Good morning everyone.
I have a two part presentation today. In the first part, I’m going to share some concepts developed by therapists working with survivors of extreme trauma that I have found invaluable to my own recovery. And in the second part, the fun part, I’ll be presenting a slide show of some of my artwork and discussing the meaning of its contents related to my history.
On to the first part. One of the psychologists who developed the concepts I’ll discuss is speaking right after me. When I chose my topic, I had no idea he would be here, and I’m very glad he is. I‘ll let my talk serve as a brief introduction, from the perspective of a survivor. And Lowell, if I make any mistakes, don’t hesitate to stand up and correct me.
So, I’ll start with a little story. About six years ago, I hit a major impasse with my current therapist. I knew I was multiple and I knew I had extreme trauma in my history. I suspected it was ritual abuse-torture and mind control, but I didn’t want to know or couldn’t. There are different levels of knowing, if you know what I mean.
My very patient and committed therapist sought consultation to solve the impasse. She contacted a local colleague of Dr. Routley’s and we went to see him together. He asked me a series of questions and nodded at my answers as if they were familiar. Then he asked me to describe to him what I could see at the moment inside with my mind’s eye. He said tell me what it is no matter how crazy it sounds. When I responded, he nodded again, he had heard it before. I had described the elements and details of standard programming sequence for someone my age.
I looked at my therapist and her jaw hung open, and it remained so while he explained mind control programming to her. I’m still working with the same therapist, by the way, and she’s still very patient and very committed, and I’ve watched her learn about this world of ritual abuse-torture and mind control right along with me.
This is but a short introductory illustration, and I never thought I would say this but I’ve come to believe that some level of expertise is needed to help survivors of mind control. I would not instruct anyone on how to heal or whom to work with, however, consider that the perpetrators of this horrific abuse have had nearly seven decades, billions of dollars, and access to the most advanced neurological technology to perfect their methods. In the cause of helping survivors, civilian science must work to catch up.
As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Routley and his colleagues have developed a powerful way of understanding how trauma and trauma-based programming operate based on recent discoveries in the study of human consciousness. I think what they have to share is extremely valuable and I’ll give a short review of it now.
Over the past few decades, researchers in the field of consciousness have developed a model or metaphor to explain how consciousness works. It’s called the theater model. They use the components of a theater as analogs to explain conscious processes and experiences. The model is not intended to describe neuro-anatomical sites of conscious activity in the brain, or physical sites, rather it describes how we experience consciousness and how it functions in general.
So, on to the model. In a theater there is the stage, the actors, the spotlight, the stage set , the director and the audience. According to the model, the actor on stage in the spotlight is conscious activity, thought and behavior in motion. What is in the theater directly aids and helps produce consciousness. What is off stage is unconscious. I will focus on just a few of the elements of the theater, those that have been most helpful to me in understanding me own internal system function.
And please, if this is not making sense at all, don’t hesitate to raise your hand. You’ll probably hear a version of this again in an hour or so and it’s probably all going to make sense then.
When the consulting therapist I mentioned earlier asked me to tell him what I saw inside, it was a pretty profound question. What he wanted me to notice was what was going on in my internal theater.
The stage of the theater represents the site inside where I, and actually all people, experience internal speech, visualization, and other perceptions. It is called the blending space.
Q: “It’s called what?”
A: The blending space.
You can find where you experience this site with a simple exercise. Just visualize an object of your choice, and try to notice where you sense this happening inside. This is actually a very simple and apparently obvious thing for some people to notice, yet for survivors of mind control, conditioned to avoid all kinds of internal awareness, it can be a novel and important discovery. Being able to see inside the blending space can be a powerful tool. With practice this is where you can observe the elements of programming in play, and even intervene on your own behalf.
Now back to another element of the theater model. The actor in the spotlight on the stage is ideally the Core self. That’s the person you were born to be in the world. In multiples it can be the alter currently in control of the body. The actors not in the spotlight represent subsets or routines of self, collections of skills, memories, or feelings called upon to act in specific behaviors or experiences. These actors can step into and share the spotlight with Core self or as with multiples, they may share it with whoever is out front at the time. This metaphor describes the process of blending. Within survivors of trauma, it explains how we can suddenly experience the intense emotion or physical pain of another part of us that is stuck in a trauma memory. In multiples, alters can blend with each other.
