Other Let's talk about torture.

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
The stuff that is so, this is the wrong words, but bizarre and in some ways, exceptionally creative methods of causing pain/injury/near death.
Yep - and that's why its torture. Because someone had to think up ways to cause someone else pain. Then they got extra credit/enjoyment/publicity if they could make is something "different". It's the ultimate power trip.
My apologies if none of that made sense.
It made perfect sense. Sadly.
I can't really hear those words and think "that's me." E
Yep - I STILL! fight it.
Being included in this thread? As one of "them"?
Ya, my t and I have talked about that a.lot.
Because if it applies to them, it applies to me.
But I wasn't tortured (the echo of survival says in my brain - even when I know it's just an old song that doesn't apply)
What matters is that you were harmed. In some way, you were harmed, and you are trying to heal.
This.
Some people will be traumatized by simple things that many of us would question/judge/whatever
And some are traumatized by horrific life altering events
But in the end the why is just what got us in the therapist's door.
The healing is what matters.
 

Ice_Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Well, I just looked at that non-state torture website. Ah shit. Okay, I need to like, I don’t know. No wonder a few years back I was so dissociated that I’d separated myself from myself in order to even think about it and attempt emdr.

For a long time I’ve been, I don’t know, “okay”. By that I mean I’ve had 5 years of dealing with the day to day small problems of learning how to adult, losing multiple family members and the stress of that. What I guess I’m saying is I’m at the end of the grieving process I suppose and lately my ptsd symptoms have spiked again. And I’ve just now realised I’ve been living more trauma this whole time and calling it normal because it is (by comparison). Is my brain now going “lol we need to revisit this ptsd stuff now”? I don’t know.

But…now I’ve just read this thread and that list and, holy moly that therapist was right. And like not just a little bit right, there’s multiple boxes on that list I ticked.

Done for punishment (or just straight up sadism I dunno when it comes to my mother)
Forced positions
Nakedness
Water boarding
Object rape
Ritualistic, pseudo religious reasoning for it (my mothers f*cked up own brand Catholicism)
Etc.

Again, semantics. Why has this shifted something in my head? It doesn’t change the things that happened. They are still the same acts, same punishments, same pain, same trauma. Yet it feels worse. It feels bigger. It feels like the work I’ve done processing it before was…I don’t know. It worked. I thought it had anyway. But I’m realising my mind was actually waaaay more shut off from the depth of it then I had thought. I’ve minimised it like, a lot.

And I was dissociative the last time, 5+ years ago now when I really tried this healing/therapy/exposure stuff. I don’t remember much and reading my diary back feels like it was someone else.

So how do I now, try to deal with this stuff again and not like, fall apart and lose everything I’ve built up? I have a relatively normal existence these days, there’s no room for my head to go down the rabbit hole again. And I can feel it going there. I’ve been more symptomatic lately which is why I’m back on the forum more and came across this thread and now… this stuff really applies to me. Like actually. Mind f*ck.

Sorry if this is not the best place for all this.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
Why has this shifted something in my head? It doesn’t change the things that happened. They are still the same acts, same punishments, same pain, same trauma.

Mostly because they are not the same acts, same punishments, same pain, and same trauma anymore now that they have an identifiable terminology that you can use to reference what they really were: torture.

Up until this point, you did not recognize them for what they were (torture) but instead processed them as events of abuse. What comes next? Up to you. You can either do something (re-process these events as the torture it was) or nothing (reject the definition of torture), but rejecting the definition doesn't change the reality of what happened. If it's any consolation, I can go through everything on that website and my list ends up looking a lot like this:

  • ORGANIZED INTENTIONAL DESTRUCTION

    Organized: tools, buildings, sites, buyers
    Cover of respectability: family, profession, community
    Networks: Local, national, international

  • VERBAL/EMOTIONAL ABUSE

    Called names, put down, treated as non-human, shamed, blamed, humiliated, frightening voice tones, death threats, witness others harmed, manipulated, trapped, stalked, tricked.

  • PHYSICAL

    Limbs twisted, dislocated, broken. Cut, burned, beaten, whipped. Hung, choked, suffocated, strangled. Injured with weapon. Tied down, caged, confined. Water tortured, deprived of sleep. Electro-shocked. Forced nakedness, excessive head, cold, light, dark.

