Brainwashing recovery resources
October 30, 2014 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some resources for my experiences. The best term I've come up with is brainwashing. My therapists do not know of any, but had experience with working with it to an extent.

Any recommendations will be screened through my therapist first because this stuff is intense. To try and give to give some idea of what I'm talking about because brainwashing is a nebulous term used by movies in a military kind of way: this is not quite that. I was sexually abused for years starting at a very young age. Part of this used extensive grooming to the point where I feel it was chorographed. There were repetitive punishments for not following signals. These signals controled physical movements and emotional expression(smile when I do things, relax your shoulders when in pain). These were dictated by my abuser and I absorbed much if it. Most of my interaction with him was dictated even things like greeting him at the door.

I don't want to make a throwaway email but I'll contact the mods to respond to any questions. My therapists are competent people I've worked with for years. I'm going to stay safe and screen any resources through my therapists. I am not going to go and read anything on my own without their explicit permission.

Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Resources like accounts for what worked from other survivors, recommended memoirs, or therapeutic methods and clinical trials that may help? It's not clear what kind of resources - books, people, techniques - you're looking for from your question, although you seem to be asking about re/deprogramming the ingrained responses from abuse?
posted by viggorlijah at 9:06 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

So so sorry you've been through such a horrendous ordeal. Very few therapists have training in brain washing (termed mind control if this was someone in your life you should have been able to trust).. BUT.. the therapist is good and trusted by you - the quality of this relationship is the most important thing.

Check out the work of Steve Hassan (he has a lecture on youtube too :), possibly a book called something like Ritual Abuse; a Manipulation of Attachment Needs (or better still ask your therapist to as could be very triggering for you).

You may find it useful to read up on cults/narcissistic and/or psychopathic abuse also lovebombing, gaslighting/projection etc.

You are right this is very, very dark and heavy stuff to plough through. Try to approach it as if you are a scientist examining a bug (your abuser/s).. this can help you take some power back. Consider discussing empty chair work with your therapist to unleash buried anger in a safe place.

You are far, far from alone in this and incredibly brave to be doing this hard but vital work. Dig deep to find your strength cos you know and I know it is in there by the tonne.

Hugs to you and make sure you balance this work with lighter and pleasurable activity.

Starting an anonyomous twiter account could be a way of keeping up to speed with developments in thinking around this and people choosing to talk out about it, which ofcourse you wouldn't have to do.
posted by tanktop at 3:19 AM on October 31, 2014

I just want to let you know that taking this step for you is so important and I'm happy for you that you are doing what you need to in order to fully heal.
posted by lunastellasol at 3:32 AM on October 31, 2014

You could ask about equine or other animal therapy - I have read it used for abused children who do not trust humans and are hyper aware of body language and perceived threats so feel safer to emotionally connect with an animal. This isn't just riding lessons but directed interactions with a horse that is trained to be very gentle under a therapist's guidance. Part of it is learning who you are in yourself, absent the you defined by others as animals expect food and pats from humans, not socially conditioned roles.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:53 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

This sounds like operant conditioning to me. Would that term help you in your quest for resources? I am on my phone so can't do a good search for you right now, but plug those terms in and see if that helps bring up some new resources.
posted by MultiFaceted at 12:50 AM on November 1, 2014

I thought of Steve Hassan as well. He tends to deal more with cult-style 'brainwashing', but believes that the techniques can be used in any setting or between any number of people. If his work isn't directly useful, I think the bibliography of his book and the links on his website will be a good place to look for related information: Freedom of Mind.
posted by harriet vane at 2:44 AM on November 2, 2014

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