The Work of Byron Katie


Relationship & Family

My Daughter Engages in Risky Sexual Behavior

A woman questions her terrifying thoughts about her daughter in this clip from the Parenting Workshop. Byron Katie and her daughter Roxann help her open her mind to a kinder, clearer, more peaceful world.



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Okay Sweetheart, so if you stand, let's do The Work.

I'm scared with my daughter because of her risky sexual behavior.

So, your daughter engages is risky sexual behavior. Is that true?

It is true.

She engages in risky sexual behavior.

Can you absolutely know that it's true, that she engages in risky sexual behavior?


Okay, so now that third question;

How do you react, what happens to your life when you think this thought?

I go through a whole gamut of emotions.

I get scared, I get angry.

I get just frantic about her future, whether she's going to make it or not.

Okay. How do you react when you think that thought?

The one that you have on your children.

The first thing that happens, is you see images.

You see that in your head?

And then you experience the fear.

- Now, those images of her, they are of past and future.
- Right.

Do you see them?

- And you think, that's her.
- Right.

Is that imagination or is that your daughter?

That's history.

Is that imagination? You see that image..

How many of you see her in your mind's eye?

You've never met her.

You've never met her but that doesn't stop us from seeing her, it doesn't stop you from seeing her.

Now, is that her, we see or is that pure imagination?


So, in your head you see that image of her.

Is that real?

The image in your head, is it real?

I mean, look at it. Look at her face it's probably very blurry and what she's wearing.

I mean, it's blur.

You see the image, you think she engages in risky sexual behavior,

that image happens and then you get sick.

Who would you be in that moment without the thought, that she engages in risky sexual behavior?

Just in that moment.

- And it's easy to find if you look at yourself just prior to the thought.
- Right.

- Weren't you great?
- Yes.

Okay. Is it you daughter, who's causing your terror, your emotions

or is it what you're thinking and believing about her in that moment?

Just in that moment.

It's my imagination.

So, you see the difference in internal cause and affect.

Turn it around. She engages in risky sexual behavior; turn it around: "I engage in.."

..risky sexual behavior?

Give me an example of where you engage in risky sexual behavior.

When I was twenty.

Okay, how many of you have engaged in risky sexual behavior?

Give me another example; "I engage in risky sexual behavior."

I engage in risky behavior when I'm angry and I'm driving.

That's one thing I thought of yesterday.

Yeah, well stop that!

I mean, it's not what you expect your children to do? Stop that!

I can't. You do it! Or I'm going to give you the look.

I'm going to be a victim, maybe that will work.

See how you've hurt me. See what you're doing to me.

Can you find another example? "I engage in risky sexual behavior."

You see those images? When you think the thought;

"She engages in risky sexual behavior."

Those images in your head; Do you see her in

those situations, sexually, that are really risky?

- You see them vividly sometimes.
- Oh, yeah.

Okay, you are engaging in risky sexual behavior and you're using your daughter's body.

That's not her.

- Have you ever seen her having sex? Other than in your head?
- No.

That is all yours.

- Do you replay it?
- Try not to.

Oh, well.

You just keep engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Well, again I had to live through her getting raped which is vividness.

Oh, that' a good one. That's a good one.

I think being raped once is enough

- without you just doing it over and over in her name.
- Right.

- Well, that's..
- You want her to stop engaging in risky sexual behavior?

You do it first.

Every time those images appear in your head, go "Whoops!

I'm so upset, that wasn't her, that was me again."

She says: "Mom, I'm going to the theatre tonight."

- and your mind goes: "Risky sexual behavior."
- Yeah.

- Who's doing it to you?
- I am.

So, the way we treat them when we believe this thought - those thoughts on your paper -

we owe amends to ourself, we need to become more gentle.

Just notice it. For me it was self talk, it was like; I would see Roxanne

for example dead and rolling over, I would see her raped.

I can't tell you how many times I saw her raped.

But it was me raping her in all those images and then she would show up.

Your daughter was raped and then she showed up.

But I needed to stop killing my daughter in my head.

Okay, my one piece that I want to get is:

How then to protect myself when these things happen? and

of course it's the pain and the toxicness of the events, engulf everybody.

For me it was just really simple; love my daughter.

But when I'm holding her hand and if I'm watching this movie going on

I'm not with my daughter, I'm busy raping her, thank you.

Okay, another turnaround.

"My daughter engages in risky sexual behavior."

That's what you wrote. Turn it around; "She doesn't.."

Say that one.

She doesn't engage in risky sexual behavior.

Give me an example. It's very important.

She goes to school all day and doesn't engage in risky sexual behavior.

Wow! Give me another example.

When I say give me another example, it's just my way of saying: Give you one.

Give you another one and another one because you need it.

It's medicine. These turnarounds are medicine.

She spends a lot of time at home where she's not engaging in risky sexual behavior.

Then feel these things, contemplate them.

You begin to respect your children. You begin to gain respect and

understanding where there wasn't much, in some of our situations.

Can you find another one?

Many time she does go out with friends and people

where she's just not engaging in risky sexual behavior.

I have a thought. When she is with somebody

what else could she be doing?

Having dinner with people, going to the movies.

No, I mean when she's with someone.

When she's in the act, what else could she be doing?

Trying to get love.

I think that's an example how she's not actually in risky behavior.

She's fulfilling her need for love.

Anything else?

She's expressing love or her version of it. Yes.

- I have one. Would you like to hear it?
- Yes.

She could be asking him to use a condom.

You don't know.

Anything else she could be doing?

Separating from me in..

expressing her autonomy around

you know, being a teenager separated from her parents.

Okay. So, when I hit those things

that you just surnaming, separating from me

and I looked at how I react when I believe that thought, I think

risky sexual behavior is safer for her than being with me emotionally.

Now, that may not be the case in your case but I can tell you

anytime my children were not with me I'm grateful.

- I have another one if you want to hear it.
- Yes.

I can't know it's true.

If I've been sexually insulted and now

I can have sex with somebody

that's pretty big.

If I'm trying to become for all... in my own sexuality.

If I'm trying to make my way out of that.

To trust again.

I think that's a big deal; because someone who can ever be touched again with this story.

So, she's not engaging in risky sexual behavior. For all we know she's in therapy.

Thank you. You're very brave.


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