Briefly, our heroine, known for the most part and presenting to the world as Kelly, tended to some degree of dissociation and discontinuity in her moods, awareness and memories – as do most of us in some ways and to some extent. Kelly and I met on an email group several years previously and got to know each other. To begin with, I often found myself talking to DaisyMay, a young 5-year old alter who acted in a protective role towards Kelly, way beyond her apparent 5 years. This was a constant 5-year age, she grew no older in that respect and had apparently been around for a long time.
There was also a personality part/alter, who interpreted on behalf of Kelly and gave useful background information, and this person I call Nolly. And there was the host-person named Caitlin, who sometimes found her life so hard to engage with that she disappeared from the scene for months, returning with no awareness of what happened in the interim. Although Kelly had some awareness of Caitlin, this process did not work the other way around.
In Kelly’s past there was a degree of cultic ritual abuse involving some ‘satanic’ philosophy, in amongst many other things. People’s ideas about this vary, but that is not the key issue and we need to move on with this. One of the main people apparently keeping Kelly involved with the cult they were in, was a woman of many years’ acquaintance. This woman’s path had crossed hers to the point where Kelly insisted on a Deal: that Kelly would not reveal personal and cult matters relevant to Marta Smith, not her real name, who in return must leave Kelly alone.
When Hallowe'en came along, Marta tried once more to involve Kelly in cult activity despite the Deal, and Daisy the 5-year old was told to say goodbye to me for ever. Kelly did keep away from Marta and the cult following the Deal, sometimes despite an inner compulsion to return. But during the weeks following Hallowe’en Kelly and I struggled in our conversations, often at odds instead of working together as we had. Nolly, the ‘interpreter/protector’ part of Kelly, intervened in a valiant attempt to mediate, but this was fraught with Nolly experiencing anger and upset towards me.
Caitlin, the original birth and host-person, had put in recent brief appearances, and she now seemed to want to contact Marta. I envisaged all the work, pain and suffering that Kelly had been through, going down the drain in an instant. I tried to hold Caitlin’s attention sufficiently to give a brief outline, and indicated it would be better if she held off taking any steps for a while. Caitlin found it too hard to understand why Marta had contacted me regarding the Deal, or that Marta would tell me Caitlin/Kelly were in a mental hospital when clearly they were not.
Whereas Kelly had some conscious awareness regarding attending the cult, Caitlin did not, so for her it simply did not exist. Now Caitlin was putting all within their DID system at risk, not just of Marta and her controlling ways, but also of getting caught up again in cult activities which did not fit their ideology.
There’s no need to worry if it all seems confusing, because it’s easy to pick up. I just described things in a nutshell.
Return of a Friend
I was playing a word game online with young Kate, a version of Caitlin the host-person. Most of us have several personae - even plenty of them - but some people split them off more than usual, with little or no conscious awareness between them. I mean no disrespect to Caitlin or Kelly or anyone described in these pages, nor to you or anyone you know. We are all different, we do or we like different things, and we handle things differently. At some level we are pretty much the same. It is a matter of degree or mode how much we differ, or how we sort things through in our minds.
Little Kate aged 5 had trouble guessing a word from the blanks I put on the screen, and I was trying to explain about guessing vowels first. Kate appeared 6 weeks ago on the same night Daisy said goodbye to me and disappeared. Daisy was also aged 5 but different in nature and role. She was feisty and logical, whereas Kate wailed for her mom and liked puzzles.
‘I think Daisy is back’ wrote Nolly. ‘Do you want to talk to her?’ Nolly's main role was interpreting what Kelly was thinking or feeling. Kelly herself found that too difficult sometimes, or else I did not always pick up on cues. ‘Sure’ I replied. ‘But I thought little Kate and Daisy could not both be around at the same time.’
‘That never did make sense to me’ said Nolly who usually turned out to be right. I had been told that Daisy had to say goodbye to me to let little Kate through, and if I nurtured Kate great things would happen. I tried, and they did not seem to. Caitlin the host-person sometimes came through briefly after Kate, but she seemed to have no stamina.
‘Hi aunti’ appeared on my screen. Daisy had given me the auntie title, and I made futile attempts to help her grow, and write so that I could understand. She had a protective role towards Kelly, fronting for her on difficult days. She was not like many of the Little alters that people describe in their systems, and did not want to play with other Littles.
‘Hi Daisy, are you OK?’ I wrote. 'You know that night you said goodbye, I was told that little Kate could not be there as well as you.’
‘Her draws picturs, dat Kate,’ wrote Daisy. ‘Abodi told me I must say bye and nevr talk to u agin’ explained Daisy. ‘And I cry and cry.’
‘Oh, that’s sad. Were you a long way away?’ I asked. ‘At first, den not far,’ Daisy replied. ‘Did you know Caitlin came back?’ I wanted to know.
‘Me knows aunti’ wrote Daisy. ‘Caitlin worse now. Her sicker dan Kelly now.’
It was difficult for me to get a handle on whether Caitlin really wanted to be back, or was able to, or should be given every chance as the host persona. Kelly came along to help years before and the two had combined roles, getting through exams and bringing up the children. Now Caitlin had no awareness of recent events, which could cause problems.
‘Me no want Caitlin back’ wrote Daisy. ‘Me come back soon as I could aunti, soon as me know.’
‘Well that’s good Daisy’ I wrote. ‘We can work some things out when we know more. Only we can’t do it all at once. We’ll see what’s happening and then we’ll know what to do.’
