Message Boards

Topic : 09/07 Dark Family Secrets

Number of Replies: 216
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Friday, September 02, 2005, 11:04:45 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1

After years of suffering in silence, a family turns to Dr. Phil for help on a forbidden topic. Their silence stems from years of incest that took place between all five siblings. Becky, the oldest sister, is terrified those years of molestation and pain could cause her younger brother, Kenny, to die on the streets as a homeless drug addict. Find out what happens when Kenny faces his brothers and sisters as they confront their incestuous past. Plus, Alexis wants help with a heart-breaking secret. Her father got her pregnant eight times, beginning when she was just 15. Her children don't know that their grandfather is also their dad. Should Alexis tell them? Talk about the show here.

 

Find out what happened on the show.

 

More September 2005 Show Boards.

 

Chat with others on the Childhood Sexual Abuse Support message board.


As of January, 2009, this message board will become "Read Only" and will be closed to further posting. Please join the NEW Dr. Phil Community to continue your discussions, personalize your message board experience, start a blog and meet new friends.

September 7, 2005, 1:07 pm CDT

Excellent Post!!!!!!!!!!!

Quote From: srndpty333

The topic of child sexual abuse MUST be addressed by those in a positon to pull back the curtain of shame and secrecy on this topic...too often victims and survivors of insest are met with "the wall of silence".

 

The long-term effects of insest and child sexual abuse are hideous!!!!!!!!  Survivors are re-victimized when the abuse is denied, minimized, rationalized, or intellectuallized.

 

While I was waiting to see my doctor one day I flipped through a Canadian Geographic magazine in her waiting room.  I read an article about scientists for wildlife preservation doing studies on animals in the Canadian arctic…animals such as wolves, polar bears, caribou etc.  In the article it talked about how the elders of the arctic peoples are upset by the experiments being done on the animals…experiments like putting radio collars on wolves to track their movement and behavior.  The elders say it changes the animals.  One particular comment made by Norma Kassi, a Yukon Environmentalist, jumped out at me.  She said...

 

"Once an animal has been touched by a human, they act differently.  Their psychology is changed.  It takes the wildness out of them.


I consider this to be a profound statement, in that if being touched by a human can permanently alter the psychology of a wild animal…it lends proof to the theory that a child who has been sexually molested by an adult is changed forever, psychologically and physiologically.  Naturally, these things are just not supposed to happen…humans violating wild animals for scientific study and adults violating children for personal sexual gratification.


If people can be disturbed by the fact that the well being of a few wild animals is being sacrificed for the good of the survival of the species…why aren’t people outraged by the fact that 1 in 4 of our most precious resource…our children, is being sacrificed for the sake of secrecy and shame?

 

As being touched by a human destroys an animal’s wildness… being violated by an adult destroys the innocence of a child’s.


Unfortunately, some violated humans unlike wild animals…aren’t only changed; they go on to be violators!!!


Maybe we should tell the animals to just, “Get over it”, as many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are told to do.


The survivor of Child sexual abuse is not the only victim, or the only one affected by the act, or more commonly “acts”.  The future children and spouses of survivors are also affected in ways they are not prepared for because often the long-term effects are not consciously linked with the abuse in the survivors own mind.   The parents of the survivor are victims as the guilt a parent experiences over having not been able to protect their child is also long term and devastating to them, as they watch their child grow and suffer the long-term effects of child sexual abuse.  Often the parent is also suffering these same long-term effects themselves, as the pattern of abuse is repeated through generations of a family because time and time again, it is swept under the carpet and never addressed.  People are ashamed that it is happening in their family…they feel it is a reflection on them and their character.  So when it is discovered that a child is being or has been sexually molested by another family member…it is covered up.  Do not speak…is the mantra of the family diseased by CSA.  “Think of the family name”…”Don’t bring shame to the family”.  I say it’s only an illusion of family…because families don’t sacrifice their own for the sake of “appearance”.

 

If you visit [http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/issues9.html#lon you will read...

 

“There is now an established body of knowledge clearly linking a history of child sexual abuse with higher rates in adult life of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders”


In my opinion, this is the short list of the conditions and symptoms that are linked to a history of Child Sexual Abuse.


