Recovering from Doctor Sexual Abuse

Struggling to find a title for this blog that sounds professional,  catchy, or even neutral proved to be impossible.  There is nothing nice about this topic except to recover from it.  If there is one thing that is true in life, it is that what we experience can serve others when we are able to work it through to the other side and find peace and healing.

So, here I am.  Healing.  Again, at a deeper level than other times.  I experienced a sudden flashback  from seeing a graphic on TV of a woman in stirrups in a doctor’s office yesterday.   I was stunned, anxious, fearful and ANGRY.  Having fantasies of kicking these 3 different doctors where it would hurt.  Frustrated because this happened about 40 years ago and I don’t remember their names.  Feeling the total powerlessness I experienced as a young woman of 17-19.   It occurs to me that I can’t be the only person this has happened to, so it is possible that sharing this with others is a way for none of us to feel alone;  a way to heal together.

When I was 17, the summer before I was to enter college, I knew it would be best to use “The Pill”.  At the time, no woman under 18 could legally get a prescription for it.  I was still under my parents Health Insurance, so I told mom I wasn’t feeling well and she gave me the card.  I took my own independent self to the doctor.

I told him my reason for being there, and he said he couldn’t legally prescribe the pill to me without my parent’s consent.  But, if I had a medical reason… he asked me with a wink “Do you have painful and irregular periods?  Heavy bleeding?”  and I said “Oh, ahh, yes I guess I do”.  Then came the exam.  It took a really long time, the doctor seemed to be breathing heavy….at some point I said “Is everything OK?”, becoming more and more uncomfortable, awkward, and nervous.  He replied “Oh, everything is so wonderful that I could just……”.   At some point he brought in another doctor to see how wonderful everything was.  I just had to stay still long enough to get that prescription.  I was afraid to say anything in case he would report me to my parents, or refuse me the prescription.  I was the perfect target for such a predator.

The other two instances of doctor sexual abuse are much more graphic so I will not go into details about them.  Suffice it to say that the abuse was more shaming and more physically and emotionally painful.  One experience was so outrageous that I talked with a nurse receptionist on my way out.  I told her that I felt raped.  She said with a stern look “No one has ever complained before”.  I went home and tried to find out how to report this abuse.  As naive as I was, I knew this had to be at the least unethical and probably illegal.  I sent a letter to some Medical Board and never received a response.  I told some friends about it and it was generally agreed that there was nothing more to be done….what did we know?  The microchip had not yet been invented, so researching such things was tedious and confusing.  Today, that doctor and I would be in litigation, without a shadow of a doubt.

So where do I go from here?  Time for another round of gathering up all the healing tools I’ve acquired since then.  The first thing I did was to call a dear friend who is an expert in spirituality and recovering from trauma.  She helped me to know that I’m safe now, that I am healing this issue at a deeper level than ever before, and that she was glad I told her about it.  This grounded me and I am longer in my 17 year old emotional body.

I have lots of support and so much more psycho/emotional/spiritual wisdom now, and it is my job to care for that wounded young girl.

So, here’s the plan:

  1.  To treat myself with love.  Allow myself to experience whatever feelings and thoughts arise without judgment.  Treat myself gently.  Listen to what my body needs.  Avoid possible triggers.  Ask for help both human and Divine whenever it is needed.
  2. Give my all to the Goodness in the Universe.  Allow myself to be guided.  Know that I am loved every minute.  Remember that I am never alone.
  3. Raise my inner vibration.  Pray, meditate and give myself Reiki.  Read inspiring literature.  Spend time in nature.  Listen to soothing music.   Take naps and rests as needed. Clear my energy and relax with essential oil and sea salt baths.  Write gratitude lists.  Drink pure water and eat clean food.  Do something nurturing, pleasant and fun every day.  Watch funny videos or movies that make me laugh.  Give my dog lots of attention.  Help another person when I can.  Keep my schedule balanced between social and solitary.
  4. Stay present.  Focus on this moment.  Do things with mindful intent.
  5. Keep a journal.
  6. Continue working on the 12 Steps and getting to meetings.
  7. Process everything with my psychotherapist.

Did you notice that the processing with psychotherapist came last?  This is because I see her at most once a week.  I’m with myself daily.  I need me more than I need her.  Also, the work I do with her can be enhanced as I take great care of myself and remain as clear and centered as possible.

Psychotherapy has been a valuable part of my life off and on for most of my adulthood.  An objective observer who has no vested interest in any outcomes is so helpful especially during stressful times.  That said, I’ve done more healing in spiritual communities like 12 Step groups, meditation groups,  churches, and women’s circles  than I have in psychotherapy.  Simply spending time with a variety of spiritual and energy practitioners/friends has proven absolutely invaluable along my healing journey.

If this article gives support to one person, I am deeply grateful.  Sending healing thoughts and blessings along your path of recovery.  Wishing you well on developing your own healing plan.  Namaste, beautiful souls.

