How to Avoid Being Mind Controlled at a Conference
This was originally written for our conference attendees. Please do not copy or re-use without permission. All rights reserved by Survivorship and SMART Copyright 2015 This information is for educational value only and is not intended as therapy or treatment. Reading this information may or may not help your recovery process, so please use caution while reading this. This may be heavy for survivors.
While the Conference organizers are doing everything possible to make this conference safe, we are not able to make guarantees, and attendees should also take their own precautions. Because of the controversial nature of the topics covered in this conference, you might want to take additional precautions.
You might want to use an alias at the conference, and put that alias on your conference name tag. Do not give your real name or information about where you live or your contact information to other conference attendees. If a conference presenter asks for such information, ask the conference organizer whether this is permissible.
If you find this helpful, bring a small object which you find comforting, and can keep in your hand or pocket to hold on to in order to keep you in the present if you find yourself triggered.
Bringing Support Persons
We encourage conference attendees to travel in pairs with a safe support person as much as possible at the conference. I am not saying this to scare anyone. I believe this is simply more sensible. That way, if anyone does attempt to trigger you, there will be another person there to help you and tell the other person to leave. If anyone has any trouble with anyone at the conference, please let us know either verbally or on paper during or after the conference. We have tried to make the conference as safe as possible, but it is impossible to make anything totally safe. A safe support person can be an excellent help at a conference. Such a person can help a survivor avoid and process post-traumatic and programming triggers.
However, sometimes persons that survivors think are their supports are actually their handlers, persons who report their behavior to the abuser group and make sure they are obedient. Such a person can be a therapist, a spouse, a friend or another survivor. If you knew the support person before you knew you were a survivor, this person could be a handler. It is difficult in early recovery to know if a support person is a handler. Someone in your life may be a handler if seeing that person makes you feel overly dependent, in a trance state or addicted to being with that person.
Before you bring a support person to a conference, you need to check with your inside parts to make sure that all parts trust this person and do not believe them to be a handler.
It is helpful to know the accessing methods of secretive organizations and/or cults. Following are some known methods. Look for odd hand gestures, such as opening a book, making the shape of a gun with the pointer finger and thumb and "shooting" it, using the cut sign (hand drawn horizontally across the throat), tapping something (a book, the wrist (as in asking for the time), forearm, leg, etc., drawing something in the air (like a letter of the alphabet or an unknown sign)). Winks or facial expressions: winks, or eyes shutting and opening in sequence, or eyebrows, weird grins or bared teeth, snarl (raised upper lip), pout (dropped and protruded lower lip), lopsided smile or grimace (corner of mouth down or up). Though some of these may or may not always signify triggers, it is important to be aware of them.
Some forms of programming use Christian or New Age religious phrases or dogma to cue people and remind them of their programming. Other that may be used include Disney themes, like Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, or The Little Mermaid. Any children's stories or movies which were around during your childhood, such as the Wizard of Oz, may have cult meanings.
Other more general methods are any form of double-talk or double entendres, or words or phrases with double meanings, off-color jokes, and so on. Any out of place references to morbid, violent, ugly, sexual topics. Disorienting or confusing speakers: such as those who start a sentence on one topic and use an incongruency to finish it." e.g., "My glasses are red [because/and] it's raining outside." When questioned about what s/he means, the speaker may say something like "I'm hungry" (which may be an excuse for the confusion, or may just be another non sequitur). Disorientation increases suggestibility. Disorientation is used in some forms of hypnotic induction. Word plays or sayings, especially those which could refer to political or famous persons.
Survivors may sometimes be triggered without knowing it. Whole groups of people can be put in a trance and given instructions through cues.
Use caution on the telephone. If you feel you are getting hypnotized or spacey on the phone, shake your head hard and excuse yourself from the conversation. Texts and e-mailsreceived during the conference may be designed to make you susceptible to your programming. It is wisest not to take phone calls during the conference unless they are from someone you are completely sure is safe.
Some of the presentations might be triggering due to their content.
If you feel triggered, please step back and do some self care. To stay present, take deep breaths, touch your clothing, and try to feel the chair you are sitting on and the floor under your feet.Use the small object you brought to let you know where you are.