Off stage is the director, and I believe, in the literature based on normal functioning, the director refers to a kind of executive function deciding or retrieving which actors, props and back drops are necessary at any given time. However, I understand the director in my own system to be the main switcher part, or the alter who controls who’s in the spotlight, who’s out front. This main switcher part or bridge part was identified very early by mind control perpetrators in my case. She was heavily and repeatedly targeted and conditioned. I believe this was a common and necessary tactic to retain control over a victim’s alter system. If the part is healed and recovered, a survivor can regain major control over her atler system and keep programming from running.
My efforts to de-condition and free my main switcher part have been a major component of my recovery. So has being able to look inside the blending space, to see what telltale signs of programming, such as introjects, and traumatized alters might be present . Without the access this technique and awareness have afforded me, recovery would be much more difficult and painful.
So I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Routley and his colleagues who have helped me directly.
Q: How do you spell Routley?
A: It’s in your schedule, he is speaking right after me, but It’s Routley.
So that’s just the technical portion of my presentation and I’ll stop because I went through that kind of quickly, and take questions now on the basic ideas, or if you want me to repeat any part of it, just let me know.
Q: The blending space, could you just describe it again, you visualize an object internally?
Q: And where it’s located in your physical sense?
Q: And it’s there that the programming would..?
A: You can actually, if you develop this skill to look inside your blending space, you can see little objects and stage sets that the perpetrators used that are up and working as programming.
Q: Describe a little more of the main switching part…
A: Yes, there’s an alter, for me it’s an alter, who controls who comes out front, picks which alter takes over the body at a certain time, and it’s wired and connected to the whole system of alters. It’s a major part of my personality.
Q: When you’re switching from one alter to another, this one comes on the stage before the switch?
A: She can come on the stage, for me anyway, but no, she just makes the decision.
Q: I have an alter that’s called the gatekeeper. And what it does is when different personalities come in or blend it directs that motion, and it also directs my memory as to whether or not I remember the activities of the previous personality. In my case I don’t black out, I don’t have complete black outs, I’m conscious of all other personalities who don’t know they are actually there. The gatekeeper’s the one that does that, the gatekeeper’s the one who allows the three year old to come without the adult really realizing what’s going on, that’s what she’s talking about.
Q. Is it designed like that or is it a natural thing?
A: I think it’s a little of both. I think they figured that out over time, how it was working internally and then finessed their procedures to adapt to that. That’s my guess, I don’t know for certain.
Q; How does creativity help in breaking up programming and healing? How does that relate to overcoming these things?
A: It allows me to express my feelings and some of my experiences that I don’t yet have conscious access to or that I haven’t processed yet. So it’s a little bit of release, it lets the tension slip away a little bit and also it allows me to tell the community which, on an entirely different level, is extremely important.
Q: Do you think the abuse has made you more creative in some way?
A: Absolutely. Yes, I used to believe that artists were born with talent, but I don’t believe that anymore. I believe that we’re made due to the effects of early childhood trauma on different parts of the brain.
Q: You said something about getting the memories and then and I think you were talking about in a counseling session becoming aware of a whole programming outline. As you get your memories, have you become aware of how you were actually programmed?
A: Oh yeah, I get the whole memory, I remember being in the lab. I remember what they did and why and what the result was, how it results in very automatic and patterned internal behavior which becomes external. Anymore?
Q: What do you think happens to your alters when you heal? Do they integrate, are they still there?
A: They come into the present, actually they, I don’t know if I can explain all that, they go through a kind of process. I’ve had some integration, but when I recover a memory in general it’s the process of taking it out of that frozen dissociated state. I bring the alter who holds the memory into the present, acquainting it with the present and transferring the memory into a life narrative. Then my alters just kind of adjust to the new world, they get used to it, they might grow, they just kind of hang out and sometimes I have pockets of integration where they come together.
OK, I have the art section now, so, these images can be extremely triggering. There is nudity, I don’t believe there is any graphic depiction of violence, but they are emotionally intense. So if you need to get up and leave, I will not be personally offended in any way.
See, now I’m all relaxed….
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This is a very old painting. It’s from 1990 and that’s when I just started doing large scale work. It was painted in acrylic and I’m showing it today because I just recently got the memory behind its content. It’s called “Into the White Where Bones Don’t Store Pain”
It’s a very profound memory and I don’t want to trigger anybody by going into too much detail. But I was in the labs as a very young child, three and half or four and they were being very brutal. They had been working on instructing me to become detached from my Core self. They always called the Core self the shiny one, and I knew what that was instantly when they said the shiny one. So I was in the midst of being tortured, and I was supposed to have blacked out my shiny one, my Core self and left her in another room, in another place, but of course I didn’t. But I didn’t know where she was and I broke down when I remembered this but, she was hiding, I had stored her, or imagined storing her, in my leg. It was because it was the only place on my body where there weren’t electrodes. They had missed a spot on my leg and so that’s where she was. She was down near the bone, hanging out. That was a profound one.
