Posttraumatic Growth and the New Year.

On the journey of healing, the early years are the hardest. The shifting child's point of view, which led to the situation that got you into therapy, creates emotional overwhelm as the reality of the past settles in. The grief can be debilitating. Identifying as a survivor, and feeling the pain of the betrayal, sets you apart from the world, because the grief can be hard to take, and there is often little understanding in the workplace if you need time off, because it's not like having the flue.

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M Becker
Re-Experiencing terror with the purpose to heal

Trigger Warning. I don't issue trigger warnings often, as I expect that those who read my posts are not afraid to be confronted with the darkest side of humanity. What I am sharing here is not about the most violent trauma I encountered in my years in the network and with my mother. This is about betrayal. 

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M Becker
Facing a Mother's Betrayal through Mistaken Identity.

Sometimes change comes upon you, and all you can do is remind yourself that you're inside a process, and that this too shall pass. On my journey, I've been in grief many times.  As the attachment to abusive parental figures loosens, I grow, breaking through layers of denial and delusion, reaching through my pain, to rise and stand tall - a little wiser, and more serene. 

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M Becker
My bouts of revenge in Hollywood, and the inherently abusive nature of power structures.

I think what they meant was that I was young and heavily sexualized, creating a sensuality that attracted men and women to me in their unconscious reverence of sexual idols. Sex is about power, and the excitement in the room was the unhealthy agitation of being near it, almost able to touch it. It's almost like being close to God, only the powerful are playing God in hell. 

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M Becker
Love is the only influence that makes any difference in life.

It is natural for children to love their parents. I didn't expect to be loved, yet looked for it everywhere. My everywhere was the murderous pedophile network. I was known as the girl used for the VIP's, and was once introduced to a group of foreign dignitaries, to pick out the most powerful one. It was obvious that the shortest one of the group, to whom everyone deferred, was my man.

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Shame is the psychic package delivered with sexual abuse.

Shame is meant to help regulate our behavior. Since it is such an uncomfortable feeling, we would want to avoid repeating actions that cause us to feel it. In the Hindu Shankya system, shame is listed as one of the eight poisons of the heart, hindering our spiritual growth. Following moral precepts helps us to move beyond shame. 

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M Becker
My Response To The Skeptics

It's impossible to read all comments (video linked here) of course - but I do see that many are heartfelt, empathic, strong, and full of understanding. When I started doing the healing work 30 years ago, this would never have been. At that time, the intellectual media treated survivors as whiners or liars. False Memory Syndrome was a hot topic. 

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Anneke Lucas
A Father Complex

When I was three my mother married my stepfather, we moved to a village near Antwerp, and I lost my true mother, the French speaking caregiver who had loved me. My mother got pregnant right away, and I remember my stepfather being excited about the baby on the way. Even though he was new in my life, I was told he was my father, and of course I believed it, and yet kept searching for 'my father,' because my stepfather was so obvious in his strong preference for my brother, and remained distant from me.

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M Becker
Before the age of 9, I was not often called pretty.

Badly abused, I would ply my psyche and body to meet perpetrators' or my mother's needs. Not having received the nurturing a child receives through unconditional love, especially in the early years, I remained very open to meet adults' expectations, which alone shape a child's mind, and by extension, the body, and the face. Yes, we have our bone structure, but I found myself transforming however needed, for the abusers in the network, or for my mother at home - for whom I needed to be ugly. The change of hands often involved my rather drastic physical changes. Of course I couldn't consciously control this - it was always depending on the adult. 

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M Becker
Of Education and Privilege

When I arrived in the US in 1985, I relived the high of privilege to which I had been exposed when I had been trafficked to this country as a nine year old girl. Living in the vague expectation that something big was about to happen, I was a guest at parties in enormous apartments overlooking Central Park, invited to dinners over Krug champagne, and marveled at by a business tycoon who told me, somewhat incredulously, that I was on his level. At the time, I believed he thought of us as equals because I didn't want anything from him, rather than that the powerful projection of an American perpetrator had been triggered by setting foot once more on American soil, and I exuded all he had once predicted. Under the admiring gaze of the rich and powerful, I felt that high once again, which leaves one feeling very light - lifted off the ground - living on a cloud above humanity, disconnected from the reality of life, and from one's own and others' sorrow and pain.

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M Becker
The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving.

