Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs

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People who have survived ritual abuse or mind control experiments have often been silenced, accused of lying, mocked and disbelieved. Clinicians working with survivors often find themselves isolated, facing the same levels of disbelief and denial from other professionals within the mental health field. This report - based on proceedings from a conference on the subject - presents knowledge and experience from both clinicians and survivors to promote understanding and recovery from organized and ritual abuse, mind control and programming. The book combines clinical presentations, survivors' voices, and research material to help address the ways in which we can work clinically with mind control and cult programming from the perspective of relational psychotherapy.

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CHAPTER ONE: What has changed in twenty years?

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Valerie Sinason

This subject is not easy. Indeed, this is a historic conference. It is an act of disobedience, of speaking out, of political, personal, and clinical ethics and advocacy. It comes from a crucial link between the Bowlby Centre, the Clinic for Dissociative Studies, and the Paracelsus Trust, which I started to aid clinic clients at the instigation of Pearl King, one of its benefactors. Now it is its own separate entity, which has the benefit of Pat Frankish as Chair, and Kate White, Orit Badouk Epstein, Deborah Briggs, Richard and Xenia Bowlby, Michael Curtis, and Brett Kahr as trustees. All agreed that this conference had an important educational aim.

It is the seminal work of John Bowlby and the relational approach to trauma that has offered the best way forward for many of us, together with a willingness to stand up and be counted. Indeed, just as John Bowlby recognized and acknowledged dissociative identity disorder (DID) and separation anxieties, his son, Sir Richard Bowlby, has continued to hold the torch, supporting unpopular and outcast areas of society and the mind.

 

CHAPTER TWO: “An evil cradling”? Cult practices and the manipulation of attachment needs in ritual abuse

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Rachel Wingfield Schwartz

In his remarkable autobiographical account of his years held as a hostage in Beirut, Brian Keenan describes his captivity and his relationship to his captors as “an evil cradling”:

My days passed in a slow, gentle delirium; like the comfort and reassurance that a child must feel as its mother rocks and sings it a lullaby. I looked wildly at a dead insect in my cell, hanging in its cocoon. I felt a strange contentment. I felt no desire to leave this place. I found myself thinking with the shadows of panic rising in me that I was not ready to leave, that I did not want to leave. I began to dread my freedom, if it should come. [Keenan, 1993, p. 73]

In this account, Keenan enables us to begin to understand that being enfolded, cradled in this cocoon of captivity, evil though it may be, begins to present a kind of safety for the captive, the alternative to which-escape—seems to threaten only terror and the unknown. The survivors of ritual abuse and mind control that we will talk about over the course of this Conference grew up within an evil cradling; within families and cults who set out to make it impossible for them to ever escape; impossible for them to everbreak the psychological bonds with their abusers, bonds carefully welded within a cocoon of torture and programming.

 

CHAPTER THREE: Torture-based mind control: psychological mechanisms and psychotherapeutic approaches to overcoming mind control

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Ellen P. Lacter

“Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against such fundamental laws of nature such as self-preservation?”

(CIA Document, Project ARTICHOKE, MORI ID 144686, 1952)

Psychological mechanisms

My goal in this chapter is to analyse through established psychological principles how torture-based mind control programming is installed and exerts continued control over victims.

It is painfully humbling to study mind control. The secrets of how it “works” are buried deeply in the minds of survivors whose mental registration of the process was originally impaired by torture, drugs, smoke and mirrors, and dissociative processes, both defensive and effected by abuser manipulation, and whose capacity to later recall and reveal this trauma is limited by terror, abuser subterfuge, and the capacity of the therapist to bear witness to suchcalculated abuse. Further complicating this study is the variation in methods and forms of mind control reported by survivors.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: Love is my religion

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Anonymous *

Iwas born the first daughter in a long line of first daughters. My mother came from a long line of people who took part in ritual abuse. For a long time, this was something that my father knew nothing about because this was something that happened through the women in my family, a very powerful, matriarchal family that I grew up in. I'm second generation Irish. My parents were staunch Catholics, so I was initially brought up with two ideologies—the catholic ideology and an inversion of that, which was Satanism.

My very early memories are of being a small baby in a room with my mother, grandmother, and other women; later, men joined in too, and they would cut marks on my body and they would throw me to each other, around the room. My early memories of these experiences are of being very startled, terrified, and disorientated. It was not long before I went from being one baby to two babies, three babies, more …

The women in my family had some very twisted ideas about men and women. Men were very stupid. Women were much more powerful, much more significant, and much more important. Sex was dirty and sinful, but it was our job to satisfy men because they were weak. You had to keep them happy.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: Working with the Incredible Hulk

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Orit Badouk Epstein

It is a known fact that working with survivors of ritual abuse mainly involves working with female survivors. Less has been said about working with male survivors. I am going to tell you about some of my experiences with a male survivor of ritual abuse. My client, a twenty-eight-year old, very intelligent and highly creative young man, came to see me after spending most of his adult life wandering from AA to SLA (Sex, Love Anonymous) trying to combat his addiction to alcohol and watching pornography on the Internet and making calls to phone sex lines.

I will name him Bruce, after the character from the film The Hulk, and later on I will explain the link. Bruce was born into an upper middle-class, well-educated family (his maternal grandfather went to Oxbridge, and paternal grandmother was from the aristocracy). He grew up in a wealthy village where the golf and rugby clubs were the hub of a well-established and well-connected paedophile ring. It was in this leafy rural setting that the most horrific childhood sexual and physical abuse and mind control took place, concealed within a middle-class environment more closely associated with cream teas, Christmas parties, and sporting activities that enhanced their masculinity and superiority. These people were wellconnected, with access to finance, weapons, factories, mansions, and even aircraft.

 

CHAPTER SIX: Maintaining agency: a therapist's journey

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Sue Richardson

Professional journey 1966–1988

My professional journey started when I entered social work in 1966. By specializing in child care and family work, I became a de facto specialist in child abuse and protection. In 1986, I was appointed by Cleveland Social Services Department as their Child Abuse Consultant, a post created in the wake of a high profile public inquiry into the death of Jasmine Beckford (HMSO, 1985). I was given a strong political and professional mandate to tackle child abuse, and I was filled with a sense of agency. Together with the paediatricians, Marietta Higgs and Geoffrey Wyatt, I was a key figure in the 1987 Cleveland child abuse crisis, when what was then an unprecedented number of children were medically diagnosed as having suffered sexual abuse. Our efforts to bring this to attention and to protect the children precipitated a public outcry of disbelief, orchestrated by the media and one local MP, and led to the Butler-Sloss Inquiry.

The Butler-Sloss Inquiry was a breakthrough in societal awareness of sexual abuse summed up by the opening of its conclusion:

 

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