ask dr-robert

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Hi Dr Robert.

I'm turning 17 in a week, and I live in Wellington, New Zealand.

Two years ago my parents hated each other yet lived in the same house. They are now divorced. At that time I would never even come out of my room because every time they saw each other they would shout and fight. I didn't even tell anyone what I was going through. I became increasingly unpopular at school (from being quite popular) and I hated myself and my dad. One morning I walked towards my parents room and heard my mum saying "ow" at intervals of about 1 second. My thought was that my dad possibly convinced/bullied her into sex with him.

Anyway, after that I started having sexual thoughts about my mum. I used to lay in bed, masturbating and wishing my mum would come into my room for sex. I sometimes even thought about my sister who is around four years older than me. I even had a dream where I was in a building complex with a gun and I ordered my mum to take her clothes off. (This could have been what sparked the thoughts, I don't remember what came first.) After this, I forgot about this until recently. And last night, I thought to myself while going through a mini depressed stage: "I might as well think about it, its all I deserve."

And just before I wrote this to you I saw a picture of a woman with prolific boobs and said to myself "they're like mums".

Do I deserve to be beating myself for something I can't really control?

Its not like a look at my mum and sister and get erections, its not like that and never was. It only happens when I believe I'm worthy of nothing, have the idea in my head that it's wrong completely, and I think something like "it's all I will ever get" or "I deserve it" (as a bad thing).

Is it wrong, or is it out of my control, and if so, is it still wrong. It's not an obsession because I forgot about it for more than 1 year.

Your advice would be appreciated beyond recognition.



Hello, TW--

The sexual instinct in humans is extremely powerful and demands expression. One of the ways that this instinct expresses itself is through sexual thoughts about parents and siblings, sometimes accompanied by masturbation. Because the taboo against incest is so firmly established in almost all cultures (certainly in New Zealand), such thoughts and masturbation usually produce shame and guilty feelings. However, the very existence of such a powerful and inflexible taboo indicates that the taboo must be needed as a means of control. In other words, unless a desire for a certain behavior already exists naturally, and is essentially normal, no taboo against it would be necessary.

Now in your situation, I understand that the bad atmosphere in your home prior to the divorce must have upset you terribly, wounded your self-confidence, and left you confused about the organization of your household and family. Possibly, whether consciously or unconsciously, you also blamed yourself in part for the bad relations between your parents. That makes no sense, I know, but nevertheless children often feel guilty when their parents fight.

The wounds to your self-confidence occasioned by your poor home situation probably account in great part for the fall in your popularity at school because humans are naturally drawn to others who seem focused and powerful, and tend to shun those who are suffering and insecure. Since you were just coming into your adolescent sexuality at that time, I imagine that your quite normal sexual instincts became somewhat confused with the bad feelings at home, and this confusion, it seems to me, along with your declining confidence and falling popularity, might be the source of the idea "This is all I deserve."

My advice to you is this: do not worry about your sexual dreams and fantasies. They are not abnormal, and indeed are quite out of your control. You already feel guilty enough, and do not need to add to that guilt by beating yourself up any further. In time, you will grow out of this, and will form sexual relationships of your own which will be much more satisfying than the fantasies which now trouble you so much. For now, try to learn what you can in school, try to form some new friendships, and try to enjoy life as best you can. Before too long, I would bet, you will be looking back on this period as simply a bad patch along the road of life.

Be well.

To comment about anything relevent to this website, or to read the remarks of others,

visit the dr. robert forum.

Check out a full listing of "ask dr. robert" in the archives.

Share this page with friends: