Deception by Organized AbuserGroups by Dr. Alison Miller
Thinking through the Issuesand helping your clients think them throughand resist the behaviors which those deceptions were designed to produce
Why We Must Understand What Perpetrator Groups Do:
From an online post by Harvey Schwartz:Demystification is essential to our work. If therapists do not know or understand the specific methods, madness and dynamics of organized perpetrator groups including mind control, bizarre but strategic set-ups, lethal twinning, patterns of interlocking lethal double binding and variations on coerced perpetration (a topic I know you know is a deepdeepconcern and interest of mine within the trauma field) our patients will be insidiously abandoned (without professionals treating them even realizing it) to their own dissociative worlds of internalized domination, annihilating shame, and soul murder. And, their heartbreaking spirit-crushing isolation will be reinforced without anyone ever realizing this. Then, patients' acting out, retreat, or other mysterious behaviors in therapy might be misrecognized by ill-informed, or limited informed therapists who may end up frustrated and perhaps even acting out their helplessness and frustration on the patient, further reinforcing the pathological belief systems installed by the perpetrators and cultivated in years of living hell.
How It Helps Our Clients If We Know:(Harvey Schwartz, continued):
It is so important for our field to educate the larger trauma and mental health field about what survivors have actually lived through, as well as the what and how of the machinations of the perpetrators so therapists' minds and hearts can stretch to provide the kinds of holding, witnessing, containment and demystification necessary for healing extremely malevolent trauma. More than anything it is essential to realize that traumatized patients will not reveal to us or themselves, these extremely bizarre and sadistic experiences if they do not sense that we have some ability to "go there." And, more than that, an ability to willingly and courageously go there with them, but to go there with a combination of compassion, ferocity, and acceptance.This latter combination of therapists' positioning may sound impossible to achieve or synergize, but it is, in my experience, the best set of ingredients for a therapeutic posture that combines exposure of the patterns of subjugation (psychoeducation/witnessing/deconstruction) with contextualization, demystification, humanizing protest responses on behalf of the patient and a reparative (shame and guilt defusing) relationship experience. Also, from a simpler point of view, all of this will lead to a patient feeling that she or he can be fully known, seen, accepted and loved with all of the shadow and light in her or his life history and identity. Maybe that is the most powerful healing element of all we can offer. As we know inclusivity, human tenderness, and mutuality break down compartmentalization, dissociation, and isolation.
Mind Control Always Involves Deception
To control someone when they aren’t in your presence, you must make them believe such things as:You always know where they areYou know what they are doing and thinkingYou have the power to kill them or their loved ones at any time without getting caughtYou are the only ones who can keep them safeYou are fighting for a righteous cause, and so are they when they obey your orders
Simple Mind Control
Groups like ISIS who recruit teenagers rely on the developmental need for purpose and doing something worthwhile which will improve the world. Not really any different from Christian groups who evangelize teens. But more exciting and dramatic. So their message to the young persons is about their power and their rightness.People who enslave children for sexual purposes rely on their fear and their inability to escape. They also rely on the knowledge that these children will dissociate the memories when they grow older. So their message is about their power and ability to punish.
Complex Mind Control
Sophisticated abuser groups (including Satanic and other ritualistic ones) begin with infants, use torture to split the mind, and tell different lies to different s to ensure their obedience.They are aware of dissociation, and deliberately structure their victims’ personality systems.They are aware of developmental stages, and which deceptions work best at each stage. They rely on inner child parts to control older parts through their belief in the deceptions and subsequent terror.Older insiders are in charge of the younger ones. Older ones fear the perpetrators themselves. Younger ones fear the older ones.
The Purpose of Deceptions
The general purpose is to control children and prevent them from speaking out about their abuse, even after they grow up, so that the abusers can continue perpetrating this abuse without being caught.In addition, each specific lie has a specific purpose, which benefits the abusers but not the victim.Every lie has one or more deceptions to prove its “truth.”
