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could this have had an influence?


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When I was in my last year of Primary School (age 10-11) I was in the remedial swimming group. (the *non-swimmers*).

Our teacher was a man in his late middle age. Looked a bit like RD Laing/Jiminy Cricket (the comedian guy who did Irish leprachaun jokes etc, was that him?)

To start with there were several people in the swimming group. The teacher was a hard task master and was really determined that we would learn. He pushed us and was encouraging and he did believe in me. He was the first teacher to encourage my written work and art.

Soon though everyone else managed to swim, and there was I still struggling with floats, arm bands etc. So I was now alone in the group, just me and the teacher, Mr P. alone. He stood at the side and shouted me on. Yes, he did shout. But he meant well. And I was keen to please him.

He got really annoyed though when I continued to not succeed. He couldn't have that.....So, he resorted to more harsh methods to force me to swim independently.

He had me lying on my stomach on the side of the pool, ridged plastic matting(you know the kind? Like decking, only plastic and slatted. And he would stand at my side holding a large hoop which I also had hold of with one hand. he would walk along and pull me along the matting on my stomach. It hurt, but I didn't think much of it at the time. It did hurt. But I wouldn't think of asking him to stop. I had to do what he said. He didn't mean to hurt me, he just wanted me to succeed. But it did hurt.

I'm wondering if this is part of my body hyper-sensitivity and fear of men? And my anxiety when my boundaries feel impinged upon. ?

He never did anything inappropriate. Nothing sexual, and no physical punishment. Just this physical harshness that hurt my emerging into puberty body.

Was it wrong what he did?

Katie (36)

Katherine (10)

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Yes, that is abuse and can affect you in the ways you described. Abse doesn't have to be horrific to be damaging. I imagine the terrorizing and the shame of being behind your peers were worse than the physical pain. It would probably be a good thing to explore this with your Tdoc. 

You are far from alone in yor experience. It took me 7 6-week swimming sessions before I learned to swim. By the last session I was far bigger than the other kids. I was physically and emotionally abused as a child, at home and at school. For some reason age 10 is the year I keep coming back to in therapy. I suppose puberty is a particularly vulnerable period in girls' development.

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thank you praxis. I hadn't thought about the being behind the others...but now I think about it, it was another way in which I was set apart, excluded.

I was very physically and emotionally fragile at that time, you are right that 10 is an age when girls (and boys, in different ways) are particularly sensitive to body changes etc. (it was around this time when other girls noticed my pubic hairs and laughed at me in the changing rooms....and which led me to some mild trichotilmania (sp?) for some time.....*shudders*

I did speak about it one therapy session, but that's probably 3 years or so ago now, and then my therapist didn't seem to *get* what I was saying...can't quite understand why...but she knows me a lot more now....I'll see, I feel kind of vulnerable about this....

thanks again for responding, and I'm sorry that you had to endure similar. ;)

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If now looking back, you could change your perspective perhaps you could see that he was punishing- and that even though he encouraged you in some positive ways, that you do not have to forgive him or excuse him for physically hurting you. I have been a swimmer my whole life and have NEVER heard or seen of such a method as dragging a child along the floor as a method of teaching them to swim. The description makes me cringe in pain and the thought that an adult could do something so abusive to a child under the guise of teaching, horrifies me!

I am so sorry this happened to you- on top of everything else. ((sending a hug!))

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thank you mrsloony, both hug and validation much appreciated. its somehow hard for me to change my perspective still though in all of me....I'm torn between denial and disbelief that it was hurtful...ugghhh those aren't even 2 perspective are they?

I did learn to swim....(although have hardly done so since...and I only made one length certificate) managed to achieve.....I think I wanted acceptance and approval so bad...that I'd do *anything* to be praised and valued....and he was my teacher, I trusted him....(he since died 3 or so years later, of lung cancer) more than my previous teacher, also a man, who punished me for being bullied....it was a waste of his time dealing with the problems my being bullied wrought in the classroom...and he didn't want to see me or value my abilities...I was a weak failure...and at the same time my dad was belittling me and humiliating me and rejecting me....I was a waste of space on the planet....so I HAD to suceed......

Feel weepy as I type this....maybe I'm getting more in touch with my depressed and hurt teenaged parts....

Thank you again for responding.

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it really sounds like this man took advantage of your vulnerability. the thing about abuse is that its all about power. of course a kid wants to get approveal from teachers and especially parents.all kids do. its part of being a kid. they'll do anything. i mean anything. like allow themselves to be physically and emotionally hurt. no i don't mean  that- they don't allow themselves- the adults put them in a situation where the adult can feel some weird sense of power by hurting and humiliating the child.. i hate what that teacher did to you. i hate what your father did.  the problem was/is in these men- NOT in you!  you did nothing wrong! you were a kid!! they abused you because they had power over you because they were grownups (supposedly) and you were a child! its just awful no matter how you slice it. ((more hugs)) i'm so sorry this happened to you.

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I brought up the courage (through expressing my feelings....helped me feel more *here*....) to tell my therapist about what the teacher did again...as when I'd told her before several years or so ago she kind of dismissed it...which was because she didn't get exactly what he'd done..didn't realise that he was pulling me along the floor...not the pool....and she said that it sounded very *odd* what he did, and today I was able to tell her exactly what happened more clearly and she understands....and has more idea....it is such a relief...to feel heard.....to feel my body valued.......to feel ok to feel....

its hard, feeling the feelings that I blocked out at the time when I was 10...of helplessness, fear, anger, longing for approval and acceptance...

but its healing too....I can breathe more easily now....

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Guest ~Aurelie~

katie. more good news from you. i am very happy for you that you have received this validation and have experienced another piece of healing take place. there will be more too. sometimes a step back. but remember the two steps forward. good that you are grateful for them because they can really carry a person when too weak to carry oneself.

all the best

aurelie

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