Big words. Big hopes. Big lies? It's all too easy to get drawn into situations where people beg for someone to say they will help, and where big wrongs are perpetrated on vulnerable people. Kelly/Caitlin/Daisy were not the only ones going through personal or cult manipulation. I was told by various robot types within the system, when I got them rattled and talking, that the main aim was control, pure and simple, and that other vulnerable women in the area were undergoing it too and with a high suicide rate.
Most of us like to feel in some control over our own lives, even if that is a feeling rather than reality. It’s like driving a car to a destination, where we take in places en route, but are heading somewhere in particular. If we have various parts of our personality not in accord with that destination, the ride may not be straightforward, or other parts may take a back seat. Another day, another alter may be in a real or moral position to take over. The analogy was apt for Kelly, in that she would find herself driving to places she would not consciously go to or wish to.
With people who tend to dissociate as a way of handling their lives and different situations, it can become difficult when there is conflict or confusion. An outside person involved may find it hard to work out what is going on, possible reasons, what aspects to try to help with or discourage. Our own rules for behaviour may not apply. Some therapists or supporters in this situation believe in the concept of integration, but many people who dissociate find this inappropriate or even harmful. Being able to utilise dissociation is a survival mechanism that works for them. Other people can only do their best to help.
There are different schools of thought about whether one should encourage people to remember certain events in their lives, or even force this. However much it appears to be in someone’s interests to be aware of something, I tend towards a gentler approach, the ethos that one does not take away people’s defences which are their very means of survival. The idea is to promote a safe enough situation for some things to come through when they are ready and can be handled. Other practitioners work differently, and so long as it suits their clients that is fine. That is the punchline - so long as it suits their clients.
What does one do if someone else in a client’s life is being cruel, manipulating their mind and actions, telling them untruths, obliterating memories that they might need? The list goes on and comes under a general heading of mind control. It is subversive and does not allow the client or survivor to make up their own mind in their own way, or to change it if they want to. The result can be that the client is not the person living their life, but someone else does it by proxy. Someone, whether a manipulative individual or a cult, a family or society in general, has undue influence over the client or survivor. It is not easy to pinpoint, because it happens below conscious threshold. Someone else holds invisible reins. If they were visible it would be easier to explain, and to show to the individual and to other people what is happening.
Many cultures and societies place great emphasis on family history, the ancestors, family values of parents being passed to their children in myriad ways, seen and unseen. People take a pride in these things, but like anything else they can be taken to extremes. Because children are small and do not have the words or experience to express themselves against adults around them, many children find it hard to be accepted for who they are. Adults who have children may not remember their own childhood, or cannot perceive the world through children’s eyes, so they take a default position of feeling they know what is best. Most of us can see and realise it to some extent, but when it is particularly subversive, because of psychological needs which are not recognised, the problems are more extreme.
Where there are cultic organisations or personalities using psychological, psychotherapeutic or psychoanalytic theory to control other people, the problem for individuals is much greater, and it becomes harder to break away. This demonstrates some problems relevant to Kelly and Caitlin, in terms of what each may have needed, or need now. Kelly wanted to stay away from a controlling person Marta, and from the cult, having been through months of terrible experiences and recalling some from the past. Caitlin felt guilty about resisting Marta, wanting reassurance and comfort from her, and having no awareness about a cult. Denial is a natural defence mechanism in human beings. I don't see that one can call it denial when there just is no awareness - for whatever reason.
Awareness and memories of cult involvement were deliberately blurred or blocked by someone else, not within the DID system but utilising dissociation to achieve the goal. Many ‘protector’ alters seemed to do a grand job. Within a few weeks or just days, they sounded like a mini-version of Marta. If I challenged them they disappeared, and I never knew if they'd served a useful purpose that I spoiled. Marta was a form of handler or controller to them. Sometimes she seemed to want proprietary rights over their DID system, like some inner psychological need of her own. Perhaps it was envy, projection, or territorial.
When Marta realised I'd known Kelly for several years and learned things, she tried ploys for me to give up, saying Kelly was in hospital and would not be back for so long I should delete her as a contact. Each time, Kelly contacted me within an hour to say she had not been to hospital. Another tactic was for Marta to hypnotise Kelly to convince her I was going on vacation and would not speak to her, or my husband hated Kelly and wished her harm. This last example helped Kelly to see that what she was being told was unlikely.
I was told several times that Marta had given up and would have nothing further to do with Kelly, which upset Daisy who was sure Marta was her mommy. Within a week Marta would be back and we grew sceptical. Those telling me that Marta had gone were the ‘protectors’. Another ploy was for the robot or ‘protective’ alters to get me off the computer, and stop the email alerts that would enable me to act swiftly.
A ‘protector’ whom I call Peter contacted me during Hallowe’en to say Marta would be gone as from then, he could assure me because he knew, and this was the last time Kelly’s resistance would be put to the test. He said the link with Marta was in its final stage of being broken, and would be complete if I said goodbye to young Daisy, and called back the host Caitlin using the name she knew me by - the Bartender. Daisy and I said sad farewells 2 months ago, and little Kate aged 5 came through. I was told by Peter to protect her as she was the key, but all she seemed able to do was say ‘I want my mom, where my dad?’ or ‘I want to play.’
