Rachel Grant Coaching

September 16, 2014

Ritual Abuse and the Fight Against Child Abuse

This week, I am so excited to continue our series brought to us by Neil Brick, founder of the S.M.A.R.T (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today) newsletter. This week, Neil talks with us about the importance of believing the stories of survivors and the societal incentives for keeping things "hush-hush", especially when it comes to ritual abuse.

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The existence of ritual abuse has been one of the four places where so called skeptics and false memory syndrome proponents have tried to attack the credibility of child abuse survivors.

The second one is attacking the theory of recovered memory.  However, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that recovered memory exists as a phenomenon and it has fairly high corroboration. There is also a lot of evidence that those attacking the theory of recovered memory may have ulterior motives, for example, they may have been accused of child abuse crimes or may have been connected to mind control research in the past.

The third is that somehow therapists have implanted memories in child abuse survivors. However, there is little evidence that this is possible and when it has been claimed, so called retractors (if the victims even ever retracted) may have had prior symptoms of trauma before these so called implantations occurred.

The fourth is the questioning of the existence of dissociation and DID/MPD. However, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that these diagnoses clearly exist and that trauma contributes to the manifestation of these diagnoses.

By attacking these areas, some so called skeptics and false memory syndrome proponents have worked to discredit all child abuse survivors and child abuse crimes.

I will be focusing on why the support of the existence of ritual abuse by all the child abuse movement is crucial to the protection of the child abuse movement as a whole.

Ritual abuse crimes are often the most difficult to believe because of the extreme nature of these crimes. Societies have a tendency in general to not want to believe that horrible things can happen right next door or down the street from them. Many of the atrocities that have happened throughout history have occurred in populated areas. Yet members of societies have stated after the fact that they did not know that anything was going on or that any atrocities were committed.
This denial is at times encouraged by those that may have a vested interest in society maintaining a high level of denial or they may simply have trouble cognitively having an accurate world view, possibly due to their own psychodynamic issues.

Catherine Gould stated:

“Not only do skeptics…choose to ignore eyewitness/victim accounts of ritual criminal activity, they apparently also choose to overlook the significant number of cases of ritual abuse in which perpetrators have confessed to their crimes.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)

“When we understand the fact that ritual abuse is usually perpetrated by groups which are deeply involved in organized crime, the underlying incentives of these cult/perpetrator groups become clear…How much money do these groups actually generate, and is it enough to impact the culture at the level of, say, media-created public opinion? This, of course, is the cloudy part of the economic argument for why ritual abuse is as wide-spread as it is, in families and in preschools, and why we as a society have been so slow to recognize and respond to the seriousness of this problem. It is by definition difficult to know who belongs to groups whose membership is highly secretive, especially when many of the membership themselves are amnestic to their involvement.

Therefore, it is difficult to assess the degree to which members of these groups influence media accounts of ritual abuse, derail ritual abuse investigations by law enforcement, are instrumental in getting children complaining of interfamilial ritual abuse sent back to an abusing parent, or hire officials to make public statements on behalf of a national law enforcement bureau to the effect that no substantial evidence of ritual abuse exists.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)

“In my opinion, we in the United States deny the reality and seriousness of ritual abuse, especially as it impacts on children, in part because it threatens our images of ourselves as Americans. The thinking of the skeptic often goes something like this: Hideous crimes involving torture and mind control “don’t happen here.” (Denying Ritual Abuse of Children – Catherine Gould – The Journal of Psychohistory 22 (3) 1995)
http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/denying-ritual-abuse-of-children-catherine-gould/

It has been stated that incest is universal.

deMause discusses the universality of incest:

“In several hundred studies published by myself and my associates in The Journal of Psychohistory, we have provided extensive evidence that the history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes – and the further away from the West one gets – the more massive the neglect and cruelty one finds and the more likely children are to have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers.”(The History of Child Abuse – Lloyd deMause – The Journal of Psychohistory V. 25, N. 3, Winter 1998)
“That it is incest itself – and not the absence of incest – that has been universal for most people in most places at most times. Furthermore, the earlier in history one searches, the more evidence there is of universal incest, just as there is more evidence of other forms of child abuse.” (The Universality of Incest – Lloyd DeMause - Journal of Psychohistory 19 (2) Winter 1991)
http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/the-universality-of-incest-lloyd-demause/

It has been stated that child pornography is a billion dollar industry and there are frequent arrests around the world for crimes of its production and possession.

