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DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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My daughter was a victim of voyerism at 17 yrs. old. She was

Customer Question

my daughter was a victim of voyerism at 17 yrs. old. She was staying with her aunt and uncle, when the uncle looked into the window while she was undressing..
He apologized to her dad and myself and to my daughter. Her aunt has always denied that it happened. To this day, 25 yrs, later, it still affects her. She does not want to be around him at all. My sister in law does not get it ! and does not understand ! Is it too late to be brought up to my sister in law, and who should do it ?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

I think your intuition is correct, that the incident is too painful for your sister-in-law to accept, so she denies it.

My primary concern would be for how this incident still affects your daughter. You didn't say how much it affects her, or in what way. She may be a good candidate for EMDR (, which is a therapeutic technique that helps people to process unresolved traumatic events so that the memory is less intrusive/bothersome.

As far as your sister-in-law goes, that is very personal decision if you, your husband, or your daughter wish to try to address it again. I do not believe that it is too "late," but you do need to be prepared to receive the same exact reaction from her if you do talk about it again.

It is an issue that affects each of you, so I could make an argument for each of you to be the one to discuss it with her, and each of you would probably have slightly different reasons for wanting some resolution.

I would recommend that your daughter address the trauma with a therapist before considering talking to her Aunt. She would come from a different place emotionally if she does this, and at that point she may not "need" anything from the Aunt (like validation). It also might help if she were to be rejected again.

Please feel free to follow up.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I think my daughter has suppressed many feelings in her being this incident. She exhibits angry and defensive hehavior a lot of the time in conversation, and is a difficult person to get along with...much to my sorrow..The voyerism incident came up awhile back when I mentioned having a family reunion. She became emotional, reactive, angry and couldn't understand how we could still have anything to do with him ! We don't see him that much...he is a quiet person that is difficult to bring into a conversation to begin with.
I wss slighty taken aback by her behavior. I think she still needs validation on this...which I gave her re her feelings toward him. She wants me to be on her side and understand why she has trouble STILL being around the man. I like your idea of EMDR therapy. Sounds very positive and effective in most cases. She has had some therapy....with her 3 kids after her divorce, but I think this particular kind would benefit her greatly ! Since she is a single mom, money is a problem. She lives in Pleasant Hill, Ca. Would there or could there be a "sliding scale" or consideration taken with her financial status? Any one you might suggest in this area !
Thank you so much for your input !
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

It must be very difficult and painful to watch how your daughter has reacted to things in her life. Anger and being difficult are some of the ways that people can react to trauma. It sounds like perhaps she does not realize how she is being and how it affects you (and others) that are important in her life.

Here's a link to a page of therapists who say they are trained in EMDR in Pleasant Hill:

Some therapists offer a sliding scale (it looks like a few on this page do)--so essentially you need to call/email and ask about it. If she is cash pay (no insurance), many therapists are willing to negotiate a fee.

There are also EMDR therapists listed on the website --usually those who have been certified (which is a more involved process than just finishing the basic training). You do not need to see someone who has been certified to find a really good EMDR therapist.

DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you for understanding MY feelings in this. It helps me for you to validate those feelings I have. I keep trying to be there for her. Never seems to be enough. Sometimes she won't communicate with me...says she is too busy. Forgot Mother's Day....if I overreact, which I have....because I just want to have an open, communicative relationship with her, she gets very defensive...she comes around, but I never know when she is going to change and go into attack mode with me. I see it as an addictive behavior. She is definitely codependent. Does not like alanon, however.
Thank you for your help. I can only suggest therapy to her and see what happens. I get "depressed" and don't know where to go with this. Maybe I will try some therapy...may help with this situation I am going through with her.....
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

I think that it is a very good idea for you to get some therapy, it can help you address your own feelings as well as talk about some strategies for how to cope when she treats you this way. I think that there is some grieving that's necessary to do as well --grieving the fact that she's not the woman/daughter that should could be if she wasn't dealing with her issues in this way.

You are welcome, and take good care. Please come back any time, if you'd like to request me, you can put my name in the subject line of your question.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am going to check into some therapy for me because I let this take up too much of my waking hours and sometimes "sleeping hours." I almost feel that somehow, she gets some peevish satisfaction out of me getting upset. So, hopefully, I can learn some strategies, as you mentioned, to deal with her erratic behavior.
Would you suggest emdr for me, as well ?
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

EMDR might be a possibility for you --it turns out to have a wide application for addressing situations that are distressing (not just severe trauma). It's also good for addressing distressing dreams/nightmares.

This book may or may not be helpful to you --it's called Stop Walking on Eggshells....

I am NOT suggesting that your daughter has Borderline Personality Disorder based on the info. you gave me, but this book gives strategies for dealing with extremely difficult people. So, it may be helpful, or it may be more than you need.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There does seem to be many issues covered under the "EMDR unbrella."
i will look into it for myself.
One more thing re my daughter. I think I mentioned that she is a single mom with 3 children. She has done a very good job, considering their dad has addiction problems and is like a "4th child." I think you get the picture here. However, I won't say she is not consistent in her is more polarized.....either yelling at them, or being very nice and doing a family thing together. Her house is in disaray most of the time. She is a paralegal and coaches the kids soccer games and is on a Search and Rescue team with her older son. So, she is not at all incompetent.
My take is that she wants to remain strong and in control at all times. She puts issues on the 'back burner" because there are some things that are just too painful for her, and I think she thinks she will "lose" it and cannot afford to do so at this time in her life.
But my question is "if not now, when?" Her behavior has been like this for a long time now. My husband and I were "60's" people who did a lot of partying and drinking. We are ok, now, but I think she is still in the muck ! Of course, she married and alcoholic....perfectly normal, right? So, as you can see, alcohol, codependency, etc have all played a big role in her life. Learning to trust is a big issue for her...she shys away from almost all family members....not sure what all that means....I will draw this to a conclusion, soon...not sure how long I can continue with you....You have been most helpful !
Thank you.
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry I was unable to respond quickly this time. There's no hard and fast rule on the amount of responses, we just try to do what's reasonable for the amount paid. Thank you for your recent Accept.

It sounds like she is functioning fairly well considering, but her relationships are suffering (like with you) and certainly she could learn how not to yell at her children.

It is very painful to face these issues from the past. Her fear makes sense, and when facing these things the feelings often get intense/worse before they are resolved. It's difficult for many people to see that a resolution can happen. If someone can see some small changes quickly, however, then that often helps to endure the part of the work that might take longer.

She may not respond positively to your suggestion of therapy. However, if you try it first and have a positive experience, that might help her to be more open.

Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your Accept. I responded to you, you do NOT have to accept again, although the system may ask you to.
Take good care.