If this is insufficient, take a break but do not go for a walk alone. Tell your safe support person, if you have one, that you are feeling triggered and need to leave with them and go outside. Stand up, making sure your safe support person (if you have one) is leaving with you. Sometimes the safe support person may not know you need to them to be with you. Often perpetrators will corner a person either in the back of a conference room or another room. This may occur when the survivor goes to the bathroom or walks down the hall to another room. Teddy bears and children’s books can bring a survivor into a child state in which he or she is more susceptible to being accessed. For this reason we do not encourage survivors to bring such things to the conference, and we no longer provide them.
If you have to take a break and miss all or part of a session, a tape or powerpoint of it should be available after the conference, for you to listen to later with a safe support person away from the conference.
Check inside to see which parts of you are upset and why. Inquire internally whether you are having a post-traumatic reaction, in which something reminded you of some past event or person in your own life, or whether programming has been triggered.
Try and figure out what the presenter did or said which caused these feelings. Did the presenter use a particular phrase or body movement that was once used as a threat against you or as a signal to deliberately trigger programming? Remember that your perpetrators used common words and gestures and twisted their meaning. It is likely that the presenter used those words or gestures in the regular way, not the cult way, but it is possible that he or she meant to trigger programming.
Write down what was triggering and discuss it with your support person or one of the conference organizers. Please report any use of program trigger words or behaviors to the conference organizers, either in person or through a note during or after the conference.
Dealing with Other Conference Attendees
Most people are going to act fairly normally, and because programmers/handlers or scouts for secretive organizations or cults are not likely to look any different from most people, it is helpful to be alert to possible signs of attempted accessing.
Do not give any personal details about your life to conference attendees, even if you believe you have met them online. Almost every ritual abuse survivor has parts inside who are trained to report on other survivors to the perpetrators. You do not want anyone reporting about you.
Don't shake hands or exchange hugs with anyone you don't know. Certain cults use handshakes to remind people of their programming and/or access certain alter states.
Survivors are in different places in their healing, and their knowledge about programming methods and their ability to recognize such things. There are two ways to catch triggers: one is by your own reactions. If you notice you are suddenly dizzy or foggy, or spaced out, you may be triggered. It is good to know some grounding techniques to use when this begins to happen. Try to remember what just happened around you. The second is by looking for some specific behaviors, odd out of place phrases, or discrepancies between behaviors and words. Pay close attention to hand gestures, winks, taps, etc.
Most people are probably safe, but it is a good idea to be aware of your surroundings as much as possible. You might want to watch who is around you, who is within your physical space, who brushes shoulders with you, who touches you, who sits next to you, who is near your food, in all areas of the hotel, as well as watch where you drive and what cars are behind or near you. Don’t go off to a secluded area with anyone you don’t know well.
One important thing is if you are feeling triggered or dissociated or tired or weak, don’t let people that you don’t know or trust and/or people that aren’t safe ask you to leave the conference room to talk with you. If you see someone you don’t know walking up to you when you are feeling triggered or dissociated you might want to say “excuse me” and quickly walk away from them and find a support person or a conference organizer.
Please notify Survivorship during or after the conference if you see any of the things, such as deliberate triggering, mentioned in this article. Try to let us know what happened in as much detail as possible.
Triggers are more than phrases. They can be pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, gestures or touches on the body. The added dangers for triggers for ritual abuse survivors are that triggers can be used to open alter states, or very complex programs. These programs could be used to cause a return to the cult or cause someone to hurt themselves or someone else.
Triggering can occur in so many forms that it is impossible to delineate them all here. Some signs of triggering may be: feeling like you're looking or walking down a tunnel, feeling "unreal" or invisible, feeling like something bad is about to happen, ominous sense, inability to concentrate, spacing out, blanking, dizziness, fogginess, stomach upset or pain, tingling in arms or legs, twitching on any part of the body, dropping objects, mishearing things or inability to hear (where others appear to hear okay), seeing visual flashes (such as a flash of another object where a chair is), hearing voices in your head, or losing bits of time and not knowing what happened. If you brought a safe support person, let that person know what is happening.
Trigger management is one of the keys to recovery. By being able to manage your triggers, you can hopefully keep from being triggered into alter states that could possibly be used to get you to return to the cult. This entails knowing the trigger and the feeling accompanying the trigger, the memory connected to the trigger and the action required of the trigger.
Working through programming is having the memory in a safe setting with a safe support person and learning the accompanying trigger and subliminal instruction.
Trigger management involves learning to recognize the feeling of falling into a deep hypnotic state, snapping out of it, and then trying to figure out why it happened. It also involves learning how not to fall into these states while feeling the “pull” of them. One technique that can be used is: Shake your head side to side (fairly hard) or walk around.
