This situation provided pressure toward dysfunctional behavior e.
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It also created the setting in broken families for a significant rise in custody disputes, child abandonment, spouse and even child accusations against the nonsupportive spouse, and other manipulative actions. This community also expanded during those years to include many different kinds of counselors, including licensed therapists, social workers, lay counselors, peer counselors, support group members and leaders, and pastoral counselors, as well as psychiatrists and psychologists.
Many people assumed that any of these counselors, no matter what their training, should invariably be able to tell if a client is telling the truth. This heightened concern generated special interest groups and experts who — usually with the best of intentions — still needed to find a danger of sufficient depth and breadth to warrant large commitments of time, legislation, and funding for their causes. The first publicized case was that of Michelle Smith.
An emotionally dysfunctional woman at the time, Smith claimed to discover — with the help of her therapist and later husband Lawrence Pazder — previously repressed early childhood memories of horrible physical and sexual abuse. The abuse was inflicted in a bizarre secret satanic cult whose members included her immediate family.
No corroborative evidence for this shocking account was obtained, said Smith and Pazder, for a variety of reasons. Second, the cultists planted disinformation, such as wrong dates, in her memory. Third, the almost invincible cult destroyed the evidence of its crimes.
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And fourth, some of the very people to whom Smith could turn for help were themselves involved in the conspiracy. The Victims. The adult victim 15 is commonly a white woman between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five who has a history of nonspecific psychological problems which may include suicide attempts. She is herself either intensely religious usually evangelical or charismatic Protestant or comes from an intensely religious background. The typical adult victim is highly suggestible, 16 intelligent, creative, and well learned if not well educated in a formal sense.
The victim first seeks counseling help for a problem seemingly unrelated to occultic abuse. Child victims are not so easily characterized, though most are highly motivated to please adults, intelligent, and loyal to the supportive parent. It is noteworthy that the supportive parent often has characteristics in common with the typical adult victim. Importantly, the hypothetical psychological profile of the SRA perpetrator actually contradicts the most common features of known physical and sexual abusers, psychotics, sociopaths, pornographers, and serial killers — creating serious doubt that such a perpetrator exists.
SRA includes emotional abuse terrifying threats, deliberate heightening of fear, etc. The ritual elements of the abuse are always satanic or occultic. Features of satanic ceremony folklore — such as the black mass, human sacrifice, drinking of blood, and satanic symbols — are common. However, victims typically cannot recount the intricacies of occult rituals beyond what is commonly found in satanically oriented material available in general bookstores, 19 or what they have heard from other victims or therapists.
SRA Disclosure. Usually adult SRA stories are disclosed during counseling or some other therapeutic setting. The adult victim generally begins therapy for a seemingly unrelated problem such as a sleep or eating disorder, depression, or marital difficulties. During the course of treatment, either the therapist or the client raises the possibility of repressed memories of SRA. With sensationalistic reports of SRA scattered throughout the media, few clients or therapists have not heard something of SRA and its horrors.
At first the client may deny a past history of SRA, or may not remember anything, or may have fragments of almost meaningless images that might somehow relate to SRA. However, after long-term, intensive treatment by a therapist committed to believing the client no matter what he or she discloses, the alleged adult survivor gradually pieces together a complex personal SRA history. Ordinarily the therapist decides that the repression was facilitated by the dissociative state known as multiple personality disorder MPD.
And most frequently the child identifies the perpetrator as a day-care worker or other regular, nonfamily care giver. When family members are accused, they are most likely the parents of the spouse other than the one reporting the abuse, or a parent or stepparent who is estranged from the family. Children are much less likely to be diagnosed with MPD. The common presumption is that they are terrified to tell their stories, not that they have repressed their memories of SRA. Adults who suspect that they or their children may be SRA victims are urged by true believers to seek help and affirmation from therapists, friends, support groups, and family members who will believe them unconditionally.
The typical SRA story includes strong commitment to a conspiracy theory of history. That is, the victimization is seen not as the isolated action of a psychotic or sociopathic individual, but as part of a widespread, multigenerational, and nearly omnipotent satanic conspiracy. This conspiracy involves anywhere from thousands to millions of cultists — many of them in the very highest levels of society, including government, law enforcement, mental health institutions, and even religious leadership.
Such a conspiratorial view accomplishes two very important objectives: 1 it accounts for the absolute lack of corroborative evidence of SRA; 23 and 2 it accounts for a number of popularly assumed social ills, such as thousands of missing children and rampant child sexual abuse in day care centers. When SRA stories initially surfaced in the early s — first with Michelle Remembers, then followed by the McMartin preschool case in Southern California and the Bakersfield, California and Jordan, Minnesota cases — many journalists, law enforcement personnel, and mental health professionals tended to believe that SRA might exist.
We know that horrible people do terrible things to others, that people often conspire, that there really are Satanists, and that abuse sometimes happens within some sort of ritual context. While still affirming his willingness to look for and find such hypothetical evidence, Lanning points out the problems inherent in the standard SRA conspiracy theory:.
