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Topic : 08/17 Secrets in the Suburbs

Number of Replies: 21
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Created on : Friday, August 12, 2005, 06:22:03 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original air date 04/06/05) So what's really going on inside your neighbor's home? Dan and Teresa's 17-year-old son is about to be released from treatment for molesting their two younger children. Should they allow him back into their home, and do the neighbors have a right to know? Then, Stephanie was brutally raped when she was 17 -- a secret that has been taking a toll on her marriage and family. Now she's ready to break her silence and reclaim her life. Plus, a mother who's gambled away her engagement ring, retirement fund and children's college money. Join the discussion.

 

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August 17, 2005, 4:08 pm CDT

Allowing family visits after treatment...bad idea!!!

I am a surviver of severe sexual abuse as a child.  My older brother began raping me at the tender age of five.  This continued until I was almost 16 years old.  I am very concerned that during this show Dr. Phil mentioned that the abuser could have time with the entire family (including the victims) during such occasions as holidays and family events.   

  

As an adult looking back on my own sexual abuse, I know how difficult and terrifying it was for me to routinely see the person that had controlled me in such a brutal and unnatural way.  I feel that the recommendation to the parents to allow the abuser such access to the children did not include the importance to encourage and allow the victims have a say in when, how or if they see the older brother.  Abusers can easily find a way to manipulate the situation and their environment to once again abuse the victims without anyone realizing what is happening; especially with a large gathering, people catching up, many conversations going on, etc.   

  

I can understand the viewpoint of the parents that the older brother is still their child.  They still love him and perhaps want to see  him on a regular basis.  However, the victims may not feel the same way and you (Dr. Phil) should have highlighted the importance of including the victims in this family decision.  If the parents still want to see him they can do so without the children present.  Depending on the age of the victims they may not be able to understand the concept of the "treatment" of the abuser and their recovery. 

  

Even after having intense therapy, certain things can still affect the victims.  It can be a smell, a sound, even a certain facial feature.  But most certainly the perpetrator's presence can easily cause uncontrollable flashbacks, feelings of fear and reduction in self-esteem.  

  

I have worked for the past 11 years to heal my spirit.  With a good support system and the love of my husband I have been able to, for the most part, put my past where it belongs...in the past.  I still have days where I remember new things about the abuse.  But I am confident that by absolute zero contact with my abuser, I have healed much more quickly and have been able to more easily come to terms with what happened. 

  

  

 
August 17, 2005, 8:37 pm CDT

Be strong Stephanie

I too have had a bad experience at an early age of 15. Although my experience was not forced upon me, I feel I was taken advantage of by someone I trusted and looked up to. For 7 years I had hid behind this and did not want to own my part in this. Everyday I felt ashamed and guilty. I felt as is I was not deserving of anything I had. I ran, but everytime I looked back it was there staring me in the face. Finally I decided to take ownership for the role I played in the sutuation. I brought it to the surface with my family and the ones it effected directly. My family has supported me through this and we have finally repaired our relationships. However for the other ones. They have no forgiveness. I can not change that, but I have forgiven myself and I am now able to move on without all of the feelings and emotions I once felt about this horrible situation. I do still think of what happened almost on a daily basis, however I don't feel the way I once did. At one time I felt this had changed me for the worse, But now I have gained valuable insight to make me a better person. All you can do is make the best of a bad situation and I know I have gained a valuable lesson from this bad experience. For whatever reason God chose to put this person in my life, I will never know, but still I look to God for strength for he is the one who has helped me pull through.
 
August 17, 2005, 10:53 pm CDT

Keeping The Secrets

The "Don't Tell rule" has been apart of my life from the get-go....ingrained into me from old programing.....I know exactly how she feels about the rape. I'm shaking so bad right now and shivering........   I'm 41 now and just last November I too was raped, repeatedly by 3 men.  This isn't the first time I was raped. But the first rape that I experienced myself without to my dissosiation.   I too suffer from PTSD, with panic attacks and dissosiation and I'm a survivor of severe abuse and tramua from at a very early age.   It wasn't until 6 months after the rape occured that I told my therapist about it and my husband.  I have not had sex with my husband since then, 10 months ago. I just cringe at the thought of sex. It has always been an "issue" with us, it's always been "dirty" and the feelings of guilt and shame and everything that the gal on todays show talked about were so close to home. I could honestly say that if I never had "it" again, I wouldn't even care.  I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it.  I haven't been able to even sleep in my own bed for the same amount of time either.   Right now we're working on "changing" those mind sets, the cognitive therapy that Dr. Phil talked about.  I have come so far in my recovery and challenged so many thought belief patterns, mind tapes that have played over and over and over......changing those programs has been difficult BUT this one has proven to be my worst enemy by far and the hardest to deal with.  My weight balloned at 350 pounds and since April I quit somking, and started eating healthy, and I've dropped a size or 2 down in cloths and lost weight.  I've read Dr. Phil's books, and reread them, they challenge me every time.  I want to continue on with my life changes that is happening but this one thing "sex" is and has been such a beerier in my life.....I want it changed.....I want my mindset to change.......it is just so frustrating. I just can't seem to seperate the "feelings" of the guilt and shame and embarassment of it all.   

