My Father’s Crime.
Hank was a 40 year old counsellor. He self-referred after we met at a professional counselling seminar. He said he had anxiety issues since he was a young teenager, but could not recall exactly when it started nor the circumstances behind it. What he was able to recall were his visits to his older sister’s home. Thoughts of visiting her almost always brought on an anxiety attack. She inherited their parent’s home, and her household still occupied it. It seemed obvious that his anxieties may be connected to his home, during his growing up years. We began compiling a general checklist of possible events that might have triggered such anxieties, with accompanying timelines, and Hank was meant to clarify the list with his sister when he next visited.
A couple of weeks later, Hank returned with a blank. Both of them were unable to pin-point the possible cause of his anxieties as they could not discern any major traumatic events that may have happened within the family. So, we were back to square one. We began to delve into Hank’s early teen years step-by-step. Most of the time, he did the talking as I listened and clarified whenever necessary. It was all very relaxing, as he told his most memorable childhood escapades, and we laughed a lot. When he got to 12 years of age, he suddenly stumbled, sat up erect, and said, “You know, I cannot remember a thing!” And that was an important year educationally for all students, as they prepared for their pre-high school examinations, which was held throughout the country. Again, we drew up a checklist to recount what was happening around Hank in that crucial year. We started with family members this time around, and began with his father.
Hank talked about his father during his early childhood with some fondness, when he got to around 12 years old, he sighed deeply and looked down. He was silent for about two minutes. Not knowing what was transpiring, I called out to him. He did not respond. He continued his focus on the floor. Sensing that he may be in a mild trance state, I reassured him, and spoke through him that if he was agreeable, I would bring him deeper into his trance state. Following my cue, he looked up with his eyes closed and sat comfortably back. Then very calmly, Hank began to describe what was happening. It was early in the new year, when he found himself confined to his home because of a flu bug. About mid-morning, he walked out of his room to look for something to eat. Everybody else was either at work or in school. Suddenly, he heard the maid scream. He tracked down where the scream came from, and it took him to his parent’s room. The door was slightly ajar. He peeked in and saw his father abusing the maid, and eventually raping her. In shock, he crept back to his room and stayed there for the rest of the morning. He could not recall what happened subsequently, except that the maid was sent away within the next few days. He never saw her again. He was quite fond of the maid, who was slightly older than him, as she was a cheerful young girl from Malaysia. When he came out of his trance, Hank had no recall what had transpired. I filled in the gaps for him all that he had described to me. He was in shock and soon he wept for a long time. Hank had kept his fathers’ crime a secret all these years, and it had cost him.