“Billion-Dollar Black Market Industry – Child porn has emerged as a multibillion dollar black market industry, though “average people don’t believe it,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The reality is, with the advent of the Internet, the problem of child pornography has exploded,” said Allen…..“There’s a myth here,” he said, “and that is the myth of the stranger.” Allen pointed to NCMEC’s data, which show that most child sexual exploitation victims know the perpetrator of the crime — at least 35 percent of them are the victim’s own parents and 70 percent are other family members or someone close to the child. “Overwhelmingly, the people who are victimizing America’s children, photographing it and distributing it via child pornography are close to the child,” he said. “Many of them are their dads.” (Captured: 'King of the Child Exploitation Suspects' May 2, 2007 By PIERRE THOMAS, JACK DATE and THERESA COOK ABCNEWS)

The cover up of ritual abuse may be due to the potential financial losses some of these groups may have if the children are believed.  So the perpetrators may have a financial motive to create a social situation where children are not believed.  The DSM-IV-TR  states under its DID diagnosis that the reports of patients suffering from DID are “often confirmed by objective evidence,” and that the abusers in those situations may be inclined to “deny or distort” these acts.

Tactically, perpetrators began to see the legal and financial ramifications if their crimes against children were exposed. Cries of “witch hunt” and “panic” were used to spin and cover up crimes against children. Those (like Anna Salter and David Calof) that were working to expose these crimes or expose those that were trying to cover up alleged crimes were harassed, causing some to stop researching and advocating for children. Many presentations of child abuse crimes, like ritual abuse crimes in the media and on the web carry only one sided accounts of these crimes, minimizing or leaving out the victims’ and prosecutors’ perspective, even in cases where convictions were found and appeals were denied.

The media turned on child abuse survivors in the early and mid 1990′s and began to in essence support those that had perpetrated crimes against children, believing unfounded stories about so called “miscarriages of justice.” Due to the extreme nature of ritual abuse crimes and the psychological need for the public denial of these crimes, it became an easy sell to spin these crimes against children for the public to believe the misstatements about falsely accused perpetrators. After ritual abuse was discredited, then other child abuse crimes could be more easily discredited.

Salter discusses this in “Organised abuse and the politics of disbelief” – Michael Salter – Faculty of Law Faculty of Medicine – University of New South Wales (Proceedings of the 2nd Australian & New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 19 – 20 June 2008 Sydney, Australia – Presented by the Crime & Justice Research Network and the Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Network)

During a period in which women and children’s testimony of incest and sexual abuse were gaining an increasingly sympathetic hearing, lobby groups of people accused of child abuse construed and positioned “ritual abuse” as the new frontier of disbelief.

The term “ritual abuse” arose from child protection and psychotherapy practice with adults and children disclosing organised abuse, only to be discursively encircled by backlash groups with the rhetoric of “recovered memories”, “false allegations” and “moral panic”. Seeking to recast the debate on child abuse according to an older politics of disbelief, these groups and activists attempted to characterise sexual abuse testimony, as a whole, through the lens of “ritual abuse”....

It does not take much effort to understand why people accused of child sexual abuse may engage in a vigorous defence of their innocence, nor why they might be joined by professional defence experts that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year defending them. What does bear explaining is the purchase that their rhetoric found in the media, academia and the broader community.

Since the 1980s, disclosures of organised abuse have been disparaged by a range of activists, journalists and researchers who have focused, in particular, on cases in which sexually abusive groups  were alleged to have behaved in ritualistic or ceremonial ways...Whilst these authors claimed to be writing in the interests of science and social justice, what has emerged from their writing are a familiar set of arguments about the credibility of women and children’s testimony of sexual violence; in short, that women and children are prone to a range of memory and cognitive errors that lead them to make false allegations of rape.

