Testimony by Vennie Kocsis
My abuse story is not “typical”, although who is to say that any abuse is typical. My story is a bit different because I am a survivor of ritualistic cult abuse. I share my experiences openly with the intent of connecting with others who have been abused. It’s important to me that we come to know there is healing and survival after the suffering.
In 1973, my mother took me and my siblings, left our father and our family home in San Diego, CA and drove across the country to Ware, Massachusetts where she joined a religious cult called The Move. I was three years old.
While at this facility my family was separated from one another and each placed into different classification units on the compound. The next four years of my childhood became a nightmare filled with ritual beating sessions, sessions involving casting out of “demons”, molestation by multiple men, slave labor working on the compound from dawn till dusk, methodical listening to hours of tapes of preaching, and an overall hopeless existence of disassociation as my body and soul tried to cope with what was being done to it.
Patriarchy Survivor is a blog dedicated to “breaking the silence one testimony at a time”.
Follow at: https://patriarchysurvivor.wordpress.com
I know there’s times
when i feel afraid and
nothin’ you say can
make the fear go away
I’m just a girl who
tries to live this life
the best way I know how but
you don’t understand the times
I feel so alone I could
I could die.
I kept my head up high
when I was a child when
all that I was
stripped from my skin.
I never let them break, no
what lived within and now I,
can’t get the images
from my eyes
oh, what am I doin’ alive?
Oh, Mama don’t you know what you have
all the nights I cry and all
the times I wanna say goodbye
How am I supposed to get through
this human life with
please make it go away, oh.
I said my goodbyes
on the other side when I
chose this life of strife
where I go I don’t know
Every day I
I tell myself it’ll all
but I’m back
in your clutches
I’ve got flashbacks
and bad dreams to keep me warm
and I’ve got
times I can’t even
make myself go to the store
you don’t understand
what it’s like to
enter this world fighting
just to live you
you might know your own story but it’s
nothin’ like mine
I said tonight I’d die it’d be
the last time I cry I would
wipe my eyes and say goodbye
to everything I’ve left behind
I’d tell them don’t be sad
take my words and make them all
understand what they’re doing
what they do to the children
what they do to lives
oh. why can’t I
and go and be so brave
I don’t know
I don’t know why I can’t
I stand right here
in this spot
struggling for my breath and I
I don’t even have the guts
to enter death
this is not a story of
suicide or why
why, I don’t wanna be in this life
this is a refrain of pain
the eyes of disregard
Born from the womb of my destined earth entry vessel, I am Angie. My human mother gave me that name. “Because I loved Angie Dickinson.” She’d say.
Truth is, I was an identical twin. The other twin died towards the end of the 8th month. I was born shortly after, almost dead from illness due to the twin rotting in the sack with me. This was my mother’s story, and she stuck to it. I have never seen my birth records. They are on the Portsmouth, VA, military base somewhere, on some old time film strip. I’ve messaged to attempt to retrieve them. I deeply want to see my birth records.
The language I will use here is psychological speak, and I have my own understanding about Multiple Personality Disorder, or to put it in laymen’s terms, altered states of being ingrained into the psyche through severe childhood trauma. One alter, I would discover, was already a part of me before the abuse, but that is another story. MPD is a controversial diagnosis, and I am aware of this fact. I neither defend nor deny this diagnosis. I don’t find disorder in it at all. In fact it has allowed a severance of organization. I understand that altered states of consciousness are prevalent in those of us who have suffered in extreme ways as children. I accept it as a definition and an identifier to what it is that goes on inside of my existence.
Starting in my mid teenage years, three of my states of being ran rampant like a nuclear reactor, altering my states of being without me having any self awareness of them and the way they controlled my behavioral decisions. When I was in my late 20’s the three began to take form, shape and develop a voice and personality of their own. As I became more mature and creatively seasoned, we developed a relationship where we became successfully functional as a wheel.