Kate did seem to be the means to regaining contact with Caitlin. Believing that this was the required development, I adjusted my schedule one morning when Caitlin emailed. Kelly held the fort since Caitlin gave up a few months before.But Kelly now seemed to be disintegrating, no longer containing things she had taken in her stride, no longer having any energy or fight, except to harangue me for not having instant solutions to her problems ad infinitum. Previously she was considerate and undemanding. Kelly used to be magnetic, in difficulty herself yet drawing in people wherever she went. I was curious how such a situation had arisen around her, with months of harassment and degradation from Marta on top of cult activities, and the years of control.
Rights And Wrongs
I wanted to see Kelly have a better life. I wanted to feel that other women should not go through the same things, in that locality and other places too. I believe changes can be made in understanding, and then put into practice. Plenty of work has been done by others, more detailed and academic than I can put forward. Many therapists have given up this kind of work publicly but their accounts are available.
My involvement with Kelly as the main adult persona, was due to my strong belief that no-one should presume to control someone else’s life, including their thoughts, beliefs, and activities. The person with proprietary rights over a life is that person, although other people influence them to a degree, hopefully with mutual consent. People should have free will and choices, as much as possible within the normal constraints of life. Call me Madame Human Rights, I do not mind one bit.
Clearly, people at the top end of cults think oppositely. Often people at the bottom have no idea about the purported or actual ideology, or of hidden agendas belying the public face. The main problem is double standards, made more dubious when drugs, hypnosis, or similar altered states of consciousness, are utilised to render unfortunate people unaware of basic things in their lives, including rights or reason.
How can you control your life if someone blots out chunks deliberately, adding in parts that simply are not true, or can be manipulated to suit their insidious purposes and fit any bill? How can people thus manipulated explain to police, other authorities or individuals, what has happened to them so that it is provable? Kelly frequently described a bad experience to me in detail, only to say a few days later it must have been a bad dream. Later she recalled the event.
This was clear when Kelly went to the hospital emergency room with a high fever and infection. Afterwards she recounted the minor operation she had that night, then later said it was a bad dream, even when asking why she was still wearing a hospital bracelet. Two days later she freaked in an email saying she now knew she went there and it was horribly real.
When I mentioned to Kelly that people who run the cult make mistakes, she replied simply that they pay other people to cover their mistakes. If you keep watching and noting, some of their methods and mistakes become apparent. It’s certainly hard to do anything about Z, if there’s no word or concept for Z. Look at Z in relation to human or animal behaviour, organisational or cultic behaviour, domineering partnerships, or whatever subject you know anything about, and it’s not hard to see how things can happen. That really is my point: There is a trend towards discounting accounts of ‘satanic’ ritual or cultic activity as purely urban myth, or some hysterical, at least emotional, reaction. You only have to read relevant historical or anthropological accounts to know that they have been done in the past. Why do we deny the possibility now?
Because learned people insist that it's the only way to think logically or you're a Dumbo. And because sadly, mistakes have been made during some types of therapy that encourage people to believe more happened to them than really did. Both they and their families suffer the consequences needlessly. We can improve things all round by being more open, and looking at more linked areas, like how people make false confessions to crimes they could not have committed.
People may cite examples of attempts to examine some ritual abuse cases, with a tagline of ‘There is no evidence’. Cases may be chosen selectively, and there are things we never get to hear about or have a chance of examining. Please don’t just fall for the tagline. More is at stake than palpable, universally acceptable evidence. What evidence is accepted by both sides in a court of law, or to everyone whose lives are touched by the case? Someone can come up with a different tale to account for things to shed doubt, and that would be someone with a vested interest, personal or professional.
I am not so concerned about people whose lives have never been touched by these injustices and cannot be expected to worry over them. We don't want a situation where people read about things and think it happened to them when it did not. These things do not touch everyone, and most people have their own lives to lead, their own issues, looking towards areas to provide sufficient answers or meaning for them. That is life, for those left alone to live it without the troubles described in 'the Book'.
‘Merry Christmas and Merry Winter (ha ha ha) Lucy hope you have a nice and peaceful holiday time and a fantastic New Year (ha ha ha).’ An email came from Marta addressed to myself just before Christmas.
‘Hello Nolly,’ I wrote. ‘I thought you should know that Marta sent me an email wishing me Merry Christmas. It must be her idea of a joke. How are things? What time shall we talk on MSN over Christmas?’ I received no reply from her. As far as I could tell, she dipped in and out of Kelly’s consciousness, more out than in when Kelly was distressed or self-destructive.
When Daisy sent me a distressed email on Christmas eve saying she was worried about Christmas night, I replied that she should make sure no-one answered any knocks at the door, and to email me if anyone came so we could handle it together. Christmas day and night came and went and I heard nothing. I thought back to a year when Kelly was online on Christmas day when the cult came knocking, but she avoided going. Later that week she dropped into our chat almost casually ‘Marta didn’t get me Christmas day, she got me Boxing day instead.’
One January when Kelly seemed clear of the cult and Marta, she sent me some awful drawings. When I asked, she had no awareness of them, but I had caught her unawares after a cult meeting, and she was able to say what happened, which was rare. I knew then that I had been under a false impression about her safety. While I thought she was busy with her ordinary employment during the day, she was also ‘getting taken’ at night, after speaking to me.
Kelly's children were with her during weekends, but in the week were living nearer to their school with her ex-husband, who probably did not know of the cult activity. She had little awareness of her life in the week, but someone else knew up-to-date changes regarding the children. Marta’s knowledge faltered latterly with her arriving at Kelly’s door on nights the children were there. She would smile brightly and say ‘See you next week.’ Small point maybe, but a big one too. Even cult leaders and controllers have to work on information to hand.
