WARNING: The following may be triggering for many abuse victims. This article is especially harrowing because a therapist is supposed to help us cope and heal from trauma already endured, not add even more trauma. This is one of the most disturbing stories of an abusive psychiatrist I’ve ever read. And this psychopathic monster’s abuse was inflicted on a child of fifteen.
Unfortunately, malignant narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are attracted to the mental health field because it gives them an easy way to take advantage or further abuse the hurting, the vulnerable, the abused, and even children. Be very careful when choosing a therapist. Sometime soon, I’ll be researching this topic in more depth and write an article about red flags to look out for.
The author has been so afraid to come out about this experience she asked me to let her write it as a guest post here rather than put it on her own blog. I am more than happy to do that, because I think her story can help expose the abuses that still go on in the mental health field and it may be of help to others.
Have You Ever Been HURT By A Psychiatrist?
By Alaina Holt-Adams
I found this photo through an online memorial site. A single comment is posted under the picture. It says: “This man was my biological father, but I never got to know him. He didn’t want me and I never saw him. RIP.” The comment is signed: “Anonymous.” *
Out of respect for this monster’s adult child, I will refer to him as “Dr. Smith,” which was not his real name.
Handsome fellow, wasn’t he? Tall, dark, and aristocratic. Going by the date printed on this photo (which I cropped off because it was printed next to his name), Dr. Smith was in his late twenties when this picture was taken. He looked basically the same when I knew him twenty years later, with just a touch of gray at his temples to lend an air of wise sophistication, in sync with the leather elbow patches and carved pipes that were all the rage for image-conscious psychiatrists in the late 1960s.
His deep, softly hypnotic voice and sympathetic manner were even more compelling than his Rock Hudson good looks. With soulful gray eyes that seemed to read your innermost thoughts, everything about him said: “I Care Deeply About You And Your Problems.”
But everything about him was a lie.
If anyone ever fit the description of a charming, successful, suave sociopath, this man certainly did. He almost killed me — literally, almost murdered me. I believe he gave me the drug overdose on purpose, because I had told a nurse about the “good doctor” sexually abusing me.
Of course, I wasn’t believed. I was only fifteen and I was a mental patient. Later I was told that many other patients had accused this man of raping them, male patients as well as female. But he kept getting away with it because he was a “great and wonderful doctor” and “above reproach.”
The truth about this evil man finally came to light the last time he raped me, the night when he almost murdered me. A nurse told me later that she had heard me “screaming bloody murder” inside his office. She had tried to open the door but it was locked. She said the doctor told her through the door that I was in a deep hypnotic state, reliving a terrible trauma.
Hypnosis was his specialty. At first, all he used to put me under was a swinging pocket watch. He switched to giving me an injected drug to “enhance” the hypnosis, after I pushed his hands away when he tried to molest me. As the drug took effect, I became too weak to fight him off. That was when he would molest me. Probably because of the drugs he gave me, I have only vague, partial memories of the rapes.
That last time, as he was slowly injecting an amber-colored liquid into the vein inside my left arm, the doctor told me: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”
Suddenly my chest hurt. I mean, it really HURT! I felt like a giant hand was squeezing my heart. I clutched at my chest and told Dr. Smith that my heart was hurting. He let go of the syringe and took my pulse… then he quickly injected all of the remaining drug into my vein.
The pain in my chest seemed to explode at that point. The pain was bigger than I was, bigger than the room we were in, bigger than the whole hospital. When I could not take the pain any longer, I passed out. What the doctor was doing to my body lying spread-eagled on the floor of his office, I could not see or feel.
After it was over, he woke me and told me to go back to the ward. I stood and almost fell over. “Kiss me goodbye,” he commanded. I shook my head no. “You will never be well until you stop repressing what you really want,” he said. That was the last time I saw him.
I felt like I was floating as I walked out of his office and across the street to my ward. I had the eerie sensation of only being in the top half of my body. My legs were moving up and down, taking one step after another, but my feet and legs did not feel like they belonged to me anymore. They were like the legs of a puppet and I was making them move by pulling a string.