Methods of Deception
Drugs to distort the victim’s perceptionCostumesStaged scenariosStory books, nursery rhymesMovies, video games, virtual realityTelling a drugged and tortured child the lies he or she has to believeRepeating at home the lies told during the training
Drugs to Aid Deception
Some drugs (tranquillizers) increase suggestibility and passivity—used to help kids believe lies and keep still when being abusedSome (amphetamines) induce arousal and apparent anger or rage—used to help kids perpetrate and believe they want to perpetrateSome (hallucinogens) distort perception and create hallucinations—used with suggestion to implant bizarre lies, like “you are an alien”Some (MDMA, ecstasy) enhance pleasure—used during sexual events or orgies, including when a child has to sexually abuse othersSome (antipsychotics) block awareness of other inside people—used to convince “front people” that they are not multiple
As I discuss each of the following deceptions, I will tell you how some survivors I know were deceived. This does not mean the same thing happened to your clients. Just because I talk about it does not mean it istheirexperience. Organized perpetrator groups use many different techniques and deceptions.Some of the deceptions I shall describe involve torture and pain and even forced perpetration. Hearing about this can cause vicarious traumatization.If you are a survivor, make sure it is your front people or inner leaders who listen to this presentation. Keep the traumatized child parts of you safe deep inside so they are not triggered into remembering their trauma or doing their jobs.
Deception: “Your memories aren’t real.”
People tell the survivor:You got the idea from TV, or from moviesOr from online discussions and reading other people’s experiencesOr from your therapist (Watch out! Be sure you don’t make suggestions to your clients about their alleged abuses being real or unreal.)Or it was a dream.If you say such things, you are crazy and will be locked up and drugged. (Some victims are actually locked up and drugged (and abused in the “hospital”) as kids when they begin to remember or disclose.)These things are usually said by parents, when a child starts to remember. Of course, parents are usually involved in the abuses.When an adult survivor starts to remember, she will hear the parent’s voice saying these things.Encourage your client to think: Who said this? Can their words be trusted? Can you remember who first told you this?
Deceptions to prove memories aren’t real
The fake murder: This is a memory which is designed to come up if the grown child begins to remember important things. She remembers a child she knew being murdered, e.g. at a ritual. She reports it to police. They investigate and find the person alive. This discredits any other allegations she might make. (Ask the client whether any other parts of her remember the person alive at a later time.)The bizarre scenario, e.g. alien abduction. Also designed to come up if she remembers real things. A staged event or movie. (Gather alters involved in this memory from start to finish; find what happened just before and after the event. Get the story from safety through the event and back to safety.)Something which appears to be like a movie: It may have been a movie which she was told was about her. (Ask about sounds, the presence of other people, where she was at the time, etc. Abuser groups use commercial ones and private ones, e.g. of Hitler’s soldiers marching, or pornographic scenarios. And they make movies, e.g. of a sacrifice performed by a child.)Drugged sleep interrupted by abuses, then mother coming in and reassuring her it was just a dream, she is safe. (Ask about before and after.)
Deception: “We (Abusers) Know Everything About You.”
“We know where you go and what you do and what you say and even what you think. We can always find you.”“Satan’s eyes see everything; Satan’s ears hear everything.”“We know things by magic.”“The crows (spiders, squirrels, ants) tell us.”“We put a device in your body which tells us what you do and say and think.” (False, except for cellphones: they can now report location or conversations.)We can kill you or take you away for ever if you talk.Everyone you know is one of us and will tell on you. (Possibly at least somewhat true: Often a survivor’s friends are other survivors forced to report on one another.)
Deceptions to Prove Abusers’ Knowledge
Child is told to hide; abusers find and abuse her.Hidden cameras, hidden microphone; abusers tell child what she did or said when they were not present.Child is put in a room with plastic “ears” stuck on the wall (“the walls have ears”)“Satan’s eyes” are pictures pasted on wall or on the child’s crib, and inside parts are instructed to show these if the client misbehaves.Simulated surgeries to insert device or bomb (Child is anesthetized in a “hospital,” then awakened and shown an X-ray with a bomb in someone.)All crows look alike. Give facts about how far crows can fly, etc.Every child has to watch a “traitor” be killed and participate. (The group can’t just kill anyone who has a public identity.)(Ask the client how she knows they know. Get the essence of the memory, then explain how that trick could be done.)