-Rev. Denise M. Roberge









Finding Spiritual Support During the Rough Patches of Life

It is a life of great joy and sometimes extreme despondency (and everything in between!) for those of us who are deeply spiritual, sensitive, intuitive, and empathic.  My focus is all about personal/spiritual evolution on all dimensions, particularly the dimension that seems to be “in my face” at the moment.

Since all we have is this moment, in truth, we are faced with innumerable choices throughout the day. As spiritual beings on an earthly sojourn, we have energetic density, polarity, ego, feelings of every variety, planetary shifts, tragic events, families, jobs and  many apparent “issues” to deal with at any given moment.

The wallpaper of life is thought.  It is always there, seemingly endless. Thoughts also create choices, because when we are aware of them sometimes we find that they need to change if we are to feel peaceful and comfortable in our own skins.

So, what happens when in this moment we are loving our Oneness with the Universe, asking for Divine Guidance, providing ourselves with the best self-care we can accomplish, and yet also feeling overwhelmed with life issues, lack focus, can’t navigate through our own thinking, or having strong emotion? In this moment, what is the best choice?  Do we sit with and simply allow the emotions first, address the “issue”, set a boundary, or just let go of the whole thing?

Sometimes we may decide to divert the inevitable by choosing an avoidance technique, or give in to old, comforting behaviors that are questionable at best.  We sense that complete surrender to the Divine is what is needed, but just how can we achieve that?  Discernment is sometimes difficult during “overload”.  These are the moments when we wish we could just shut off the mind and fly to a deserted island!

But we know already that wherever we go, there we are.

Thus, the work must be done.  Spiritual practices and discipline, watching and changing thought, holistic mind/body/spirit care, proper rest and nutrition are essential.  When already overwhelmed, we sometimes can’t seem to get to it all, and we have to prioritize.  Yet more choices!

Being social creatures by nature, it is most common to reach out for help.  So, we are faced with another choice:  who do we reach out to when there are just too many decisions to make on our own? This can be difficult.  As sensitives, we may not want to “bother” people who are in the same boat, so to speak.  We are acutely aware, often clairsentient, with those around us.  We run down our list of “go to” people.  A parent, best friend, spiritual colleague, mentor, life coach, clergy, therapist, someone from a support group are often top on our list.

If we are discerning and have clarity, we choose a person we totally trust who can remain open-minded, compassionately detached, and unconditionally committed to our wellness as we sort through all these choices. Sometimes we need a special person to help to create a  Wellness plan for the challenging moment we are facing.

Oh, but what do we do with those underlying and insidious beliefs that are not even true?  Underneath our rational thinking and behind our attempts at reaching out with discernment, there may be another “tape” playing. A tape with ingrained, neurologically hard-wired responses to stress.  This tape was created before the age of reason, thoughts and responses that were put upon us by any number of people in the societal groups we were part of early in life.  These are called “schema” in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Examples of such schema might be “I’m not good enough”, “No one wants to listen to me”, “I’m not worthy of attention”, “I can’t let anyone know how bad, crazy, stupid (add your adjective here!) I really am”  and so many more.

These schema drive us when our vulnerabilities are triggered.  A sad fact is that some people attempt to raise their own vibration or self-worth by bringing someone else down.  When our schema are triggered, we might just pick someone who will prove the schema to be correct.  Humans are wired to conspire with the Universe to create whatever we “believe” to be true.  So when faced with the need to sort things out at a time when our schema are at the helm, instead we may find that we choose someone who uses language or energy to bash us or punish us.  We recreate scenarios reflective of past events that match how we are feeling at the time.

When this happens, we must forgive ourselves.  These are lessons in “choosing differently”.  Until the schema are completely released to God, The Universe, the Angels, or the Ascended Masters, we will continue to set ourselves up during times of stress and overload.  Little by little, we learn to make better choices in each moment.  We learn who is truly helpful and who may not be for any given situation.  We choose to accept that we need help, ask for that help, and trust that God/dess, Universal Love (or whatever you believe the unconditionally Loving force to be) is always there, ready to receive and transmute that which we surrender.

Over time, we recognize the light-filled souls with whom we resonate.  We no longer set ourselves up for bashing.  We learn that in each moment, there are always healthy choices.  We learn that even if in one moment our choice is less than helpful, we can choose differently the next time!

Healing and inner peace are processes, not destinations.  We all take many steps forward, then a few steps back in cycles throughout our lives.  We are all works in progress.  Know that you are loved, lovable and loving!  We are all supported and cared for 100% of the time, even when we can’t “see” or “feel” it.

Lastly, when someone reaches out for your help, remember that you too have times of spiritual and emotional fragility, and treat others the way you would wish to be treated.  Judgementalism, emotionalism, gossiping, tearing others down to make yourself feel better, and not acting with the knowing that we are all progressing (just on different time frames) can be very hurtful.  If you can’t help another sojourner, please try not to hurt them.

But if you do, make amends, forgive yourself, and let it all go!  LOVE IS ALWAYS THE VICTOR!