Trigger management and conference safety presentation
The following article was written by Neil Brick for his presentation at the The Second Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference in August ’99. Information on ordering tapes from this and the previous conferences available at: SMART ’99 Conference Tapes
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This page and article is copywritten in 1999 by Neil Brick, all rights reserved. Please write us for permission to copy or use this article. Thanks
I want to thank everyone for having the strength and courage to be at this conference. I know it was difficult for some people to get here this weekend. This proves that what we are doing is right. This is also shown by the resistance of those opposed to our stopping RA and MC. But we are winning. This conference is proof that we are all recovering from RA and MC and getting stronger. This conference also shows that the survivors’ movement as a whole is getting stronger.
I think the most important thing for us to do this weekend is to work together, to get along together (as best as we can), so that we can leave this conference even stronger than we came here. I believe that this conference will make the fight against ritual abuse even stronger than it currently is. Through education and public awareness, I believe we can stop ritual abuse.
This weekend’s conference is The Second Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference. Some of our goals are to help stop future occurrences of ritual abuse, to help survivors of ritual abuse, to name the groups that have participated in alleged illegal activities and to unite those working to stop ritual abuse. This weekend, you will get to hear a variety of speakers talk about ritual abuse, secretive organizations and mind control from different perspectives, showing the possible connections between them. I hope that you have a pleasant time at our conference. Please feel free to let us know if you have any suggestions. Thanks.
I believe that I am a survivor of Masonic Ritual Abuse. I am the editor of S.M.A.R.T. – A Ritual Abuse Newsletter. I have published numerous articles on ritual abuse. I will discuss my recovery, my newsletter and my fight to stop ritual abuse. Please hold all questions until the end of the presentation. Please note that they will be recorded. Thanks.
The address for S.M.A.R.T. is P O Box 1295, Easthampton, MA 01027 USA, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use caution while listening to this presentation. It may be very triggering. All accusations are alleged. The conference is educational and not intended as therapy or treatment.
At first I thought thatthe topic conference trigger management and safety was going to be a really boring topic, that I would be reading a few guidelines and asking people to try to follow them if they could, etc. Then, I realized that trigger management is one of the keys to recovery. It may be as important as memory retrieval, or at least connected to it. By being able to manage one’s triggers, one can hopefully keep from being triggered into alter states that could possibly be used to get people 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. An example could be, when one sees ice cream, they are to walk down the street and touch a light pole on the corner. The memory could be being put into a deep hypnotic state and then having a picture of ice cream flashed in front of one’s eyes with the instruction constantly being whispered in your ear, walk to the light pole on the corner.
Trigger management in this case could be having the memory and learning the accompanying trigger (ice cream) and subliminal instruction (walk to the light pole). Or it could be from the trigger, losing time after the trigger and not knowing why, and realizing that somehow you are at a light pole. Eventually, remembering the memory for all this.
Trigger management could also be learning the feeling of falling or going into a deep hypnotic state, and then trying to figure out why. Also, learning how not to fall into these states while feeling the “pull” of them. One technique I use is: I shake my head side to side (fairly hard) or walk around. There are also certain techniques used to keep one from being susceptible to triggers. These are also listed in your conference packet. They are:
1) If you find something in a presentation triggering, write down what it is and discuss it with your support person at the conference. Writing in a journal can be very helpful. If you’d like to, take notes of what certain phrases or pictures remind you of. Later, with the help of a support person, you can try to figure out what the possible trigger might have been.
2) To stay present, take deep breaths and try to feel the chair you are sitting on and the floor under your feet.
3)If you feel very dissociated (spaced out) or triggered, you might want to go for a walk with a support person or friend. Don’t go alone. Trust your instincts and try to take the best care of yourself that you can.
4) Take lots of breaks if necessary. I have found that one part of my recovery has been to learn not to push myself so hard. Healing doesn’t always have to be painful.
5) Some of the presentations might be very triggering due to content. There will be several discussion groups held on both days. If you are feeling very stressed out, you might want to attend those groups or a “lighter” presentation. Tapes of most of the presentations should be available after the conference, so please keep in mind that you can listen to presentations later with a support person away from the conference.
6) A discreet object which you find comforting that might help you stay present may be a good idea to have at the conference.
7) Please feel free to talk to me (Neil Brick, conference coordinator) or write me a note during or after the conference if you have any concerns or problems during or after the conference about any presentation or anything else that may happen during the conference.
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. Triggers are more than phrases. They can be pictures, sounds, smells, tastes or tactile or possibly electromagnetic. Any one of these sensations or a combination of them could possibly be used to trigger someone. Triggers can be positive sometimes, like the smell of a favorite food, bringing back a pleasant memory.
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. This is why trigger management is crucial to the recovery of ritual abuse and mind control survivors. This is why I have decide to stress this concept of recovery in this conference, and in my newsletter.
I want everyone to take a minute and try and think of a trigger in your life that you have figured out. You might want to talk to your support person or a safe friend next to you.
You might want to take a pen and paper out now to write down some things in the next section.