Marta could not resist goading me before doing something relating to Kelly, as if that was part of her game plan. If she could believe she was in control, she thought she would achieve her aims, like superstition. Several times I came online in the middle of the night because of Marta’s goading, and was able to prevent her taking advantage of Kelly. Once Marta sent me a strange email saying that Lammas was on its way, and hopefully she would bring her plans into effect, but that it was hard to regain people’s confidence. So she wasn’t all mouth and bombast, and had doubts about her effectiveness like the rest of us.
An email from Marta to Kelly said ‘The only reason this hasn’t worked yet is because of your friend Lucy.’ In other words, the cult/Marta knew that sooner or later they could control circumstances to render Kelly unable to extricate herself, but anyone intervening was a spanner in the works. Another email from Marta arrived on my mobile when I was away from home and could do nothing: ‘Kelly has come to me of her own free will. And we will look after her as if she is our own.’ That was a Marta-type false alarm. If Kelly had knowingly chosen to throw in her lot with Marta and give me the go-by I'd accept that, but not while Kelly was kept in the dark and unaware of so much involving her.
I believed that covert harassment was going on, in a way that I could not openly challenge Marta. Kelly’s phone wires were cut through. There were police cars cruising by, which spooked Kelly because of conditioning to be scared of police and run straight to Marta. I believed Marta was sending subtle triggers to Kelly via emails or IM messages, and imagery to make her think bad things would happen.
What I hoped, apart from Marta and the cult leaving Kelly alone and her making a good recovery, was that external dynamics would intervene to change things, properly and in lasting manner. A range of people in all walks of life were involved in the cult. A range of people with some awareness of what was going on, in some measure supported Kelly. I hoped some of the problems would be revealed and prevented from happening. One day my pipedream will come true, not just for Kelly and others in the immediate environment, but more generally and in other areas. There are many people working in this field who do not make themselves known for their own reasons. ‘The Book’ is for them too.
I received frantic distressed emails from Daisy after the immediate Christmas period. I felt something had happened but Daisy seemed unwilling to stay on MSN, saying she was upset and crying. ‘Are you there on your own?’ I asked.
‘Yes aunti, me is. Kelly gone now. Her was too sad, like Caitlin me think.’ On a couple of occasions, Daisy was left alone in the system with no adults present. The idea seemed to be Marta’s hope that Daisy would not cope alone, and be the end of it all. When Kelly returned the robot said it had not been expected I could get Kelly back. ‘I never thought you could do that again’ he'd say. But who is kidding whom, because the saga went on for years in this fashion.
Daisy and I discussed how our Christmas arrangements for communicating had not worked. I felt that a cult-loyal part of Kelly’s personality was stopping Daisy’s emails to me and deleting mine, making her uncomfortable about saying anything I could make sense of. ‘No aunti,’ replied Daisy. ‘Only me here and some littles. No bads now.’
‘OK Daisy,’ I wrote. ‘I don’t want you to worry about this, because I’m writing it for someone else, so you just ignore it.’
I then addressed some choice words to the ‘protectors’, as I had around Hallowe'en. I felt there was someone with a watching brief and a longterm role regarding the cult, with useful knowledge or abilities. The last time I heard from them was a brief email on a night when Kelly was freaking and sending multi-emails to me. A ‘protector’ had cut into the stream saying ‘Just ignore her. I will try to stop this.’ And it did stop the flow.
Now I challenged the ‘protectors’ directly that they were not doing their job if harmful things were happening to Kelly and Daisy but we could pull together. There was nothing in reply. ‘Its no good aunti’ wrote Daisy. ‘Me crying. You say you know wots happening. So now you know, right.’ Actually I did not know – I only thought I did. The problem was that Daisy could not express the nature of what happened, merely that I was not around when she desperately needed me one night.
Daisy and I would fix times to chat but shortly beforehand there'd be an email ‘No MSN aunti. Me no do MSN.’ Alter parts of Kelly’s personality used to bully Daisy for talking to me or gave her stomach ache, and I thought this was happening.
‘Daisy’ I replied to one of her emails. ‘I don’t like MSN much either, so we can just do emails if you want. But what I'd really like to know is who or what is stopping you.’ For a sassy 5-year old alter, Daisy was holding her own well and asking me challenging questions, but there was no reply.
After my challenging the ‘protectors’ with no joy, during a lull in Daisy’s conversation I typed a line asking if anyone else was there wanting to talk. It seemed to pay off, because someone typed a line on the screen ‘Who are you?’ I replied ‘Hi, it’s me Lucy. What do I call you?’
‘Do I know you? Can I trust you?’ came the reply.
‘Well I always say don’t trust people who say You can trust me’ I wrote. This response had got me into difficulties with another alter, who immediately thought I was saying she should not trust me.
‘I don’t know who I am,’ she wrote. ‘Have I got children?’
‘Do you have any idea how old you are?’ I asked. ‘Ummmm, Umm. About 3 or 4 days’ she wrote. ‘But this body looks fairly old and thin, very thin.’
‘I see. Well what name can I call you by?’ I said. ‘You make one up for me. I don’t know’ she answered.