Teach the Client About Reporter s
Reporter parts (young children) are trained to report to abusers, because abusers know everything and if they don’t report, they are punished. This is a setup in childhood.System leaders and front people are not supposed to know about reporter parts.If you can get the system to find and identify the reporter parts (and their backups) they can report to you or to the internal copies of the group leaders instead.
Deceptions about Whom to Trust
“You can trust us; we’re your family. You can’t trust anyone else.”Setup where child has to choose between people in black robes and people in ordinary clothes. The robed people are nice and the ordinary people abuse her.Child is triggered to tell a “counsellor” or “therapist” about an event, then that person abuses her, or puts her in a hospital where she is abused.Same deception with telling a doctor about injuries.Same deception with telling a uniformed police person about crimes; the victim who tells is put in jail and abused there.One or more members of the group, usually family members, become confidantes to whom parts report, and these people don’t abuse the child; they just tell on her. (Help your client share information internally about this. Find the innocent child parts who talk to these people.)
Deceptions about Morality:Good and Bad Behavior
What makes a behavior, or a person, good or bad?Children are taught that obedience is good, and disobedience is bad. And obeying is “being good.” Many ordinary parents who don’t belong to perpetrator groups teach their kids this. Is it true? Did you ever question it?The Golden Rule (in all religions) states: treat others the way you want them to treat you. (“Do unto others what you would have them do unto you,” or “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”) This is a higher definition of goodness.What if you are told to obey an order to do something awful to another person or animal?Children have an instinctive morality—even though they are egocentric, they know it is wrong to harm others, and their mirror neurons allow them to feel something of someone else’s pain. They know that obeying such an order is wrong.
A double bind—a situation where there is no good choice: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
A child is given a choice about obeying by harming a person or animal.If the child refuses to do it, the adults tell the child he or she is bad, and punish the child severely, to the point where a new is split off by the punishment. The child is given the same choice again, and again, and again.If the child obeys and does it, the adults tell the child he or she is evil and will end up in hell. And more lies: that the group accepts the child, and if the child continues to obey, he or she will get to be in charge in hell and not be hurt.This creates “moral injury.” One survivor says “It hurts myme.”Many survivors have numerous “garbage kids” inside, child parts who refused to do evil. If the choice is repeated enough times, a part will eventually come out and do what is required to get the inevitable over with.
Another Double Bind
A child is told to harm a person or animal, or the abusers will harm someone the child loves, or will harm the victim more severely than the child would do. The child makes the least harmful choice available, butit is stillharmful, the lesser of two evils. This creates moral injury to the child.The insiders who have done this harm are labeled as evil or “dark,” and other insiders are told to avoid them. When other insiders draw close, they feel the sadness and shame of the “dark” ones, and think they are sensing evil.This still happens to some adult victims, e.g. if they go home to family who belong to an abuser group, they are made to perpetrate. How can your client avoid being put in this situation?The adult victims are also told if they don’t show up for rituals, someone will be punished in their stead. In general, the abusers will harm someone in retaliation for someone else’s disobedience only if the disobedient person is present to watch. In some cases they might send a video (which can be fake). If they do, can your client overcome your training and hand it over to law enforcement? It is a deception that all law enforcement people belong to the group. Most do not.
Lies About Loyalty
Loyalty is made a big deal in the perpetrator groups. Children are told they must be loyal to their “family.” Or if the have been trained as “soldiers,” they are told they must be loyal by obeying their superiors. They are told that disloyal children are traitors and deserve severe punishment or death, and most survivors have seen what they believed was a traitor being killed or severely tortured. (It may or may not have been real.)Children are made to make loyalty vows or blood oaths under duress. (Explain that such vows made by children are not legally valid. Children do not choose the groups or people they are supposed to loyal to, or married to.)Children are told that if they obey and are loyal they will rise to high office in the group. (All children are told this, and all have princesses etc. in them. But very few actually rise up like this. Much is predetermined. There are fake promotions with cheap rings and other prizes.)