As survivors of child abuse, we need to rebut these arguments (of the so-called skeptics). We need to know the facts. We need to fight against the arguments that protect child abusers. Every time a statement is made in the media against survivors of child abuse, the media needs to hear from hundreds of survivors. Everyone needs to write an intelligent letter, backed by facts. Every time a biased web page is created against survivors of child abuse, we need to create several intelligent, well-written pages to counter these. We need to get into the debate to tell our side of the story in every place we can. Wherever there is an opening for our side of the story, we must be there to tell it. And we need to say why we are telling this side of the story, to protect children from being abused and to help those that have been abused. We need to start getting published again in peer reviewed journals and start publishing nonfiction books about this topic in major publishing houses.

I will close with a quote from Audre Lorde:

“I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood…. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you…. and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.” Audre Lorde (The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Sister Outsider).


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Neil Brick is an advocate and researcher for survivors of child abuse. He has worked for years to educate the public about child abuse. Neil Brick has written many research papers on child abuse issues, including his Master's thesis on how child abuse effects interpersonal relationships. Neil Brick runs several Internet lists to help survivors of child abuse and their supporters.


https://ritualabuse.us

September 9, 2014

Understanding & Defining Ritual Abuse

This week, I am so excited to start a series brought to us by Neil Brick, founder of the S.M.A.R.T (Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse Today) newsletter and many conferences to address this very important area of abuse that sometimes goes ignored or is greatly understood. I am so pleased to have Neil sharing his insights about this topic and hope you will learn much from it! To get us started, I am sharing with you the information Neil submitted for the Wiki page on ritual abuse.

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Ritual abuse exists all over the world. There have been reports, journal articles[1][2][3], web pages[4][5][6][7][8] and criminal convictions of crimes against children and adults [9][10][11].

Definition

Ritual abuse has been defined as:

    a brutal form of abuse of children, adolescents, and adults, consisting of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and involving the use of rituals. Ritual does not necessarily mean satanic. However, most survivors state that they were ritually abused as part of satanic worship for the purpose of indoctrinating them into satanic beliefs and practices. Ritual abuse rarely consists of a single episode. It usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful, sadistic, and humiliating, intended as means of gaining dominance over the victim. The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual/indoctrination, which includes mind control techniques and mind altering drugs, and ritual/intimidation which conveys to the victim a profound terror of the cult members and of the evil spirits they believe cult members can command. Both during and after the abuse, most victims are in a state of terror, mind control, and dissociation in which disclosure is exceedingly difficult.[12]

and as

WHAT IS RITUAL ABUSE? (BROAD DEFINITION) Ritual abuse is the abuse of a
child, weaker adult, or animal in a ritual setting or manner. In a broad sense, many of our overtly or covertly socially sanctioned actions can be seen as ritual abuse, such as military basic training, hazing, racism, spanking children, and partner-battering. Some abuse is private...some public. Public ritual abuse may be either open or secret. 

WHAT IS RITUAL ABUSE? (NARROW DEFINITION) The term ritual abuse is generally used to mean prolonged, extreme, sadistic abuse, especially of children, within a group setting. The group's ideology is used to justify the abuse, and abuse is used to teach the group's ideology. The activities are kept secret from society at large, as they violate norms and laws.[13]

Origins of the term

Pazder introduced the term "ritualized abuse" in 1980, describing the experiences of an adult survivor that was disclosing satanic abuse memories. He defined the phenomenon as "repeated physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual assaults combined with a systematic use of symbols, ceremonies, and machinations designed and orchestrated to attain malevolent effects." Later definitions came mostly from professionals addressing ritual abuse in child care settings. Finkelhor, Williams, Burns, and Kalinowski elaborated on Pazder's definition, defining ritual abuse as "abuse that occurs in a context linked to some symbols or group activity that have a religious, magical or supernatural connotation, and where the invocation of these symbols or activities are repeated over time and used to frighten and intimidate the children." Kelley referred to ritual abuse as the "repetitive and systematic sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of children by adults as part of cult or satanic worship"[14].

