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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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what kind of help is available for older people who experienced incest and battering as a

Resolved Question:

what kind of help is available for older people who experienced incest and battering as a children?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.

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?

Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes tomorrow is fine for a response.<br/>    I've gone into therapy on and off over the course of my life, but it hasn't worked to resolve my issues and at this point I'm severely agorophobic.I guess you'd call it Cognitive Therapy overall. A guesstimate of total time in therapy is 6 years, but not continuous. What prompted me into therapy was increasingly severe and chronic depression. I stopped therapy due to geographic moves and also felt that it wasn't helping enough to continue. The therapists mostly seemed glib and superficial.Therapy consisted of seeing 1)a college guidance department psychologist (male) who ended up taking advantage of me sexually after one year of twice weekly sessions 2)a social worker/family therapist (female) who I saw over the course of 8 months. She was majorly clueless and would doze off during sessions. 3)a phd psychologist I saw 2x weekly for 2 years until I moved to another state. 4) a phd psychologist I saw weekly for 3 years until he retired to Florida.<br/>    I live in a town rather than a large city. Albany,NY is the largest city near me but it might as well be the moon.<br/>   It's been about 15 years since I last was in therapy and I'm being treated with an antidepressant by my MD. <br/>   I'm not affiliated with any formal religion, was raised a roman catholic, use TM (for stress, elevated bp, and general well being) for 20 minutes twice a day. I spend an hour praying,talking to God and meditating on His presence in my life before trying to sleep. God is actively present in my life on a daily basis and I'm incredibly thankful for that!<br/>   I'm caring for my 90 year old mother who is from Vienna, well into age related dementia, and getting more difficult to deal with all the time. I don't intend ever to put her into assisted care or a nursing home no matter how hard it might get. <br/>   My father (born in Munich) is deceased and was a batterer and sexual and emotional abuser. He also was claustrophobic. I have one older sibling,my sister, who was the primary target of the sexual abuse.<br/>   I've been married once, had 3 children, 2 are living. <br/>   Honestly in a capsule, that's all I think might be helpful. I don't want "more of the same" and am not looking for therapy. I'm hoping that there's something that will help me resolve or come to terms with the impact all that early damage has had on me and my inability to be an effective and reasonably happy/content human being. Maybe something I've not heard about yet? What's the prognosis for someone like me who's wrestled with ptsd and major depression her whole life? <br/>   Thank you in advance for your attention and assistance,<br/>   :)<br/>   
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.

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

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dr. Mark,
Truly, I'm stunned! You just gave me exactly what I needed to refocus and move forward with a genuine sense of relief and hope. I was somewhat LESS than optimistic when I first decided to try JustAnswer. In a few short paragraphs you've given me the most elegantly simple and profound piece of wisdom I can imagine.
I've spent my life struggling to glue myself back together inside and ending up frustrated and angry at myself when it didn't work. I feel as if I'd been trying to move forward in life while being stuck in reverse. Your suggested starting point is like experiencing a radical polar reversal- to begin from the Positive and open toward growth. Edgar Cayce once said (to paraphrase)" Turn your face to the light, move toward it a step at a time, and the darkness will fall behind". I didn't really understand what he meant till now.
Dr. Mark please accept my heartfelt gratitude and God bless you!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This website is a bit confusing tho...I thought I could change the amount I thought appropriate for the answer I recieved and wanted to change it from $24 to $100. I did this to demonstrate how valuable your reply is to me as a gesture of satisfaction and gratitude. What's happened instead is that I've ended up with an unused balance! If there's a way to change it to be used as I intended please let me know? thanks :)
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.
G-d bless you as well.

I'm not sure exactly how it works from your end. Right now from what I can see, the system does not show you accepted the answer. I think the best way is to press the ACCEPT button for the answer and then add a bonus that will add up to the amount you wish it to be in total.

If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll ask the moderator.

I wish you the very best! Remember: we all have to start from the point that G-d placed us in and move closer to the light. That is the purpose of our being here with all the tests we have been given. Dr. Mark
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