In Marilyn VanDerbur’s book, Miss America by Day, she recalls confronting her father after years of repressing the memories of the sexual abuse inflicted upon her by him, between the ages of 5 and 10.  He said something to her that I also find profound.  He said, “If I had known what it would do to you, I never would have done it.”  If that statement is true…then what sexual abuse does to a child is something that needs to be said…often and loudly.  There are people out there that need to hear this.  Child sexual abuse is cruel and violent and vicious.  Child sexual abuse destroys lives. 


If you were sexually abused and you are having thoughts or urges to sexually abuse a child….STOP…call a mental health professional and make an appointment.  You do not have the right to inflict on another child what was inflicted on you. 


If your child has been sexually abused…SPEAK…to your doctor.  Your child will need therapy to effectively deal with what was done to them.


If you have been abused, no matter how long ago, and are suffering long-term effects... TALK...to a therapist, councilor or support group.


People who have the courage to SPEAK break chains.


The difference between the adult who suffers the long-term effects of child sexual abuse and the paraplegic who was put in a wheelchair for life by a drunk driver is the paraplegic’s injuries are obvious.  The damage to his spinal cord can be seen on an x-ray.  There is no technology that can show you the damage to a child’s spirit.  Would you say to a paraplegic, “Get over it!”? …Would you say, “Get up and walk you whiner!”?  Even if his spinal cord had not been completely severed it would take intensive physiotherapy to be able to walk again.  What would happen if his wounds were ignored or he was told, “It’s all in your head”?

I am still in tears.  

  

I'm so happy that Dr. Phil had the passion & concern to talk about this matter. 

  

I'm shaking... right now, not sure why. When Dr. Phil stood up and hugged Kenny, My heart broke. 

  

I think that is what I need. 

  

I have a huge void in my heart....  

  

  

Tammy Jo 

 
September 7, 2005, 1:27 pm CDT

A HUG!

Quote From: love2bs

I am still in tears.  

  

I'm so happy that Dr. Phil had the passion & concern to talk about this matter. 

  

I'm shaking... right now, not sure why. When Dr. Phil stood up and hugged Kenny, My heart broke. 

  

I think that is what I need. 

  

I have a huge void in my heart....  

  

  

Tammy Jo 

From me to you Tammy Jo.... 

 

  

 
September 7, 2005, 1:35 pm CDT

Consider Yourself Hugged!!!

Quote From: love2bs

I am still in tears.  

  

I'm so happy that Dr. Phil had the passion & concern to talk about this matter. 

  

I'm shaking... right now, not sure why. When Dr. Phil stood up and hugged Kenny, My heart broke. 

  

I think that is what I need. 

  

I have a huge void in my heart....  

  

  

Tammy Jo 

sorry I'm having a little trouble uploading pics....but I send a big hug to you !!! 

 
September 7, 2005, 1:42 pm CDT

Wow! You're very knowledgeable

Quote From: srndpty333

I pray that you will find the strength to look at your dreams without fear. 

  

I too experience fear everyday...it is part of my daily life...I don't meet a lot of people who understand the issues around incest and sexual abuse so I do a lot of research...it validates me... 

  

here are a couple of things I found that have comforted me...I hope it validates a comforts you even if it is in a small way for a small moment... 

  

  

from a book called “Secret Survivors-Uncovering incest and it’s aftereffects in women” by E. Sue Blume…she is the creator of the The Abuse Survivors' Aftereffects Checklist which I have copied and pasted below 

 

  

The Abuse Survivors' Aftereffects Checklist

  

 

Do you find many characteristics of yourself on this list? If so, you could be a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Survivors, particularly incest survivors, may experience suppressed memory in reference to their abuse. Memories of the actual trauma may be hidden by the mind as a means of protecting the individual from the pain associated with the event. As a result, many abuse survivors experience a host of trauma-related symptoms which seem to have no recognizable source.

* Fear of being alone in the dark, of sleeping alone; nightmares, night terror (especially of pursuit, threat, entrapment).

  

 

* Swallowing and gagging sensitivity; repugnance to water on one's face when bathing or swimming (suffocation feelings).

  

 

* Alienation from the body - not at home in own body; failure to heed body signals or take care of one's body; poor body image; manipulating body size to avoid sexual attention.