  • SEXUALIZED

    Raped repeatedly, vaginal, oral, anal, group gang raped, raped while drugged, raped with weapon or object, internal organs injured. Smeared with bodily fluids, subjected to sadism. Trafficked, prostituted, used in pornography

  • USE OF CHILDREN

    Witnessed/forced to harm other children, adults, pets. Exploited, trafficked, prostituted, used in pornography, forced sexualized harming of others. Forced to commit crimes, sell drugs, recruit others, bestiality.

  • SPIRITUAL/RITUALIZED

    Use of costumes, masks, disguises, props. Ritualized patterns, use of dogma, creation of coded language, overwhelmed/powerless.

  • TORTURE AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

    Torture, bestiality, bondage. Necrophilia, degradation, defecated & urinated on. Weapons used. Forced to inflict sexualized harms against one another. Violence against newborns & toddlers.

For me, though, this is somewhat an incomplete picture of what actually happened as my abuse occurred within the context of armed conflict and the perpetration of armed violence between multiple non-state groups (in "United Nations" terminology, this is what is known as a Violent Non-State Actor and can have overlaps with State actors such as the police or government officials, which my group did as they took bribes from the police and also provided drugs and sexual services to police officers, which I experienced first-hand).

Of all the VNSAs considered here, criminal organizations are the most ubiquitous. Although some criminal organizations remain local, more and more of them have responded to the opportunities of globalization by becoming transnational in scope. They have also become increasingly diverse with more traditional organized crime groups. Almost all of these organizations are transnational in their activities and, therefore, are referred to here as transnational criminal organizations or transnational organized crime.
One of the most striking features of VNSAs is their sheer variety. This suggests that there is some danger in lumping them together under a single rubric. Yet, it is clear from the preceding analysis that they do have certain things in common: they all emerge in response to inadequacies, deficiencies or shortcomings in many states and to one degree or another seek to compensate for those shortcomings. At the same time, there are important differences in motivation, purpose, power structures and the like.

From the International Relations & Security Network.

So what is the difference between knowing what happened to me within the context of being a "gang member and victim of a child pedophile ring" versus being an armed combatant in a Violent Non-State Actor? It's like @Friday said. Words have power, the meanings shift our comprehension of the reality of what it is that we experienced, and that can help us to put it all in the correct context. For me, that context does not end at Non-State Torture, and those lines are very blurred, because these were groups of civilians who cooperated with corrupted police officials, and who were waging war against one another.

As according to the UN, it is torture when:

The State is aware or consents or acquiesces to such acts that are impermissible under the Convention Against Torture.

If you want to put it into scientific terms, this is an extremely thorough and comprehensive look at the debate on who classifies as a perpetrator of legal, state-sanctioned torture and whether or not non-state actors can in fact perpetrate torture. Notice Clapham's and Pottle's contribution:

(See contribution by A. Clapham, section 1; UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), "the prohibition of torture cannot be exclusively based on the state-link rationale, as there is no necessity that the repression is linked back to the state." Indicating that, as Pottle states, "such rationale means that it is necessary to protect human beings from torture whether the perpetrator is a public official or not."

In short, these definitions matter, because they inform the law and they inform how we punish those who break these international human laws, as well as define the victims in terms of international humanitarian aid and treatment in the greater global whole. And because, at least for me, it has become so very necessary to understand the actions I undertook and that were taken against me within the context of IHL because it gives me the language that I can use to talk about my experiences beyond what ordinary language we tend to use when describing sexual abuse or even armed violence in our communities.

For me, this language was lacking, and also because of my experiences I've grown a vested interest in ensuring that every person who relates with these concepts has better access to the legal context that they should be properly weighed in, and so that people who have experienced these things and may not be aware of it can find a sense of community and purpose to combat the utter isolationism that exists when aspects of international human rights abuses pervade your trauma history.

Sorry if this is not the best place for all this.

This is the perfect place for it, as that is why I created this thread.
 