Deceptions About the Inner World and Inner People
Internal leaders are told they must make their underlings obey or the abusers will find those underlings and punish them, or will punish the internal leaders. (Help your client understand that the abusers don’t actually know which part is “out” in the body, and the gatekeepers can put out someone tougher.)“Non-human” insiders are told they can kill the body and will remain alive.Insiders are made to believe they can commit suicide without harming other insiders. Abusers say they can kill disobedient inner people. They reinforce the illusion of separateness.(Demonstrate that all insiders are in the same body, by writing on one part’s hand then asking someone else to come out and see it.)
Deceptions about Responding to Abusers
“You must always answer the phone/open the door/come when called. If you do, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, something very bad will happen.”There are specific childhood events with the phone, the door, and being called, where severe punishment happens if the child doesn’t obey instantly.It’s important to help all insiders orient to the present and realize the situation they feel stuck in is no longer the case.It helps to hear what happened so you can point out the difference between then and now. Have a calendar available for the date, and point out the size of insiders’ hands so they can see they’re in an adult body.
Deceptions About the Victim’s Nature
An insider is said to be actually the abuser inside the person, often created by his “seed.” It usually carries the abuser’s name and knows his/her history.Insiders are told they were created only to do their jobs and won’t be necessary if they don’t do those jobs. (They were split off from others, not created. If they aren’t used by the abusers, that’s a good thing.)Some insiders are trained to be soldiers who must obey without thinking, and never show weakness or emotion. (They have been dressed in uniforms and trained as if in an army.)An insider is taught that it is an alien, a ghost, a dog, a half-animal, a demon, a monster, a chimera, an evil entity, a sex machine, a robot, or a killing machine … (Drugs, costumes, scenarios.)Some “dark” parts are told they belong to the devil and are evil. (They feel dark to the others because they have had moral injuries from being forced to harm others.)Victims are told that if they love anyone or any creature, they will bring destruction upon that person or creature. (A child is given a puppy to love—and then kill. A child is paired with a disposable child who is then killed.)“God hates you and rejects you.” (Simulated in various ways.)“You belong in hell.” (Simulated.)“You have the psychic power to kill people.” (Simulated.)“You have a dog’s brain, a rat’s brain, Satan’s brain, a black heart.” (Fake surgeries.)
Various Ridiculous Deceptions
Persons who won’t forget things properly are made to appear psychotic so they will be medicated into losing contact with their insiders.You are a character in a movie or video game, a rock star, a celebrity …The voices in your head are your children who are held by the cult in a special underground location.Actual identities of perpetrators are disguised while famous names are substituted through masks etc.Abusers say they are cartoon characters.
Don’t Get Sucked In
I’ve met therapists who believed every preposterous thing their clients believed.This happens especially when those beliefs coincide with the therapist’s own belief system: e.g. that the demons and Satan the client saw were real, and that the demon voices from the client were real demons.This also happens when the therapist is scared, e.g. that the cult will kill the therapist and his or her children.And I’ve met therapists who don’t believe the abuses were real because the clients had strange beliefs which were achieved by the perpetrators through disguises and deceptions.It is important to distinguish between the actual abuses and the deceptions attached to those abuses, deceptions which are often the purpose of those abuses.
A regular-life example: a Canadian TV ad praising a proposed pipeline, saying it is good for Canada and for the environment.Evaluate the context of the argument. (Canada has been involved in a huge disagreement between the province of Alberta, which wants more oil money, and British Columbia, which wants to preserve ocean life, which means reducing oil tanker traffic. This pipeline would lead to a vast increase in tanker traffic.)Evaluate the evidence. (In the past, the more oil has been sold, the more oil has been produced, and the more oil-based jobs are available, so no alternative energy has been produced.)Evaluate the logic of the argument. (This ad argues that more oil pipelines will enable Canada to develop more alternative energy sources. That is completely illogical.)Evaluate the credentials and the honesty (or bias) of the person who makes the statement. (That ad came from the government of Alberta, which used to make massive money from oil and is now losing money.)
