narcissism

My Mother Didn’t Want Me Calling Boys So I Wouldn’t Look Like a Slut

Cover Only

“Rise of Sila” book cover – coming soon!

As I’m writing “Rise of Sila”, the sequel to “Cult Child“, which details my transition as a teenager from growing up in a cult, to adjusting with American culture, the many ways in which I was conditioned by my child sexual abuse is coming out in deeper ways.

Excerpt from “Rise of Sila”:I feel confused and lost.  Boys come to school all the time with “love marks”, as everyone calls them, on their necks.   Why does that make me bad?  When it comes to boys, things aren’t so different in this world than they were back on the farm.  Boys get treated better out here too. Girls? We’re dumped if we say no when they want to have sex with us and sluts if we say yes.  My second lesson is that because I am a girl, even in this new world, I will still never be right.

Eventually Mama does ask me where Russ is; why he doesn’t call anymore.  I tell her he met another girl and doesn’t want to talk to me anymore.  Mama spends the next hour telling me that men are shit.  They’re all shit.  They take and take. That’s it.  So, I should expect it.  I should never trust a man as far as I can throw him.  If I carry one thing into my adult life I better take this one, Mama rants on.   Her voice fades into the distance as it has come to do when she begins to lecture.

I won’t listen. I will grow up to become battered and bruised by the men I would choose.  I will also become hardened.   She’s right about one thing, though.  Right now, as I sit here listening to her, I know I’ll never be able to trust a boy.”

My mother reinforced in me an ideal that males can never be trusted.  She did so any time a boy I liked didn’t like me back.  While she had strict rules about boys, so I wouldn’t look like a “slut“, such as not allowing me to call them because a “lady” always lets a boy call her, she also projected her own hate for men out through my coming of age experiences.

The layers of aftermath created by the abuse of Sam Fife’s Move of God did not end the day we boarded a plane at the Fairbanks, AK airport in 1984 and flew off to Tennessee.  It would settle into my skin and dominate how I experienced every aspect of my life in regard to relationships.

Writing this sequel is, at times, daunting.  Stories I once told as funny, in short, cryptic and satirical form, now take on a different perspective as I re-live the experiences.  They’re not so humorous anymore.  They are painful and raw.  They are a direct look into my own reality.

Most of all, they are making their way out of my DNA, through my fingertips, and into the pages of a book, which continues to tell my true story through the eyes of a girl named Sila.

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Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

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Lost Letters

As I was going through some boxes that have been packed up for some time, I came across a bundle of letters. There were nine of them. They were all dated throughout the year of 1993.

I had just left college in Tennessee and moved to Washington State. I was in a foreign culture and in varying states of emotional trauma. I was pregnant with my youngest son and had a four year old child to care for. I felt alone and scared. Morning sickness was rocking my body. I was in deep need of support. The life I had imagined I was moving to was not as I had pictured.

I sat cross legged on my bed the other night, excited to read the letters. I couldn’t remember their context so they were new to me. During that time was the first that my sister and I had been separated by miles, since we’d left the cult. She was now married and off living her life.

I must have been writing to her about the despair I was in, based on her responses. The first couple of letters from her contained the average “Hi! How are you doing? I am fine.” generic theme.

Then I read on and became internally disturbed. My first irritation rose at her continual referring to my unborn child as “Shanaynay“, due to he/she (the gender of my infant unknown then) is a multicultural child. Every letter had the same line in it at some point.

So how’s Shanaynay doing?”

I cringed every time I read it.

I opened the sixth letter.

Hey Bitch! Relationship this! Relationship that! Don’t you have anything else to write about other than your fucking relationship?”

No, I thought. I didn’t. I was alone in a strange city. I had left my whole life, family and friends in Tennessee. I was in cultural trauma. I was having panic attacks. I was arguing with my partner. Things weren’t as they were supposed to be. I was rocked to my core. I had no one to talk to except her.

Letter eight made me wince even more. It bothered me when she called my unborn child Shanaynay. This reference felt intentional and racist.  I had obviously expressed this to her at one point.

So how’s Shanaynay? (Does that still bother you?)

I sat reading all of the different jobs her husband was going to have.
Refinery. We’ll be in the money!”

Job after job, fake happiness after fake happiness, to the point that she had to continually say it in the midst of my own churning hurtful life.
I am so happy with my husband.”

I sat with the letters in my lap. Twenty five years would pass by. She would call me panicked, vomiting out the years of verbal abuse she had taken from him. She would leave and go back. She would ghost everyone who ever fought for her. She would do it in the same coldness from which she had written these letters.

