These are the days when my childhood haunts me; when my hips ache like they’ve been beaten with a mallet; when my neck goes tight all the way down to my lower back, and the irritation sits deep in my throat. These are the days I hold private, away from the possibilities of careless minds. These are the days I ask why they did that to me as a child, leaving me with sporadic days where my sacrum cries out in pain from the shatters, and I struggle to move myself around, when all I want to do is keep my legs propped up to relieve the pressure from my hips. When physical pain is a result of childhood beatings, and there is no cure, a rage fills you, because you didnt consent to be broken. So I go quiet, and I cry through it, and then I rise the fuck back up.
How does Dissociation work? Is it okay to Dissociate? What happens during Dissociation? So many questions are posed toward the phenomena of trauma Dissociation.
The scientific process of Dissociation is a brilliant function of a human being’s DNA ability. There are many aspects which could be deeply examined in regards to the phenomena of Dissociation.
- Where does the DNA brain and body energy go when it leaves?
- Is the ability to Dissociate related to how much torture/pain a human can endure?
- Can Dissociation be controlled by the carrier?
- What happens during the Dissociative process?
- Why do some abuse victim’s Dissociate and not others?
In my memoir, CULT CHILD, I go into great detail about my Dissociative memories. These are real experiences which are extremely clear and prevalent in my memory. They have never changed. They have only been verified.
My Dissociation process as a child did not disappear, but instead, evolved as I became an adult. When I begin to feel my energy separate from my body, a myriad of physical signals happen first.
Sounds disappear. My body feels as though it is floating. My heart rate speeds up. I begin to see my current reality in third person perspective, as an outsider looking in. This happens in a matter of seconds. Then in a blink, I am elsewhere in my mind. I, personally, tend to travel to a dimension outside of my current realm.
Because I dissociated so much as a tortured child, it seemed like a natural and smooth transition to evolve the methods I used to transition, into my own meditative states. If my environment is right, I am able to push through the physically uncomfortable Dissociation transition to access differing sectors of my brain. Now, it is a willful and purposeful action.
The most pertitant element has been grounding to insure I am not left with aftermath; that I can come back to my present reality and be able to function at my own current level. Therefore, before using this technique I usually hold an object in my hand.
For me, there are now two types of “Dissociation”. One, emerged out of a childhood fear, fight/flight instinct, which I used as I was universally assisted through surviving cult inflicted torture.
The other would emerge as a flipping of those ritual tools, utilizing the survival abilities of my childhood abuse as newly assistive methods through which I now freely access the other dimension.
So, from my experiences, there is no set answer to the “What happens when you dissociate?” question. There are too many mitigating factors.
- a human’s level of pain tolerance
- a human’s mental strength
- an abuse victim’s environment
- an abuse victim’s DNA
- the type of abuse enacted
For instance, my Dissociations found me continuously returning to the seventh realm, as I know it, while another abuse victim I am friends with jumps to a planet within this galaxy. Yet another abuse survivor I know remains on the ceiling, watching the full extent of their abuse. One element I observe in regards to the extent of an ability to control Disaociation seems to also include a human’s personal evolvement. The more evolved human deals with less fear, thereby being able to travel easier.
To answer how one dissociates would be to speak with every abuse victim who has used Dissociation to cope. While our experiences and circumstances are all differing, what we do have in common are the physical signs, as described above.
Possibly, when we master the skill of traveling, not in fearful Dissociation, but in an ability to focus, using Dissociative abilities to access the levels of our own existence, we have come to explore our memories from a place of empowerment.
This takes work. It has taken me years to evolve my methods. I am still evolving them as I am determined to access more of my mind’s caves. It takes being healthy so the body doesn’t fall ill. One must be able to be in a soothing environment to do this work. Because it is emotionally laborious, most Dissociation carriers avoid the exhaustive journey.
Yet, I say that if one chooses to face the layers of their own dissected childhood, that through the exhaustion, tears and haunting images, learning to stay grounded and traveling into Dissociation has been one of my strongest developments.
“Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” Lily Tomlin
Accented with unique and relevant art by Jonathan Weiner of San Francisco, CA,”Dead Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir“, by Zack Bonnie, reveals with precision the mind bending abuse enacted inside of the youth reform industry. “The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry”, by Mother Jones, explains the birth of this industry and provides the following graph. CEDU had roots in Synanon and began in 1967.
