I have never been told a bedtime story.
In most of my memories of falling asleep, I am lying on a metal bed in a metal room, or on a cold basement floor, or on a soiled mattress, or by a dumpster in an alley, or in the woods, or in a cage.
In some memories I am not lying down at all—I am sitting or standing. I was expected to be able to fall asleep this way, and awaken into an immediate state of complete concentration.
In some memories, I am being drugged to sleep, while being raped or tortured.
My abusers knew that if they did this to me, then I would learn to do it to myself. That is how post-traumatic stress operates. I was intended to experience distress while trying to fall asleep, no matter what. No matter where I was, or what I was seeking for myself. No matter if I was young or old, free or not free, alone or with others, safe or not safe. I was intended to never have a single restful night’s sleep in my lifetime.
As in general, I was intended to feel distress during an experience that is meant to feel peaceful, comforting, and safe. I was shown, over and over again, that I do not deserve any of the benevolence possible in the realms of human experience.
Most of the moments that came before sleep were saturated with loneliness. I spent many nights falling asleep alone. Some nights an abuser was there with me, but on these nights the loneliness, the feeling of being unseen and unwanted, was even more profound.
There were times when I was told stories at night, as I was falling asleep. But I have never been told a story that was kind.
At bedtime, if I was read anything at all, I would be read terrible stories about the wicked actions my soul had supposedly taken in other lifetimes. Other times, I would be read programming stories that were designed to strengthen my internal programming, and to send my unconscious mind negative messaging, and pain. I could sense how devastated I was becoming, but I could not sense the specific content. This made it almost impossible to fight the messaging, since I did not know exactly what it was doing to me.
When I was young, I was raised in an institutional, abusive setting, where slaves were being created and destroyed, programmed and controlled, and deployed with cold calculation. Some of the children who were also raised this way later became public figures, and most people would never guess at their true origins.
I got along better with the children who stayed connected to their hearts, and I struggled to get along with the ones who did not. The ones who did not stay connected to their hearts were the ones who were rewarded the most. Though these rewards were addictive, I saw that I did not truly want them. Having been exposed to nothing other than pain in all its varieties, I did not know what I wanted. I just knew that I did not want anything that was being offered. Except I did want to earn time spent with some of the other slaves—my friends. But this time spent together was always used against us later, so even this reward came with its own pain.
I chose not to deaden my heart. So I suppose I will never know what hurts worse: a heart that lives its life fully deadened until the end, or a heart that goes through every conceivable tragedy, and feels it all.
I know that I somehow survived my choice, though many people do not. I know that I survived with enough hope in me that I still search for and yearn for freedom. I know that the people who created me, and who raised me in this covert network setting—the ones with the coldest hearts—appeared to have the easiest lives and the most difficult lives, all at once. They lived in paradox.
They took responsibility for nothing. And no matter how hard they tried to provoke their life force, they could feel nothing.
They did not consciously care about anything, so they were not bothered by my suffering. But they were unspeakably empty inside, and they did not know what they could possibly do about it.
They lived at these two extremes. Stunned by the cruelty of their actions, I chose to do the opposite.
I take responsibility for everything, and feel everything.
Not only was my body trafficked, but so was my mind, and so was my heart. My creativity was trafficked. My reasoning was trafficked. My compassion was trafficked.
Empathy shattered my heart into millions of shards. Even if I had gone through my life never being physically touched, I would still be extraordinary broken, from all that my senses and spirit have witnessed, and all that I have attuned to.
There are young children in my system who know the darkness so well, so thoroughly, that they would like nothing more than to hold it, and to teach it how to play.
In recovery, I am learning to apply the loving qualities that I carry to my internal world, after a lifetime of being forced to apply them only to the external world. I was taught to neglect myself. I will not. I will continue to deepen my ability to take care of myself. I will learn to take care of myself in more and more ways.
I will find special blankets, and I will swaddle the parts of me inside who believe that only others deserve care, and that they should be able to take it freely from me.
I will hum to the parts who believe that being taken care of, being listened to, and being gazed upon, is selfish.
I will speak to myself, and my own words will tell me that I deserve peace.
And one of these days, I will figure out a way to read myself a nighttime story. Most stories find a way to trigger me, since my internal world contains thousands of uniquely traumatized people. But maybe, maybe I will read my system a story that we, ourselves, have written. Maybe this will be the key.