This painting, now we‘re jumping up to 2003 and it’s painted in oil. It’s called “Bound”. I’m using a lot of symbols here, the weeds symbolize electric wire. Basically it’s about what it feels like to be in a body that’s going through some horrendous things. This painting is actually hanging in the Pioneer Square Saloon in Seattle right now and scaring the patrons and lowering the beer sales.
This painting is from the same time period, it’s called “Picnic”. I wasn’t sure of its meaning either when I completed it, but you can see, one of the figures, I’m holding my head and there’s some kind of weedy things being attached to the back of my head. You can pretty much guess what that’s about.
A lot of red babies turn up in my work. I always assumed that was some representation of my Core as an injured little being, but then I connected this further with actual pregnancies and losing kids. A major art critic in Seattle came through my studio and saw my work and all the quote-unquote babies. She assumed that that was what all my work was about, that I had lost children and that’s what I was painting out. Little does she know, at the moment anyway.
This is a tough image. I know, I have a lot of people come in my studio and they say oh, what an amazing painting, but, oh, oh, I can’t live with that. Yeah, me either, no, I am actually. I don’t know if Dr. Routley is going to talk about this, the painting refers to the Wadda method. That’s why the brain is split in half. This is a method that the perpetrators used to condition us to use one half of the brain and not the other, to isolate the alter systems from each other. The Wadda method is used in normal medical practice. What happens is they inject anesthesia into one artery on one side, and it goes up and anesthetizes one side of the brain and the corresponding opposite side of the body. So that’s called “Egg”. There’s some other stuff going on in there too.
This one is called “Lab Room Six”
This is just a picture of how I felt when I was allowed finally to emerge out of a Skinner box that I had been stuck in, and my memories of the green tile walls. I’m pretty mad there, and split.
This is tough one. One of the speakers yesterday talked about the cult burying us and doing the faked death thing and that happened to me too. This is a painting of how that felt for me, and it is called “Burial”. It is also up scaring people at the Saloon.
This painting is called “Twins” and it has a few layers of meaning, the twin responses of rage and pain, male and female, but also there was a process in my programming history called twinning. Alters were deliberately paired up with each other inside the system. Their behavior both complimented and disrupted the other one’s behavior.
All of that work was 2003-4, large scale paintings, and now we’re up to 2005. All of the paintings in the next 3 slides are 8 inches by 10 inches. I entered this thing called The Forgotten Works Challenge last year. We were all given 30 8 by 10 inch canvases and we had to complete them in 30 days. Then there was this huge show, it’s a fundraiser. I had been having a painting crisis so I entered the challenge to force myself to get a lot of work done. These very intense images came out in even that short amount of time. I did quite well. I sold 28 out of the thirty, I only have two left, and sold the majority during the show.
I have friend who bought that one in the upper right hand corner, the really distorted face. I called it “Poor Self Image”. I thought no one would be interested in having that, but she really identified with its content., and I’m glad that she has it.
You can see all kinds of blended faces and bodies.
Now we jump to the most recent work. The challenge helped me with my painting crisis but didn’t solve it completely. So having to come up with new work every month when I have my open studios, and not being able to get big new paintings done, I went to drawing. That’s pretty much the bulk of the work that I’ve been doing lately. This one is called “Infanitite”
This is “Boy Ralph”. This is an alter who once existed in a kind of teddy bear, animal form. He’s a very protective alter, and he’s grown into this kind of multi-sided boy.
Now those drawings are smaller, but I have a rather large studio, I’ve got huge white walls. I got this excited feeling when I thought of covering all the walls with monumental drawings. So I went out and I bought big paper, and then my work just got huge. I had way too much fun, moving my whole arm and my entire body making these images. This piece is 4 foot by 8 foot and it’s called “An Average Day”. People ask what do you mean by that? Well, that’s kind of what I deal with internally on an average day.
This piece is 8 foot tall. I had to use a ladder to draw the faces on the top. It’s quite imposing. It was shown at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle this past summer.
This one is called Ginger in Peril. It’s about 4 foot by 6 foot. There is this odd character in the upper right hand corner. It kind of looks like he’s in early American dress with the little pony tail, and I can’t wait to figure out what that means.
This is another big one, it’s called “Sleep”
This one’s called “Canine”. The heads on top there represent internalized versions of perpetrators. The main figure is a teenage alter, very defiant and in control and she’s blending with a child and a protective canine or doggish type of character.