It was indeed an industry of profit as parents were indoctrinated with the belief that any slightly “off” behavior by their teenager was a sign of serious problems, resulting in parents not only giving away their children with the belief they were helping them, but additionally being swindled out of millions of dollars.
“Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” opens with Bonnie taking a ski trip with his father. Subsequent events find a fourteen-year-old Bonnie checked into a youth reform facility in Idaho. He is tricked, and left there against his will. Thus begins the enactment of Bonnie’s mental shattering. Overnight, he joins the ranks of the large number of throwaway youth in the eighties, who eventually were labeled “Generation X“.
With every phone call monitored and Bonnie’s parents receiving false reports of his progress, he becomes trapped in an intricately woven scheme of abuse. He has no means of escape. He is unable to relay his alarming conditions to anyone. Forced through bizarre, psychological techniques to become emotionally naked, Bonnie is often left confused about what is real in his mind. The children are left unsure of what a right answer to staff questions should be. They are love bombed, then verbally abused, with severely psychotic mind control rituals. The CEDU facilitators often use the children’s personal family dynamics to manipulate them.
“To not share would be to betray them and the confidences that they shared. I said the most innermost things that made my voice tremble to admit, bringing an ancient anger and self-hatred to the surface. It wasn’t just the situation; it was where it was taking me, inside myself.
“Who used to say that to you?” Keith’s soft voice back at me.
“Your father called you useless?”
Had he really? Yes, he had.
“Say it again. ‘My father said I’m useless.’ Good. It hurt you? Yeah. You can say that again, that’s riiiigth.”
Tess and Keith repeated what we said a lot. Just about every time a kid in my group said something, Jasper, Tess, or Keith was there to repeat it. This is how we always seemed to get roped into going deeper within ourselves.
Rituals involve teenagers verbally confronting themselves and each other. Every detail of their life is invited to be shared as their overseeing handlers note them to use against the children later. Rounded into groups, they are put through almost daily, mind bending sessions of unimaginable attacks as staff strategically controls the children into turning on one another.
Zack describes session after session, as every part of the children’s emotions are controlled and manipulated.
“Bianca, what do you remember about your mom? She used to have a name for you, too, didn’t she?”
“I guess so.” Bianca Taylor picked up her cue from Tess.
“Yeah. What was her favorite nickname for that beautiful little tyke? Can you remember for me?“
“She used to call me Rainbow...” Bianca started crying. I wanted to start crying from watching Bianca, who I’d never really even talked to. Seeing raw sadness like that felt like a punch to the solar plexus.
The berating of kids is a carefully crafted tool. Broken down into nothing, with their self-image lost and lacking any emotional worth, the children become easier for the staff to manipulate. Using every piece of their fragile lives, the staff takes as many opportunities as possible to verbally abuse the children.
“I can’t hear you, Bianca. A spoiled little bitch? Spoiled little bitch. LITTLE BITCH! Why did he call you that? That’s right, let me hear you.”
“Go for it, Wally…GET IT OUT, PEOPLE. That’s RIGHT!”
“A SLUT! Who said that to little Daphne? You really let that little girl down, didn’t you?“
“Yeah? When? After the abortion? Say that again, Narissa – you’ve got to stop being that girl with the reputation? Look at her!“
“Here’s some tissues, Bianca. Let it go.”
Catch terms such as “bans“, when children are forbidden to speak to one another, and “bad rapping“, children saying bad things about each other, are among a plethora of rituals used to manipulate the minds of vulnerable teenagers. Meanwhile, the children are allowed to smoke cigarettes and other self-harming behaviors, geared to feed into their anxiety, which grows, the longer they are forced to remain inside of the program.
Bonnie’s writing style allows his reader to easily flow between what he is forced to witness happening to other children and the silent thoughts he is disallowed to ever let leave his lips lest there be intense punishment. The children are trained to adhere to a system filled with mistrust and expected betrayal of one another. They are strip searched upon admittance to the program. They are heavily worked. They are humiliated in front of one another.