  

 

* Gastrointestinal problems; gynecological disorders (including spontaneous vaginal infections); headaches; arthritis or joint pain.

  

 

* Wearing a lot of clothing, even in summer; baggy clothes; failure to remove clothing even when appropriate to do so (while swimming, bathing, sleeping); extreme requirement for privacy when using bathroom.

  

 

* Eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse (or total abstinence); other addictions; compulsive behaviors.

  

 

* Self-destructiveness; skin carving, self-abuse.

  

 

* Phobias.

  

 

* Need to be invisible, perfect, or perfectly bad.

  

 

* Suicidal thoughts, attempts, obsession (including "passive suicide").

  

 

* Depression (sometimes paralyzing); seemingly baseless crying.

  

 

* Anger issues; inability to recognize, own or express anger, fear of actual or imagined rate; constant anger, intense hostility toward entire gender or ethnic group of the perpetrator.

  

 

* Splitting (depersonalization); going into shock, shutdown in crisis; a stressful situation always in a crisis; psychic numbing; physical pain or numbness associated with a particular memory, emotion (e.g., anger), or situation (e.g., sex).

  

 

* Rigid control of one's thought process; humorlessness or extreme solemnity.

  

 

* Childhood hiding, hanging on, cowering in corners (security-seeking behaviors); adult nervousness over being watched or surprised; feeling watched; startle response.

  

 

* Trust issue; inability to trust (trust is not safe); total trust; trusting indiscriminately.

  

 

* High risk taking ("daring the fates"); inability to take risks.
Boundary issues; control, power, territoriality issues; fear of losing control; obsessive/compulsive behaviors (attempts to control things that don't matter, just to control something).

  

 

* Guilt, shame; low self-esteem, feeling worthless; high appreciation of small favors by others.

  

 

* Pattern of being a victim (victimizing oneself after being victimized by others), especially sexually; no sense of own-power or right to set limits or say no; pattern of relationships with much older persons (onset in adolescence).

  

 

* Feeling demand to "produce and be loved"; instinctively knowing and doing what the other person needs or wants; relationships mean big tradeoffs (love was taken, not given).

  

 

* Abandonment issues.

  

 

* Blocking out some period of early years (especially 1-12), or a specific person or place.

  

 

* Feeling of carrying an awful secret; urge to tell, fear of its being revealed; certainty that no one will listen; being generally seductive; feeling "marked" (the "scarlet letter").

  

 

* Feeling crazy; feeling different; feeling oneself to be unreal and everyone else to be real, or vice versa; creating fantasy worlds, relationships, or identities (especially for women: imagining or wishing self to be male, i.e., not a victim).

  

 

* Denial: no awareness at all; repression of memories; pretending; minimizing ("it wasn't that bad"); having dreams or memories ("maybe it's my imagination"); strong, deep, "inappropriate" negative reactions to a person, place or event; "sensory flashes" (a light, a place, a physical feeling) without a sense of their meaning; remembering the surroundings but not the event.

  

 

* Sexual issues: sex feel "dirty", aversion to being touched, especially in gynecological exam; strong aversion to (or need for) particular sex acts; feeling betrayed by one's body; trouble integrating sexuality and emotionality; confusion or overlapping of affection, sex, dominance, aggression, and violence; having to pursue power in the sexual arena which is actually sexual acting out (self-abuse and manipulation, especially among women; abuse of others, especially among men); compulsively "seductive' or compulsively asexual; must be sexual aggressor or cannot be; impersonal, "promiscuous" sex with strangers concurrent with inability to have sex in intimate relationship (conflict between sex and caring); prostitute, stripper, "sex symbol", porn actress; sexual acting out to meet anger or revenge needs; "sexaholism"; avoidance; shutdown, crying after orgasm; all pursuit feels like violation; sexualizing of meaningful relationships; erotic response to abuse or anger, sexual fantasies of dominance or rape (Note: Homosexuality is not an aftereffect).

  

 

* Pattern of ambivalent or intensely conflictive relationships (intimacy is a problem; also focus shifted from incest issues).

  

 

* Avoidance of mirrors (connected with invisibility, shame/self-esteem issues, distrust of perceived body image).