‘How about Kylie?’ This was getting weird, because I had considered calling Kelly by the name Kylie for ‘the Book’ but did not get around to changing it. ‘I’ll try to remember that’ she said. ‘I never saw a computer before. I just found it. Are you on it much?’ Kylie seemed inquisitive and intelligent, like Kelly but more determined.
Kylie revealed a shocking incident that happened over Christmas. It was Kylie who had woken up afterwards on the couch indoors. I let her talk and we did a further session, culminating in Daisy coming through again and my saying there was a new alter.
‘Me know aunti. Her block the door now’ said Daisy. I could not blame Kelly for disappearing. I wondered about this new adult alter who came here to such a terrible experience, and fought back, kicking biting and scratching but not strong enough to prevent it.
On previous occasions there had been a temporary arrival who shouted people down or handled things on the home front. After some thought, I sent Kylie a brief email outlining her immediate family, and the name people were likely to call her by, Kelly.
New Year Follies
‘I don’t think Kylie will stay’ reported Nolly when I raised hopes that perhaps, in the newly arrived personality, there would be strength and tenacity for long enough to make a difference. Kelly, the person I had known through thick and thin, and Caitlin the host-person, had been through so much that they had virtually given up, leaving young Daisy, and Nolly who did some interpreting. Kelly and Caitlin dipped in and out infrequently, and Kelly had not been in touch for 2 weeks.
Daisy said the cable TV was disconnected because the bill had not been paid, there were stacks of messages on the answerphone, and changes were happening which Kelly knew nothing about. Nolly asked whether I could do anything to encourage Kelly back. Generally I preferred not to call on alter parts who had retreated from trauma, but there was no-one to do simple tasks or who knew what was happening with immediate family.
I asked Daisy if she knew how to contact Kelly and bring her back. She said I should write a page to add to Kelly’s own writings, but I said that would take time and I could not do it just now. She got huffy. ‘She is telling you that she needs a bath herself’ interpreted Nolly.
‘OK, I will try,’ I wrote. ‘Daisy, do you want to get a bath while I stay online, or I can come back later’ I wrote. ‘She is being stubborn’ said Nolly. I tried again with Daisy ‘There’s nothing stopping you having a bath, so I will wait for you, ok?’ ‘K aunti’ came the reply.
We hoped Kelly might put in an appearance. She tended to do this during ordinary chat if things felt safe enough. Daisy and I chatted some more, and suddenly there was a ‘Hi’ which looked like Kelly.
‘Hi, how are you? We haven’t spoken for a while. I was wondering if you were OK’ I wrote.‘You just haven’t been online’ wrote Kelly. I knew she had been writing to people on email groups, though not in the past week.
‘I may not be here for long’ came from Kelly. I did not want to press her and tried to keep things rolling. I told her about things happening in her family mentioned in the phone messages, and suggested she might listen to some. She seemed more like her old self although distant.
‘Sec’ wrote Kelly. ‘There’s someone in my yard.’
It was Daisy who came back to the computer. Kelly had disappeared. ‘Aunti, someone in our yard. But cat no go window. Him go to window if nother cat in yard.’
‘You can stay indoors tonight and look out the window at the yard in the morning, to see if it’s OK’ I suggested.
‘K, aunti. Me scard.’ I knew the door to their home was still blocked with a huge box, and hoped things would be safe enough for now.
The More It Changes
The French have a neat phrase to describe how things stay pretty much the same, even when they change a lot. Whenever Kelly got hopeful about her situation changing for the better, or I if did on her behalf, there seemed a prompt reaction in her immediate environment. There is much said on the subject of life changes having to come from within. That's fine as a theory, so long as the outside is not so extreme, intrusive or violent.
On the night Kelly returned after an absence and there were noises in her yard which caused her to vanish again, I received an email from Marta which I regarded as facetious. On a whim I sent a jokey reply including her married and maiden names, that she had changed her job, and that I was no problem if she left Kelly alone according to the Deals. Marta lived in cuckooland thinking no-one could know anything. Next day Kelly was using phrases that I wrote to Marta.
‘Wake up soon, please.’ There was a frantic email from Nolly the ‘interpreter/protector’. I was a couple of hours later picking it up. ‘Kelly is packing right now, to go and stay with that woman. She has no phone number for her just an address. It’s a 2 to 3 day drive and she’s not well. She should not go.’ wrote Nolly. ‘But if I stay here talking to you she can’t go, right?’
‘OK, I see what you mean.’ I was wondering how things could change so much so quickly, over and over like shifting sands. Kelly had not eaten in weeks, and was finding it hard to drink because of a sinus infection. I doubted her car had been serviced in months, and the roads were thick with ice. I was concerned she might not get a good reception if she did arrive at the other end, because of the other person’s family commitments and simply not expecting Kelly. I could not blame Kelly for wanting to escape.
‘Aunti, me no want to leave’ wailed Daisy. ‘And ders noises in yard all night.’ I was worried what might happen if Kelly left the house and there was someone hanging around.
‘There’s no rush to leave, is there? And that woman isn’t expecting you and she has family there. We can chat on MSN another day and sort things out.’ I hardly believed that but a major mishap might be avoided. There were no emails in reply to my last ones, and I did not know whether Kelly had left for a long trip or something else happened. I set my mobile phone to receive email alerts and all was quiet until 10pm the following night.
‘Aunti, me still here’ wrote Daisy from their usual email address rather than the Hotmail one they used when away from home. ‘Hi Daisy, how are you? You still at home?’ I replied. I asked some direct questions in an attempt to avoid 20 emails from Daisy.
