Before

TRIGGER warning  – cult abuse, dissociation.

This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.

Guinevere and Giselle, 5 years old:

It was a bleak, sad autumn. The fun and beautiful things shone all the more brightly against the backdrop of mournfulness. Out of all of us, Bianca was the one who entertained herself the most. She played and sang and jumped in piles of leaves. We jumped too, but with a desperation, fearing any moment would be our last. It was Eric who showed us how to build big leaf hills and how to throw oneself onto them. For the rest of our lives, we would love this game. Sometimes, when Bianca found a good spot for gathering material to a jumping pile, she would glance around her as if expecting someone to appear. By then she had been forced to forget Eric, but she still missed him with her whole heart. 

Guinevere:

I used to envy Bianca for not having to deal with difficult things. Now I started to fear for her instead. My relatives told me I had to be on guard always, always. Avoid all strangers, never follow anyone who tries to lead you away. It might be someone who’s come to kill you because they think you’re a saint. I watched over Bianca as much as I could. But sometimes I was asleep and during those times she was unprotected.

Giselle:

Guinevere asked me to guard Bianca. I didn’t know how to stand on the side, so I took over the body instead. I couldn’t speak, so my kindergarten teacher said my throat was hurting from some cold. But I enjoyed trying all the normal stuff, like painting and playing with other children.

Bianca:

I don’t remember much of this autumn at all. Was I there for more than short moments?

Guinevere:

Everybody fought. 

Eric fought with his mother and father, accusing them of trying to ”manipulate” him. It was always that same word. I asked him what it meant and he said it’s when someone lies or only tells a little bit of the truth, so you’ll get a false picture of something. How can a word mean two things at the same time? I couldn’t understand the meaning of ”manipulate”. I heard it a lot, though. 

Eric’s parents fought with each other. 

”What shall we eat? What shall we live on?” Eric’s father waved his hands in exasperation. ”Stop spending money on goodies!”

”It’s no use, no use, they’ll die.” Eric’s mother was crying again.

”If you stopped using goodies, maybe we could save money! And flee!”

”That’s treason!” She blew her nose. ”But I’d do it…if I thought we stood a chance. I don’t know how to save them. Eric won’t listen and Bianca is just a little girl.”

Eric’s siblings fought with their parents, accusing them of keeping secrets. 

And all the adult relatives (except for my mother) quarreled, suspecting each other of having reported Eric and me to the Society.

Mother and I fought too, she wouldn’t believed Eric had said his parents were trying to make him a pedophile. 

”No parents would ever want their son to become such a thing! You must have heard it wrong! Your memory is not very good – mine, on the other hand, is excellent.” The next day I argued with her again. By then she had forgotten what I’d told her about Eric and his parents. (Most likely she had dissociated it, but I didn’t know the term ’dissociation’ as a child.) 

Eric stood strong against his parents insistency that he’d need to abuse me to prove we weren’t saints. To escape such manipulation, he and I were almost always outdoors. On the days when Eric’s family should babysit me, Eric filled a backpack with hot chocolate, sandwiches, sausages and lots of fruit. Then we put on lots of warm clothes and stayed out until it was time for me to go home to Mother. (We used public restrooms or those in restaurants). Most of the time, Eric’s parents didn’t try to stop us.

”Let them enjoy themselves”, they told each other and started crying all over again. I’d told my grandparents it was I who made Eric breathe again. I didn’t want to disclose I’d broken the cardinal rule and called on my other Selves. Grandfather declared:

”The solution is you need to die and leave the body to Bianca and Giselle.” Eric and I were on our way to the park when I told him.

”I must die. I’m not allowed to be anymore or we will all be killed. Me and the other girls inside.”

”Who’s saying that?” Eric asked.

”Harry”, I sniveled. Every morning I put my feet on the carpet beneath my bed and feared it was my last day. 

”We’ll practice more on the boxes. If you forget, you’re not a threat to anyone. I want you to live!”

”Thank you for teaching me!” I hugged him.

”Thank you for saving my life! You’re my little favorite person in the world!” This made me smile.

”I love you!”

”I love you too.” He smiled back, then looked at me seriously. ”I – when I was dead – I saw you were in danger. I came back to save your life. I’ll save you over and over if I have to. Guinevere…” Now there was sadness in his eyes. ”I must change if I am to save you.”

”Change?” I felt frightened. People who change scared me.

”I must become a Half Man. Right now I’m considered more good than bad. But I must become half good, half bad, or the Half Men won’t let me join them. One more of my Selves has to be bad and I fear it has to be me. I’m the one who’ll need to cooperate with them.”

”Who are the Half Men?” We’d arrived at the playground and I led him towards the swings.

”It’s a circle within the Society.” Eric searched in the bushes, found a stick and used it to draw in the sand. ”The Society is a big circle. This circle here it’s…false. A pretend circle to fool people. Look, there’s another big circle inside it. That’s the real Society. Within it are smaller circles. I don’t know how many, because many of them are secret. If you are a man and thirteen years old – like I am – you must be chosen…” Here he sighed. ”Chosen by at least one little circle and say yes to it. I was chosen by two and said no to both. That means death. Them drowning me was no accident. This – joining the Half Men now – it’s my last chance. I need to live if I am to save you.” We regarded the circles in the sand.

”I’m gonna save you!” I promised. I’d said so many times before. This usually made him laugh, but today he considered me with a solemn face.

”Maybe you are. You already have! But I’ll save you first so you can save me later.”

Communication between the Selves was forbidden for young children in order to maintain and secure the split – i.e. the dissociative identity disorder. I was told my ”magic” (the magical ability of having several Selves) would disappear if my Selves started talking to each other.

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