduous, and painful. But it can happen.
Kindness can trump violence.
My wish is that one day, all trauma survivors could find themselves having moments of pure joy and light-hearted fun, clapping happily in innocent places like baseball stadiums, even if the date is Halloween.
And, I wish ALL your system the very best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Live United says
This year , today , because of COVID19 our adult children are given there child a Halloween party at our home. I am so not looking forward to this day. The good news is this shell needs to do nothing. The other thing that will happen is the grandchild that lives with me, mother, is going out to a party after. On some levels it gives me joy. That the little girl will stay home with this system. I know she will be safe! On the other hand I do not know where or the people my adult child is partying with. That gives me anxiety. I did tell my adult child she needed to be home by certain time. She agreed. Now she asking if she can just be home in the am . Now it will be back to worries.
The good news is that all my head mates understand the grandkids and kids come first. So we will not end up anywhere but here tonight.
halowen be evol we dont have to try to make it nise we supost to stay away from it there dont be nuthing good bt haolwen
evol be evol
stay awae from it 🙁
Participating Parts says
Sigh. Nothing more. Just sigh.
Can you make a safe spot to retreat to? Like a blanket fort. Bring things inside the blanket fort that make you happy and help you feel comforted and some things to play with. You can declare the blanket fort to be a place free from Halloween. Only safe things inside your blanket fort. No Halloween things can enter the fort. It would give you a place to relax and not be scared when it is Halloween night. Bring a flashlight. A favorite blanket and a pillow. A happy book or two.
Blanket forts can be fun for small ones and grown ups, too. I take my dog with me and we make a blanket fort under the covers sometimes and just play tug with a toy or whatever. It’s nice to have a place to go where it is safe so that you get a break from the scariness of Halloween.
Hang on. October is almost over.
pilgrim kids says
we ben hiding on the cowtch and sleping all wekend
we be under a blenkt with are dog
and are pilow
we ben staying home we dont go noware
we watsh onle the hisrey chenl they dont have ads for holowen
we try to stay safe
we have to go to schol ware there be lots of halowen stuf but at schol we try to hide away
we conting down til halwn be over
thank you wren
Halloween is such a dark time. It’s crazy making for me because it’s all fun and lightness on the surface and darkness underneath…which is way too familiar to me. I almost didn’t read this post but I am glad I did because I found a jewel!
In one of her replies Kathy wrote this:
“There are such things as compassion, understanding, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and yes, even the ultimate word – genuine love…. And genuine kindness can trump violence.”
I especially like the last part. Genuine kindness can trump violence.
Ohhh THIS! THIS! THIS!
Yes and yes and yes again!
I’m going to write this down so that I remember to believe it. I’m going to put it on some pretty paper with embellishments like ribbons and buttons. That is what I am going to do. I’m going to make it pretty.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Excellent idea, because yes !! Hold tight to what YOU believe in.
Glad you had the courage to read this page. Well done.
Hold tight — you can get through this scary time. It doesn’t last for much longer.
Thank you, Kathy! 🙂
Kindness can be our superpower!
holoween dont ever gona be good or fun or nice
holoween be scary and lonle and bad
onle 1year of haloween we didnt be left allone
but that be a long time aggo now
haloween be evreware in the stores and at school and on tv and face book
october be horibbol
we never gona get over it every year october and holoween will come back
I HATE THIS FUCKING “holiday”! Its one of the worst days of the year! It cant get over fast enough over here. We cant get away from it. All this halloween crap has been in the stores and on tv for two months now.its constantly in our face. People act like its supposed to be fun and like there is something wrong with you if you dont like it. To hell withTHAT. this is one of the stupidest holidays ever. This year we are going to be home alone with no fucking help. I dont care what the hell we have to do to get thru it, healthy or not, we just have to survive it SOMEHOW. FUCKING HOLIDAY. what a day of nightmares.
I’m so so so scared :”””( and this year on top of it all now a pending surgery :”””( SOOOO scared just want to run away :””””””( we’re not ok we’re just not ok :”””””'(
I went back and looked at my online journal… things started to fall apart this year around Sept 27th and have basically gone downhill since. Very intense mid-October. I haven’t really been functional in a couple of months. I was surprised because I had thought that I usually got manicky in the Fall. But there was a horrible and tragic death to someone important to the family on Sept 12th, so that might have triggered it all.