 
August 18, 2005, 3:34 am CDT

From Teresa

Quote From: bluelady

I am a surviver of severe sexual abuse as a child.  My older brother began raping me at the tender age of five.  This continued until I was almost 16 years old.  I am very concerned that during this show Dr. Phil mentioned that the abuser could have time with the entire family (including the victims) during such occasions as holidays and family events.   

  

As an adult looking back on my own sexual abuse, I know how difficult and terrifying it was for me to routinely see the person that had controlled me in such a brutal and unnatural way.  I feel that the recommendation to the parents to allow the abuser such access to the children did not include the importance to encourage and allow the victims have a say in when, how or if they see the older brother.  Abusers can easily find a way to manipulate the situation and their environment to once again abuse the victims without anyone realizing what is happening; especially with a large gathering, people catching up, many conversations going on, etc.   

  

I can understand the viewpoint of the parents that the older brother is still their child.  They still love him and perhaps want to see  him on a regular basis.  However, the victims may not feel the same way and you (Dr. Phil) should have highlighted the importance of including the victims in this family decision.  If the parents still want to see him they can do so without the children present.  Depending on the age of the victims they may not be able to understand the concept of the "treatment" of the abuser and their recovery. 

  

Even after having intense therapy, certain things can still affect the victims.  It can be a smell, a sound, even a certain facial feature.  But most certainly the perpetrator's presence can easily cause uncontrollable flashbacks, feelings of fear and reduction in self-esteem.  

  

I have worked for the past 11 years to heal my spirit.  With a good support system and the love of my husband I have been able to, for the most part, put my past where it belongs...in the past.  I still have days where I remember new things about the abuse.  But I am confident that by absolute zero contact with my abuser, I have healed much more quickly and have been able to more easily come to terms with what happened. 

  

  

Thank you for sharing this very important point with others.  You're absolutely right.  Before we made the decision (as a family, actually), the younger children had many visits with their own personal play therapist who specializes in sexual abuse.  (I think that it is paramount to have a specialized therapist!!! I can't stress that enough.)  Our son was also read the riot act as far as being totally respectful toward his younger siblings when the meeting finally did take place.  He was talked to about not staring them down, not putting them on the spot, and he had to formulate an apology and then verbally practice many times before he was actually allowed to meet with them.  We signed unrestricted releases of information between the older child and younger children's therapist as well as my own therapist (I admit freely that I needed help dealing with the utter despair I felt).  We wanted to compile a cohesive "team" and felt it was very, very important that they be able to talk freely in order to best help our family on a global level.  

   

This kind of decision should never be taken lightly.  We made the mistake of staying in contact with our son's own perpetrator (she was a very close family member whom I was ashamedly now, very enmeshed with).  I had grown up feeling responsible for her emotions because there had been multiple suicide attempts and I feared abandonment.......I know, I know -- there is no excuse.  She was never again allowed unsupervised contact with any of our children but we did see her.  She died about a year and a half ago, most likely of suicide though an autopsy was not done because she had COPD and died at home.  Please, before you bash me, realize that things become very complicated when strong emotional ties are involved and I did the best I could at the time.    

   

Our son is finally doing much better.  He completed all four stages of his sex offender inpatient treatment program and was discharged after 14 months though he of course will continue to work with his therapist on an outpatient basis.  Testing that was done prior to discharge showed that he had made significant progress and was FINALLY at a low risk to reoffend.  No, he didn't come home.  Dan and I both felt that the younger children deserved to have a hcme free from any worries.  We would have been compelled to run a jail out of our home.  They were also used to being able to have friends over and we were not about to put anyone elses' children at risk either.  Tests showing low risk are one thing; learning to completely ever trust again is quite another.  We have told our son that if anything ever happens like this again to anyone, we not only will not stand behind him -- we will actively help with the prosecution.  This is not acceptable behavior and he has had ample opportunity for treatment.  If he chooses to mess up again, we will see that he is put away.  

   

I have received many e-mails (nursetree_drphil@yahoo.com) in addition to the posts on the message board -- some from as far away as Australia.  I am glad that people are talking and I'm grateful that our story has possibly helped others facing the same or similar situation.  We don't purport to be perfect parents by any means but we have faced a very shameful problem with courage and a refusal of secrecy and for that, I'm proud.  I had so many people tell me that they admired me for doing it but that there was no way they could have "turned their child in."  I never looked at it that way.  I saw that he had a problem that he needed to be held accountable for and that he needed treatment if he were going to ever be able to lead any semblance of a normal life.  It's like immunizations -- you don't have them get them because you want to see them hurt when the needle goes in!  You're trying to prevent a worse problem later on.  So you bite the bullet.  We are so grateful to the many, many people we've enlisted on our "team."  We are disappointed that no aftercare help was offered after the show but it still wasn't a bad experience because it got people talking!   