Evidence

There is a great deal of evidence supporting the existence of ritual abuse crimes as a worldwide phenomenon. Bottoms, Shaver and Goodman found in their 1993 study evaluating ritual abuse claims that in 2,292 alleged ritual abuse cases, 15% of the perpetrators in adult cases and 30% of the perpetrators in child cases confessed to the abuse[15]. "In a survey of 2,709 members of the American Psychological Association, it was found that 30 percent of these professionals had seen cases of ritual or religion-related abuse (Bottoms, Shaver & Goodman, 1991). Of those psychologists who have seen cases of ritual abuse, 93 percent believed that the reported harm took place and 93 percent believed that the alleged ritualism occurred....The similar research of Nancy Perry (1992) which further supports (the previous findings)…Perry also conducted a national survey of therapists who work with clients with dissociative disorders and she found that 88 percent of the 1,185 respondents indicated ”belief in ritual abuse, involving mind control and programming.”[16]

Recently an online survey[17] of over one thousand people answered questions about ritual abuse and extreme abuse crimes. In a summary of the survey [18], it was found that ritual abuse/mind control is a global phenomenon. Fifty-five percent stated they were abuse in a Satanic cult. Seventy-seven percent of the adult survivors that responded "had been threatened with death if they ever talked about the abuse." Also, "257 respondents reported that secret mind control experiments were used on them as children." Eighty-two percent reported being sexually abused by multiple perpetrators.

Anne Johnson Davis in her book Hell Minus One reported that her parents confessed to her abuse in writing and verbally to clergymen, and to the detectives from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Her suppressed memories started when she was in her mid-30s, which were fully substantiated by her mother and stepfather[19][20].


Many scientific journals articles have discussed the reality of ritual abuse and its effect on its victims. Some of these articles have discussed the extreme nature of these crimes[21], proof of the reality of the ritual abuse phenomenon and victims' symptoms[22], the connection between ritual abuse, multiple personality disorder and mind control[23] and the connections between ritual abuse reports and the higher levels of symptoms of childhood sexual and physical abuse[24]. Several additional studies and organizations have compiled research on the reality of ritual abuse crimes[25][26][27].
Ritual abuse and mind control crimes have also been confirmed in other books[28][29][30][31].

A study which identified 270 cases of sexual abuse in day care settings found that allegations of ritual abuse occurred in thirteen percent of the cases[32]. Additional evidence of ritual abuse in day care and child abuse cases has been found in news reports, journal articles and legal transcripts[33][34][35][36][37].

Ritual abuse occurrences have also been found in the Netherlands [38]and the United Kingdom[39][40] [41] [42][43]. A ritual abuse case in the United States in 2006 had a confession and convictions. The case included up to 25 children.[44]

Kent believes that intergenerational satanic accounts are possible and that rituals related to them may come from a deviant interpretation of religious texts[45][46]. Others have stated that the theories and research around recovered memory "strongly confirm the reality of...cult abuse" of SRA survivors[47].




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Neil Brick is an advocate and researcher for survivors of child abuse. He has worked for years to educate the public about child abuse. Neil Brick has written many research papers on child abuse issues, including his Master's thesis on how child abuse effects interpersonal relationships. Neil Brick runs several Internet lists to help survivors of child abuse and their supporters.


September 3, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: It is Not Only What Happened; It Is What Didn’t

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie speaks about speaking up!

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I have a brother, Scott, who has the most amazing baritone voice. He’s always sung in the church choir and a group of Barber Shop Quartet singers who perform worldwide has repeatedly tried to get him to join them. He always declines. I have another brother, Brian, who is a talented artist. From when he was a kid he could bring to life just about anything with his drawings. When he was in the eighth grade, we were living in a house that had a blackboard, and while mom and dad were out shopping one day, he drew several female nudes on it. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea he was so talented. All the drawings were perfectly proportioned. Once I got over being stunned, especially at his subject matter, I told him he’d probably better erase it before mom and dad returned. An automobile accident took the life of my beloved baby sister, when she was 25. She was in the middle of writing a biography on the pirate, Jean Lafitte. My other younger sister had a lovely contralto voice and still does Karaoke.

