Counseling Someone on a Seduction Pattern

At a recent "early sexual memories" workshop, I led a support group in which one woman wanted to work on what turned out to be a seduction pattern. This distress had had a destructive impact on her life for many years. She had seduced men as well as women in an attempt to get a hand with her early distress. She had acted on these feelings even while in committed relationships in which she cared deeply about her partner.

The pattern was not hard to understand and the root very simple. When A- was little she'd had a dearly beloved best girl friend, and one day, while they were doing some innocent experimenting while playing doctor, her friend's father caught them. A- was blamed, punished, and humiliated. She was treated as though she had seduced her little friend and was sent home. She had no understanding of what she had done wrong, and in fact had done nothing wrong. Throughout her life, in an attempt to discharge this hurt, she repeatedly took on the role of a seductress, a role which had been imposed upon her by her friend's father. She felt terrible about herself.

We worked on this pattern from several angles. First she discharged on the early sexual memory a number of times, repeating the story over and over again. Then she recounted many of her seductions and dreams of seductions. Then we spent a lot of time on her missing and longing for her dearly beloved friend, with me assuring her of her innocence. I said I was sorry she had been given misinformation. I told her she had always been innocent and that I was glad she had not gotten sick or died as a result of acting on this pattern. (I was clear that acting on this distress could kill her.) I then held a tough line that she could not act on the distress anymore. I asked her to make a commitment that she would never seduce anyone ever again. She agreed.

A- cried hard at the loss of her friend. She raged at the unfair accusations. She blamed me and raged at me for my tough stance. Eventually she turned a corner and seemed relieved that someone had finally helped her discharge this destructive pattern, that it wasn't a secret anymore, and that I did not judge her. I think what worked was that I was clear that she was innocent but held her responsible now, and that I encouraged her to rage while I took a firm stand, held out high expectations, and clearly loved her.

It was easy and exciting to counsel her, and she made great headway very rapidly.

Susan Seibel
Oxford, Massachusetts, USA

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)

Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07