The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving. Though we went out, our communication was so poor I was never clear on whether we were officially together. I moved to LA and in 1991, on a layover flight from LA to Europe, he met me at JFK and we kissed. The plane never left and passengers were bused to a nearby hotel. He came to pick me up and drove me to his home outside the city. 19 years earlier, I had been in a very similar scenario, being flown to JFK on the private jet of a perpetrator, and taken to a similarly somber hotel room where I was left alone, convinced I was going to be tortured and killed. A gopher knocked on the door and led me to the backseat of a chauffeured sedan, where the owner of the private jet was waiting for me, smiling. As we drove to his home in the night, I took in the atmosphere and surroundings like manna from heaven, believing myself to be deeply loved because I was not tortured or killed, and instead offered nurturing touch and praise: sexual abuse for sure - but of the kind most confusing to a child - the kind that calls itself love.

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M Becker
Two years ago, I interviewed with Paul Gilmartin for the The Mental Illness Happy Hour and first spoke of a particularly horrendous ordeal I lived through as a child.

This particular method of torture is one I've not since heard of, perhaps because it wouldn't kill a person, and requires means and connections as far as collecting the instruments. What is most staggering is the time and effort this perpetrator, whom I considered "the boss" of the network - a high ranking Belgian politician - went through to win this "game" which he had started to play with me a few weeks earlier, in a small room where we were alone in the night, when he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, like we were going to play a game, and then brutally hit me in the face with closed fist. He proceeded to beat me up, and the game, it appeared, was that I should withstand the blows without screaming.

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M Becker
When People are the Addictive Substance

To objectify another person requires self-objectification. Anyone who is fully in touch with their own humanity sees it reflected in all. Anyone who carries the burden of self-objectification sees others as tools to take on some of that burden. The exploitative mindset that is suffocating the world, and the lies that have long comforted the middle class in reaching for a purely materialistic heaven, are coming to an end as we wake up to our humanity and feel the pain of the earth and all suffering beings as our own. To return to the places where I was trafficked is a great way to check on my personal progress.

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M Becker
Pericles: A review

At the age of 19 I was living in Paris, and after someone mentioned Shakespeare's Pericles, I read the play. From the very first verse, I was riveted.

Right in the prologue, Shakespeare addressed the subject that informed my entire life, yet was completely taboo. It was as if he had been writing just to reach me across the ages, speaking directly to my soul. I might have felt very lonely and isolated, but it was as if he was one who could truly understand me. From that moment on, I took comfort in the knowledge that Shakespeare, whose work's depth and breath touched on the truth of my tragic personal experiences, would have been able to hold the full weight of my story.

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M Becker
Capitalism and Incest

Thus incest is the secret formula to keep families attached, to keep fear-based protection of authority figures alive, and to preserve the hierarchic structure of the capitalist system. 
Victims of incest need to protect the secret, because if they don't, they will be kicked out of the family. Many of my fellow survivors who confronted their families have lost out on their share of the inheritance, often strategized by siblings faithful to the unhealthy family dynamic. This happened to me as well. This is why the wealthier and more powerful the family, the harder it is to deal with the reality of incest, the harder it is to move away from matter-bound consciousness, and the harder it is to find the courage to face the trauma. 

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M Becker
Fashion and the Culture of Sexual Abuse

These particular physical signs accentuated with make up were present when I was being abused. I was once given a police file with the faces of child victims of the Zandvoort CD Roms internet child porn scandal to help identify victims. The graphic parts had been cut out or covered, but it was still extremely triggering to see the images, and recognize my young self. The boys and young men in this fashion shoot look exactly like the victims of child porn, with a dead look in their eyes, or the sad arrogance that comes from feeling the power to arouse a man.

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M Becker
Anger has always been the most difficult, and most rewarding emotion to uncover within the process of healing.

In the moment of abuse in childhood, the first time, my natural reaction was one of indignant anger. In teaching in prisons, I like to mention anger a lot because it is a natural reaction to injustice, and yet when it is expressed to the abuser, it reflects their action back to them, and they will resort to intimidation so as not to be confronted with themselves. The prison system perpetuates the anger cycle. In my childhood, I was graphically threatened with death, and understood my anger and free expression would lead to death, and my silence and submission would keep me alive. The repression of anger led to all mental imbalances I struggled with for much of my adult life. After my mental health was restored, I continued to deal on subtler levels with repressed anger. I'm just getting in touch with how specifically I placated a certain type of man, who because of their wealth or status, reminded me of one perpetrator who had a great emotional impact.

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M Becker
I entered into a strange contract with the woman who was my mother.

Severely mentally ill yet never diagnosed, she was unrelenting in her destructiveness towards the little girl in whom she saw the unloved little girl she had once been. She placated men with flirtation, submission and flattery, and on good days told me how troublesome they were, offering me a way to love her. This I did with all my heart, hoping she would one day receive my love, and begin to love me. But instead she would turn on me, starting by criticizing, jokingly, so I couldn't react.

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M Becker