  

 

* Desire to change one's name (to disassociate from the perpetrator or to take control through self-labeling).

  

 

* Limited tolerance for happiness; active withdrawal from happiness, reluctance to trust happiness "ice=thin").

  

 

* Aversion to making noise (including during sex, crying, laughing, or other body functions); verbal hypervigilance (careful monitoring of one's words); quite-voiced, especially when needing to be heard.

  

 

* Stealing (adults); stealing and starting fires (children).

  

 

* Multiple personality.

  

 

  

 

 

 

and having said that... 

 

 

 

…. Here is an excerpt from Frances Moore Lappe's? book “You Have the Power – Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear”.

  

 

  

 

 

Listening to our own inner cry can feel a lot like listening to a baby cry.  We don’t know when it will stop; we don’t know what it means.  We don’t know how to respond.  And we often assume this not knowing means something is wrong.  It’s hard not to.  Recently, a Boston subway public-service campaign caught my eye.  It read: “Safety is knowing.”  If safety is knowing, doesn’t’ that suggest that not knowing is dangerous?

  

 

            Of course we’re afraid of what we don’t know, and most of us don’t know a lot about who we are, our place in the world.  So when we begin to think about what we might uniquely bring to the world, we often find ourselves facing discomfort, like the discomfort I felt listening to Kathryn’s [a babies cries.

  

 

Imagine what would happen if our society treated our babies like it suggests we treat our inner calls and questions.  Imagine if, when we heard babies cry, we judged ourselves to be bad parents.  Imagine if we just gave up, left the baby in the house and drove away.  Imagine if we drugged our babies to keep them from crying; or imagine that those who did listen to their babies were seen as abnormal.  Good parents don’t have crying babies.

  

 

But babies do cry.  Their cries are not value judgments.  Their cries are a signal that something needs to be attended to with intention.

  

 

Only as we learn to refrain from judging our not knowing can we hear our own questions.  As we shift the meaning of our discomfort from something being wrong to something becoming real, new possibilities appear.

  

 

  

 

  

 

(personal note...my fears are a signal that something needs to be attended to with intention…not repressed further with denial, minimization, rationalization or drugs.  Or judged as crazy, unstable, disturbed!)

  

 

  

 

 

 Hi Serendipity333:

I' so, so impressed with your knowledge.   I did not know about Ms. Blume's checklist, but it's perfect.   May I ask, what sort of therapy did you undertake?

My own therapy is mostly based on Judith Lewis Herman, plus I am now in a "deep conscious breathing" (???) group which is helping a great deal.

Still, I would like to do something to address emotional immaturity.   I have read about social skills training but don't know where to go for this.

Do you --or does anyone else out there--know anything about this?    Any suggestions about best therapies?   How to climb back into life after 10+ years of therapy and underachievement?

My thanks to you and my prayers to all of you who are on the boards.    We know each other's pain.   I'm so grateful.
 
September 7, 2005, 1:50 pm CDT

I'm so sorry

Quote From: angbentle

I was a victim of sexual abuse.  Not only as a child but as an adult.  As a child I felt powerless and as an adult I felt the same way.  I married a man that did to me all the things that my mom did to me.  I was not only sexually abused, but verbally, emotionally and physically abused as well.  As a result I became and still am very angry.  For many years I took that anger out on other people mostly children that were as helpless as I was.  Even though it's been several years since I did anything to anyone the backlash of what happened to me as well as what I did to others has been overwhelming.  It has been mostly coming up in the forms of dreams.  I am petrified to go to sleep at night for fear of having to relive it all in my dreams.  I am not only angry, but anxious and depressed as well and the lack of sleep doesn't make things any easier.  I am in counseling and have been for 6 years and I am still afraid to face the issues head on.  I don't want to relive them, but I am in my dreams.  I need to get it out so all of this will subside.  What a mess.  Sometimes I feel like that 7 year old child stuck in an adult body.  That is a freaky feeling.
 I know what you mean.   If you stick with therapy, the dreams go away, as does the fear.   (Still, six years is a LONG time to be in counseling and still have these symptoms.)