Critical Thinking Applied to a Cult-Related Belief
Belief: the cult actually inserted demons into your client in childhood.Evidence: The client hears demonic voices making threats, or has insiders who speak in demonic voices and make threats.By what criteria do you judge whether this belief is true?Some Christian groups have criteria for telling the difference between an alter personality pretending to be a demon and a real demon: the “real demons” sound meaner and act scared at the mention of Jesus. Are these valid criteria?Their assumptions: There are real demons which can inhabit a person. These demons can actually be put into a child when she is tortured into inviting them in during a ceremony. Are these fair assumptions? (The Bible says nothing about demons being put into children by people, even though people in biblical times did believe someone could be possessed.)
Who Taught You About This? And Why?
You need to look at the credentials and honesty and the bias of people who taught your that he or she is infested with demons. The job of “demons” in most survivors is to frighten the other insiders into obedience to the abuser group.The context is all the client’s memories regarding demons. You will probably find (1) A ritual in which torture by persons in costumes of demons and/or Satan produced a new insider who was said to be a demon; (2) later memories of “big demons” (in adult bodies) training “little demons” (in child bodies) in how to behave and sound like demons.Why should demons need to be trained here on earth by bigger demons? Such a memory should make you suspicious. Surely demons don’t have to be trained to behave like demons.
Critical Thinking Applied to Mind-Control Related Beliefs:Context, Evidence, Logic, Trustworthiness of Source of Belief
Belief that the client’s memories are not valid.Belief that the cult can find the client anywhere.Belief that the cult knows what the client is thinking at all times.Belief that the therapist or someone else the client loves will be killed if the client discloses anything.Belief that a bomb in the client’s abdomen will explode if he or she talks about the abuse.Belief that the client has the ability to kill with her mind.Beliefs of some parts that they do not belong to the body.Look for the trickery in the events where the belief was acquired. Note the age of the child parts who are central to these memories.
Child Parts Believe the Deceptions
Because the affected parts are children and think like children. Their thinking is concrete, not abstract. “My hand held the knife so I am a killer.”Because they don’t have access to contradictory information. For example, they think they still live with the abusers and don’t know it’s 40 years later and the abusers are dead and they live 2000 miles away. They live in a very limited bubble of past time and space, except for their interactions with you.Because they have been taught that adults know and speak the truth.Because they are driven by terror and shame. They say and do and believe whatever was necessary to avoid extreme punishment.
What have you found when you try to convince clients of the truth?
It is very difficult to convince a young child of the logic or illogic of his or her beliefs. Or of the factual vs. non-factual basis. They don’t understand, or they move into terror as they approach the trauma which convinced them of the truth of what they were told during that trauma.It is very difficult to move child parts out of the little bubble of past trauma in which they live. Only working through the memory which split off such parts will give them access to a larger picture and allow them to mature.Older insiders who have experience living in the present may be able better than we can to help the child parts understand how things have changed.Do children know when an adult is lying? It may need to be pointed out to them, with concrete examples.
Truth and Falsehood in Perpetrator Families
Survivors, including their child parts, need to recognize that perpetrator adults tell lies. I have found it difficult to explain lying to very young children or child parts. Although children’s normal lying has been studied, there is no research on when children understand that adults are lying. Regular kids often can’t understand adults deceiving or lying until they are old enough to know the difference between truth and lies in what they themselves say.In perpetrator families, kids are told lies constantly and expected to both believe and repeat those lies. Perpetrators instruct them to “tell the truth”—which means whatever the perpetrators say is the truth.Children lie (to avoid “trouble” or just using their imagination) unless they are taught that adults know the truth and will punish all lies. So perpetrator parents teach them to lie to others and always tell the truth to them, as they know everything.