‘Me take pills last nite, stop Kelly going away in car. Me just wake up aunti.’ I emailed a couple of replies to Daisy that we would chat on MSN the following day, and things went quiet.
I was concerned at these constant crises where I put in time and energy precluding other commitments, and things there did not improve or change. But it was important to keep a track of dynamics where I could. Chunks of time passed without my being told or being able to guess what was happening. Now I was closer to more things. Kelly was more aware too, and what she did not know, Daisy or Nolly often shed light on.
If Kelly embarked on a cross-country drive, I would be on stand-by for MSN day or night. I could not leave her alone and vulnerable on a long trek. She was generally not dependent on me in anything like the measure she had been, but I felt she would need to touch base.
It was still a strange dynamic to me as an outsider, that when Kelly was away from home, there was no-one like Daisy or Nolly to use the computer to say what was happening. That sounds obvious or stupid, but I kept hoping for background or anything to give me a clue. It helped me to know when I might be called upon, or in what ways I might do something. It was frustrating when I missed a frantic email, or I replied but it went nowhere because no-one read it. Sometimes we seemed to make progress, but that happened less and less.
I did not always assess things correctly although had plenty of background experience with Kelly which helped as a framework to peg things onto. I no longer had the insatiable curiosity that I had in early days of contact, when everything was an enigma because it did not much fit what other people wrote about. Perhaps one day we will all know more where this was leading. At least there will be more discussion points and things to think around, questions to ask and things that can be done.
New Deal On The Table
‘Why are there footprints all round my door?’ asked Kelly 2 weeks after New Year. ‘My children saw them and they want to know.’
‘I think you will have to tell them it was someone leaving a catalogue, Avon, Kleeneze, whatever you have there that sounds plausible’ I replied.
Kelly had mentioned missing time since Christmas, and this could mean she was switching, some of the alter personalities in her small DID system slipping in and out while Kelly took a back seat. It provided respite from things happening in her life while other parts dealt with the situation in their way. I tried to re-cap some of my own involvement in a way that would not be too threatening for her, but would encourage her to take more charge of her security and that of her children.
‘I think you need to get a new lock for your main door,’ I began.
Nolly had told me someone with a spare key had entered Kelly’s home while she was actually there, but Kelly had shut this whole episode out, despite severe bruising and other telltale signs. ‘I can’t afford another one’ Kelly protested, and I worried this could lead to further trouble for her. There had already been an incident during a recent cult date and I'd come online in the middle of the night. That time the door was blocked with a heavy box, but people stood banging the door, honking a car horn and playing triggering music designed to get Kelly out of the house. And left their footprints . . .
‘There are some things I should explain’ I began. ‘First I had emails from Marta saying the usual stuff about how useless I am. That is her way of saying she is up to something. Then something happened Boxing Day, then something after New Year. They definitely did not get in the second time because the door was jammed. But I think you need to make it clear to the cult to leave you alone.’
‘I don’t know anyone in the cult though, only Marta’ replied Kelly.
‘I thought once before you wrote a letter to someone in the cult saying you wanted to be left alone, and you left a copy with a lawyer.’ This was in the early days of knowing Kelly. She replied ‘Ya, but I don’t now.’
‘Then I believe you need to explain to Marta that the cult has to leave you alone. You need to stop it particularly while the kids are staying with you now.’ Kelly had her children for a 2-week period. ‘And there’s something else, about you taking some vows of silence, poverty and stuff, almost like a nun. I don’t believe you knew what you were agreeing to, and you need to tell the cult you retract them.’
‘Is that why I’m always poor and can’t work?’ asked Kelly. There had been times when she managed a few months’ work but not recently.
‘Probably it has something to do with it. There were other vows about being tortured and having a hard time. People must not come to your home any more.’ I considered things could escalate back to Kelly having cult involvement, and Marta carrying on with the conditioning, hypnosis and personal abuse of Kelly that had gone on for years.
‘You want me to send an email to Marta?’ asked Kelly.
‘I don’t know that email is the answer, and things will need some thought, but I feel you should know what I’m aware of, or it leaves you vulnerable. You need to control things from there’ I replied. I had not minded coming online to prevent Kelly going to a cult event I knew about. I could not be on standby generally through the night. There was sometimes a problem with email alerts to my mobile and the service was being stopped altogether.
Kelly was cooking a meal for her children and popping in and out of the room while we chatted.
‘OK, I sent it to Marta with a copy to you. Have a look’ she wrote. I checked and saw a brief succinct email addressed to Marta saying that Kelly wanted to retract any agreements she may have made to her and the cult, and that Marta should not send anyone else to her home or Kelly would tell anyone who would listen. Marta's reply arrived by return, agreeing the Deal because Kelly had already caused her problems.
‘You don’t hang around when you decide something, do you?’ I wrote to Kelly. ‘It is short and to the point, good.’ We chatted about other things, children’s schools, homework, all the things Kelly had on her mind without what I had just burdened her with. I felt guilty, but sensed that the time had now come for Kelly to act, to save herself from something larger and more insidious than most of us can imagine impinging on our lives, or ruling it completely.
Marta communicated with me that I also must say nothing about her. I did not agree to this or to any other request. Her attitude was that no-one would believe my word, as an Internet contact of a mentally disturbed person, i.e. Kelly. I replied that I had kept Marta’s emails to me, and heard no more for a while. (You are now reading the outcome of Marta clearly not sticking to her previous Deal, or to this one.)