One day my Scott made the comment, “Sis, can you imagine how our life would have been if we hadn’t lived in an abusive home with non-supportive parents? I had never thought of that. In my recovery and post recovery, I had been so busy thinking about the trauma and aftermath of pain and dysfunction that I had never considered what life could have been. Despite being a highly imaginative person who spins stories in her head on a daily basis I’ve never been keen on spending too much time reminiscing about what might have been. Interestingly enough, my favorite poem, Maud Muller, is by John Greenleaf Whittier and one of the last stanzas is:

“For of all sad words of tongue or
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been’.”

It is not just the excruciating mental, emotional and spiritual pain inherited by victims of child sexual abuse; it is not just the enormous cost in billions of dollars a year spent on their medical care, to say nothing of the cost to industry, it is the loss of what “might have been”. Brian might today be a world famous painter. Scott might be singing for the New York Metropolitan Opera, my younger sister might be a successful performer in nightclubs and I might be a world famous author. Jeanne……she’s another story for another day. 

How many musicians, writers, physicians, inventors, successful businesspersons, political figures, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and Nobel Peace prize recipients have been lost to the world because of child sexual abuse?  Think about that little four-year-old girl with the lovely curls who had such a lively imagination and was so entertaining until her uncle dragged her in to a closet one day.  What of the Cub Scout who dreamt of being President of the United States, until his father entered his bedroom in the middle of the night? Then there was the little boy who decided at the age of ten that he wanted to be a cardiologist when he grew up. His parents trampled his lofty goals when they made child pornography films their latest entertainment, with their son as the first star.

A young man who decides as a freshman in high school, when his mother dies of pancreatic cancer, that he is going to find a cure for this deadly disease.  He is determined in his quest. Then his father remarries unknowingly, a woman who finds her young stepson ripe for her unhealthy sexual desires.   His life is in ruins as his self-esteem and his dream disintegrate. Two already convicted and then released child perpetrators kidnap and gang rape a teenage girl, who wants to be a fashion designer. Her dreams have disappeared into thin air. The list is endless. So many perpetrators have desecrated potentially talented humans, people needed in a world that has so many needs…. and so many child molesters.

How long are we going to continue allowing lives to be destroyed, lives that might have made a huge positive difference in our own? We need to put perpetrators behind bars for good. It is a proven fact that you cannot rehabilitate sexual perpetrators. Pedophiles do not molest only one child; they molest a long line of victims.  You not only rob a child of their soul when you sexually molest them, you rob them of any potential they might have realized as adults.  How many souls are we going to destroy before we get it? Child sexual abuse is worse than murder.  Educate our children at a young age how to protect themselves from pedophiles. Common sense strategies and guidance are available to protect them. Kings County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Renton, WA has published a pamphlet titled, “He told me not to tell – A parents’ guide to talking to children about sexual assault.” I cannot recommend this pamphlet enough. Every parent should have a copy. If you call them at 425.226.5062, they will mail you, free of charge, a copy. What are you waiting for?






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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.
Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse,  REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.


August 26, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Anxiety-Part 2

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie shares with us how she has dealt with anxiety.

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I woke up yesterday feeling anxious, knots in my stomach, a feeling of impending doom. This is not normal for me, as, since completing my self-enforced program of recovery many years ago, I’ve pretty much been the happiest person I know. I’ve had moments of stress, for the most part something that never transpired, which is what usually happens.  But, I’ve learned enough tools to counteract these happenings, which means they never get out of hand. Most of the time it is about a family member, especially my children. As a single mom, I’ve had to do the best I could with all of my shortcomings. I must have done something right as my four children are four of the most wonderful people I know and if I weren’t already their mother I would sure have wanted them in my life.

