There is something about lately that makes me want to write an essay that is not about programming, trauma-based mind control, and slavery. As I begin, I am not sure if I can even do this, because all of these realities still exist within me today, and they exist in so many others all around the world.
It feels as though the moment I was free from abuse, my system took an immediate nosedive into feeling everything we had never been allowed to feel before, and remembering everything that we had been forced to forget, and saying as much as we could to whomever was safe enough and willing enough to listen.
There was so much memory baggage inside of us that we had been expected to ignore or keep at bay for so many years, but because these closed compartments held our real feelings and memories, as well as a path to our real selves, we yearned to hold them, no matter how painful their contents might be. We had always been told that we were selfish for wanting to hold our real selves, our children, or a friend’s hand—selfish for wanting to hold a dying animal, an honest conversation, or a secret from a pedophile.
Now we are learning that those are some of the least selfish actions one can take.
We grieved daily for a very long time, and while friends and mentors suggested that we slow down, we could not. There was one interesting day where we made a real effort to slow down, and to relax, and then something accidentally sped us forward into hours of memory processing and recovery. I think our momentum was still too high after what we had been living in and living through.
Now we are discussing soothing for the very first time. There are days when we want to be at peace and to have a break from the oppression and the horror that remains inside of us. We are learning that instead of having to constantly, actively look for everyone we have lost inside of ourselves…thousands of people…we can sometimes choose to be with what is happening in the life we are living right now.
Our life before recovery had been a secret, so we understand why there was a desperation in us to bring it all to the surface. Harboring secrets can make any moment feel like a false moment. Even a moment at the foaming beach, or a moment under a tree, gazing at how the leaves and birds are moving.
Now we are in a place where the search for grief has shifted, and we often choose play, soft music, children’s books, silliness, and a stern refusal to be responsible for all of the problems in our inner world and all of the problems in everyone’s world.
I do feel like we will shift yet again, into some other stage of recovery, but right now we seem only to want to write about how much we appreciate feeling soothed. Feeling the wind, allowing ourselves to drink water, playing with toys, holding stuffed animals, calling a friend when we are sad or scared, listening to music that wishes us peace and comfort, and watching gentle cartoons for tiny children who need to learn the most basic, basic things.
There are so many of us inside who struggle to understand big words and ideas, when a grownup is talking to us. We just hide it, but then our brain hurts later.
We are writing about soothing in case anyone else needs extra permission to have soothing as well. We like it. Even though our programming streams flashbacks in our body and in our mind, all day every day, we have been told that sometimes it is okay to bring our attention to something else.
We didn’t want to abandon any of the children inside. That is why we kept looking for them and looking for them, in and behind and around the programs, and staying with all of their pain. Because of our programming, no amount of soothing or healing brings even temporary relief, so there are times when we need to shift our focus to other places, happy places, foreign as they may be.
With those of us inside who are still programmed, we make every effort not to blame them, and to strive to find the deepest wounds we have, the ones that must be controlling us the most, the ones that have us believing in our own eternal punishability. We try to be with the programmed children as they are, to spend time with them, to help them find release.
But now, feeling more overwhelmed than is possible, we have begun to invite the programming to join us in our activities, instead. It feels terrible to have to tell children—children who have always been forced to work—that they are being asked to move their feet yet again, and to walk over and join us in an internal safe place. And that their new jobs must include some pain, some recognition of the deepest lies and betrayals that we have ever experienced, that have ever been spoken, in fact. Some of the belief systems that we were taught are so old. They are much more shocking than hearing a story wherein long, long ago, people needed to be informed that they should not kill.
One major belief system that was forced upon us is the belief that healing must come with a price. If we play and feel joy and expansion, we must be beaten down just as much. If we catch something, we must drop something. If we heal, we must die.
It can be painful to walk around the world now, noticing that many others do not carry such belief systems at all, and often have never even heard of them.
Right now, some of us have made an internal agreement to stop punishing ourselves temporarily, and to observe whether or not the world punishes us. The results have been striking. We cleaned our home, and nothing else changed. We were vulnerable with someone, and she smiled and reassured us. We have toys to play with, and they do not melt, or get used to abuse us anymore.
So maybe it is about time we stop making ourselves think these things are still always happening.
I would like to be able to have soothing without punishment afterward, because otherwise there is no way I can truly trust in the soothing process. It is hard for me, because I have never been soothed without abuse or tragedy occurring afterward.
For some adults who walk the paths of recovery from enslavement, they are having to learn all the things that babies and toddlers learn, and to do it in grownup bodies, and to do it for the very first time. Some have to do it alone.
I hope all who harbor traumatized inner children will find gentleness and soothing, with no consequences. I also hope that the world steps up, to be able to support those who have been enslaved, and to accept the greater reality of slavery into their lives, the way my system strove to accept our own greater reality, as soon as we were free enough to do so. One way that my system has experienced soothing from others in the external world, has been in small moments of recognition. We hope that every slave will have at least one such moment.