When I was in elementary school I was in fifth grade and I was in the gifted program at school. We had a project with a partner and we were going to bring an egg to school and keep it under our desks for a week.
We were to record our egg’s movements, then show the egg in slow motion. I can’t remember how much I got paid for the project, but I do remember being embarrassed.
My partner went on to be an elite sports player. I went on to be an overweight-sex-reject.
I remember this so clearly because we were kept under the watchful eyes of teachers and the school principal when the project was completed.
The egg was put into a giant cooler, away from students and teachers, and we were put in separate corners of the cafeteria, which had very tall windows and was open to the elements.
This involved jumping up and down, repeating the count, and then jumping down again. Finally, the principal appeared in our corner and called the kids to her.
She wanted to talk to every one of us individually, as she thought some children had forgotten to do this part of the project.
The principal wanted to talk to me alone, and she was serious about it. She even refused to talk to the student who’d brought the egg to school with him and hid it under his desk.
You had to be at the school early that day if you wanted to see the egg, and I made it clear I’d be back.
I was called out of class to stand in the principal’s office and I was devastated.
I had to admit that I wasn’t going to the staff meeting and I told her it was because I couldn’t stand to see my egg be tormented.
I cried like a baby and had to have help getting to my feet. She believed me and I was relieved.
The next day, I went to the staff meeting and for the rest of the year, the egg was kept under lock and key and only taken out to be put on display for school kids in the auditorium, a bit like the reliquary in the Arthurian legend, but this time made of glass.
When I was a child, my words had power. When I got bullied, I could say things that I thought only I could say. When I was told I was fat, I didn’t have to be ashamed of who I was.
Many of us let these powerful words slip from our mouths and we regret it. We are also all victims of emotional abuse.
If you are being abused, please know that you are not alone. There are many resources to help.
The Domestic Violence Hotline and Child Abuse Hotline are available 24 hours a day.
If you are being emotionally abused, please listen to the advice and suggestions I’ll give you and do whatever you feel you need to do to get yourself to safety.
As you read through these guidelines on what to do, you will realize they are simple and sound, yet it isn’t always easy to do them.
You’re afraid that if you don’t do what he wants, he will hurt you.
But if you are really honest with yourself, you’re too scared because you know how he reacts when you don’t do what he wants. He’ll punish you.
He’ll become very verbally abusive and say all kinds of awful things to you, things you won’t believe are really coming out of his mouth.
Listen to me when I say that you are being abused. If you can’t admit it to yourself or anyone else, you are not going to be able to get out of this.
You are only going to be more trapped and isolated.
In those first few months of the abuse, it’s hard to know whether he is really an abuser or not. It’s hard to pinpoint what you are doing that makes him so angry.
He makes you feel guilty, and sometimes you are tempted to stop doing it, but you know it makes him mad so you keep doing it. Your behaviors are driven by fear.
Unfortunately, you are stuck. He’s the one with all the power. If you try to leave him, he’ll threaten you or your family and he’ll make up all kinds of excuses about why you’re wrong.
He’ll get your family back together and make sure that you won’t be able to get away. If you call the police, he’ll laugh and call you names and make up all kinds of lies about you to keep you from being believed.
He’ll make your life miserable and he will keep getting you in trouble so that you will never be able to get out of your situation. The longer you stay, the easier it will get for him to get you to stay.