As I read comment after comment, it was hard for me to keep making excuses for Greg. A few internet strangers might be wrong, but when of them all say the same thing, maybe they're onto something.
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The comments sparked several "aha" moments. The most powerful was a response to some additional information I provided when people wondered why my mother hadn't stepped in. I explained that she had been a single mom who worked extremely long hours and just wasn't there to witness everything.
I also said that I was a very responsible teenager who never got into trouble and that other than sleeping with my teacher, I didn't do stupid things. Someone replied that I still didn't get it, that this wasn't something I did , but something that happened to me, and I wasn't stupid, just like a younger child wouldn't be considered stupid for being molested.
Reading that, and recognizing the truth behind it, served as a breakthrough moment. That's not to say that my perception or feelings changed entirely or instantly, but it's what made me decide I definitely needed professional help to sort through what had happened. I was scared to delve into my past, but I also knew it needed to be done. By the following day, I had weeded through dozens of therapists' profiles, selected one, and made an appointment.
One of the reasons I chose my particular therapist was because she practices EMDR therapy, which sounded interesting. If nothing else, I figured it couldn't hurt. In the days leading up to my first appointment, I mentally revisited several incidents surrounding my relationship with Greg.
I thought about the time I went to Greg's classroom and demanded that he tell me nothing would ever happen between us. This was after we had confessed our feelings for each other, and after he had said our relationship could never progress into anything romantic, but also after he continued to pepper our conversations with innuendos and inappropriate suggestions.
I needed to know definitively that we would never have a romantic relationship so I could stop wondering and hoping. I told him to tell me nothing more would ever happen between us.
He said things like, "It would be very bad if something more happened," and "I'm trying very hard not to let it happen," and "You live in a world of certainty, but real life isn't like that. He wound up laughing at me and I left in tears.
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For the next 20 years, I felt foolish for expecting a clear-cut answer. I thought about a letter I wrote him after I moved away, after we'd had sex. I was upset that he didn't write more often, so to get a rise out of him, I accused him of taking advantage of me. I didn't really believe it and he knew it, but he did write back, "I seem to recall warning you this would happen.
He had warned me I'd wind up angry, but I had let him sleep with me anyway. For the next 20 years, I believed that if I was hurt, it was my own fault for ignoring his warning. The aftermath of my essay and my impending therapy finally allowed me to start recognizing how skewed my perception had been. My therapist directed me to think of instances when I had been nurturing to someone else, the idea being that I could provide that same nurture to myself when I needed it.
As I was recalling times I had comforted my children when they were scared or uncertain, I suddenly saw an image of my body splitting in two down the middle, and another version of myself stepping out and walking away, like a molting crab. That vision was odd and unexpected, but I was filled with optimism at the thought of shedding my old self and emerging free of the burden that had held me back for so long. Those first few sessions involved a lot of tears and exploring. I was coming to realize that my teacher had indeed acted improperly, but I still held onto the notion that I had allowed it — even encouraged it — to happen.
The bulk of my EMDR therapy involved thinking about and exploring specific negative incidents, so at one point, I decided to focus on that day in Greg's classroom when I kept asking him to put an end to the possibility of our relationship developing into something more.
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My therapist suggested that when I envisioned this scene, I should look at it as an outsider watching it on a screen, like a movie. It seemed like such a simple change in perspective, but it created a huge impact. When I stepped out of the situation and viewed it from the outside, I was able to see the power imbalance. First, I cried.
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I felt sorry for that girl — for myself. Then I got angry. Here was a year-old who knew she wasn't strong enough to resist on her own, begging an adult to do the right thing, to put an end to a situation that was already out of control. And here was the adult, the teacher, refusing to do it, knowing exactly how to keep her hanging on.
It Happened To Me!
Crabs molt when they need to grow or when they need to shed toxins from their system. For a while after crabs molt, their new exteriors are still pliable and they're prone to illness or infections. They're vulnerable, and some of them won't survive. I knew I'd survive. My journey of healing wasn't so much traumatic as it was tiring, but it did make me feel vulnerable.
Delving so deeply into the past made me scared and emotional. For the first couple weeks, I cried more than usual. I second-guessed everything I did. I felt inadequate as a wife, a mother, and a person.
But as my therapy continued, my strength grew. The more I explored my memories, the angrier I got, not at myself, but at Greg. The angrier I got, the more I became protective of and sympathetic to teenage-me. That, in turn, allowed me to be more sympathetic to present-day me. Search titles only. Search Advanced search…. Members Current visitors. Interface Language. Log in.