“You’re gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you’ve ever dreamed.But when it’s over, I know you’ll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it!”
—Coach Duke, Creed
In my blog I repeat several different views about the abuse I went through. It might be from a different angle but repeating will inevitably happen. If this is a problem then read elsewhere because this blog is about MY healing and when I’m struggling or laughing about something worth sharing, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
This is a great therapeutic tool that I developed out of necessity several years ago. At that time, it seemed to be just what I needed that listened and was non-judgmental to whatever problem I would write about. Whatever the issue was, I wanted and searched for my answers to some of my strange behavior at times. I was simply searching for where the “old Dana” went and who in the heck was this “new Dana” in many different pieces that is trying to emerge?
The one part of life that I’m very strong in is protective instincts. This means protecting those I love even if the protection is from me. I can’t say that I love someone and then when the situation calls for this protection I not be willing to do just that. I’ve ended a relationship recently for this very reason and it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
Looking for answers as I’ve always done, I went to the library to see what I can find about a topic that has been bothering me “Bullying at school by teachers.” Most books on this topic usually lead to bullying from other students. But this day, I found a book that would seemingly have some much needed answers and validation that has been lacking. The book is titled, “Teen Torment by Patricia Evans.”
I opened the book to a random page with the title…..
In this passage I found this….”In a culture that overlooks verbal abuse, teens who are tormented by it face difficulties accomplishing developmental tasks such as independence, identity, and career goals. When teachers put them down or rage at them these students lose the confidence to become independent. And one of the long-term consequences of verbal abuse is that it disconnects teens from their emotional self.” Essentially, what happens is that the teen learns how to feel nothing in order to withstand the abuse. “The teen then can’t figure out who they really are versus who they’re told they are. Consequently, they look for their identity outside of themselves making up an image that seems more acceptable since they’ve already been told many times that who they are is not adequate as a human being. They might develop an appearance so that no one really knows what has happened to them as a safety measure. They will go to any lengths to maintain this image which to them seems safe. Instead they end up losing their own interests and talents because all of their thoughts about who they thought they were have been told time and time again that they’re wrong.”
Indicators of Verbal Abuse
- Show a noticeable change in behavior
- Become isolated and withdrawn
- Pull away and refuse to talk
- Seem depressed
- Cry easily or often
- Not have close friends
- Have bad dreams
- Complain about going to school
- Cut classes at school
- Refuse to go to school
- Throw up before school
- Seem to daydream a lot
- Have trouble concentrating
- Get much lower grade than usual
- Seem to have lost enthusiasm for anything
- Become self-critical
- Hurt themselves, cut themselves, eating disorders and pull their hair
- Act aggressively towards siblings, peers or parents
- Get angry often
- Lash out at others
- Get in many fights (Teen Torment, 2003).
When I was abused by this teacher everything that I was being taught, by my parents, about respect of another human being was confusing to say the least. She told me so many negative things about myself as a human being and through negative body image that I was almost guaranteed to sprout the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia that I still struggle with daily after 30 years. I’m tormented by her words and actions daily. I can hear them as clearly as the day she said them. And as sad as it seems, I hold onto my eating disorders and other self-harming behaviors with a death grip because somewhere along the way they were the only part of my life that seemed safe and something I can control. But this “control” is a false control just like addiction to a chemical. It’s also behaviors that pretend to be your friend until you realize that that “safe friend” has taken everything away mainly your sanity. Self-harming behaviors of any kind have negative social implications which have made me a prisoner of my bedroom. Most people don’t want to hear excuses for why you don’t want to eat. They just see it as a disrespectful gesture and will think twice before inviting you again. And God forbid if they happen to see your scars from cutting. They think they’re hanging out with a psychotic monster that has the possibility to lunge at them with a razor blade at the dinner table. My thoughts have always been, “If you only knew what caused these scars to appear, you’d think before judging next time.”
When I finished reading only about 10 pages of information I laid my book down in my lap and began sobbing. Finally, I had found some information that spoke for me what I couldn’t. I saw on those pages validation for that horrible year of abuse with information about what it did to me. I was called all the names and was told that I was stupid and fat among other things that children should never have directed at them by anyone much less from a “safe person” in a position of authority. That year affected me in ways that I still can’t fully understand. This book and it’s passages tend to make me retract from some of the information because of how close to home it all is.
As a teenager, I had much difficulty with emotion regulation. I’m torment by her words and actions of that year. Her negative body image comments have me fearing everything related to the topic. I can still feel the bullets of her malignant words she shot my way directly into my still developing brain. And to her I can say this, “You don’t matter and you never did. I’m succeeding despite what you did.” And for you I have a surprise. What if it’s simply calling you and confronting you about what was done? This kind of discussion needs to be in public where we both feel safe and can speak openly. It could be that simple. Would you listen and deny any wrong doing? Either way a surprise there will be because every day I wake up I’m bruised inside and you are the only one who can heal that wound. Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise?! Maybe that’s the surprise I’m waiting to hear and hold on to. Maybe the surprise is something different. Only I know.
Every single day I choose to work on some type of behavior or action that most people take for granted. As much as I would like to re-gift this “gift” of surviving apparently it was meant for me. And I’ll carry this burden with the hopes that my own children don’t have to taste this type of life and that monsters are just pretend instead of real as I and many others know them. Carrying the trauma of the boys that molested me, my teacher, my ex-husband and his brother, a trusted therapist will end with me. I will either win or die trying because when it comes down to it it’s all about leaving everything you’ve got physically and mentally in the ring, on the field or on the court. Whatever happens my wife and boys will know that I gave everything I had until I couldn’t. I wasn’t coached to give up until I had left it all on the field and could feel proud of my efforts whenever that day comes.
Rocky Balboa talking to Adonis Creed before his first fight….
You’ve never been in front of this many people….that don’t matter.
You’ve never been this far away from home….that doesn’t matter either.
What matters is what you leave in the ring
And what you take back with you is……PRIDE.
And knowing that you did your best and you did it for yourself.
You didn’t do it for me; Not for your friend’s memory but for you.
I can see in your eyes you’re going to do it…..Go Do This Champ!