   

   

 
August 18, 2005, 10:10 am CDT

Worse Idea ever......

I am a survivor of childhood abuse and rape starting from the time I was 6 to the time I was 19 but then again when I was much older, even though it wasn't my brother it was a close family friend and my uncle who did this to me. I always dreaded the idea of having to see this guy at family get togethers and special holidays. I understand that they love their son very much and are torn apart because they have to make this choice. They son has already proven that he can't be trusted and to put those poor children through that again is really wrong. Even if its a supervised visit he will still try again. He has proven that even when thee were obsticles in his way he was still abusing his siter and brother. I don't see how Dr.Phil could think that supervised visit would be best for this family. Don't he realized that these children's brother ruined these young children's life. Yes the older son is a victim which is why I don't understand how could put his victims through everything he has gone through. There is no excuse for what he has done. What really makes me mad is the fact that their son is making it seem that its no big deal. It shows that he would never learn and will continue on with doing what he has been doing, abusing more victims.
 
August 18, 2005, 11:13 am CDT

What to do

After watching this story, I am convinced this sort of thing happens more often than anyone is willing to admit.. I have a stepson living with me that molested his stepsister (his mothers boyfriends little girl) about 4 yrs ago. she was 6, he was 13-14.  When his mother and her boyfriend were told about it, they told him that they would take care of it.  And then within the next year (or it might have even been in the same time frame) he has now molested my granddaughter she was 2-3 years old. Since all of this has taken place, he has been removed from his mothers home and placed in my home.  He is receiving outpatient theropy, and is on probation.  He is now 18 years old, I have been told that his record will be sealed, and he does not have to be registered as a sex offender.  This really pisses me off.  But I don't know what to do about it. Every day I have to look at him and know what he did to those 2 little girls, and it upsets me.  Everyone tells me he is making improvements, but I personally don't see any difference. It has caused many problems between my husband and myself.  I know he has a bond with his son that I do not have, so I have very different feelings on the whole matter.  So please help.. What do I do.
 
August 19, 2005, 1:58 am CDT

In a similar situation

My son is 27 and in prison for having sex with a minor, it was his4th offense which made it a felony.  He will be released in December and will be living with me and my husband.  He is in a program at the facility where he is now.  He has admitted he has this illness. 

I have two things I am struggling with knowing my son is coming home soon.  One is that he will be a registered sex offender, I am not sure how much information will be given to the neighboorhood.  Who is going to give him a job, or a place to live if he does find a job?  how can he rebuild his life without a job?  The second thing is, a few months ago my son's younger brothers who are 25 and 23 told me that Bill my son who is in prison molested them when they were young.  I once asked Bill about this in a letter but he did not respond to the question.  This is one thing I have no idea how to handle.   

 
August 19, 2005, 6:33 pm CDT

chloe1

Quote From: chloe1

I was molested by my brother for over 6 years.  He started when I was in fifth grade and didn't stop until I broke down and told my boyfriend and mother.  When I finally told someone, nothing really happened.  He moved away a few months later with his girlfriend (now wife) who is in the air force. His wife has no idea.  I need some advise on what to do.  Should I tell her, and my father?  I am afraid that he will hurt someone else.  I struggle with what to do everyday.  It is the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep, and the first thing on my mind when I wake up.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated...thank you
hope i spelled that right?if not my oppologies. I am so sorry for what you went through.Brother or not yes i would tell . how can i say that well have some abuse issues my self.not by brother though. He should be stopped sweetie before he does do it again and the next one might not be so lucky and what i mean by that is he might seriously hurt or kill someone else. You need to get counciling also to help you deal with this.Does your dad know?if not why?your mom and boyfriend know.His wife needs to know what she married then if she doesn't know because its not fair to her to have to live with the likes of that.Do they have children yet?If so i would be afraid that he might hurt a niece or nephew .And don't think for a min that he wouldn't ,just think if he can do the likes of that to his sister what he can do to his child. A inoscent child would not be able to defend themselves against the likes of him there are kids being abused as young as babies only months old so they do know who to attack don't think they don't. take a step  and  tell .i can't understand why your mom didn't do anything to begin with?or your boyfriend is he still your boyfriend?take care and good luck in what you decide.blue blob
 
August 20, 2005, 6:10 am CDT

addicted gambler!

what about the one one who gambled all the money away from her family.Her kids college funds now thats stuping low.She could have gotten help long before this and chose not to don't feel one bit sorry for her.To bad though hubby didn't say anything since he suspected it.oh well don't cry over spilt milk now.too late ,she gambled everything away.well all i can say is does this man have stupid written across his forehead i wonder!!no pitty what so ever.Only ones i do feel for are those kids and their mom riuned their chance for an education which i think she needs to get!
 
August 20, 2005, 12:50 pm CDT

08/17 Secrets in the Suburbs

In the Episode Secrets in the Suburbs Dr. Phil talked about anxiety disorder, does anyone have any information on this, or where I can get more info on it.  It was like he was describing me.  Thank you
 
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