Taken unawares, I tried to head off any emotional turmoil that used to accompany my anxiety. Before I did anything, I checked my HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. If any of these need to be addressed, I took care of them immediately. This usually gives me a clear vision of not only what’s bothering me but also what solution I need to take. I’m convinced that half of the suicides in the world occurred when the victim needed a good night’s sleep. This time I didn’t seem to have any needs in those four areas. I tried to list any events coming up that might be difficult for me to face, followed by possible solutions.  I recalled certain anniversary dates that always brought some disturbance in my life. Today didn’t mark the anniversary of any of these. I spent more time than I would like to admit trying to figure out why I was feeling so down. I was having the normal amount of concern about any family member having financial worries, no one had any serious injury or illness, and I had no important happening coming up that would cause me anxiety.

I finally managed to pull out the guilty culprit and immediately resolved the problem. It dawned on me that since I’d had major surgery 3 weeks earlier, several changes had come in to my life. I was not able to take my early morning 30-minute walk with my Golden Retriever, Guinevere. As we are all aware, exercise is a good antidote for anxiety. Therefore, I knew that was part of it. Then I realized the other problem. Used to normally saying my morning prayers while I walked, I had gotten out of the habit of saying my prayers. I couldn’t seem to find the right time to work them in. I was ashamed. God always had time to work in any of my requests no matter what. My relationship with God is very personal and talking to My God on a daily basis always resolved things I didn’t even know were bothering me. I immediately poured myself a cup of coffee, coaxed Guinevere to go do her business on our south lawn and sat down on the porch swing. Since I normally follow these prayers with a daily rosary for my son who is in Afghanistan I went upstairs to the library, Guin now having finished her business, and sat in my favorite recliner that looked north towards Sedona and its red rocks. Then I said my rosary. After that, my anxiety was gone.

This may not seem like any big deal but I had learned early in my recovery a couple of very important rules. I always start my day by numerating my blessings.  They seem to double after that and keeping an open line to my Maker and his Mother always blows the cobwebs out of my mind bringing me to a place of peace. So far, since recovery, I haven’t stumbled across any hardship that I couldn’t handle. I’ve even been known to take a walk and have my own
therapy session. You know….what is bothering you? Is it really that important in the grand scheme of things? What do you think is the best way to deal with it?

There are few problems you can’t handle yourself once you’ve gone through recovery. I can still remember how terrifying anxiety is. I’ve had some dark moments in my life where I didn’t think I was going to survive, was actually worried that I might survive. It is almost like walking through a long dark tunnel; you can’t see where you are, you don’t know what your problem is, no one is with you and the aloneness is suffocating you. The anxiety is so great you can’t seem to even find the courage to begin resolving it.  I have a few ground rules I try to keep in mind. They might work for you as well.


  • Identify your problem, no matter how small they may seem. Sometimes this means taking out pen and paper and numbering the possibilities. It’s amazing how clarifying it is when you realize that there really are lions and tigers and bears under your bed! Oh my! And don’t try to hide or deny your problem. There is at least one other who knows what the problem is, God. You can run but you can’t hide.
  • Have a talk with God. He always understands and he’s endlessly patient with me while I try to sift through the solutions until I find one that works.
  • Watch HALT. It really works.
  • Take a walk or do some kind of physical activity. It releases those endorphins.
  • Eat healthy – junk food really isn’t food, it’s just something to put in your stomach. If you don’t believe in the power of healthy eating, try eating junk food for a week and then nutritious food for another week. You’ll see the difference.
  • Get your mind off the problem for a while: read a good book, go to a movie, take a hike, have a picnic with a friend etc.
  • Keep a positive frame of mind. The only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.

If you haven’t gone through recovery yet, get started. Buy a copy of REPAIR Your Life and begin working that program. Follow it up with It’s Your Choice! Decisions that Will Change Your Life.  Both books have their own book page on our website.

Good luck! Email me at Margie@thelamplighters.org if I can answer any questions or help in any way.  




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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.
Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.


August 19, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Anxiety-Part 1

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie shares with us how she has dealt with anxiety.

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A long forgotten memory crept up unawares this afternoon. I don’t know what set off the plunge into anxiety that followed. Shadows, ones I had put to bed years ago and thought never to visit again, paraded in front of me. Just for that moment I was terrified. I swiftly pulled back and looked at the happening through an objective mind, a defense mechanism learned in recovery.
 

