As a survivor of trauma-based mind control and child slavery, the foundation of almost every memory I have is rape. The feelings within almost every memory—even memories that also contain sweetness, such as memories of my children—are torment, pain, confusion, and physical and psychic invasion. The people who invaded my body and my mind focused on the concept of splitting: they forcibly disconnected parts of my psyche from each other, using overwhelming trauma and torture; they disconnected me from the notion that my life has value, so that they could use me completely; they disconnected me from my own free will; and, in fulfillment of one of their primary goals, they disconnected themselves from any blame, shame, or consequences.
As I write about my abusers, I hesitate to call them “my” abusers, for a reason I don’t fully understand, which perhaps has to do with the concept of ownership, in its various forms. They abused me, which makes them former abusers of mine, but they didn’t have any real relationship with me. They were exploring their relationship with themselves and their world. They were using me, and my world, as a tool. As a reflection device. Sometimes, as a weapon. I have been owned for almost three decades, so I am very conscientious about applying ownership in my sentiments about any living beings. I know what it is like to be entangled in the vicious dance of ownership, without being given a choice. And now that I am beginning a life without them in it, I don’t want to speak of the abusers in any way that continues to make me feel tethered to them.
This is because I was tethered to them. My owner was the central figure of my life. I was never the central figure of my life. I believe that my owner died about two years ago. Since that time, I still have not taken my place as the center of my own life. I have never known how to. It has never been safe to.
Now that my former owner is gone, that central spot within me is currently being occupied by a tangled, electric cluster of confusion and anguish, regarding the concept of higher power. As I peer more deeply into this cluster, I feel a small child’s sense of utter betrayal. Peering even more deeply inside, I begin to sense that my memories of spirit rest within this tangled cluster.
Many times, my abusers forced me to die, upon which I entered the spirit world, and then these very same, cruel humans revived me to bring me back, and interrogated me about my experiences. For most people, their experience of life would take the path of: existence in the spirit world, then temporary existence as a human, then a return to spirit world. My path, within that schema, was filled with experiences of the reverse: an anguished, seemingly never-ending experience of life; followed by a temporary exit into the world of spirit; and then a return to the same human life. In this way, my abusers played God.
In fact, in every way, they attempted to play God. They tried to control the outcome of their own lives, and their search for pleasure and comfort and the fulfillment of their needs, by controlling their environment fully (which they had the money to do), controlling my life and the lives of other slaves, and in fact, attempting to place their control on the entire planet.
So, I am not surprised that the central image of my former owner has been replaced by this cluster of pain, betrayal, and longing for higher power. I now sit here, reflecting, wondering whether I can take my own place at the center of my life, all the while holding this terrified little cluster in my lap. Its youngness, innocence, and complete terror ring so strongly, that I feel it needs to be cradled.
My life has never been my own. My body has never been my own. In fact, from about the age of ten, I was forced to write and edit formal ownership contracts of myself, and of other slaves, for my owner. These contracts included clauses that indicated what types of violence were allowed to be inflicted on the body and on the mind, the duration of ownership of the slave, and the types of skills the slave could be used for. Any limitations on the amount of harm that could be done to a slave were for the sake of preservation, not at all in the spirit of compassion or empathy. Can you imagine a world that is both so unlimited in its violence toward slaves, especially children, and yet having some intelligence, forethought, and organization? I grew up seeing that people prepared their violence against me ahead of time.
They were thoughtful. They were thorough. They owned me, and controlled me, and this control permeated so deeply that sometimes it felt as though the air molecules around us were also shivering with fright, afraid of moving beyond the confines of the abusers’ wishes.
My owner and many other abusers trained me, and trained my body, to become their slave. Not just a slave, but their slave. They taught me how they wanted me to respond to them, specifically, so that they could feel good. They taught my body how to respond to them.
They not only taught me and my body how to respond to them, they taught me how to respond to life. They placed extensive triggers and programming into my mind, colonizing my internal world, so that almost each experience I could have in everyday life was somehow linked to extreme pain and fear. Most of my abusers were completely psychopathic. They had no grasp of what it felt like to be owned by them, raped by them, or tortured by them. But I saw that doing it made them smile. I began to think I was evil. I began to think I was bad, for deserving so much pain. The worse I felt about myself, the easier it was for them to continue to brainwash me into believing that they own me, and that they always will.
I do not want to be owned. I am afraid to even take ownership of myself. I like to let myself breathe. I try every day to loosen the confines of my mind, and to ease the scrutiny through which I see myself. I don’t want to be owned by their memory, or their energy.
I want to be so free that I will not feel guilty about being free.
I want to feel so free that I do not have to forget my past, either.
Every day, I work on seeing myself, holding myself, and understanding and accepting myself and my life. I try to bring more freedom to the buried and traumatized parts of me inside, so that the we of me can have more freedom on the outside.
My abusers had no empathy, so I was encased in a world that did not allow for emotion, or personal expression. My only expression had to be calculated expression—tuning into what they want, what they need, and the form in which they would like me to give it to them. Essentially, a servant in their homes, I walked around naked, holding myself on a silver platter for them.
Entering the world of recovery, I am having my first experiences of being seen. So far, acclimating to this has been very painful. I wish this weren’t so. I don’t think slaves deserve for pain to be such a constant part of their recovery process, too.
Now that I know what being seen feels like, it’s getting harder and harder to tolerate the old lifelong feeling of not being seen. Its shadows are growing exponentially, because it is finally safe enough for me to see them. To feel them.
Now, when I feel unseen by others in day-to-day life, I feel decades’ worth of terror. I feel this intense fear that people who have no radar, no emotional attunement, are capable of anything. I find it hard to stand up for myself at times, and have to remind myself that the consequences of existing are very different out here. The instinct to stand up for myself has been beaten down from every angle.
To feel safe, I walk around every day trying to assess the rules in the air at any given moment.
However, deeply below all of the control, the rules, the trauma, the electricity that was forced into my body and mind, lies the desire to breathe.
Deeper down and closer to where my unscathed spirit dwells, I feel the longing to be free, and I know that true freedom for one person cannot be an imposition for another person. I know that the freedom my abusers were looking for will never be found along the paths they walk. I wish to walk away from them, even if it is a lonely path much of the time. I wish to be free.
Knowing the feeling of slavery at its core, my wish for all beings is for them to be free.
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