They are not new to me. Talking to YOU about them, however, is very new for me. I used to worry, not wanting to be judged, criticized or labeled crazy. Then I realized fuck anyone who would dare be that apathetic. They are not who matter. You are, and so here I am, vulnerable and splayed open, in the hopes that someone else out there who lives with altering states of being formed by trauma, can feel understood, validated and supported.
This year has been a year of speeding forward in regards to the understanding these states of being. I’ve come to call them “The Sisters”. They are, in essence, a family. While I’ve found online representations of what they look like and have had visuals in my mind of their faces, nothing would emerge The Sisters like two trips I took to the Goodwill thrift store. Those two trips allow me to be here now, properly introducing them to you in a way that gives them a tangible existence.
I’ve never really been into dolls. I had one who was precious to me for many years, gifted by a friend. She was a beautiful ceramic fairy, sitting on an ivy covered swing. It hung from a hook in my bedroom until it was handed down to my granddaughter. I’ve never considered collecting or even thought much of dolls in general as far as collecting ceramic dolls as many people do. There are some dolls I have not liked, but that’s another story.
A few months ago, I was wandering the aisles of the Goodwill, browsing clothes and other thrifty items. I don’t have full cognitive memory of lucidly drifting over to the children’s aisle where I found myself fully aware and staring at two dolls. They were posed in such a way that they were almost holding hands. I suddenly felt the urge to weep. Vennie and Madge were sitting right in front of me. I picked them up, straightening their clothes, told them I was here, and they were coming home. As quickly as I felt like weeping, my emotional state turned to joy, as if I was being reunited with two of my children. I felt that my twins had returned to me, and that even though I held them in my arms, they were representative of my soul energy. I felt reborn through them as if I had my childhood back through them.
Here’s the thing with Madge. She doesn’t fuck around. Madge will cut you. Madge will give you a black eye. Madge will land us all in jail. Don’t let her sweet face fool you. Madge makes rash decisions based on her rage. Madge IS our rage, in essence. But the important thing to know about Madge is that she always acts out of defense. She is not predatory. She simply doesn’t like to be fucked with, threatened or for the sisters to be put in any situation to feel unsafe. She hates bullying and manipulation. She’s no dummy. She is hyper vigilant and comes to the surface if we are in a situation where we feel possibly threatened and in danger. Madge has also evolved into a woman who can display controlled, sadistic sexual tendencies who also goes by the name of Maude. I am part time writing a junk novel about Maude. She is an interesting character with a story of her own.
Vennie is the artist. She is a primary who I consider pretty much having integrated Angie into herself. Both are comfortable with each other’s names being used and respond at will to either names. Vennie is free spirited and likes to be alone. She is confident in her creative talents and would prefer to be able to create all of the time and also be the one permanently in the forefront even though she does understand the importance of each part of me. She writes, paints, sings, writes songs and poetry, plays the guitar and piano. She loves the stage and performing. She is not shy. She has a good presence about who she is and is a night owl, always up until the wee hours writing and creating. She is the diver, currently writing the sequel to Cult Child. She is the Bard and the keeper of the Records.
When the twins came to me, It was as if my yin and my yang came together again. They have stood elegantly on my dresser these past few months, holding hands and smiling at me when I go into my closet to get dressed. They make me laugh and remind me that I am whole, just as I am, and this whole of me has the capability to continue to morph into more wholeness.
I have been to the Goodwill many times since the day the twins arrived in the form of the dolls. Never do I venture to the children’s aisle. I’m usually browsing clothes and books. I am not aware of the children’s aisle. My mind never thinks of it or wanders to it.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO TODAY…
I started physically working out again, so I went to the Goodwill today to see if I could find a good pair of cheap tennis shoes. I found them. 7 dollars, and I put them in my cart. Here I was, months later, having drifted lucidly to the children’s department where I become aware that I am gazing at two more dolls. This time the dolls were positioned in a way the tops of their heads were touching each other. I felt stunned. Frozen. Slightly disassociated in a “is this shit fucking real?” kind of thought pattern. I was standing there looking at Knowing and Sila.