Before recovery my life was a semblance of the main character in the film, "Looking For Mr. Goodbar". By day I was a single mother, raising four children that I adored. I was Team Mother for my son’s Pop Warner Football Team, I was active in PTA, I had meetings with my children’s teachers, I hosted my daughters’ slumber parties (and one time for my son and all of his Pop Warner Football Team), cleaned the house, did the laundry, disciplined my kids, helped them with homework, cooked dinner and went to mass on Sundays.
 

By night, especially on the weekends, I attended singles parties and organizations, looking for the perfect mate, sleeping indiscriminately with whoever turned me on at the moment, always ending up with carbon copies of my first two husbands, both alcoholics, the second one abusive and unfaithful (and proud of it). I wouldn’t date anyone unless they smoked, drank and were controlling, preferably older men. If they were kind and sensitive I avoided them with a marked aversion.
 

I lived on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Sometimes they worked. But sometimes I fell into that deep pit of hell, the one where terrible things happened to me, if only I could remember what they were. In moments of complete insecurity I landed in the pit called anxiety. It always started the same way, an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear with only doubt as to its source. It didn’t matter. I hadn’t a clue where it had come from, was afraid to even try to find it. I might have to face it if I did and if I knew nothing I at least knew that I was incapable of dealing with these enormous fears. My heart palpitated wildly; I was brittle with tension; my mouth became dry. A terrible sense of foreboding seemed to cover my body like The Blob in the movie of the same name.
 

My weapons to fight this off were all made of flimsy stuff: chain smoke while shaking with continual tremors, a swift shot of brandy, maybe two, pacing back and forth hoping the children wouldn’t find me like this. Then there was always sex.  Eventually the anxiety stopped but not without leaving behind its deadly message. There is a way out of this. You can always take your life. Then it will be all over.
 

Many failed suicide attempts followed this dreary pattern of my life. I had been in Psychiatric Wards twice when in my early twenties and did not want to go there again. I had children to raise. Their father was in an alcoholic institution. Who would raise them if I weren’t here? Somehow I cheated death. Somehow I pulled out of the attacks and went on, one foot in front of another.
 

Once I entered recovery and moved forward across that bridge, I had anxiety attacks so much worse than any I’d had before. But then I was living with my third abuser, one who was a sadist, one my therapist said I would never survive. I was also going back in time and seeing the enormity of the betrayal my father visited upon me. The long forgotten memories began to surface bringing with them an agonizing truth.  The reality of what my father, who I adored, had done to me was like the piercing of an ice pick into my heart.
 

I was painstakingly able to discover that I was not to blame. It had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with my father’s patriarchal beliefs. “They do it in the Appalachian District all the time,” he said when first telling me of the horror he had done. It was like finding out that your husband was Jack the Ripper. It wasn’t just my father’s sexual abuse, it was his physical abuse. The violence of his beatings, the cruelty of his punishments, all worked together to put me into a hell I lived with for decades. I kept putting one foot in front of another; working the program I later called REPAIR. After five long years I was now strong, spiritual, and capable of handling any problems that came my way. I had confidence, something I had never had before. I was able to rid myself of the shame I had carried for so long, shame not only of what my father had done that I thought was my fault, but the shame I had added to it by my promiscuity. I rid myself of my abuser and even the lingering memories of my life with him became more and more shadowed as the years went by. After recovery I had a sign on my desk that read, “If I’d have known life was going to turn out this great I would have started it sooner.
 

Today, I can remember what those anxiety attacks were like without being dragged down by the tremendous weight of them . If any of you reading this article is plagued by anxiety attacks I urge you, no I beg you, to get a copy of the book REPAIR Your Life and begin working the program. That program is the culmination of everything I learned in my own recovery, not only what to do but what not to do. I went down so many wrong roads, wasted money on so many other books and even more money on therapist after therapist, most never even asking me about my childhood. I want everyone who has ever experienced an abusive childhood to be where I am today, the happiest person I know.







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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.

Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.



Resources, personal stories, communication techniques, and strategies for survivors of sexual abuse who are ready to break free from the past and return to their genuine self.