Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
You write that you have had therapy. Can you tell me what type of therapy? How long? Why did it end? What did you think of it?
You also have used prayer. How does G-d fit into this situation of the incest and abuse for you?
Do you live in a metropolitan area or close to one?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
Let's go forward from the answers to these questions. Please go ahead and post your response. I may be away from the computer for the night before you respond. If so, would tomorrow be okay for me to respond?
Thank you for the added information. It helps a lot. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how overwhelming this situation must be for you. Why do I say overwhelming?
Because you have lived a life full of many experiences and many relationships and many interactions. All to grow and learn from. All that add up together to be your life. And there is one set of events so many years in the past now, yet they still dominate in a way that no other experiences, relationships, hand interactions can come close to. Those events intrude into your sense of self more than their fare share.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. Your question to me really is: how can I perform emotional surgery on myself? I don't actually mind remembering the awfulness of the past. It's the residual effect on me that I need excised from my soul and my awareness. How can I surgically remove the incest from my life?
And you are such an intelligent and insightful person, that right now you already have a sense of what the answer can only be:
We are not able to perform emotional surgery on ourselves. This is not how G-d built us. So why not?
Because that is not the purpose of either the experiences of our lives nor of their emotional impact. It is not that we are to classify them as good and positive vs. bad and negative and then remove, ignore, and distance ourselves from the negative set and move on blithely with the positive set.
Yes, the purpose of life is to grow, learn, develop, process, gain in awareness, grow some more, learn, develop some more. On and on. And it is not only the new events we are to process and learn and grow from. The new events interact with the old events, the new feelings with the old. And it is through bringing the old events into the present that we have the opportunity to learn and grow from them as we develop and mature.
But this is only if you set out to do this. You can only learn and grow if you set out to learn and grow from the suffering and humiliation inflicted upon you. Because growth is almost never gained from the ice cream parties of our lives; it is almost always gained from the difficulties and struggles of our lives.
And so you have not found yet what is the growth in who you are because of the horrible sickness of your father. But one clear lesson you can start with: you now know what the Bible means by the sins of the fathers being visited upon the children. It does not mean that you get punished for his sins. It means that you have to somehow turn his sins into something of meaning and through that, to turn what was ugly and negative into the stuff of goodness. I think you are trying to do some of that with your fierce loyalty to your mother.
But you need to do more than that also. Your agoraphobia seems to be a withdrawal from this movement of transforming the sickness of the fathers into goodness in the world. So, you may need to address the agoraphobia again in CBT therapy geared specifically to anxiety and phobias. That means interviewing the psychologist for experience and expertise in these areas. And that he/she shares your values. But not for the sake of getting over the phobia.
For the sake of growing within yourself and opening your life to your life. Incest closes a person up. This is the test G-d has put before you: to have been closed up emotionally by force. And now you need to flower, to open up.
So let your ongoing discussions with G-d be your companion and guide in the opening up process throughout each day. Look for opportunities for goodness and opening up your heart. Put yourself in those situations. Whether it is volunteering, talking to groups about the difficulties of incest, or simply making people smile back as you say hello at the grocery store.
This is the process you must go through with G-d in His world: to open in goodness what was closed in evil. I wish you the very best!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX