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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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A friend found out that her husband molested his sister when

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A friend found out that her husband molested his sister when he was 19 and she 5. It continued for 3-6 yrs. He is now almost 40, has a great relationship with his wife and kids (all under the age of 6). The wife just found out about his history of being abused as a child and passing the abuse on (he told her). Should she leave? Prior to this disclosure, their relationship was solid. No reason to doubt his integrity otherwise. but there is a HUGE OTHERWISE in his past! Suggestions. Leave, stay, therapy in progress.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

That is a big piece of a person's history that you are right cannot be ignored and must have been a shock to your friend

Customer:

oh yes

Customer:

separation means the kids lose a father in the home. staying together May mean growing distrust.

DoctorZ :

She should not necessarily leave this man because of his past because individuals can change and so far from what you have been telling me he has not been exhibiting this type of behavior since he was 19.

DoctorZ :

Are they both going to therapy or just her?

Customer:

both. it seems to have continued for years

Customer:

until 1 yr before they met or even ended Because they met.

DoctorZ :

And are her fears that he could do this again with their children or other children?

Customer:

that is a very tiny fear, it's more that she doesn't understand wha tit Means About his capacity as a human to do such a thing.

Customer:

what is he capable of? what is he capable of rationalizing?

DoctorZ :

For it to continue for 3-6 years means it was somewhat habitual and probably something he thought about and desired for some time. It is possible it was a response to some internal issues he was going through (e.g. anxiety, depression, feeling lonely, etc...) and this was his way of relieving those internal pressures, albeit in a very unhealthy manner.

DoctorZ :

Without knowing anything about him, but I have done a number of Sex Offender evaluations for the courts and I would lean towards a diagnosis of pedophilia because of his behavior when he was 19 years old and the behavior lasted for a significant amount of time.

Customer:

hmm. his little brother battled childhood cancer at the time the abuse began. (he died 3 yrs later). then his father struggled and died of a terminal illness a few years after that. that's when she says the abuse ended - with the death of her father. AFTeR, he met his wife and they had been dating. also, he was seriously abused as a child by an elder in their church.

DoctorZ :

And it is possible that his experiences with these deaths of close family members triggered a regression to the time when he was abused by a church elder and sought to empower himself by abusing, again an unhealthy coping mechanism. He learned at a young age that this abuse that was inflicted on him was not wrong because an adult told him so, but he still felt like it was wrong so he was confused about it for a very long time and I am sure he did not get counseling for it or a limited degree of it. As for what kind of man he is, I would say that he is emotionally immature because of his abuse that he suffered and for how he responded to increase pressure and stress in his own life when he committed the abuse of your friend's sister

DoctorZ :

The goal of therapy would be strengthen his coping mechanisms, so that he does not regress and respond this way again when faced with difficult stress

Customer:

is it safe for him to be around my kids?

DoctorZ :

From what you have told me I do not think he has a strong sexual desire for children, but to be honest I have not evaluated him, so I do not know. I would not leave your children with him alone, this would be the safest strategy with the least amount of risk.

DoctorZ :

Are you still there?

Customer:

thank you

Customer:

such a confusing situation.

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