I sat on my bed realizing why I had held my family at bay in those later years, always feeling different, set apart, standing in the shadows of my own broken heart. She had chosen the other spectrum; the one filled with things that make people feel they have worth, and I chose to face the hurt.

I am wistful for dreams we had of lounging on beaches with drinks. I hurt for the cruel words thrown out in spite and the loss of a sibling who is still alive.

I have come to live in acceptance. I keep my spirit attached to my tribe, growing, healing and expanding. Yet, when she drifts my mind, I wince a bit. The cult broke her into pieces, and she walks behind a mask, unable to gather the shreds of her own greatness.

And I hope. I always hope, that she will return to who she was before they stripped us and tore our family apart.

How I Was Trauma Bonded With God

I was introduced to a man named God when I was just a little girl. He was a massive figure emerging from the clouds, often with furrowed, gray eyebrows, pointing a finger at the sinners below him. He was a magician who created a planet with a wave of his hand. He had a dramatic story, with a top soldier who abandoned him and took part of his army. But he protected the ones who were loyal to him.

and if I was a good girl, God would love and protect me too. If I could become clean of the sin through which I was born, God would love me forever and ever. Yet, if I could not become pure in his eyes, God would set his rage on me, dooming me to burn and scream in pits of fire.

So began my journey into being the victim of a learned love/hate relationship with my apparent spiritual father and the only man to whom I should ever be the most loyal. One day, though, I would begin to reason in my mind.

“How are there pictures of someone whom no human has ever seen?”

“Why is it, no matter how well I behave, I am still molested and beat?”

“Why won’t God fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can understand his tongues language?”

“What have I done wrong that God is not protecting or loving me?”

“Why is God so mad at me?”

God made me walk on eggshells, wishing I could hide beneath a blanket or a tree so he couldn’t see me, but he allegedly spies constantly and has eyes so big he can see everything at all times. There was no hiding for me. Humans watched me, and so did God.

I yearned for God’s love. I longed to fit in with the rest of the cult children. Yet, there I was, feeling as if I always stood on the edge, looking in on a fervor I could never quite achieve. So then…

I must be bad like the adults say I am.
I can’t identify the badness.
It’s my fault I’m scared.
It’s my fault I don’t say no to Brother Ray.
It’s my fault because I take the cookies.
It’s my fault I talk loud.

It’s my fault. It’s my fault. It’s my fault. Those words will stay, long after I grow up and escape God.

But I’m only eight, and right now God owns my mind. God started owning my mind when I was three.

I will strive for God’s love, beg for His forgiveness for whatever I may have done wrong, even if I don’t know what it is. I will accept his hatred of me. I will teeter on this wire, traumatically, mentally fragmented, long after his illusionary existence shatters into a million pieces.

I have escaped a plethora of narcissists in my lifetime, but of all the trauma bonding that was injected into my journey here, God’s ripped me apart the most. God’s ego left caverns of echoing scars, repeating threats in my head, leaving me to battle his aftermath even after I came to know that the idea of good behavior buying a golden ticket to a fantastic resurrection show was a hoax.

I would forsake him proudly, but the words of his messages, spoken through the mouths of vile humans, would remain the silver balls traveling the ping pong game that my brain was molded into.

I have a little coping skill I use. Whenever I begin to doubt myself or speak negatively to my own existence, I tell God to shut his imaginary mouth. His ghost doesn’t get to manipulate me anymore. And he does. He shuts the fuck up, because the echo of his programming is under my fingertips now.

Control. Alt. Delete.

All Of This Is Just a Hologram

Endings become beginnings sometimes, and frankly, it doesn’t always feel good. No. It feels like being a valuable crystal ball, dropped and shattered, then listening to the one who drops me saying,

“Ah. It’s just stuff.”

Yanno what?

My heart isn’t monetary. I’m not just stuff.

“Well, I paid you back.” does not erase the abandonment, because my emotional well being doesn’t compute out as dollar bills. I’m not a soul stripper. Lines on an accounting spreadsheet do not equate to heartbeats.

You have thrust me back into the wake of my mother’s mind control, choosing me for rescue when you needed me, then throwing me away to return back to your abusive Handler. I am sitting here in the dining room of the tabernacle, again, and you are my robotic mother, a puppet choosing to ignore me because that is God’s will.

You find a million reasons to make villians out of anyone who reminds you of what you should face in yourself. You’ve done the same as Mama did, without a care of your aftermath. What a selfish and self-righteous act, but as I always do; I bounce back.

There’s a pattern in this process of disregard, greed and apathy. It manifests as suffering; the wicked dying slow deaths of cancer and pain. Some call it karma. I say it’s self manifestation.

