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On the last track, we discussed the phases that a pedophilic client will undergo during an addictive experience. These stages included: preoccupation; ritualization; compulsive sexual behavior; and despair.
On this track, we will examine dimensions of developmental causes. These dimensions include: self-image and relationships; needs; and sexuality.
#1 Self-Image and Relationships
In this environment, Matthew learned that sexuality involves humiliation and comfort at the same time. Also, most importantly, Matthew faced severe fears of abandonment which affected his self-image. First, his mother left him at an early stage of development, and his father, through his frequent business trips perpetually abandoned Matthew to a life of sexual humiliation. In addition, when Matthew went to his father and told him about the abuse, his father did not believe him. Because of this loss of childhood, Matthew sympathizes with younger children, believing that by gratifying his sexual desires with children, he is in fact regaining his childhood.
Think of your Matthew. Is his self-image and concepts about relationships a cause of his pedophilia?
Jethro, age 51, had been addicted to child pornography in some form for nearly twenty-five years. It wasn't until the birth of the internet that he began to stalk and approach young teens in message boards. He stated, "I could never look a kid in the face and try to bring them home with me, but the internet makes the search so much easier. I don't even lie to them about my age, I tell them. I pretend to be the cool dad or uncle that wants to help them out with their problems, something their parents never do."
I asked Jethro about his father and mother. He stated, "Ma never really thought much about me and my sisters. She worked most of the time and Dad was never around. Being the oldest, I started playing dad to my two younger sisters. Never laid a finger on them, though! Thought about it, but there are some things I won't do." Jethro was translating his early lack of intimacy from his mother and father into a more mature role which he then blurred with sexuality. As seen in his behavior online, Jethro wished to adopt the part of the parent, a function his own parents never fulfilled for him.
Think of your Jethro. What needs could he have lacked early in childhood?
Paul, age 34, stated that his single father, Mike, never showed him the basic signs of affection. Mike also brought a new girl home every night. Paul stated, "These woman were always small and petite. My dad was a beefy guy, so all the little woman thought he was He-Man or something. When he got them home, he never really asked for sex, he just guided them to the bedroom. Sometimes I heard fights and my dad would sometimes hit them. No one ever reported him though, he had that much control. I think that's what I want. I want control over those women, but since I have no social skills, I have to find 13 year old girls online."
To replace the intimacy he never received from his father, Paul instead tried to replicate his father's sexual conquests in the form of children.
Technique: Write a Letter to the Past
Paul wrote, "Dad, you never respected women in any sense, which is probably why my mom left you. You treated people like sex objects and always tried to exert control over them and me. Now, I associate control with sexuality, and the only way I feel I can control anyone is if they’re small and helpless. I need to tell you all this because I also need to confront these issues. Now I know why I have this obsession, and knowing the why can help me stop it." Think of your Paul. Would he or she benefit from "Write a Letter to the Past?"
On this track, we discussed dimensions of developmental causes. These dimensions included: self-image and relationships; needs; and sexuality.
On the next track, we will examine cultural belief systems that many pedophiles have internalized. These belief systems included: unworthiness; unlovable; unrealized needs; and sexualization.
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