Yet, even trapped inside such a sordid system of complicated tier goals, systematic punishments, humiliation and anger, Bonnie’s resilience becomes his counter weight as he journals.
“Guess what I went through my truth prophet August 9 & 10 and I found out that I basically I was a dick at home. I have been mulling it over in my mind and I know the point of raps and prophets. Just to make you cry a lot so naturally being the way I am I didn’t cry. – Author journal entry, 11 August 1988 (one month at RMA)”
Through this writing, Bonnie brilliantly flows between descriptive enactment of the program and his attempt to retain a critical thinking mind. Bonnie takes his reader’s hand and pulls them directly into the center of his deeply intense experiences.
Bonnie navigates the CEDU system until he can no longer withstand the thin line between the reality in his mind and the constant psychological belittlement he daily endures. One day Bonnie decides to go on the run. Will he make it out?
“Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” reveals the sadistic truth of the youth reform’s use of mental and physical abuse to control children. Never has a book had an impact on my own teenage memories since I was a young person reading “Run, Baby, Run” by Nicky Cruz. The detail through which Bonnie brings his story to life is exceptionally mapped out.
“Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” is guaranteed to make you intensely feel. You will be outraged. You will ask why and how a human being can do such things to children. You will laugh, and you will cry. You will cheer for the incredible strength and courage Zack journeys into as he brings his teenage memories to life on the pages of this exceptional book.
Zack Bonnie is in the process of re-launching his website, complete with an audio-book of DEAD, INSANE OR IN JAIL: A CEDU MEMOIR, which is available in paperback and e-book. Additionally, he is beginning the publishing submission process for the sequel, entitled: DIJ: OVERWRITTEN. All of Zack’s work can be explored at his WEBSITE.
Personal Note: Sometimes a book is so well written, it sinks into the skin of a trauma survivor like me, who found incredible familiarity in the words I read. This author touched my heart deeply when I met him. The ache in his eyes was familiar. The strength was admirable. The energy was filled with the passion for advocacy. So, dear Zack, please forgive my delay in this long overdue review of your book. I truly wanted to give you the honor you so rightly deserve. Love, Vennie Kocsis
Guest Post by Adeena Blumenfield
April 16, 2017, at 6:22 PM
Today is the first year anniversary of my freedom.
Exactly one year ago, on April 16, 2016, with the help of Fraidy Reiss of Unchained At Last, the police were called to my home during a violent incident. My now ex-husband was arrested immediately. This incident opened up a journey of freedom for my sons and me.
This wasn’t a loving marriage gone sour, or a typical domestic quarrel. It was an arranged, forced marriage, in a sadistic and calculated, controlling cult where a man like my ex thrives. You see in this patriarchal cult, it is a man like my ex’s ideal environment. In this community following the rules is the only thing that is sacred. Humane treatment of women and children or morals are never a priority.
I was raised in the Charedi community of Kiryat Sefer, Israel. The oldest of nine children, I spent my childhood days and nights changing my siblings’ diapers, bathing them, cooking, and cleaning our meager home. Constantly trying to fit in, I prayed to God to help me believe in him. Inside of myself, I was fighting the endless questions of his existence, resulting in deep guilt.
I was in shame while wondering why would God give women a brain, if their sole purpose on earth was only to serve men? Was the creation of women in vain? Is our life’s purpose just about avoiding hell? Or is hell right here on this creator-less earth by a religion created by humans? I lived in a silent abyss of mental confusion.
Without my consent, I was engaged at 19 and ultimately forced into a loveless, abusive, and extremely violent marriage. Having no say in most of my daily activities and definitely not having the freedom of life choices, I gave birth to three children within 4 years.
The sexual assaults started during our engagement. What he wanted, he took. The rapes began after we were officially married. The physical abuse began with my first pregnancy. With the birth of my first child, the child abuse began.
My ex-husband informed me daily that, “According to Jewish law, I own you! I can do what I want to you. Your body no longer belongs to you. It belongs to me, and I can do what I wish, how I wish, when I wish.” So, he did.
Nine years of torture and torment ensued. Nine years I lived in constant anguish and horror, sorrow and terror. Nine years where every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.