Challenging the Deceptions
Abusers’ power over victims depends on their victims believing their lies, and that power can be diminished when victims see through the lies told to their young parts.It is important for therapists to use critical thinking to discern the deceptions, and to help their mind-controlled clients do the same.Child insiders who believe the deceptions are motivated by very strong negative emotions. These emotions leak through to older insiders, leading them to believe things someone of that age would not normally believe.It is important to help older insiders learn to think critically about what their child insiders believe, to recognize that perpetrators tell lies to children and adults, and to check those statements against reality.First, they may need to learn to think at all. Often they have been deliberately taught not to think. “Don’t think, just act.”
Helping Clients Detect Deceptions and Lies
The therapeutic relationship can be the venue for your client’s first experiments in thinking for herself. Such clients come in expecting us to be their new handler, and to tell them what to think. We must not accept this invitation. We need to encourage them to think for themselves, and to disagree with us, noticing and appreciating that disagreement.It’s the therapist’s deep connection with the client’s core self, and validation of that core self, that enables the client to think for herself.The perpetrator groups usually place 12 or 13 year old parts in charge of the system. These internal leaders have the ability to challenge the deceptions and to restrain the young terrified parts and prevent them from doing their assigned jobs.
Alison Miller’s Writings on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control
Miller, A. (2014).Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse. London:Karnac.Miller, A. (2012).Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control.London:Karnac.Hoffman, W. & Miller, A. (2018).From the Trenches: A Victim and Therapist Talk about Mind Control and Ritual Abuse.London:Karnac.Miller, A. (2019). Therapeutic neutrality, ritual abuse and maladaptive daydreaming.Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation,1(3).Miller, A. & Gingrich, H.D. (2018). The treatment of ritual abuse and mind control. In Gingrich, H.D. & Gingrich, F.C.Treating trauma in Christian counselling.Inter-Varsity Press.Miller, A. (2016). What's different about ritual abuse and mind control? Chapter 10, pp. 221-232 in Sinason, V. &Van der Merwe, A. P.Shattered but Unbroken: Voices of Triumph and Testimony.London:Karnac.Miller, A. (2016).Reflections on having my name used. Pp. 24-29 in Sinason, V. &Van der Merwe, A. P.Shattered but Unbroken: Voices of Triumph and Testimony.London:Karnac.Miller, A. (2015). Foreword toBreitenbach, G.Inside Views from the Dissociated Worlds of Extreme Violence: Human Beings asMerchandise.London:Karnac(translated from German).Miller, A. (2012). Dialogue with the higher-ups. Pp. 111-132 in Vogt, R. & Vogt, I. (Eds.)Perpetrator Introjects: Psychotherapeutic Diagnostics and Treatment Models.Kroning:AsangerVerlag.Miller, A. (2008). Recognizing and treating survivors of abuse by organized criminal groups. Chapter 17, pp. 479-490 inNoblitt, R. &Noblitt, P. P. (Eds.)Ritual Abuse in the 21stCentury. Bandon, Oregon: Robert D. Reed Publishers.Miller, A. (1998). Treatment of a Young Female Pedophilic Offender with Dissociative Identity Disorder,Treating Abuse Today,8(2), 15-23.
Alison Miller’s Other Writings:
Miller, A. (2017). Dissociation in families experiencing intimate partner violence.Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 18 (3),The Abused and the Abuser: Victim-Perpetrator Dynamics, 427-440.Miller, A. (2006). The Role of Dissociation in Spouse Abuse. In Jackson, N.A. (Ed.)Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence.New York: Routledge.Miller, A. (1998). The Dissociative Dance of Spouse Abuse,Treating Abuse Today,8(3), 9-18.Miller, A. & Rees, A. (2008.)The Parent-Child Connection: A Manual for Effective Family Living.Victoria, B.C.: LIFE Seminars Press.Miller, A. & Rees, A. (2007.)Sidestepping the Power Struggle: A Manual for Effective Parenting.Victoria, B.C.: LIFE Seminars Press.