Here is what I would read to myself tonight, to address my suffering and to help myself fall asleep:
Hello. Here are some of the things you may need to hear, before you can allow yourself a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Even though they told you that your soul bought this lifetime from them, no, it did not. You are not indebted to them, or to anyone. You are a person, and you have a right to live here. You would know that if they had not enslaved your parents and your birth. If you had ever known freedom in this lifetime, then you would be able to know and feel what they took away from you, and you would know that it was not your fault. Because you have never known freedom, you are not familiar with the specks in your irises that allow you to witness what love is, and what love does. You are too attuned to slavery. You do not know what simple love is, yet. But you will.
- Even though you do not feel like a human, you get to be one. Whatever they told you they did to your body and mind, and however much code you see in your inner field of vision, you are really the energy residing within the temporary home of this lifetime, and this body and mind. You have a spirit, and having a spirit gives you rights. You have the same rights as every other being. They do not have all of the rights that they deserve yet, either. We are going to work on helping heal the planet, together.
- Even though you have been raped so many times in so many different ways, you do not deserve to be raped ever again. You never deserved it, and I do not know why it happened, nor why it happened so many times, and so brutally. I do not know why the rapists have never acknowledged what they have done. Maybe they believe it will break them. Maybe they know that it will bring them into contact with what hides within themselves, which might look like ugliness and evil, unless a kind heart gazes at it with compassion and non-judgment, at which point it will begin to melt into something softer, something smaller, something more pure, yet confused—something living.
- Even though you feel alone, you are not. There is a spirit world that knows you, and a place where you belong. Even when people cannot understand you, or cannot understand or believe your past, it does not mean that they wish to reject you. Maybe they also feel sad that you cannot reach each other. Maybe they also feel the pain and frustration of their own limitations. Maybe they are not willing to risk losing or changing their belief systems, because a part of them is still in survival mode. Maybe a small piece of your story resonates too closely with theirs.
The perpetrators who raised you chose to reject you, and to use you. Though some people in the world today may have similar wishes, you can choose to be with those who wish you kindness—even though kindness is foreign, and therefore feels more terrifying right now. This pain and fear of the unknown, of kindness, will eventually shift. I am sorry that even healing hurts. I am sorry that even kindness hurts, right now.
How can someone like you find peace? I wish I could find a way to download a peace program into you, like an angel would—rather than download a self-harm program into you, like a network trainer would. I am sorry that they did that.
- No, you did not let them do that. You did not let them do anything. Remember—you wanted to escape. Remember—you tried. And you had never even been taught the concept of escape. How did you know you wanted more than total slavery, if that is all you had ever experienced? How did you know you wanted more than metal walls and arctic classrooms, if that had been your only world?
Somehow, you thought to yourself, anywhere else.
Anywhere else must be as bad or better than here. It is worth it to take the risk to try to leave. And even though they caught you and they hung you from your ankles, and even though the torture that went on that day would be too hard to express right now, it was still worth the risk, because no punishment could be worse than the constant, utter emptiness of being raised by a psychopath. Or by a machine. Or by nobody at all.
- There is nothing wrong with you. I will remind you every day, if I can, because you always forget. I think it’s hard to remember that there is nothing wrong with you, when the society you live in does not hug you. When the society you live in does not offer you a blanket, or a place to rest, or therapy for your body, mind, and spirit. When they do not even believe you. When you have to offer yourself a blanket, and pull it over to yourself using your own broken arm. Yes, it’s still broken, and it still hurts, but we can heal it. We will find a way.
- It is okay to be different. Being different does not mean being lonely. I hope you will continue to find people who will connect to you by truly looking at you. If people are only seeking to find aspects of themselves, then yes, you may feel very lonely around them. Especially if they do not truly want to know themselves, either.
The more you heal, the more your relationships might shift, change, end, or begin. Unfortunately you cannot control this. Staying still to preserve these relationships would hurt more. It would hurt like the past hurt. It would hurt like living a lie hurts. I see that you want to grow and heal, and I believe that you have the capacity to experience freedom, without collapsing, or having a heart attack, or being alone.
For those of you who are still worried about betraying your owners, don’t. They know that they have betrayed you. It is written in the very fabric of the property contracts that they created before you were born. It is a betrayal because you are not property. It is null and void, because you are a living, breathing being. It is a betrayal because they do not have the right to own anyone or anything, human or non-human. What is ownership? Where did this concept originate? One day we will fully reject it, and then we will sense their betrayal, and we may feel stunned, and our innocence may be freed.