One year ago, my ex was locked up in the county jail, in the sex offenders unit, where he belongs. His bail was set at $100,000 in full, which my own parents paid. My family and the religious community funded his team of top New York city attorneys.
Yet, when I asked them for help, I was told, “You’re not the one sitting in jail. You will not need an attorney at all.”
I was heavily pressured by my family, the Rabbis, and even the community leaders, including city Councilmen, to go back to the police and tell them that my testimony was a lie. When I refused, I was verbally abused.
“Why are you being so difficult?” They demanded of me.
Then another tactic of coercion was attempted when the Rabbi told me he COMMANDED me to lie, considering it a “Mitzva” (a good deed done from religious duty).
I asked them how would I be protected against my ex. The Rabbis and community leaders informed me that my ex will return home immediately in the hopes to “cover this mess up“. They instructed me that the next time he assaulted me, I should give THEM a call. I should never again involve the police.
My family supported this reasoning. They explained to me that if there was a divorce in my family, it would scar them, preventing my younger siblings to ever have an equitable match. Their status in the community mattered more than mine and my children’s safety.
I stayed strong, I did not give in. I held by the truth. I fought for my children’s, and my freedom. The community shunned me. My family disowned me. Yet by my side stood Chani Getter of Footsteps. The support of this organization gave me the strength I needed to keep fighting. I was not alone.
The Superior Court found my ex guilty of serious crimes, including but not limited to, child abuse and neglect, child endangerment, aggravated assault, criminal restraint, and long term spousal rape.
Last month, with the help of Patrice Lenowitz of The Nurtured Parent Support Group for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, and Richard Pompelio of the New Jersey Crime Victims Law Center, the criminal case was finally over. My ex plead guilty on multiple criminal counts. I received full custody of my children. He was denied any access to them. We hope he never will.
In the past year, my sons and I have evolved from being beaten up under the control of a clinically diagnosed Sociopath, to living in a domestic violence shelter, to finally re-starting our lives fresh, in a wonderful neighborhood. My sons are in fantastic public schools. I am in college, studying Molecular Biology.
This transition has not been easy by any means. Yet, we have started a journey that I can finally trust, a new life for all of us. I walk this journey in freedom, with great friends by my side, creating great new memories to look back on and look forward into new and amazing experiences.
There is a life of hope after domestic violence. As Anais Nin so eloquently said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I took the risk to blossom, and now, I am blooming and creating new blossoms.
Thank you to Adeena for being a brave Survivor Voice.
If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence, please reach out. If you feel that your computer use is being tracked, be cautious and try to use the phone or another computer instead. See resources below for global Domestic Violence support.
National Domestic Violence Resources:
Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Line
3300 N.W. 185th Street, Suite 133
Portland, OR 97229
Phone: (503) 203-1444
Toll-free: 1-866-USWOMEN (International Crisis Line)
Organization dedicated to assisting American women living overseas victimized by domestic violence. Outreach, safety planning, extensive support services, general info on domestic violence at website.
Arugaan ng Kalakasan
45 Maalalahanin St.
Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: (02) 921-8013/928-7774 / (02)430-4227
E-mail : email@example.com
Arugaan ng Kalakasan is a SEC–registered NGO providing services for battered women and mobilizing the community to action against domestic violence.
Service : Free face–to–face counseling by appointment
Schedule : Monday to Friday 8:00 – 5:00 PM
Canadian National Clearinghouse on Family Violence
Family Violence Prevention Unit
Public Health Agency of Canada
200 Eglantine Dr.
Ottawa, ON I9O 9D1
Phone: (613) 957-2938
TTY Toll-free: 1-800-561-5643
The NCFV is a national resource centre for all Canadians seeking information about violence within the family, including spouse/partner abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse.
Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma at Alliant International University
10065 Old Grove Rd.
San Diego, CA 92131
Phone: (858) 527-1860 x 4160
Muslim Women’s Help Line
Unit 3, 1st Floor
GEC Estate, East Lane
Phone: 0808 801 0301
Hotline for Muslim women and girls in the U.K. dealing with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other problems.
National Domestic Violence Hotline (Canada)
All provinces. Bilingual (English & French).
