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Abused By A Therapist

I started seeing a psychologist at the Flexman Clinic at the age of seven to be tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which I was soon diagnosed with, in addition to OCD and ADHD. I started seeing either a therapist or another psychologist (I don’t remember which) soon after and at the same location. I don’t remember her name, but I remember her face and her bushy, dry hair almost as clearly as I remember her hands: wrinkled and tipped with red acrylic nails. Those images are burned into my mind now. On my second visit with her, the first without my parents, we started playing a board game. After we rolled the dice and our little marker travelled up spaces, the color of the space would tell us what color card to pick. After she pulled the card, she would ask me a question, which I suppose was written on the card. The first few questions were normal enough, asking about friends, family, and school. After a few cards however, she asked me a strange question. “What would you do if you knew that a friend of yours liked to touch themselves?” I sat and thought about it for a moment, the introspective child I was, and replied with, “Well, I hope I wouldn’t have had to see what I’d have to see to know that.” She then proceeded to explain that a friend might have told me in confidence, because they might feel guilty. I responded with ambivalence, not really understanding why we were talking about something so trivial. She told me that we should NEVER feel guilty about touching ourselves, and that it could even relieve stressed. She said that I was a very stressed child, and that my parents hired her to fix that. She then proceeded to try and touch me, to show the ‘healthy and safe way’ to do it. I resisted a bit, crossing my legs and saying that my parents wouldn’t like it if someone touched me there. She tricked me in one of the most violating ways I’ve ever experienced when she replied with, “I’m a doctor. Your parents said it was safe for a doctor to touch you, didn’t they?” They had, so I sat quietly and uncomfortably pliant as she abused me for the duration of the visit. I didn’t tell my parents when I left. Honestly, I thought I’d dreamed it until the next time I saw her. The rest of my visits with her, about once a week for three or four years, are a blur of flashcards and unwanted touching that I blocked out for many years. It’s been ten years since the first time now, and I still haven’t told anyone in power about what happened. I was strong enough to come out about the verbal and physical abuse I endured at the hands of my stepmother, but this is still too hard, too private for me to share. Recently, I haven’t been able to think about much else. She’s still practicing psychiatry, probably at the same place. It makes me sick to think about, but I haven’t done anything to stop it, either. As for effects on me, sex repulses me. Any woman that is taller than me or older than me puts me on edge, and the feeling of long nails on my skin makes me want to vomit. I can’t handle being physically handled or leaned over by a woman in authority, which causes problems, considering that I’m a high school student with mostly female teachers. My self esteem is very low, but I try to keep my head up and deal with life as best I can. I have a bit of a ‘berserk button,’ if you will, when the safety of children is threatened or even joked about. The most notable of the effects, however, is my absolute obsession with fictional male victims of abuse and assault. I’ve watched episodes of Nip/Tuck, Outlander, and Law and Order dozens of times over to see a man be hurt, be distraught, be comforted, and slowly heal from their experience. I relish in it. Unfortunately, I’ve never really been able to replicate it, probably because I’m so terrified that if I don’t keep my mouth shut people will cast me out as an attention-seeking fraud. Anyway, I guess that’s my story. Just wanted to share.

1 comment

  • Alexis

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