May I recommend Judith Lewis Herman's "Trauma and Recovery"?   It lays out one treatment method which is what I used.   It works for the worst symptoms, but then there is more to do.    These days, they're treating people with EMDR (a light therapy), which speeds up the process.

Also, please think about a second opinion.   My own doctor prescribed an antidepressant sleeping pill when I was afraid to go to sleep.   I can't imagine getting through without one--but that's me.    Now I don't take them at all; I sleep just fine.

What worries me most is that you've been at this for six years!    I think you should have seen better results by now.    God bless you.   I hope you don't mind my suggestion: please get a second opinion.

Big hug.



 
September 7, 2005, 1:56 pm CDT

Has anyone lost their family?

 Hi to everyone and god bless.

I have read that being kicked out of one's family is quite common when one discloses abuse, comes down with PTSD, and so on.

It happened to me and it was hard.   Has it happened to anyone else, and if so, would anyone care to discuss this?   I'm still reeling from it and would love to hear from others.
 
September 7, 2005, 2:50 pm CDT

This is part of my story, the last 5 years at home

My abuse started when I was in diapers, but this is just the last 5 years of my life at home. 

  

Things are worse for me in the early fall and winter. I am not sure if that is the time of year when my abuse started or what.  

   

I used to go to bed at night and wear layers and layers of clothes, hoping that would frustrate them. I would shut my bedroom and closet door, check under my bed and then turn the light off and run and jump into bed and pull the covers over my head and crawl to the bottom of the covers and go to sleep.  

   

Realized later why I checked my closet. My mom would hide in there and watch. She did that to my little sister too. My mom got mad at my little sis because her clothes were cut. She tried to tell my mom that husband 4 was "hurting her", so my mom said she would hide in the closet and see if it were true.  

   

She did, waited until he was done and then confronted him, told him if he ever did that again she would divorce him. Five years later she did.  

   

My mom did have me in counseling at age 15, she controlled that too. Told him that I was having an affair with my step uncle who she had move into our house.  

  

mjkkas 

   

 
September 7, 2005, 2:57 pm CDT

09/07 Dark Family Secrets

Quote From: guaran

 Hi to everyone and god bless.

I have read that being kicked out of one's family is quite common when one discloses abuse, comes down with PTSD, and so on.

It happened to me and it was hard.   Has it happened to anyone else, and if so, would anyone care to discuss this?   I'm still reeling from it and would love to hear from others.

My 38 yr old husband revealed 1 year ago that he was abused by his older sister.  (He was 8 and she was 16 when the abuse started and continued for 2 yrs.  )He told his mother, who believed him for 2 days and then she went  into "how will my family survive this" mode.  She went to her daughter to confront her, behind my husbands back, and evidently received the ultimate denial.  My husband attempted to contact his sister by phone and she never returned the calls.  He spoke to his mother 1 time after the initial conversations and she would only say "...these are YOUR accusations."  We have not heard from them since.  My husband has written both his parents and sister letters discussing how the abuse affected him and that it did happen.  He has 2 additional siblings who only will say "...how can you make this up about our sister".  EVERYONE is in denial.  I wonder if something didn't happen to all of them.  The troubling part is that I only married into this family 4 years ago and both my husbands parents told me how Happy my husband was as a child and that around 8 or 9 "something changed and he became very angry".    I always found that odd to be proclaiming to a new addition to the family.  It does tell me that these parents now know the truth and are more concerned with how they will be perceived as parents and their family will be perceived.  They will sacrafice one member for the "good of the group".  If they allow themselves to believe this, that would require all of them to act.  Look at the family and none of them want to do that.  My 2 year old daughter will never know her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins because of the power of denial.  

My husband is still in counselling and is doing very, very well.  I am the one who struggles with the lack of contact from his family.  He probably has been trying to break free from them for 30 years.  I just can not understand how Christian people can act this way.  

I wish you luck, but have learned that your family are the ones who need to change in order to be part of your life again.  We will never have contact with them unless big changes happen.  It is extremely sad, I wish it were different.  I hope Dr. Phil continues to do shows like he did today.  

 
September 7, 2005, 2:59 pm CDT

RE: Therapy

Quote From: guaran

 Hi Serendipity333:

I' so, so impressed with your knowledge.   I did not know about Ms. Blume's checklist, but it's perfect.   May I ask, what sort of therapy did you undertake?

