Inheritance of Shame: A Story of Conversion Therapy

Other/Wise, the Online Journal of the International Forum for Psychoanalytic Education

May 2020

by Peter Gajdics

I was born in 1964 in Vancouver, Canada, the youngest of five children to Catholic immigrant parents. My mother, an ethnic German, was born in the former Yugoslavia, and escaped three years in a communist concentration camp post World War II; my father, born in Hungary, was raised an orphan, and at about the same time, he also fled the rising communist regime and made his way to Canada, where my parents met and married, in 1956.

Religion and family all meant a great deal to my parents when my siblings and I were children. By most people’s standards, we were a close family: dinners together every night; piano lessons; Christmases with all the decorations; homemade European baking; Catholic schools for all us kids; and, of course, church every Sunday.

It was in my Catholic elementary school, when I was six years old, that a stranger molested me in the boy’s bathroom during a church gathering. I never talked about that abuse with anyone—already at the age of six, I’d learned to hide my shame and to silence myself. But there were cracks in my silence; soon after, I began experiencing night terrors, deep depression, and high anxiety.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.