- If you believe that you are not a real person, that is okay for now. It does not negate who you truly are, and how you experience yourself, and how others experience you. You are not who they tried to made you into, nor are you the who they tried to make you believe you are. You cannot trust beliefs that were imposed on you by slave owners. They had an agenda. Your well-being has never been included in it. They told you that you were not a real person because the more you believed this, the easier it was for them to use you as an object. They wanted to use you as an object because they are sick and they do not know how to heal themselves.
- I hear you asking: Why do people have to heal themselves, if they have been abused by somebody else? Why should they have to take responsibility for what someone else did?
I do not know. I like your question. This does seem unjust. Maybe there is something about it we do not yet understand.
I hear you reply: They told me that I am really also them, in another lifetime, and I am experiencing my own violence and hatred.
Well, that is a convenient way of looking at it, for them. Even if this were somehow true, they were still the ones who inhabited the adult bodies committing violence, and you were in the tiny child body. It was their responsibility to stop beating you.
But, of course, what they said is not true, and I know that you sense this, deep down inside. You have such a capacity to take self-responsibility, that I know you would be willing to own the darkness inside of you, if this darkness had been yours. But this darkness was theirs. Maybe healing involves giving it back to them. Some way, somehow, it will be healed.
- A little voice asks: Why am I so bad inside?
And I answer, What do you mean? Do you feel bad inside?
She says, Yes.
I ask, What does that feel like?
She says, Screaming. Like someone is screaming and I can’t get to them. I think it is me. I used to scream when they would hurt me, and I couldn’t get inside of their minds enough to make their thoughts want to stop hurting me. But when I tried, and I entered into their minds, I thought I was them, and I thought I was doing this terrible thing to myself, and I thought I was bad. Do you understand me? And am I bad?
And I answer, I understand and I remember, and you are not bad. Not at all. That is why little spirit flowers grow all around you. Because they feel safe to.
And she smiles.
- You each have a free pass* to enter our internal safe place, wherever you are inside, no matter what you believe you have done to deserve your pain, or your programming. We want you to come back, no questions asked, no blame, no punishments. You are allowed to live an internally peaceful life now.
- You each have a free pass to tell your truth, feel your feelings, and believe yourselves. You are allowed to believe yourselves, all of yourself. You can even believe the programming, if you want to, or if you need to for now. Eventually, we will all know the truth, and we will do whatever we can to dissolve the programming, and to see our true selves again.
You may be wondering how we can see ourselves again, if we were broken before we were even born. I don’t know, but I just know that we can. I think we have always existed, and the person we would have been if we had lived in complete harmony, resides inside of us somewhere. I can feel this person, and I want to free this person, and be this person. I want us all to give this person the right to exist, and to give ourselves the right to drop this trauma, and to be who we are.
- I know you have been forced to commit harm as a child. I know you have been forced to commit harm as an adult. I know there are some people who dissociate when you speak about this. I know there are many people with whom these memories would not be safe to share. And, I know that there are others who would understand, and who would see you only as a victim, and as a person who tried to bring as much healing as possible to every horrific, tragic, or grotesque circumstance. I know that the departed victims see you this way. They see the intentions of your heart. I know that spirit sees you this way. I know that your own spirit sees you this way. This is what makes it easier to move forward; it is always easier to believe the truth when we do not have to believe it alone.
Together, we can hope that all beings learn to see themselves the way their own spirits see them.
- I know that you are a good mother. I know that you battle with yourself every day, wondering how it can be true that searching for your missing children does not always appear to be an active search in the physical world. In our internal world, you can learn to find yourself, and then find each of them, whether they are alive or deceased. And hopefully, one day we will find them in the external world.
The abusers have taken control over so much of the physical matter on this planet, that it is safer and quicker to connect in spirit first, and see what paths open up as a result. It was hard to become a good mother at the age of eleven, but you did. The children know that every decision you made was made in love, and it changed their lives. Just like you, they have their own guardian angels, and they always have their true family, in their hearts, and in their internal worlds. Always.
- I know that you miss your friends. The word friends is not nearly a strong enough word for what we were to each other. I hope we find each other again. I am glad you can feel their spirits with you.