It’s hard to understand how someone like Kelly, who sometimes had such a clear head and brave determination, could have been fooled by Marta and the cult for so long. I believe there are reasons stemming back many years, but also a great deal of time and effort was put in to maintain control. Sometimes Kelly got glimmers of it, but without another person to act as a sounding board, she could not see enough of the picture to make changes. Later I learned that the cult sometimes ramped up the controls, via harassment, when Kelly defaulted on a meeting or opposed someone significant.
Emails from Nolly
‘I’m sorry, I lied to you. I don’t know why I did that’ came a late night email from Nolly, the part of Kelly’s personality who intervened to explain things that Kelly could not, or I failed to grasp. I replied that I felt something was happening without knowing what, and it did not matter if Nolly tried to fob me off. When Kelly said ‘I am fine’ I joked that she meant the opposite. When Kelly was deeply reluctant to talk it was likely that Marta was involved.
Nolly explained that she thought Daisy knew more than Kelly or Nolly, but Daisy said she didn’t. Daisy was an enigma because she was acting in a double-sided manner as she had before. She was ostensibly co-operative, yet something seemed to be happening underneath and opposite. No conversations or questions shed any light, and Kelly and I lost touch for a week. She was contributing short messages on email groups where people seemed supportive, but Daisy dropped hints that people were telling Kelly what to do with her life and upsetting her. Could this be why I thought Marta was in touch, simply because other people had a controlling role? The effect was very similar.
‘Aunti’ came an email from Daisy. ‘Kelly reely upset. They tell her what to do and she in bad place now.’ I thought Daisy was using a phrase to express that Kelly was upset, but was puzzled why contact was through the Hotmail account. ‘Why are you using Hotmail?’ I asked. Although I was trying to cut down on getting drawn into dramas, I was home and feeling uneasy so it was no time to be arbitrary. I signed in.
‘Helo’ appeared on the screen from Daisy. ‘Kelly in bad place.’ ‘Hi Daisy, are you ok? Are you home?’ I wrote.
‘N.’ ‘Ok. Are you at Pete’s?’ This was Kelly’s ex-husband.
‘N.’ ‘Are you using a laptop?’
‘N, aunti.’ ‘Are you on that street Kelly used to live on?’
Another ‘N’. I was not sure where Kelly and Daisy were and was concerned they might be with Marta and there would be some showdown.
‘Is someone there a threat to you?’ I asked. ‘Y/N’ came the reply.
‘Can you put them online?’ ‘Sec,’ then ‘No aunti. It’s Kelly, she no want to talk to you’ came Daisy’s reply after a long pause. I felt they were in a house they had visited before. Daisy said she wanted to leave and I talked about finding the door and walking to the car, but just then she said someone was coming. I heard no more until emails arrived from their usual email address saying they were home.
It was Daisy talking, and a pattern emerged which filled in some blanks about the last month or two. It seemed that two women on the email group were vying for Kelly’s attention, trying to block each other out of communication with her. They were also both trying to stop Kelly talking to me, which sounded like cult behaviour. Each was giving Kelly lists of instructions or rules for her life. The general outcome was that Kelly turned in on herself. She now discouraged her children from visiting on their usual days.
‘Do you want to get a hot drink?’ I asked. ‘Plese aunti’ said Daisy. ‘Can I hav a bath, wil you wait? If me going to die today, me want a bath.’ I wondered what I missed, not only on this occasion but others when I was not around to catch nuances, or things had happened which I only heard about if they were on Kelly or Daisy’s mind. I could in no way blame them for excising things from memory. In the days of Marta, attempts were made by her to excise their memories too.
When Daisy returned she talked about other people Kelly knew. She drew a picture like a sociogram with various people around the edge, all surrounding Kelly who was being overwhelmed. She described visions Kelly was having, egged on by some of these people. ‘Daisy, I asked you before, but do you think some of these people are still in a cult?’ I wrote.
‘Me no know aunti’ came her reply.
‘Ok, well some of them have been, and maybe they are still hurting and doing things like what happened to them,’ I ventured. ‘That’s why they tell Kelly what to do.’
‘Well Brenda got a cult doll, dat cries over the phon to Kelly. It upsets her me think’ wrote Daisy.
‘How do you mean? I thought Kelly did not use the phone’ I said. Kelly had a fear of the phone and let the answerphone pick up. Also Brenda was long distance and Kelly’s phone was barred from making long distance calls.
‘Well dat Brenda tell Kelly to get phon card for long distance. And her tell Kelly to answer dat phone and she dos’ Daisy explained.
‘Does Brenda tell Kelly not to have her kids home these days too?' I asked.
‘Me think aunti.’ Things were beginning to fall into place, but everything was so different from the day before, the week before, all the things I had ever known with Kelly.
‘What doll?’ I was trying to find out what I could while I had a chance and information was flowing. ‘It bees cult doll aunti. It cry down phone and upset Kelly.’
‘And that’s Brenda’s doll, right?’
‘Yes, it sits on her puter’ said Daisy.
Why does someone who claims to have left a cult, have a doll like that on her computer, and use it to scare another ex-cult member like Kelly, who is trying her very hardest to cope with life, having taken the big step of breaking away?
