September 20, 2012 By Haseena Fathima

When Fantasies Went Wild..

fantasiesWhen she dialed me for an appointment, she just mentioned: ‘A simple solution to a simple problem.’ The case is someone whom she loves as her brother surrogate (Her cousin, whom she considers in lieu of her brother who died long back).  When the conversation ended, I smiled. No problem is as simple as it should be met with a simple solution. And a counselor, more often than not, is a pis aller, on whom we rely for help when all arms in our arsenal drastically fail to have an effect.
She took the boy with me on the appointed day. And my anticipation seemed to be wrong. At first sight he seemed to have only ‘a simple problem requiring a simple solution.’ He was handsome with a gentle smile and manners. With motherly anxiety tinged with sisterly love, she told me his problem: He is brilliant; was doing well in all classes till the start of this year. His grade has fallen down. His parents are abroad. Teachers told them that he was no longer the same boy whom they proudly counted on as an asset of the school. They tried all their best: remedial teaching, special tuition and all. His parents arranged with someone for a hefty amount to give him computer-assisted learning. All tactics having failed, the sight of a brilliant student falling below-the-par forced school authorities to adopt the face-saving measures either of good riddance or of downgrading. His parents thought once he came to live with them or went back to the residential school, all problems would soon be over.
But she was his local guardian and he has easily fit into the vacuum left by her brother’s demise. She could not think of his being ever far from her. But if his going abroad was to help him anyway, she would have no problem with that either. It would be for his own advantage. But she was skeptic.  She had spoken to him. He simply told her he could not concentrate on his studies and did not leave any hint for her to guess what is eating him. She thought he might be hiding something, a taboo case. If it was a love affair or the consequence of having been in a bad company, she could have easily managed it. A brooding silence has enveloped him. Like a thick cloud cast in the sky. Premonition of a torrential rain with thunder and lightning. He cried once. When she started to console him, he briskly went to his room and closed the door. Dubai would aggravate his condition. Here, she is not just alone.
He was hesitating to open himself out to me. I told him nobody would lose concentration all on a sudden, without any real reason. He kept silent. “Is it pornography?’ I asked taking a hard guess after having struck off all other possibilities. Tears rolled in eyes and he started crying.
It all started when he was 7. A close relative who stayed with them for a brief period sexually abused him. His initial response was fear. But in the process, he had sort of pleasure. And the incident was cataclysmic. Whenever he felt stressed, his recourse was the pleasure. Relief from stress was the reason the stressful hours recurred. That was the beginning of sex addiction. But until he was 15, he had no other access to pleasure than his fantasies. He was strictly advised by parents and teachers no to use internet. He was in the residential school under a strict regimen. Once he came to live his cousin sister after his cousin’s death, he started to taste the freedom he was thus far denied. Internet let loose images that were deeply located in his fantasy. The gap between the real and unreal had thus become bridged.
To send him back to the residential school was not the better option. He had to come to terms with his problem, to understand it; not to escape from it or to get violently secluded from the same. He was quietly brought face to face with the problem. He was made to analyse it; to find its source. This was the only way to dissociate the effect of abuse on him. In lieu of fear which clicked on his response to and behavior after the abuse, an affirmation was set in his thought. An affirmation of his strong personality distorted by unreal and hyper-real sexual fantasies. Now he spends time before the net once a week. That is was to gradually reduce the amount of time to zero alongside the growth of self-belief set in his personality. The session still continues.
Nowadays, the incidents of sexual abuse are growing at a rapid pace, if news reports are anything to go by. A grossly sexualized public space, spurred by consumerism and concomitant materialistic morals, is no more an exception than rule. Studies by psychologists like Michael Herkov prove that 82 percent of sex addicts are the ones who were abused at their childhood. It’s something we need to ponder for the safety not only of our children but a healthy public (also private) space. Two important notes of caution have to be written in this regard.
1.  Since the issue bears taboo, children are unlikely to divulge the fact that they have been abused.
2.  If at all children inform their parents about it, it is likely that the parents, instead of protecting their wards, would blame them for the same, resulting in double victimization. The blaming might arise from our disappointment over the whole incident. But it would be a highly irrational and insensitive response. The real culprit would escape unscathed and the real problem would remain unidentified. Children might suppress it and post-adolescence it would reemerge rather more perniciously. Such revelations from their wards should make them so sensible as either to respond to them with love and care or to approach a counselor

Posted in: Counselling