An Attempt to Identify the Personality Approach
In an attempt to identify the personality approach of an incest victim in a recent magazine article, I have estimated that the approach is behavioral/social. Numerous occurrences of childhood incest made Deborah Mays (Bergner, 2000, p. 119) experience a cycle of depression well into her late thirties. Because she was a helpless child subjected to ongoing accounts of physical and mental abuse by her own father, she showed later in life that her inability to control the incest led to bouts of depression. This paper will briefly explore the circumstances surrounding the incest, the emotional trauma Deborah experienced during the time she was being raped by her father, the long-term effects Deborah suffered due to the abuse, and how I determined that the personality approach was behavioral/social.
According to Deborah, her trauma did not begin until the time she was eight years old, when her father began to ask her to massage various body parts. He began to force her hands on his penis, and eventually even forced her mouth on it. Deborah's father never raped her vaginally; rather, he opted to rape her anally. He would threaten her by asking if she knew what knew death was. When she replied in the affirmative, her father indicated that if she ever told anyone about their experiences, he would make his threats of death valid. Deborah was so terrified of his threats that she did not divulge the information for four long years.
During the four years Deborah was being raped, she experienced a combination of anxiety and confusion. Every time her mother left for an errand, Deborah became terrified that her father would initiate another sexual encounter. Her anxiety proved accurate. Each night, she began to pray that the Lord would suck the breath out of her. Deborah began to feel as though she was a despicable creature, incapable of being loved. Her confusion was generated by her innocence; Deborah could not mentally comprehend why the incest was occurring, nor do anything to prevent it. By the time she was twelve, Deborah worked up the nerve to tell her mother. Her mother took her to the police station and tried to press charges. Her mother was advised not to file criminal charges, and eventually her father just ignored protective orders and followed the family wherever they moved. When Deborah was fourteen, her father began living with them again. Although the incest did not continue, the emotional suffering did. Deborah again experienced confusion when her mother decided to accept this man back into their household.
As an adult, Deborah flip-flops between sanity and depression. ...