*Important note: this article is not meant to be therapy, or to replace therapy with a skilled and qualified person, which is essential in healing from severe trauma. These are only the opinions of a survivor. Trigger warning: mentions cult abuse, dissociation, and trauma*
Complex polyfragmentation: a coping mechanism for the survivor
In order to survive ritual abuse, a child will often learn to dissociate, and dissociate heavily. The child has undergone some of the most horrific abuse humanly imaginable, and most find a way to cope. One of the ways that is encouraged in certain groups, such as the Illuminati, is to create an elaborate defensive system. In psychological terms, the child fragments, then fragments again. Eventually, the child has polyfragmented.
What is polyfragmentation? The term comes from the root poly, meaning many, and fragments. In complex polyfragmenatation, the survivor will have not only alter systems, but hundreds or even thousands of fragments, isolated parts of their mind created to do a job, and do it well and unthinkingly. Often the job is one that would be abhorrent to the main personality or presenting system. The further away from core beliefs, the greater usually the dissociation and fragmentation that must occur. In other words, a LOT of trauma has to happen to make a person do something that they really don’t want to do. And the person has to feel very far away from themselves as well when doing it. The cult will purposely try to create a polyfragmented system for this very reason. The person is more dissociated from themselves, and is often easier for them to control.
How are polyfragmented systems structured? These are individual, and will vary from not only person to person, but also with the group the person belonged to, the trainers, the abilities of the child, and tasks involved that the child must do. There is no “cookie cutter approach” in most cults to creating polyfragmented systems, but there are certain characteristics that are common.
What might a polyfragmented system look like? I will share some based on my memories as a trainer in this group, plus insights from my own healing process.
1. Protectors: these are parts that were created to do the jobs that had to be done, and saved the life of the young child. Cult protectors had to look mean and scary, like the child’s perpetrators. They also become perpetrators when the child grows into an adult, since they have no choice. They can be ruthless, angry, or may believe that they are demons. Some growl, some hiss, some believe that they are powerful animals. And all were a little child who was asked to do the unthinkable, forced to act in ways that he or she didn’t want to. They laugh at vulnerability, and trust no one. And with good reason, based upon their experiences in the cult. With therapy and time, they can also help keep the person safe from their perpetrators, as these parts will “kick butt” if they feel threatened.
2. Intellectuals: the cult WANTS intellectual alters who can observe, go between systems, learn information quickly and download it to outsiders. These might be recorders, computers, scholars. They may know several languages, and versed in different philosophies. Brilliant, cognitive, they often believe that they can outwit those around them, including therapists. But they also know much of the life history that the others don’t, since they rarely have strong feelings. These parts can “read the life history” without a tear or emotion. When they are out, the person appears “flat” to say the least, in psychological terms.
3. Denial people: these are intellectual, and are created to deny that anything bad ever happened. Life was wonderful, the parents perfect and loving, and the suicidality and PTSD symptoms are just strange artifacts without “any reason,” according to these parts. A person can have a full blown abreaction, and five minutes later, a denier will come out and say it was all “made up.” They are often afraid of punishment if the person remembers, and have severe trauma motivating them.
4. Controllers/head honchos/”top dogs”: these are the system leaders. They know what is going on at all times in their system. In a military system, it might be a general, in a protector system, the most powerful protector; in a metals system, the platinums, or in a jewel system, the highest jewels, such as diamond, ruby, or emerald. Usually there are several leaders in a system that share the responsibility. They can also become invaluable helpers over time if they choose to give up cult loyalty.
5. Child alters: these want praise from the adult leaders, and often come out for rewards, or sweets. They will report on others inside unless they can learn that it is safe to NOT do so, since they are motivated both by fear of punishment, and wanting praise from those above them. They are also often the “heart” of a polyfragmented system, and can feel love, joy, or fear and trembling. Often, they want hugs and to be told that they are “okay”.
6. Punishers: why wait for an outside person to punish you if you can create someone inside to do it first? Children will often identify heavily with their perpetrators, and if the punishment is severe and frequent, they will internalize the perpetrator to try and keep themselves “in line” and avoid punishment externally. The cult will capitalize on this, and often trainers will leave as their “calling card” an alter named after themselves. This one will be an internal trainer, or punisher, or enforcer. Their job is to keep things in line, and will often try to sabotage therapy. They are often fearful of external punishment if they don’t do their job. Internal punishers will also activate self punishment sequences inside (such as flood programming/ suicide programming, or other self harm sequences) if the person begins breaking away from the cult and the old rules. These parts may take time to conivince that they can change their old way of doing things, since they were often accountable to the outside handler/trainer if things weren’t kept in line.