Really beginning to feel that I/we ARE in fact the only one! I’ve asked other places over the years, if anyone can just say “hey, us too”, to no avail. This has some pretty grim implications since we definitely remember other children of various ages outside of this body. I guess the fact that the time period is there on Survivorship should valid date to some degree, but it isn’t much. Just rambling I guess.
I know we all need the kindness of others to survive, but I have such a difficult time taking it in when it is given. I know I let it in to some extent, because I keep going back to those people who are genuinely kind. When someone is unconditionally and genuinely kind to me, however, it almost feels painful… or too strong, like looking at the sun when it is too bright. Sometimes, I even feel threatened by kindness. Sometimes I feel indebted. Sigh.
for once i had a good halloween, which is also my birthday. i turned 25.
I am really glad for your wife that she has such a supportive husband. I think that must make a HUGE difference for her in her healing to have a safe person at home that she can trust. Good for you and for her. It sounds like you are doing a lot to help her and her little inside ones. Watching movies together and helping her find delight in childhood things together is a great idea. I’m glad she has you.
Sam Ruck says
Come to my blog if you want a full answer. Sophia (around 2) doesn’t call me anything but the other girls say she thinks of me as daddy. Amy (7 years old) calls me daddy. Alleylieu for a long time didn’t call me anything because she was angry from when I didn’t know she was there, but now she calls me “boyfriend.” And of course, Karen, my wife calls me Sam. You are welcome to ask questions as long as Kathy doesn’t mind!
Sam Ruck says
I want to encourage everyone, what Kathy says IS possible. When my wife’s insiders entered my life and my son’s two plus years ago, everything was frightening to them. But they have come so far as my son and I have poured a lot of love and happiness into their lives.
If Kathy doesn’t mind…one thing I’ve found particularly helpful to help the insiders heal is movies. In the beginning we watched lots and lots of little children ones. Ones that filled my girls full of laughter. I loved watching them at the theater or at home in front of the tv giggle so delightedly that their entire body shook.
But as they grew and got healed more they wanted to watch “exciting” ones that “big brother” liked. So he and I would preview them so that we could tell them if there was a particularly “scary” or “exciting” scene and help walk them through it.
Now they love movies that two years ago would have been frightening or scary to them like The Mummy series or Harry Potter.
Plus movies give me a safe place to explore all kinds of themes with the girls and help them become more and more like typical children.
There’s hope. We haven’t arrived at the finish line, but the girls are finding delight in the magic of childhood again.
your blog is so beautiful and your words are so comforting. I love coming here. I feel like an open book when i read your post. how could someone know so much about me and what is like to be me?
This holiday only gives us a little trouble…now in the form of very mild anxiety and a desire to stay indoors. Answering the door for the kids and carving pumpkins is okay.
Where we have trouble, we have only seen one reference to any where on the net. The reference is at Survivorship in the difficult dates section. It falls towards the end of September and continues into the first couple days of October. Had I/we not found that one reference a few years ago, we would have just assumed we were mixed up on time of year somehow. Does anyone know of anyone else that has horrendous difficulty during this time? In the Pacific north west? Not looking for names (that would be inappropriate anyway) or much info (we actually are piecing it together pretty well)…just looking for validation that we are not the only one out there! This time of year is bad enough that T helped us make a hospitalization plan two different years…something we are strongly opposed to, and she has never brought up at any other time, not even at the mid spring holiday that last a week and is our second worst time.
Hi Sam 🙂 We gots a question for you 🙂 Does you let your girls call you daddy sometimes or does they call you by your name or what does they call you? 🙂 You do not have to answer if you do not want to okay 🙂 But we was just wanting to ask anyways 🙂
Brittany and the kids
LOL We like that too wonderingbird – Cause you don’t know us Kathy – not like our friends and family who we talk to a lot – but you write on here things that our friends and family know about us but you don’t know us – It feels good cause even when we dont make sense to ourselves sometimes you know lots of stuff about how we feel and what we think and what we’re scared of and why we dont like stuff and the things we’re scared of and you know the good nice not scary ways to say that the bad guys wont get us. Kinda like you don’t know us but you know us, you know? 🙂 It is comforing and feels good and safe 🙂
Sally, Brittany, Bridgette and others 🙂
Somewhere up there, you used the word “safe”. That being the operative word. I am nearly normal as long as I feel safe, but at the first sign of something going on, all bets are off. (and so am I) Interestingly, Halloween is not my bad time of year, because I “hole-in” and don’t go anywhere, even open the door, so that I don’t see what’s going on. I’m okay with that. It’s the rest of the Fall season that gets to me. I think it has something to do with harvest time. I noticed yesterday that not all the corn has been picked – that bothered me. But, yeah, safe is where it’s at.