And this is the last one. This piece is actually 9 feet by 15 feet long, and it’s my most popular work. I’ve had it up in my studio now for 3 months and people come in and love it. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the size. I have another 15 feet on the roll, so I’m going to keep rolling it out and do another one or two groups and then I’m going to search for a venue to show it next year. It’s called “Burden and Amputation”.
Burden of course relates to having to live day in and day out with all this stuff going on all of the time inside. Amputation is about a technique they used on me quite often. Images of cut off limbs are all over my work. They had this technique of using electric shock and Novocain to make me feel as if my feet had been amputated, even though they were still there. That’s it.
So does anyone have any questions about the art?
Q: Did you previously go through some formal training on drawing figures because that’s really expert figure drawing.
A: Thanks. When I was kid my parents had all these different reactions to my drawing ability. At one point my mother became quite proud of it for some reason and took me, I think I was only 9 or 10, she took me to some figure classes, and then I was pretty much self taught after that, until I went and studied classical painting techniques a few years ago. That was after I was already painting in a realistic style. Actually that kind of contributed to my painting crisis. I probably shouldn’t have gone back to school.
Q: How do you use your art in therapy? You said at one point I can’t wait to figure out what that means, do you bring that to therapy and then it helps you get information?
A: No, I’ll just let my system figure out when it wants to deal with that material. It will come up eventually. There seems to be no set time limit between when the image comes out and when I discover what it means. Sometimes I know what it means before I even create the piece.
Q: You made some reference to how your parents reacted, was it exploited when they noticed you had an ability?
A: Only for their sense of pride and the cover story in the community, you know, my daughter is an artist or whatever. Then varyingly there was discouragement and then there was punishment. When I was young, and I talked about this the last time that I spoke here, when I was real young, of course a lot of the trauma came out in my little crayon drawings and I was severely punished for producing that kind of thing.
Q: While we’re on parents, a lot of times it’s said that creative people have been nourished by the feminine in their family, their mother or somebody who really believed in them and pushed them forward. You had mentioned there were little sparks, but I imagine you didn’t have a lot of support in your creativity, so I’m wondering where is another source for nourishing your creativity?
A: I don’t know. I feel it as being connected to my defiance and my will to survive. I didn’t have a lot of feminine nurturing, most of my attachments were to men.
Q: I always wanted to be involved in an art show for survivors like us, do you have any suggestions?
A: I actually developed a proposal for a show called “Operational”. It would gather work from ritual abuse-torture and mind control survivors all over the country, along with informational material. I’m hoping to create and tour this show nationally, eventually.
You can always do your own show. Wherever you live there’s probably some kind of venue that you can either rent or use.
Q: Sometimes you know what you’re painting, and sometimes it comes from your gut without knowing, do you find it therapeutic to have it out on paper?
A: If I do I’m not aware of that feeling, not immediately. Painting is, because of the punishment I went through, and it was so severe when I was kid for drawing things that I shouldn’t be drawing, there is always so much fear. I have no doubt there’s actually programming inside against me creating work, so I deal with that every time I go to work. A lot of times I’ll get to the end of the day and I’ll just go, uh, I can’t deal with that. What I have to do is push myself to work, and I have to do that in the situation that I’m in. I set it up that way on purpose. When I do work I feel as if I come into the most contact with my Core self. So I feel a sense of, I do feel empowered. I don’t know if it is about getting the image out or it’s just that I feel like I’ve been in touch with my Core self and doing something that I would do as Lynn.
Q: For those of you who are wanting to find a way to exhibit shows, I don’t know where you live but in Jersey, there are community funds available through the state and each county for working with art and I imagine that a lot of other states have that. I was wondering that, as a poet when I’m in the process of creating poem I feel a sense of great joy. I might cry about it later on, but for me the act of creating is in itself joyful and I was wondering whether that is true for you?
Q: You’ve changed my perspective on non-realistic art. In museums and things whenever I’ve seen Picasso’s or any other distortions of body parts I’ve thought those are perps making fun of victims. Now I know that’s probably not ever the case. If they were perps and not victims as well, that couldn’t have come out of them.
A: Yes, anybody else?
Q: Just a comment, you’ve obviously been through a lot of trauma, but I think you have a tremendous talent.
A: Thank you. I plan to be famous and that’s not just to be famous, that’s to make sure that this story gets out, that ritual abuse-torture gets addressed and mind control gets exposed. That’s my goal.
Send questions or comments to: Lynn
All images Copyright 1997-2006 L. Schirmer