Susceptibility to triggers can come from being tired or confused. This is why it is important to try not to be tired or confused in possibly triggering situations. Try to stay awake and alert. Get enough sleep.
Practicing Trigger Management Techniques.
Take a pen and paper out now to write down some things.
Think of a time when you were triggered. It could be a minor triggering event, one that made you feel a little bit scared, or a major event that caused you to switch into a different alter. You may want to start with a more minor triggering event for safety reasons.
Practice leaving the room: Pretend you are triggered and need to leave. If you have a safe support person with you, take that person along.
Think about the feeling that accompanied the triggering event. This may vary from one trigger to another. Did you begin to feel spacey, like a fog rolling in, or did your ears begin to feel like they were filled with something, so it was difficult to hear? Did you lose a connection to the feelings in your body and your chair? What other feelings or thoughts did you have?
Now, write down the physical feelings that accompanied the trigger, while you are writing, think about these questions. Did a different part of you come out? Were you co-conscious with this part, or did you actually lose time? If you switched, either completely or behind the front person, what do you know about the part who came out?
Write down what triggered the event in the first place: a sound, smell, picture, word or phrase, a touch or a combination of these senses.
Safety at Home
Please remember that your recovery is your own. It is important for survivors to choose their own spiritual systems. Unfortunately, certain religious and healing techniques are used for programming people (to put people into hypnotic states) sometimes and are used on RA/MC survivors. Be wary of those that emphasis that there is only one way to heal. Educate yourself about cults and their techniques also. There are several very good books that can help with this.
Look very closely at the relationships in your life. Does a certain person in your life fit the profile of a handler or an abuser? Can you say something about the profile of a handler or an abuser? Ask inside whether anyone recognizes things the person is doing or saying which indicates they may be one? If they do, find out more about this, work with a safe therapist and if necessary get away from the person, place and/or situation. An important part of recovery and not being triggered is to think for yourself. Don’t let others control you or scare you. Scaring you or startling you can put you into a hypnotic state also. Fear can also create hypnotic states.
Some people in the survivor movement (from ritual abuse and mind control) appear to have a cult like following. Some speak regularly at conferences, and have lots of books, media support, etc. While this is not indicative of the fact that the person may not be safe, it may be an indicator of this if other factors are in place, especially if numerous allegations are made against the person.
The important thing is not to have any gurus. To critically analyze everything someone says. This is a learning process. Does the person want to have followers? Are they always overstating their power and connections? Do they have appropriate personal boundaries? How does your “gut” feel when you hear them speak or when you meet them? You might not like someone personally and you may disagree with them from time to time, but how do they really make you feel? Do they encourage you to think for yourself rather than follow them? Or do they tell you there is only one way to heal? Do they try to manipulate you and use you, either financially, sexually or otherwise? Who are they connected with financially, and what conferences do they speak at? A combination of many of these negative factors may indicate an unsafe person. An important thing to realize is that people don’t know they are being brainwashed, because it is subliminal. Often those brainwashed will love and admire their abuser, which is called Stockholm syndrome. The important thing is whether the person tells you to think for yourself and find your own answers and whether they really mean this. Speakers at other conferences may prophesy that certain things are going to happen on certain dates. While it is good to be aware of the fact that cult programming can entrain a person to connect a future occurrence with a future date, it is also important to realize that this is only programming. Cults will often move dates up when the expected occurrence does not happen.
Discernment is crucial here. It is also important not to be constantly paranoid, though this can help at times to avoid programming. There are safe people in the world that want to help us. The important thing is figuring out who is safe and who isn’t. Staying present rather than dissociating can really be helpful in this area.
Make your own decisions. There are good support systems and advice out there, but make sure you make your own decisions. Healthy intelligent change is good. Follow you own path or way and be strong enough to do this. If you do this, you will begin to take control of your own triggers and develop a healthy, trigger management system. Please feel free to let us know how you feel about this topic.
Our future is up to us. If we keep healing, working hard and getting strong, then the survivor movement as a whole will also get stronger. Once you are strong enough to help others, you might want to do so. By attending a conference which shows the unity of the survivor movement, you are doing this. By being here, you are helping everyone get stronger.
This information for this article was primarily taken from these two articles :
Safety Management for Conference Attendees
Trigger Management and Conference Safety Presentation
and edited by Survivorship. Permission was given to use this material by S.M.A.R.T. P. O Box 1295, Easthampton, MA, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org