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Freida

MyPTSD Pro
And I’ve just now realised I’ve been living more trauma this whole time and calling it normal because it is (by comparison). Is my brain now going “lol we need to revisit this ptsd stuff now”? I don’t know.
ya --- sometimes it just sneaks up on us, smacks us upside the head and yells "Surprise!!"
Again, semantics. Why has this shifted something in my head? I
Put me on the "words have power" train.
This is why I went on the big blah blah in my diary about defining the words for myself, rather than letting someone else define them. Semantics matter. It's how we understand our world. It's how we define our experiences. It's how we define our lives.
It doesn’t change the things that happened.
It kinda does for me. Before - the things that happened were Just a Series of Unfortunate Events. Yep -that's what I called it for decades. Now? I have to acknowledge that the things that happened were based in torture. Real, actual, torture

Same events, different understandings of what that means
So how do I now, try to deal with this stuff again and not like, fall apart and lose everything I’ve built up? I have a relatively normal existence these days, there’s no room for my head to go down the rabbit hole again. And I can feel it going there. I’ve been more symptomatic lately which is why I’m back on the forum more and came across this thread and now…
Same way you did before...ice pick meet iceberg. chip chip chip
But you already have a good foundation of coping skills that you learned the last time around. You just have to be reminded about how to use them.
ame across this thread and now… this stuff really applies to me. Like actually. Mind f*ck.
Ya -- me too. My brain still can't wrap around that I have the "right" to be here. It's getting easier but...... mind f*ck.
Up until this point, you did not recognize them for what they were (torture) but instead processed them as events of abuse.
This.
This is where I have been stuck for years.
Because admitting that they were more than events of abuse?
Was overwhelming for a long, long time
 

Ice_Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah I’m finding it overwhelming too. I’ve always “just” called it abuse. And that took me a long while to really accept. Even though I knew all along that’s what it was there was still some cognitive dissonance. When that first T told me it was torture I did scratch the surface of exploring that but clearly I didn’t fully accept it.

Now I am and I have more to draw on with how to deal but equally right now I have nobody to process this with. No T, no friends I feel that comfortable with and my partner just doesn’t get it.

I used to get flashbacks that were much worse than what I experience now. Now it’s more intrusive thoughts I suppose. I’m thinking about it properly again and struggling to turn it off.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
thought of the day ref: punishment. (ya still stuck on this word instead of torture)

The sheer bewilderment I felt at the time
WTF is happening?
I know you - how can you be this monster?
What are you doing to me?
Why are you hurting me?
WHY are you doing these things to me?
I am so f*cking confused.
I don't understand what is happening
How did I end up here?

I think I'm struggling with the confusion aspect.
I mean, it's pretty damn simple - Bad guy is torturing me.

So why was I so confused during the whole thing?
Why, when I look back, do I feel like a total idiot for being so dumbfounded?

The smart part of my mind says -- well duh Freida. You were being punished. (No Freida. You were being tortured. Words matter)
Of course you would be confused.

So why does it feel so shameful?
 

Ice_Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Okay, back after a wee bit of trying to get my head around this stuff and also a bit of mind-bending historical me's diary entries (wow that was a trip, not finished yet).

I'm also seriously considering therapy again and have contacted a potential T. But, y'know...money...


Now? I have to acknowledge that the things that happened were based in torture. Real, actual, torture
This I'm oscillating between theoretically understanding, ie I see the checklist, tick them off one by one and go 'ah sh*t'. And also not emotionally understanding; ie 'nah, mother was awful and yes she did do xyz but it was just her being abusive'. And then the rational part of me goes 'no, being made to do the things you did and being taken to N's house and have to go through the things he did is far beyond that'. Round and around, can I get off this ride now please?

When I was a child, other children always made sure that I knew that I was different and that I wasn't welcome. Now, adults tell me that I am perfectly normal and do and say all of the right things. It confuses me.
Yup. Not much to add to that other than raising my hand and going 'same here'.
It's the ultimate power trip.
Bizarrely, I hadn't really thought about this. Even though it's obvious.

Mother did not have to insert round bristle hairbrushes, or potato peelers. She did not have to tie me down or deny me bathroom access for days or lock me in a cupboard. She could've 'just' hit me like she did the rest of the time. N didn't have to put that horrible gas mask on me or suffocate me or any of the other things. He could have 'just' took pictures and done the deed without all the 'extra' weirdness. But I guess they got off on the power trip... maybe it's not that simple. Or maybe it is, maybe that is the reason for the, erm, embellishments of the actual violence?

They designed it to fail, you were always supposed to fail. If I didn't do what I was instructed to do, something else would have happened either way. We were never getting out of there with a good outcome.

Yes I always felt damned if I do, damned if I don't.
 
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