My own therapy is mostly based on Judith Lewis Herman, plus I am now in a "deep conscious breathing" (???) group which is helping a great deal.

Still, I would like to do something to address emotional immaturity.   I have read about social skills training but don't know where to go for this.

Do you --or does anyone else out there--know anything about this?    Any suggestions about best therapies?   How to climb back into life after 10+ years of therapy and underachievement?

My thanks to you and my prayers to all of you who are on the boards.    We know each other's pain.   I'm so grateful.

Any knowledge I have on this issue is from reading and doing research…I have just started therapy and am still not convinced I have the right therapist…I haven’t even started to address my own abuse…I have only talked about my guilt over how I dealt with my son’s abuse by my brother.

  

 

Unfortunately, most therapists do not specialize in this area, and received minimal training on the issue.  There are different schools of thought regarding incest and sexual abuse and one of them is to, “ignore it” i.e.;  “picking at a wound doesn’t encourage healing” …that is fear based thinking…if you are being told to “get over it” you are talking to the wrong person…the long term effects of CSA need to be managed not ignored.  You can’t will yourself to be healed….it is a process requiring hard work and commitment to face it.  Dr. Phil is right on the money when he says, “Monsters live in the dark.” 

  

 

Marilyn VanDerber stresses the importance of finding the right therapist.  Don’t settle and don’t ever give up on you.

  

 

I myself just recently discovered Ms. Blume’s check list…and I have got her book…”Secret Survivors” on order through the library.  The more I am validated the stronger I get.  And I’ve recently discovered that the more I talk about this on message boards or through journaling the saner I feel.

  

 

I am going to do some research on Judith Lewis Herman.  I hadn’t heard of  her and I like to read as much as I can on this topic.

  

 

I too struggle with emotional immaturity and sometimes feel like I am two people…one of me is strong and sure and one of me is a terrified lost child hiding from the world.  I just wish I had control over which one of me is in charge.

  

 

As far as therapy suggestions…I am searching too…but I think that talk therapy has shown proven results from what I read. 

  

 

  

 

Here is an interesting article I found at http://cms.psychologytoday.com

  

 

  

 

Talk Therapy vs. Drugs

By: Hara Estroff Marano
Summary: Two different kinds of treatment, drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy, combat depression but affect different parts of the brain.

  

 

  

 

Talk therapy and drug therapy both combat major depression, but a new imaging study shows that the two treatments have distinctly different effects on specific parts of the brain.

  

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) changes metabolic activity in the cortex, the thinking brain, to modulate mood states. It works from the top down, altering how people monitor and react to negative emotional stimuli in their environment. Drugs, by contrast, work from the bottom up, modulating neurotransmitters in the brainstem, which drive basic emotional behaviors.

  

 

Reporting in the Archives of General Psychiatry, neurologist Helen Mayberg and colleagues at the University of Toronto found that the unique metabolic changes produced by CBT in the cortex reflect newly learned ability to detect troubling emotional stimuli and to keep them out of working memory, where they get amplified by rumination. Such changes may make a relapse of depression far less likely.

  

 

The effects produced by both types of therapy point to a larger, complex circuit of depression in the brain. "Our imaging study shows that you can correct the depression network along a variety of pathways," says Mayberg. "Drugs change the chemical balance in the brain through effects at very specific target sites. Cognitive therapy is tapping into a different part of the same depression circuit board."

  

 

  

 

 
September 7, 2005, 3:02 pm CDT

Ostracizm

Quote From: guaran

 Hi to everyone and god bless.

I have read that being kicked out of one's family is quite common when one discloses abuse, comes down with PTSD, and so on.

It happened to me and it was hard.   Has it happened to anyone else, and if so, would anyone care to discuss this?   I'm still reeling from it and would love to hear from others.

When I decided 20 years after my son’s disclosure to me that my brother, his uncle was sexually abusing him my family swiftly showed me the consequences.  I was gradually, passive aggressively ostracized by them all.  I was silent for 20 years and I was dying inside… I will not be silenced again. 

 
First | Prev | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Next | Last