In the past Kelly got involved with someone who told her to do all the things Marta said, like an echo of Marta encouraging self-destructive behaviour. I was a voice in Kelly’s other ear encouraging her to think for herself and not do things she felt were wrong. It's as if a perpetual fight is being waged within the survivor. Sometimes one wonders if it is kinder to ease up for a while. But I took my cues from Kelly, and what she wanted or felt she could withstand.
On that occasion the person tried to ingratiate herself with me, buzzing me on MSN. She was on email lists for people helping cult ritual survivors and I believed she triggered vulnerable people. It seemed her given role on behalf of the cult, and eventually she did not get away with it. Others tried similar ploys, promising Kelly a safe home with welfare benefits hundreds of miles away, which meant for ever with no chance of leaving. They too tried to get me off the scene. Sounds familiar? Sounds like a dangle to see how far Kelly might take the bait, and then reel her back in again. Why? Your guess is fine.
I believe it is possible for survivors to break away from cults, but it is hard going, and sometimes it does not happen completely the first time around. It helps if people have someone to support them, to maintain a belief in them as human beings while they gradually piece some of it together. The cult, as a kind of self-perpetuating entity, gains strength through the involvement of those doing what they can to help people like Kelly, as if it is simply more grist to their mill, more bang for their buck.
Some people believe that those seeking help with cult experiences are likely still to be involved in cult activity, without being consciously aware. It’s hard to generalise but it is worth bearing in mind. Despite Kelly’s trust in me and her need for help, she asked questions which I can only describe as tracking me down, so that the cult might damage my reputation as happened to others. Sometimes she said that a question popped into her head and she just had to ask. Even Nolly did this, or would get involved in scare-mongering, or parroting a party-line that I knew could not be true.
Several times during this last MSN chat I tried to engage Nolly’s attention. Often she did not come through on MSN but emailed saying I'd called for her. This time Kelly’s tired and distracted voice came through, as if it was overlaying Daisy’s. ‘I’m sorry’ she said into the mic. ‘I don’t know this Nolly.’
‘That’s ok’ I wrote. ‘Sometimes she helps Daisy out.’ ‘Well I don’t know her. I don’t feel well. I have to go.’ Kelly was gone.
I often wondered how Kelly seemed to know when she would be in danger. Theoretically she should not be in danger now. The Deals were made, and I made it clear to Marta that I was holding a watching brief on whether she or anyone contacted Kelly. So long as Kelly was left alone, I said, I was no threat for Marta.
‘Aunti’ came another Daisy email. ‘Wot happen if dat door knoc in nite? We exchanged emails as I tried to ascertain if that was happening, culminating in Daisy opening up ‘Wel aunti, dat dor knoc, peple gon now. Kelly have visions she got to driv dat car. Me scard now.’
Kelly knew at some level that tonight was crucial. Visions were a feature for Kelly, sometimes natural, but often due to post-hypnotic suggestion from a previous event, or instigated via a cue in a phone message or email. There is a possibility which readers may not give credence to, that someone could induce a state in Kelly where she was receptive to projected images.
Someone Kelly was chatting to outside of their email group had primed Kelly towards certain states of mind. Then someone else, Marta or someone connected to her or the cult, tried to capitalise by gaining access to Kelly unawares, and when they thought I was nowhere accessible. I mention these incidents and thoughts, in case anyone else is puzzled by things happening around them or to someone they know. They won’t be identical, but it was strange how often similar ploys and themes arose. I suggest you look at the dynamics near and far, and work out what seems likely. Then you may find ways to foil some of them. But always take care for yourself too.
‘I know what might have triggered Marta, would you like to know?’ came a midnight email from Nolly, who generally seemed reliable apart from natural errors. ‘Hello, yes please. I would appreciate any information or ideas you have’ I replied. Nolly was usually quite formal and I tended to reply in kind. The situation had been unusually quiet at my end, and there were few clues to Kelly’s welfare, although she was clearly in physical pain and not well. She seemed to have lost all hope of improvement, was seeing less of her children and throwing out their toys. She communicated with me directly only when it really seemed it was ‘the end’ and she was desperate for anything.
Daisy, the normally perky 5-year old alter with a protective role, had become strange and sarcastic towards me as if she had been got at. Interspersed with emails from Daisy that someone in the system was writing emails in Kelly’s name, were instructions that I should not call her Daisy as she was a regression of Kelly. I wondered who was accessing Daisy or others, what had been said and why. It could have been Marta, or an alter personality that she introduced to replace others that had vanished.
Daisy was adamant that Kelly was not writing some of the emails, and Kelly now knew it was happening. I demonstrated how easy it was to do if you had someone’s password, and I knew both Marta and someone on the email group had it. The subject matter of the emails did not seem sensational or controversial, but I recalled the original robot writing a similar email to me. When I replied to Kelly thinking it was from her, he got angry saying I'd ruined everything as she was not meant to know.
I now replied to Daisy that I thought this had something to do with Marta who first tried this with the robot, then something else, and now she was writing them or getting Kelly to write them. I could not see rhyme or reason but it was similar to before, an attack from within. The reasons why remained to reveal themselves. Meanwhile I would try to stay in contact with Kelly without things becoming acrimonious or falling apart.
What gave a spark of hope was that Kelly came on MSN saying she did not feel like talking, though had some awareness of what was going on. Despite her pain, we discussed aspects of her situation more as we did in the old days. When we both put our minds to something we made progress. Indications were that it had not all gone under that bridge along with everything else.
What we needed now was a fair wind. They do happen sometimes, don’t they?