Sila began to immediately chatter to me. I could hear her voice in my head, literally, like a 5/6 year old, but intelligently speaking for her age. It was almost as if there’d been no missing time between our last seeing one another. She holds years of more stories to tell, but for her, she’d seen me as early as yesterday. Completely dissociated back to her innocence is the best way to describe the feeling/sound of her voice and information being relayed. She was excited to talk to me. She went right into letting me know she had something to tell me now. I was zoning into it in the middle of Goodwill, and I found myself making the noise in my throat.
I make a soft clicking noise when I am grounding myself into the now. It’s a self stimulating noise disguised as humming accompanied with deep breaths, something I started doing many years ago, a way to self stimulate in public without being looked at like I’m weird. Just like I’m singing and joyful, because I am, it’s just, now’s not the time, if you get my drift. People aren’t that informed to get it. So, I picked her up and put her in the cart. Sila is the youngest child. She is the one who experienced all of the torture first hand. She is the voice and narrator of Cult Child. I immediately understood why Knowing stays with her. Sila would be very easily preyed upon without Knowing’s protection and guidance with her at all times.
Knowing. She is my everything. She reminds me to go to the trees, take soft soothing baths, take care of myself and be love. She has ancient wisdom. She is an Empath, and shares her voice with Vennie. She holds the cosmic knowledge and freely gives it. She is the ancient spirit guide and protector. She is what I consider to be very integrated with Vennie and Angie. The three of them could be considered a Counsel together.
Many things can switch my state of being. The topic of conversation and situational surroundings play an intricate part.
I couldn’t believe that this happened, but felt confirmed in an “it’s okay” kind of way. Whatever is needed for us to be able to feel love. It felt so proper and right, allowing me an actual physical way through which to allow these states of being have a life of their own. Dolls. I had no clue or premonition that my alters would emerge in such a way.
After what Sila told me, I hope that the rest do not come in the form of dolls. I don’t know how pretty they will be. I must admit that there is a heaviness which settles into my chest when I know where I still have left to go. While my head feels determined to jump in, my spirit understands that childhood ritualistic torture isn’t fully revisited without a plan.
During the ride home Sila told me about the Cave Keepers. No, I don’t “believe” dolls can talk. I just know what was running through my head, seemingly opened by finding this doll. It was the first I had ever heard of them, but as soon as she mentioned them, I could almost see them clearly. They appear to be somewhat dormant forms sitting on either side of the cave entrances with their heads down, appearing to be sleeping. I suppose they seem to have on some type of matching sweat pants and coats that are the same color as the rocks on the caves. They’re not blobs. They are stout and stone. They would be awakened immediately if one of us tried to enter the cave.
The Cave Keepers being awakened in that way is a dangerous trip to make, Sila explained in her child like voice as if she was recounting a children’s book. She said I have to just sit by them quietly so that we can become familiar with one another. She even indicated that if I, Angie, can build a relationship with them, they might even be willing to take one of us on a tour of their cave.
Then she said that there are many caves and many Cave Keepers, and that I’d have to just start with the first one, where I would gain a map to navigate to the next one after I had finished exploring that cave. Really? A sick game of Dungeons and Dragons came to mind.
I asked her about the doorway with the bright shining light, and she fell silent. The energy in the car shifted, and I just said, “Okay, we’ll wait.”
I feel slightly exhausted, slightly encouraged and slightly discouraged.
Exhausted because of the event of finding two more dolls and the emotion and head spinning which emerged as a result.
Encouraged because it felt like a completing of a phase that is allowing me to move on in this journey.
Slightly discouraged because I understand there’s so much more journeying I have to do, and wonder what more I will remember. But what I do know is that I am more heavily armed than before, and so the amount of wounds acquired will be increasingly minimized.
I am a bit tired. I am ready for winter hibernation and revitalizing, writing and seeing what’s around the bend.