7. Feeling alters: the feelings were overwhelming and infinitely traumatizing in childhood. It threatened the child’s survival and sanity. The solution? Parcel them out over several internal parts and/or fragments. Divide the feeling up so that it feels more manageable. Feeling alters often get locked away inside, and when they come out in therapy, the feeling may hit “full force” at first. A child alter may come out screaming, or terror stricken, or wailing in uncontrollable grief and pain, until they are grounded in the here and now. Often, feelings were heavily punished in the cult, so it was psychologically necessary to bury them deeply within the psyche in order to survive. These parts may be very separated from the parts that know what happened to cause the feelings in a highly fragmeneted system, so that the feelings seem to come out of nowhere, without any cause. With time and healing, they can hook up with the intellectuals inside who observed, and other parts who went through the same trauma, giving meaning to the feelings and helping to resolve them.
8. Internal councils: most cults have leadership councils of some sort. And many people internalize them inside. It’s another example of internalizing perpetrators, and these have a vested interest in “keeping things in line” until they realize that they can leave the cult and be safe. Then, they can become an immense strength for healing. A personal may have a local leadership council internalized, or spiritual councils that represent outside people, such as an internal druidic council or group of ascended masters that help run things inside.
9. Sexual alters: created to handle the overwhelming trauma of early childhood sexual abuse, they took the feelings it was too painful for a young child to understand. Some had to learn to enjoy the abuse, or pretend to, and were heavily rewarded for this response.
10. Amnesic alters: these are known as the “front”, the “clueless ones”, “those who don’t know anything”, etc. These have the job of not remembering. Otherwise, as a child, they were heavily punished. Usually, they are very glad to not remember anything, and the other parts who were abused at times envy them or dislike their “protected life history.” This can create a lot of intrasystem hostility or warfare, until the amnesic parts begin accepting that abuse did occur. Reminding abused parts that the amnesia saved the child’s (and their life) helped my system with this.
11. The workers: these do the jobs of daily life, and usually are part of the presenting systems. These take care of the house, got married, take care of the children, and may hold a highly responsible job as well. These are the competent parts created that hide the fact that the person has undergone a lifetime of traumatic abuse and degradation. These parts can also be a great strength, as they share that life can be good with other more traumatized parts inside.
12. Hosts: there may be a “day host” (see presenters), a “night host” for the cult, or hosts for various systems or times in the person’s life. Occasionally, the survivor of severe generational cult abuse may find to their dismay that a greater portion of their life was invested in and given to cult activities than day ones, and the “night host” is stronger than the “day host”! This happened to me. Fortunately, my “night host” was the one who left the cult, so she had plenty of strength and pull to give to staying safe and away from the group. I also had a “host” that had handled the summers spent in Europe, during those times in childhood, and a “hidden host” who never fully presented to protect herself from others (she manipulated the presenters to sit in front of her, telling them what to do). Each person’s system will handle this task differently. In general, the greater the trauma, the greater the distrust of outside people, and the more likely that the host will be a facade, or heavily protected.
13. Core splits: can be created from severe and psychologically threatening very early childhood trauma. This used to be done intentionally by some cult groups to create larger and more dissociated systems.
14. The core: this is the original child, the one who created all of the others inside. The child’s systems will depend upon the traumas and the creativity of the original child, as well as her need to protect herself from the abuse of others that might have destroyed her. In some systems, the core will be very young, or an infant, if the abuse was extremely early and severe. Core issues surrounding her will usually involve parents or parental figures who caused severe trauma. This might include abandonment, torture, or other forms of cruelty to a young child.
15. Function codes, access codes, halt codes, system codes: these are fragments that might be put in to do certain jobs, and are created to only do that job when called out by triggers such as letters, numbers, phrases, or other auditory stimuli. These are created with deep trauma and are very intentionally done by perpetrators.
16. Spiritual parts: these may have a variety of beliefs that cover different spiritualities internally. There may be one over-riding spiritual belief for the system, or several. For example, a spiritual system created by the cult may include aspects of Luciferianism, druidism, Temple of Set teachings, Ancient Babylonian mystery religions, etc. The host or presenters may have a completely conflicting religious belief system, and there may be hostility between the parts that hold opposing beliefs. In my own life, my presenters were strong Christians, and this gave the stability and comfort needed to bring healing to the parts inside. It also opened the way to begin forgiveness, one of the most difficult and important tasks in the healing process.
This has been an overview of just a few of the types of personalities that might be found in a complex polyfragmented system. It is important to be aware that each person is unique; that many people will have coped with trauma in their own way. This is not meant to say that every cult survivor has all of these personalities, but are one survivor’s opinion based upon her experiences and memories. My hope is that this article will help to educate others about this issue.
copyright 2000 svali