Trying to Disprove a Negative. In addition to these ten lines of support for SRA conspiracy theories, true believers often demand that doubters disprove their theory. Fortunately, our justice system is based on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. In the same manner, the more reasonable theory should be adopted unless there is overwhelming evidence in favor of the more bizarre. First, while conspiracies are certainly secret, they cannot continue to exist and function in an open society without leaving a trail.
Statistically speaking, the invincible secrecy that would be necessary to conceal widespread SRA is impossible. If we conservatively peg the average number of abusive events per survivor at fifty, that would give us 5,, criminal events over the last fifty years in America alone.
And not a shred of corroborative evidence? Contrary Evidence. Perhaps the true believer reasons the victim was so traumatized that she repressed the memory of her sister, or perhaps the Satanists deliberately manipulated her memory in some way.
Confessions Of A Cutter
Without some objective proof for the story, suspicions of tampering with other parts of the evidence are groundless. Missing Evidence. The true believer accepts only one possible reason that there is no evidence: obviously, only a conspiracy as big as the SRA stories depict could destroy everything. However, in reality there are at least two possible reasons for a lack of evidence.
Besides the one suggested by true believers, the other is that the theory is not true. This, then, is not a proof, and certainly not evidence; it is a subjective belief. In this extreme view, you are either with them or against them. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. The fifth way true believers attempt to support the SRA conspiracy theory betrays a naivete and misplaced trust in authority, if not self-aggrandizement on the part of true-believer therapists.
Therapists do not have some sort of omniscient capacity to determine who is recounting reality and who is ascribing reality to fantasy. Deities than therapists! This belief is heavily promoted by many of the most vocal child protection advocates, even though some, such as UCLA psychiatrist Roland Summit, admit that there are no controlled studies to validate it. Summit and other therapists even use the accommodation syndrome to determine whether or not a child has been abused. However, nonabused children become victims of misdirected intervention when they are treated as though they have been abused and so become convinced they were abused.
It is considered more incredible that someone would lie or invent stories about bizarre ritual abuse than it would be for such abuse to have actually occurred. Clients who unknowingly told vivid, yet false, stories have been reported.
Sometimes inadvertent hypnosis or self-hypnosis can have tragic consequences, as in the nightmarish case of Paul Ingram. Ingram, who was accused of SRA by his adult daughter, succumbed to intensive interrogation, pastoral pressure, and subtle hypnotic cues. Denial Does Not Prove Guilt. If you know someone who self injures, the first thing you need to do is be aware of self-injury and what self-harm actually is. From personal experience, I know that many people find the idea of self-injury incredulous, and many people tend to back away from self-injurers out of fear.
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This fear often stems from a limited knowledge of self-injury as a whole. I say 'on the whole' because I am not intending to categorize self-injurers here. However, self-injury cutting , and other forms of self-harm , can be a cry for help due to intense and unbearable emotions see Causes of Self-Injury.
If someone confesses their self-injury to you, horror is the last thing you need to express. I realize that this can be difficult, as shock is bound to be an element of your natural reaction.
Child abuse can cause psychological ramifications for many years.
Most self-injurers are incredibly clever at concealing their actions from people, and so a confession of this sort can be a very big surprise! However, a reaction such as 'That's disgusting! What you must realize is that to confess to something such as self-injury is a very big step for someone.
Many people are extremely worried about the reactions they will get from people if they 'come out' about their problem, and therefore if they do confess, it is likely that they confide in someone they trust.
Reactions to Self-Injury Disclosure Important | HealthyPlace
On a personal note, self-harm is a very difficult topic to cover as I have witnessed many different reactions to my own self-injury disclosures; some of which have been extremely beneficial and have worked wonders for me, and some of which have effectively made the problems a little harder to handle. You can find additional information on responding to people who self-injure on the self-injury statistics and facts page.
These were the comments they gave me when I asked the question: "How did people react to your self-harm disclosure? But not everyone reacts that way - that was mainly my doctors, and family. She did that because she cared, but it made everything a lot worse for me. That upset me in a way but it shocked me because it showed that she really did care.
She was very supportive and told me that she would help me in any way that she could. That was everything that I could have wished for. I am very grateful to her and I owe her a lot. They just didn't understand when I told them. They thought I was crazy and my Mom thought it was her fault that I was doing all this to myself. She shouted and told me it would get infected. I couldn't believe that she believed that would matter to me. If people can't take that, they can leave it. All of my friends know and some ignored me. They weren't my real friends and I have learnt to deal with that.
They thought it was cool. The others didn't do anything about it. They knew I had problems. I didn't know why I wanted to confess, but I kinda needed to. He just shook his head at me and ran out of the room. I should have expected that, but for years it stayed in my mind - from that day on I vowed I would never tell a soul about it. She couldn't cope. She told me that if I didn't stop hurting myself then she would tell my parents.