National Organization of Battered Women’s Shelters (Sweden)
ROKS, Hornsgatan 66
118 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-422 99 30
Phone: 044 291 46 46
Pages available in German, English, French, Spanish & Italian) Counseling by phone and in person, free referrals to doctors and legal advisors, for women dealing with sexual harassment or abuse, or exploitation by therapists, doctors, ministers, at work or home.
Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan (P.A.T.H.S.)
1940 McIntyre Street
Regina, SK S4P 2R3
Phone: (306) 522-3515
P.A.T.H.S. is a non–profit organization comprised of safe houses, shelters, transition and interval houses throughout Saskatchewan for women and children victimized by family violence. The Hot Peach Pages provide links to hotlines, shelters, legal and general info on family violence for Saskatchewan, and throughout Canada.
Scottish Women’s Aid
132 Rose St.
Edinburgh EH2 3JD
Phone: 0131 475 2372
24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
Support and information, referrals to refuges, counseling, and services for children.
Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE)
c/o Austrian Women’s Shelter Network
Bacherplatz 10/ 4
Refuges, hotlines, education, counseling throughout Europe.
Women’s Aid Federation of England
P.O. Box 391
Bristol B599 7WS, England
Phone: 0117 944 4411
Freephone: 0808 2000 247
World-Wide List of Domestic Abuse Agencies
Global inventory of hotlines, shelters, refuges, crisis centres and women’s organizations, searchable by country, plus index of domestic violence resources in over 70 languages.
She mimicked normal,
Smiling, wine glass
Lifted pinkie; copied class,
And she remembered back,
Carefree before this jump.
Into ash and stone
This place would never
Feel like home.
Oh, did not she
Understand her strength,
When the wind
Lifts her wings?
To get through the storms
She would forget
Her own dimension
Born weak and
She had jumped back
To help them
How the sun will
Burn her feet
And her eyes
Red from crying,
She will die and return,
Float in and out;
Take blows so she could
What they hope to hide.
Old, decrepit shills
Behind fading veils
Holding onto strands
In their decrepit hands,
They hope to
Keep the rope noosed,
But they are dying
And she is smiling.
Generation of horror
Deserves no honor.
Beliefs created excuses
For perverted abuses.
As the clouds drift
She gazes the sky.
Change comes soon
As moon cycles
Command the tides.
She breathes quiet.
Into the dark matter die.
Take leave of Gaia.
She will vanish one day;
Become dust and ash,
Leaving behind a past
Scrawled on pages,
Telling stories of
The truth they hope
Will continue hiding,
But trees speak loudly
Through vibrational air
And wind carries whispers
When truth is near.
No escape. No pennants.
No hope for Redemption.
They are falling matter
A virus of sagging skin
Wicked insides and
Accusations of sin.
Be that your heart
To end the weeping
As you become nothing
To nevermore arrive
Alive in existence again.
Be that your breath
Is taken in night dreams
To end the screams
Left over from their
Be that in their death
Release the slaves,
The mind overtaken
She spins circles
In the dirt
A line for every soul
Their apathy has hurt
And she prepares
To hunt, eyes closed.
One of the ideas that I have struggled with the most this past year is that I was a slave. I was owned. Words that are hard enough to type and still stumble and bumble off of my tongue. My heart clenches, my hands shake, and my mind screams NOOOOOOOO every time I delve into this subject in therapy or on my own. I still ask how? why? Questions for which I will never really have answers.
Read More at Sunset – Fire, Ashes, Rebirth
I’ve been through some of the worse a child can endure; torture, sexual abuse, child labor and more. Cult life was excruciating, daunting and extremely emotionally isolated.
My healing journal has been difficult as well. Being diagnosed with mental impairments thrust me into shame and despair for a long time.
So, how did I get through? Fifteen years of hard work and a big mirror reflecting back at me.
This brought me to a place of wanting to share my journey with others. One of the excruciating parts of talking to survivors, is how many are alone, can’t afford therapy and are just struggling to be heard.
So, I started a channel where I can listen and share. Through videos and posts, you, the subscriber, can come to understand more about mental health struggles. I am currently doing a video series on Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I am in love with this channel. Subscribers are private unless you choose to comment or openly participate. I can garauntee a constant stream of information and so, so much more.
Click to join: My Private Channel