As I walked onto the ward, my body crumpled to the floor. I seemed to be floating in the air, looking down at myself. The two nurses on duty rushed out of their office. They knelt beside my body. I was floating above them, looking at the back of their heads. I heard one of them say, “Her lips are blue.” Then the other nurse said, “I can’t find a pulse!”
Suddenly — Z*A*P! — I was back inside my body. I sat up with a jolt. I felt very dizzy.
The nurses helped me to my feet, then walked me back and forth, holding me upright between them. Hours seemed to go by as they walked me from one end of the ward to the other. While we walked, they chatted with each other the way friends do, talking about their lives, their children, and their husbands.
Finally my head cleared enough that I could speak. I asked if I could go to the bathroom. It was hard for me to talk, my mouth felt like it was full of cotton.
One of the nurses helped me into the bathroom, while the other went back to the office. The nurse stood beside me and watched as I pulled down my underwear. It was obvious from the condition of my underpants that I had been raped. She went out into the hall and called the other nurse to come and look at my underwear.
They must have reported everything to the police. Two male detectives in suits came to the hospital the next day and questioned me. I never saw Dr. Smith again. I don’t know if he was arrested or if he lost his license or what happened to him.
I do know that he committed suicide the following year.
To this day, any time I am given an injection by anyone, for any reason — by a dentist, a nurse, male or female, it doesn’t matter who gives me the shot or why I’m getting it or where it is being given — every time, I flash back to this. And I feel like I am being murdered all over again.
Years after this happened, even after I knew he was dead, when I tried to tell this story I would hear Dr. Smith’s hypnotic voice inside my head: “If you ever again tell anyone about what I’m doing, I will stick you in a hole so far you will never see the light of day again.”
Even today, more than four decades after his death, I am struggling with whether or not I should post this. Telling the truth about what this evil man did to me isn’t going to kill me…. right? I am NOT going to end up “in a hole so far that I will never see the light of day again” — am I?
Intellectually, I know that Dr. Smith’s hypnotic threat has no power over me today. But my heart is pounding while I’m writing this.
His anonymous child who never got to know him was lucky. And I am lucky, and deeply grateful, for those two nurses who saved my life.
BUT… unbelievably… several hospital staff people, including another psychiatrist, actually BLAMED ME, a fifteen-year-old in-patient, for “luring the good doctor with my sexuality” and “ruining the life of a wonderful man.”
I will (try to) write about that in a future post.
~ ~ ~
PS: In case anyone reading this wonders why a lonely, love-starved, hormonal 15-year-old would push away the hands of such a handsome man when he was touching me inappropriately, the whole truth is that I was flattered and excited the first time he rubbed my arms and shoulders and lightly ran his hands down the front of my dress when I was under hypnosis. Although Dr. Smith was older than my parents, he looked much younger, and he was also single (divorced) at the time. I was young and needy and naive enough to believe that the Cinderella fairy tale was true — that a handsome charming Prince could fall deeply in love with a poor little nobody, at first sight. When Dr. Smith first touched me, on the outside of my clothes, I actually thought he was doing it because he was falling in love with me. I was so starved for love and attention that I did not try to stop him, then.
But shortly after this, Dr. Smith was gone on vacation and a nurse said he had gotten married and was on his honeymoon. When he returned to work, he brought his beautiful bride to the ward one day. My heart was crushed then, as I realized that he did not love me and he was not planning to “rescue” me from the hell of the mental institution. I was raised in a very strict religion, so sex with a married man was a huge no-no. That was why I pushed his hands away when he tried to touch my genitals, and I told a nurse about what the doctor was doing. But even before he married his second wife, I never in any way “enticed” him. I was very shy and inhibited, and he was my doctor, more than three times my age. The thought of enticing him never occurred to me.
BUT — even if I had allowed him to have sex with me — which I did not — with him being my doctor and me being a mental patient, him in his late forties and me only fifteen years old — under those circumstances, it would have still been RAPE, regardless.
Rape is never about love or even about sex — it is all about evil power and control, as his almost-murder of me ultimately proved.
And psychiatrists and medical doctors and therapists are not gods. Some of them aren’t even human.
* There was one other photo Alaina sent me to use, but it has a trigger warning and I was unable to open it. I will see what I can do.