"Yes, I do," I say with a slight nod.
Chet, a partner in his law firm, has found himself in several compromising situations. Seeming himself as "helpful," he likes to mentor many of his young associates -- usually the ones who wear tight, short skirts.
"So the past few relationships you have been in are all with women who work for you?" I ask.
"Yes, I know it's bad," he says, pausing. "But they are always coming on to me, and what can I say? I want them to do well, to be successful, so I help them out--obviously, in more ways than one?" he says with another chuckle.
"Do you think this is funny?" I ask.
"Funny? No, why?"
"Then why do you keep chuckling?" I ask.
"Because it can get so crazy."
Chet, like many who act out, is in a great deal of denial. He sees himself as a victim of the wiles of women. He feels that he's the pawn, being manipulated by their sexual come-ons.
It is a sunny, warm day as Chet plays with his toy cars in the front yard. Chet's mother, fastidious about her flower beds, is out pruning and weeding. The two, engrossed in their own worlds, are startled by the loud honk of the car driving by. Chet looks up in time to see a man hanging out of the window, ogling his mother. His mother, secretly thrilled at the attention, responds with a coy smile and a wave.
"It made me sick," Chet says with some force. "would get so mad at those guys, I wanted to kill them."
"That is a strong reaction."
"I was really pissed," he says with continued force.
Chet pauses a moment, taking a mental inventory. "I thought it was the guys, but I guess it's my mom."
Chet's feelings of shame, fear, and anger are in his throat as he watches his mom flirt. Looking over his shoulder, she moves toward the back door, shouting to Chet, "I'll be back in a few." She presses her finger to her lips, indicating that this is a secret best kept from Chet's father.
"Did she know these fellows?" I ask.
"I don't know," Chet says, shrugging his shoulders.
"Had this happened before?"
"Yeah, it had: she would just take off," Chet says with agitation in his tone.
"How would you feel?"
Chet is morbidly attracted to women over whom he can pull rank. He acts as the sexual predator his mother once appeared to be.
Children are extremely sensitive to energy. They are instinctual beings tuned into what is happening around them. It is a survival trait, and it's is instinctual. For Chet, experiencing his mother's behavior was a traumatic event for several reasons. First, she was acting without appropriate sexual boundaries. Her lack of containment allowed her sexual energy to spew all over Chet like a burst fire hydrant. Chet, unable to articulate what he was feeling, knew on some level that his mother's behavior was dangerous, and a betrayal to him and his father. He felt shame and fear, and yet he had no voice.
The unconscious messages his mother sent Chet about sex were many: sex equals power and attention, sex is dangerous, sex is a weapon, sex is a tool, sex is objectification, sex is secretive. Her behavior and nonverbal cues were the recipe that created Chet's sexual template. He learned his mother's lessons well.