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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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I was sexually abused by my brother as a child (sodomy), we

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I was sexually abused by my brother as a child (sodomy), we are about 1.5 yrs apart. I can only remember a few of the instances. The abuse happened some where between 1 -4 grades. I was angry with him for a long time. It turns out that the priest at our catholic school was one of the worst ones convicted in the catholic child sexual abuse scandel. Father Miller. I have always remembered this incredible fear of school in 1 -3 grades. The fear improved in 4th and 5th grades. I remember just 2 or 3 things about 1 - 2 grades, 3rd I have no memories of other than I liked my teacher a lot. I can't remember her name or even what she looked like. The rest of my memory is just fear. I am in my 40's now and recently got the courage to look up this priest online. He was at my school at the time that I was in 1st - 3rd grades and he also abused girls. It was very emotional for me to learn this information. I have always thought, since the scandel, that he probably sexually abused my brother, who in turn abused me. From my mom's stories I know at that time my brother quit doing his homework and the school wanted my mom to punish him. She wouldn't, and told them that they need to take care of it. He ended up being held back at some point, I don't remember what year. These are definately signs that something was going on with him though.

Also during 1 -3 grades I used to think that the devil liked under my bed. It was an unforgetable fear. No part of my body could be off the bed even the tiniest bid, or I knew the devil would grab me and pull me under in the night. I would never get up to go to the bathroom because he could grab me, I would just lie awake in fear until morning. I could also never tell anyone he was there. My question is, do you think the priest may have also abused me and this is why I can't remember anything? Or am I just letting my imagine run wild? I can't talk with my brother about this. I resently told my husband and mother. My mother and I are not talking with each other. My husband has been very helpful. However, I can't face talking with my brother, the problem is he may have some of the answers that I need. However, currently this is not an option for me, it's just not something I think I can deal with.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.

 

I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. Sexual abuse can certainly be responsible for the symptoms that you describe. It is difficult to determine, without an evaluation, whether the abuse that you experienced was from your brother alone, or also from an adult such as your priest. Regardless of the details of the abuse, the effects of sexual abuse can be very devastating and can take work to overcome the emotional effects. A psychologist would be very important to you in your recovery process. Simply trying to forget will only typically cause you to have symptoms over time. The psychologist can also work with you to determine when and if a discussion with your brother would be appropriate, and if charges against the priest would be indicated. This is not something to try to fix all on your own. There is a type of therapy known as the Trauma Model by Dr. Colin Ross that is particularly effective for these issues. The goal of this therapy is to help you learn to feel your feelings in a safe way, instead of having them create symptoms. You may find Dr. Ross's website helpful for more information: http://www.rossinst.com/

 

In addition, medications can often be helpful, but only in conjunction with therapy.

 

Other things that can be helpful include mindful eating and mindful meditation, exercise, adequate rest, finding hobbies that you enjoy, focusing on positives about yourself, volunteering, and interacting with supportive people. Above all, remember that you did not cause the abuse and you did not deserve the abuse. You can decide to be a survivor rather than a victim. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience: Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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