How the Cult Programs People--Part 1
This article, consistent with others I have written, is a very difficult one personally. Why? Because it touches on some of the things that I am most ashamed of in my own life. I used to be a cult programmer, or "trainer" as they are called, and here I will share some of what I did or witnessed while in that role. I also went through these things as a child, so this article is also quite autobiographical as well. Autobiography can be a moment of boasting, of quiet joy, or intense pain. Mine falls in the latter category, to say the least. But I am hoping with all of my heart that sharing my pain will help others avoid this pain, or will help society better understand what survivors go through.
This article will in no means be a complete treatment of the subject. Cult programming is a complex subject, one that would fill volumes and volumes if dealt with beyond a surface description. Also, I can only write from my own experiences with the Illuminati, which is one of several groups operating today, and about the techniques used in the Washington, DC area and in San Diego, Ca. Other localities might use very different techniques.
This article does NOT take the place of advice from a qualified therapist, and is meant to be informative only. If you are a survivor of cult abuse, please be aware that this article and the subject it covers could be extremely triggering, and keep yourself safe.
Why does the cult train or program people? In earlier articles, I have mentioned the goals they have of:
Programming, or training, is one method that the cult has found that will ensure that these goals are met. In the Illuminati, the programmers are called "trainers" because the belief is that they are not abusing, but "training" the future generation. The trainers actually believe that they are doing a good thing, "strengthening" the children, helping them to get in touch with their "potential."
Some of these methods have been around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. I will divide cult programming into five major categories, and address each one separately:
1. training to be silent
2. training to be strong
3. training to be loyal
4. training for jobs in the group
5. spiritual training
The first category, training to be silent, begins at a very young age, frequently preverbal. This is accomplished in several ways, depending upon the child and the trainer, and can include:
Being asked after a ceremony what the child saw and heard. The very young child may just say "bad things", and is punished severely and brutally, and told that no, they didn't really see those things. This is repeated at frequent intervals, until the child learns to block the ceremonies. Often, a "protector" or "guardian" alter will be created from the abuse, whose job is to ensure that the child will not remember what is seen. This protector is told that if the child does remember, brutal punishment will follow.
Another method involves electroshocking the child, and placing them into a deep hypnotic trance, where they are told that they will not remember what they have seen or heard, that it is all "just a bad dream." The child WANTS to forget, and will be eager to agree.
Psychological torture may be used: mock burials, being placed in cages, abandonment, being hung over a bridge, with the child later being "rescued" and told that if they ever tell, they will be returned to the punishment.
Being forced to watch mock or real punishment or killing of a traitor who "told". When I was four years old, I was forced to watch a woman be skinned alive. Her crime: she disclosed to an outside person "family business". Talking to those outside the group is considered one of the worst crimes or betrayals a person can commit. A "traitor's death" is one of the most horrifying imaginable, and will vary from crucifixion upside down, to other gruesome scenarios. Young children do not forget seeing these things, and they become convinced that not disclosing is the safest way to continue living.
These set ups are done to ensure that a young child will not disclose the criminal activities that they are seeing in the course of group activites, or even as an adult, when they are more actively engaged in them.
Another set up also is frequently done: The "no one will believe you scenario" (this is usually done with school age children). The child is told repeatedly that even if they DO disclose that no one will believe them. The child is taken by a mental hospital, or even taken to visit an inmate briefly. Later, the child is told that people who disclose are considered "crazy" and sent to institutions, where they are punished severely and can never leave. These lies are told to reinforce once again the importance of not telling.
Another set up may include the "everyone is part of it" set up. The child is told that actually, everyone is secretly part of the group, but people are just good pretenders during the daytime. The child will be taken to dinner at a member's house, where everyone acts normal, then later a ritual or ceremony follows. The child will then believe that there is no escape, since everyone is part of the group. Since most of the adults close to his/her parents are part of the group, there is no reason to question the logic of what they are told.
The set ups and psychological conditioning to not tell are endless, limited only by the cruel creativity of the adults around the child.
Training to be strong:
This type of training will also begin at a very young age, often in the toddler years. The child is put through a series of conditioning exercises whose goals are to: increase the pain threshold increase physical fitness increase dissociative ability force quick memorization of material (school age child) create fear and the desire to please
These exercise might include: mock military training, with marches, and playing "prisoner and guard"; shocking the child; physical abuse and torture, drugging the child or adult; placing the child into cages, where they are shocked; deprivation of food, water, or sleep; abandonment for varying amounts of time; forcing the child to watch brutalities and the abuse of others. The child is taught to be completely silent during the above; to endure it without question. If the child screams, they are punished extremely, and told that this is "weakness". The child is taught to fear their own emotions, since they are quickly and mercilessly punished for expressing them. The scenes go on and on, the above are just a few methods used.