I am ignored just like Mama chose to do to me, justified inside because I am sin and everything that makes the world bad, harlot and whore, tainted child not good enough for the righteous ones standing on the pedestal of hypocritical judgment.

Yet, still I win, because sister, I am free, and as much as I struggle; as often as I stumble, I am my own now. I answer to no man or woman. I am free to be who I want to be. I am not bound to any one else’s opinion of me. And yes, for me, THAT, is ultimate freedom.

I never belonged to a group, as lonely as it got at times. It just never felt right to be inside of one. I’ve become at peace with it now; being the worst of the bunch; not fitting into the image of your pinned down scarves hiding the beauty you cant see in yourself, and the denial that your existence is sub-human to his.

You chose the cult of an isolated marriage riddled with religious gossip, drama, angst and pain. It must all feel familiar. I used to understand. Manipulation began at seven. Pain numbed by eight and the rest just a silent hoping that the truth doesn’t have to exist. That’s how you’ve always handled it.

I grew up in handkerchiefs and bonnets hiding my baby face from long hours working in sun drenched fields. I need my hair to flow free and not let my mistakes own me. We will always be Celie and Nettie, but this time, Nettie walks away on her own, because finery becomes more important than family. And Celie continues her rising because if there’s one thing I know, its thriving inside the layers of surviving.

I will not hide myself away; not like you. I am not worthless. I cannot be bought, and that makes me priceless. We are the remnants of what was done to us, and this time, I won’t deny the depth of the loss you have created. I will ride it to the moon, become cloud and mist because all of this is just a hologram.

Yesterday Was Her Birthday and It Never Crossed My Mind

I knew I was shut down to her when I stopped praying for her every day.” My sister said.

I’ve never prayed for her. I don’t pray period. I’m non-religious, humanist, truther, but pray to a man-made entity? Not for me. I don’t even think of her fondly like I used to. I just think of what the cult formed her to be; a hardened, judgmental, passive aggressive, Narcissistic woman we called Mother.

Yesterday was her birthday, and it never crossed mine or my sister’s minds. We are just miles from her grave and feel no urge to go and visit it. We are closed off now.  She is ashes to ashes, dust to dust, cycled back into the dark matter. Did she come from there, meant to return to the nothingness that she became after Sam Fife’s Move of God cult took control of her mind?

As I write the sequel to Cult Child, the reality of who my mother became boils to the surface like a volcano. Stories I once thought funny now churn with the sadness and hurt of a woman who lost her spirit to an intricate ring of religious fanatics. They starved her, then criticized her when she got fat again. They treated our family like we were infected because we had no father. They urged her to divorce my dad, then abused her for being an unmarried woman. The mind control enacted on my mother, causing her to participate and validate horrific abuses against us children, is deeper than any ocean ever dove into. Some call it a rabbit hole. I call it a bottomless abyss.

Every once in a while an ex-cult member will exclaim how wonderful my mother was, and I shake my head silently. As most Narcissistic people are she was a fake angel to those she wanted to impress or gain something from and a human of horrific personality behind closed doors.

It’s easier to talk about it. I can keep things short and sweet, tell the story in skeleton form so the listener gets it, and move on. Writing it out is much different. I am traveling deeply into the abyss, using ankle weights to sink me as far as my lungs can manage.  I am examining every angle to see and understand how fragmented Mother became, pieces of evil following us into life after the cult.  She was so fragmented that she remained friends with the wife of my sister’s rapist up until my mother died.

What kind of mother does that to a child?
What kind of shattering did it take for the cult leaders to convince her to let them have her children?

These answers, I’ll never know. My mother is dead. What I have is acceptance of what was, and a long journey of memories still left to purge from my body.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I didn’t remember.
Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I don’t care.

I cannot succumb to the ridiculous notion of honoring parents just because she hosted my birth onto this planet. I was dying in her stomach before I even arrived. Does she deserve honor? Does she deserve respect? Some might say yes, she does.

I say no. She does not. There is no forgiveness without accountability, and that is something she can never give to me now. I do not believe in the notion that forgiveness is needed in order to heal and thrive. Just acceptance that there are malevolent humans wandering soulless through this planetary plane, and one of them end up being my Mother.

This was the last photo taken of me before the cult sucked her into their claws.  I wonder if she ever thought about how small my hands were, the dimples in my fingers, or how tiny my face was inside of those curls.   I never heard fond stories of my babyhood or reminiscing of when I was small.  Maybe she stayed silent because then the questions would come; questions that spawned answers that didn’t fit into the truth of what happened to us.  I look at my face, and I weep for a little girl who only had two years of happiness before spending the rest of her childhood in hell.

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