Kathy Broady says
Yes, Ivory —
I completely agree in the idea that “safe” is where it’s at. I’ve used the term “Safety first!” when I talk about things like that. If you don’t feel safe… then there is no foundation that everything else needs to have to build from.
Thanks for the comment – and I hope you find ways to feel safe through the rest of the season.
Thank you Kathy 🙂
Sally and the girls
I don’t like this time of year. I don’t know if something happened during my missing years or if it is just that I have a hard time with any of the fun filled events when people are with family having light hearted fun. But this year I didn’t sit around waiting for the door bell and feeling scared. I went out last night with a group of friends and we had a really fun evening and today I spent time with my adult kids and trying to work on an essay for college. Didn’t get far as my littlest wanted to colour in but realised reading your blog Kathy how far I have come. A few years ago I spent Halloween hiding in a cupboard, too scared to come out. I am not sure there will ever be enough love to undo all the hate I have experienced but me and my guys (my alters) are doing better.
Kathy Broady says
Hi Maddie –
You’re recognizing your progress and good for you! I’m glad to hear that you can see obvious growth and progress in your healing, and yes, having enough space and stability to go out and enjoy your day / evening (in fun, safe, productive ways) instead of feeling so scared that you need to hide … that is wonderful progress! And you know… it’s not too late to give your littles a little time to color. 🙂 You might not have been able to do that this weekend, but maybe there will be time tomorrow? In my experience, little ones are happy to color ANY day, so maybe you can still give them a treat, especially since their behavior (their GOOD behavior) helped you to have the happier weekend that you had anyway. So I vote for coloring-time rewards for the little ones! 🙂
And you know… the more that you and your insiders show compassion and respect and gentleness with each other, the more you will continue to do better. The world is a tough place but keep up the good work of making it as good for you as you can.
Thanks for the comment – and happy coloring. 🙂
After years and years of healing work, formal and informal, I have gotten to a place where I can have that light-hearted fun. This year I have carved pumpkins, and as I write this I am sitting here in a fairy costume waiting for trick-or-treaters to come.
And yet… It is still so hard. We have mechanisms in place now to keep us from being overrun by memories but some still seep through. And it is harder than ever on these days around Halloween to tolerate the ignorance.
And how do you handle the guilt? I know that it continues, I know what is being done to people, what will be done, I know how broken it will leave some people, and that some won’t make it through. Those tears and that blood coat my hands.
Kathy Broady says
Oh wow – congratulations on such huge progress!! Getting to a place where you can enjoy fun on days that were once all about terror is really such wonderful progress – well done. 🙂
Your concern and compassion for others that are still struggling can stay more of your motivation to keep doing things to address the ignorance out there in the world. You are doing the right thing to attend to your own healing, but you have many years ahead, and who knows just how many lives of those others that you will be able to touch in a helpful, positive way. You will make a difference out there. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the comment – it’s appreciated —
I’m scared – I hate this time of year – I dont know why – I’m scared and hurting and my brain turned off – I havent done stuff like this in a while – my brain turning off – I hate when it does this – I want someone to hug me and tell me its ok that it will be ok that no matter why im scared it doesnt matter that im safe now that its ok im so scared and i dont understand why and that makes it worse.
but you’re right the kindness and understanding and patience and reall good love – the good kinda — they help soo much cause they feel soo good and they show you you’re safe cause you get to learn about what the good stuff is – what you watched your whole life and felt jealous because you never got it whyuy didnt you get it!!! so then you get it and you feel so good and special and then you start to learn that you have goodness on your side and that means your safe cause the goodness thats on your side is not going to give up on you and they are not scared of whats in your head and even if they get scared they love you the good kind of love so they will still be next to you and not leave you by yourself alone – they will still love you and be scared with you if they have to but because they love you the good kind of love the safe and good love then they wont hurt you.
Kathy Broady says
Well said. Very well said. Thanks for that.
And yes… here’s hoping that you will find even 1 or 2 people who will care for you in the ways that you have written… It will make all the difference in the world. You sound like someone who is very much worth caring for…
And it is ok to feel what you are feeling, even if you don’t know why. Feeling scared isn’t comfortable, but if you know you are scared, and you can recognize it as such, it is certainly ok to feel what you’re feeling.
I hope that you will feel better-calmer-safer soon —