Training to be loyal
The third area of training encompasses a broad area of behaviour. Loyalty involves agreement with the group, espousing its doctrines and beliefs. This training is at times more subtle, but it also is one of the most powerful pulls to the group.
Adults in the group model complete loyalty to their children. Getting out, leaving, or questioning the group's beliefs are rarely or never seen, and the retaliation for questioning those in authority is quick and brutal. A person seen questioning the rightness of things, or balking at doing their job might be sent in for "retraining", ie being shocked and tortured back into submission.
But often adults often believe the goals of the group are GOOD. They are convinced that they are helping the children, and in classes children are taught why these beliefs are good; about the coming agenda for the group, where they will be the new leaders. Much discussion of the time when the group will "rule the world" is done, to show that they are actually ushering in a new order, when things will be "better for all."
Status and leadership are held out as carrots to group members to work harder and acheive. The rewards of leadership, of moving up, are real, and every member tries to advance themselves. Being higher means less abuse, being able to order others around, and more control in a life that has had precious little control.
Set ups, where a child is allowed to sit in a leader's seat, and is told that one day they, too, will lead, are often done, to increase the loyalty to the group. Awards ceremonies, where those who do well receive badges, jewels, or other rewards in front of others, are frequently done. A child who works hard, who performs well, is praised and allowed to join the adults for coffee or a meal, while the other children look enviously on.
As the child progresses through the system, they do move higher, since adults are always higher than a young child. Now the child who is growing older can boss the younger children, can tell them what to do, can even abuse them with the approval of the adults around. Being very young means being very abused and wounded in these groups; growing older means the chance to finally act out on the rage the abuse has caused. The child begins to identify with the abusing adults, since they are hurt less, and becomes invested in a cult identity as a perpetrator. This is strongly encouraged, as long as the perpetration is not directed at members older or higher than the child or teen.
This locks the child in, as having become "one of them", like them, and the child is bonded to the group by his/her own guilt and shame, as well as the need for outlets for rage and pain that the group allows. The child may feel ambivalence, but also extreme loyalty.
The group or trainer will also tell the child that they are the only ones that really know the child, having seen them act out. That they are the only ones who could see this, and still love them, that no one loves them the way "family" does. The child is bombarded with messages that the group truly accepts them, all of them, knowing the worst about them, to cement the loyalty. The group uses sophisticated techniques based on behavioural psychology to ensure that the child/teen/adult will not even consider leaving the group.
Another form of loyalty programming is "specialness programming". This is where the child is told by the adults or trainer that: they are "high", hidden royalty, or a "hidden" or "adopted" member of a high family line. The child may be told that they will be a world leader who is hidden for now; a special CIA agent, or "one in a thousand, a wunderkind" who will lead as an adult. They may be told that there are very few like them; that no one else can fill their special role; that they are of a special bloodline that is unbroken for thousands of years. This is to increase the child's loyalty to the group. If the child believes that they are merely waiting now for the revealing of their "true, elevated status" one day, they will be much more likely to develop loyalty bonds to the group. This is one of the cruelest tricks the group plays on children, since they have deprived them of normal love and caring, and instead replace it with a false sense of "specialness" or status. Very few survivors getting out of these groups believe that they were low; almost all believe that they were high, or were adopted, but their real family is high, for this reason. This was done to me as well, and as an adult, when I had to tell lies like this to children, I became more and more disillusioned with the group, one of many reasons I finally chose to leave it. I could no longer bear to listen to other trainers and scientists laughing about the gullibility of the people they worked with. I had once been a child, eager to please, and gullible myself. I had believed the lies, and it was a rude awakening to find out I was NOT adopted from a royal line, as I had been told. That I had been manipulated and deceived intentionally to increase my loyalty to the group
© 2000 svali
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If you are going to work with ritual abuse survivors, you must also get educated if you want to be effective. And you must learn to be humble. Trauma survivors do not need to be around ignorant, modern-day Pharisees. Survivors in pain need people who will connect with them on an emotional level, get right down in there where they are, and listen. --Kathleen Sullivan