Okay, now I want to practice trigger management techniques. 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. If you aren’t with a support person, I recommend thinking of a more minor triggering event. (Pause)
Now 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 you switch alters ? Were you coconscious ? If you switched alters, did the alter have a name ? 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.
Either here, if you have a support person with you or later or after the conference or with a therapist, you might want to write down and/or discuss the memory with a safe person. (Pause)
Now, let’s practice some techniques to protect against not getting triggered or dissociated.
(You might be able to add your own to these.)
1) If you find something in a presentation triggering, write down what it is and discuss it with your support person at the conference. Writing in a journal can be very helpful. If you’d like to, take notes of what certain phrases or pictures remind you of. Later, with the help of a support person, you can try to figure out what the possible trigger might have been. Writing can also help some people integrate, because different alters can see or will know what is being written. Pictures can help also.
2) To stay present, take deep breaths and try to feel the chair you are sitting on and the floor under your feet. Feel the floor under, stamp your feet and stand up and sit down if you have to, moving can help. Shake your head around. Take several breaths deeply or try and control your breathing, speeding it up or slowing it down.
3)If you feel very dissociated (spaced out) or triggered, you might want to go for a walk with a support person or friend. Trust your instincts and try to take the best care of yourself that you can.
Practice leaving the room: Pretend you are triggered and need to leave. Tell your support person you are feeling triggered and need to leave with them and go outside. Stand up, making sure your support person is leaving with you.
4) Take lots of breaks if necessary. I have found that one part of my recovery has been to learn not to push myself so hard. Healing doesn’t always have to be painful. You might want to take the afternoon off. Or the evening. Or at few hours at least if necessary.
I also strongly encourage traveling in pairs as much as possible (all the time if possible) while you are 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 me know either verbally or on paper during or after the conference. I have tried to make the conference as safe as possible, but it is impossible to make anything 100% safe. I believe this is the safest conference around, at least the safest I have ever been to, and I have been to a lot of conferences. This is the only conference that I know of that tries to keep MC perpetrators out.
5) Some of the presentations might be very triggering due to content. On your conference schedule there will be speaker derived trigger numbers. This means that the speaker decided on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least triggering and 10 being the most triggering, how triggering the presentation will be. There will be several discussion groups held on both days. If you are feeling very stressed out, you might want to attend those groups or a “lighter” presentation. Tapes of most of the presentations should be available after the conference, so please keep in mind that you can listen to presentations later with a support person away from the conference.
Also, some speakers here or at other conferences may say that there is only one way to heal from RA/MC. This may be a religious way or special technique, etc. Please keep in mind that your recovery is your own. I believe it is very 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 may prey on RA/MC survivors. So, my advice is to be very wary of those that emphasis that there is only one way to heal and that is it. Educate yourself about cults and their techniques also. There are several very good books that can help with this. I have seen people move from RA/MC settings into cult ones. As RA’s we can be attracted to what is familiar (from our past) and sometimes that is not good. Try to break old detrimental habits, like being taken advantage of and being abused. 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 ? If they do, find out more about this, work with a therapist and if necessary get away from the person, place and/or situation. To simplify all this, I believe one key to 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.
Other speakers here or at other conferences may prophesize 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. 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. Everyone here is an example of this. 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.
6) A discreet object which you find comforting that might help you stay present may be a good idea to have at the conference. Some people use teddy bears. Others might have a blanket, pillow or other item. If an item is comfortable for you and safe for you, that’s great. But I believe this can be a good thing, but there are also inherent dangers involved in these items as well. Any item that could trigger a child alter may not be a safe one to have around. This is because sometimes child alters can be used to (trigger word warning here) access other alters. So, you may want to discuss this more afterwards with your support person. This is one reason why we do not have a survivor support room this year. I wanted to be sure that everyone would be safe and I felt that the best way to do this would be to keep us together. Please feel free to let me know how you feel about this after the conference.
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 myself.
Also, 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. The hypnotization or spaciness could be due to the rhythm of speech or different tones underneath white noise.
Discernment is crucial here. It is also important not to be constantly paranoid either, though this can help at times. There are safe people in the world that want to help us. The trick is trying to figure who is safe and who isn’t. This is where my recovery is at right now. Staying present and not dissociating can really be helpful in this area.
I have seen people in the survivor and RA and MC movement that appear to have almost a cult like following. Some speak regularly at conferences, 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. Part of 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 and not 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 (“stockholming”). The important thing is does the person tell you to think for yourself and find your own answers, and do they really mean this. I do.
I do not want any followers. Friends are okay, though. I am just another survivor healing. If what I am saying here today doesn’t make sense to you right now or later, that is okay. I was tired of seeing other people take advantage of others, so I started a newsletter, Internet home pages and list serv. and conference. To help myself and others. I don’t want people to do what I tell them unless they honestly believe it would be good for them.
You are your own leader. There are good support systems and advice out there, but the final decision
is yours. Be strong enough and smart enough to heal. Healthy, intelligent change is good. Follow you own path or way. 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 me know how you feel about this discussion later. I am always looking for new ideas. Thank you for listening