The understanding we experienced in each other’s presences has been cruelly ripped away. A person’s journey may be arduous, but it does not have to be completely arduous. Though you were told you don’t deserve to ever see them again, or that in some twisted way it will make you stronger, maybe the fact that you want to see them matters more. Maybe acknowledging your desires makes you stronger. After all, the abusers were never strong enough to acknowledge your desires, nor their own. And many of them died this way. I hear you wondering what happened to their dark hearts, when they died. I shall pray about it with you.
- I know you worry about safety. I know you worry about survival. I know it is hard to trust that it will be okay, and that our spirit will carry us through this life. You have the hardest job of all, because you have to have the human experience. The parts in the system who are connected to spirit can sit and watch the unfoldment of our life path, but you are the one who walks the legs forward every day into the unknown.
- I know that you worry about having enough to support yourself. You oscillate between blaming yourself for being unable to function like a healthy adult, and feeling enraged at a world that has taken so much from you, enslaved you, and not paid you back. I do not know if the justice system will ever learn to offer justice. I certainly hope so. I hope that eventually a sense of peace will come over you.
- I know that the little ones inside want more outside friends to play with. We will find them. It takes time, which is unfair to you. I also know it can be hard to trust in a friendship again, after you have been forced to witness your friends suffer and die.
You each deserve a safe upbringing. You deserve your own bodies and your own parents, and your own chance to go to the safest and most fun preschool in the universe. And you each deserve to be loved. I know this is very hard to believe, because you feel unworthy and unlovable, and yet somehow it is what you yearn for so deeply that when I peer into you, I see an entire galaxy. Look at you, you are so vast, you hold so much. What true beings you are.
- I know that you want to share healing with all beings. We can tell them about what has worked for us. We can tell everyone that they deserve their own internal safe place, with a healing center where every truth is allowed to exist, and where every lie is allowed to be healed. This place can have a healing waterfall, which lovingly turns all programming, and all self-doubt and self-hatred, into what it was originally meant to be.
We can advocate for others. We can tell people that they are not monsters. What is a monster? I have never heard of a monster that could spontaneously create itself. Monsters seem to be the creations of great pain and agony that were never witnessed or aided, but were ignored and provoked, until they could not handle being so small and so vulnerable anymore. I feel like I understand monsters and I want to love them, if I can, from a distance that is safe for me and them.
- I know that you miss many of the monsters from your past, since they were the only adults you knew, and that you wish them well. I will not allow anyone to tell you that you can’t love them. You can.
But loving them, and hurting yourself, are two different things. Love only takes care. Love doesn’t hurt. That’s why I won’t let you hurt yourself, or keep yourself small, or live a lie, or remain in your programming or trauma for longer than you must. It may feel like you are betraying your caregivers, as you seek freedom, but you are not. You are only betraying their betrayal of you. Maybe this can somehow heal you both.
- And yes, they will still need to go through with their own healing journeys. It would not be fair if your healing also healed them automatically. They are not you.
- I am proud of you for continuing to live life, even after life has given you an uncountable number of reasons not to. Life has not been kind, and yet you stay. Some of that may be Stockholm Syndrome, some of that may be a sadly twisted addiction to pain and suffering, and some of that is hope, commitment to healing, and a deeper wisdom that you allow to call you to move forward. You will not be in pain forever.
I repeat, you will not be in pain forever.
*The concept of a free pass was invented by my system, and we want to share it with everyone. We have used it to deprogram, but also to give space and freedom to our thoughts and feelings, even if they seem wrong, crazy, unbelievable, negative, or harmful.
Like many former slaves, we have entire houses of conflicting feelings inside of us. It is hard to let them all be true, together. Sometimes we imagine ourselves to be an entire country, planet, universe, etc. We imagine ourselves to contain enough land, water, air, sunlight, and space for all of our beliefs, memories, impulses, thoughts, feelings, and desires to exist and roam freely, and grow.
We hope that all beings are able to extend themselves this free pass, and hold all parts of themselves in equal reverence. We have noticed that our negative feelings, beliefs, and impulses, can always be traced back to prior abuse. And we noticed that they dissolve, once they are given space to exist, and enough attention. This is helping us to gradually believe in our own innocence.
I think that if the abusers of the world were given enough unconditional, non-judgmental attention, they energy of abuse on this planet could start to lift. I do not know who started it—this eons-long chain of abuse—but I am not sure we have time to figure it out. I think action must be taken now, in whatever ways each person can. I believe that cultivating internal freedom can help lead to greater amounts of external freedom for all.
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