I don’t remember his name, or if I ever even knew his name. I don’t remember what grade he was in, only that he was older. I don’t remember why no one stopped him, I just remember the feeling of the hard floor underneath me as he told me we were going to play a game. The game consisted of him being a doctor and me being his patient, only he was the most sadistic and perverted doctor I have ever met. He told me that we would play and that I was to remain silent about what he did. I remember being terrified. I remember being sick to my stomach. But as a four year old girl, what was I supposed to do? I remember squeezing my eyes shut as tightly as I could and fiercely imagined that I was someone else, living a life far away from where I really was.
Every time this boy came around and I knew what was going to happen, I would repeat this method of coping. I never realized until I was 24 years old, that this coping mechanism was called dissociation and many times when a child is faced with great abuse and continue to dissociate there is a potential they can “split off”. Splitting off is when a person is able to break off from themselves and create different personalities to protect them from threatening situations. This in turn, becomes the mental illness DID. When that little boy would abuse me at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic school, I would dissociate, and this saved my life.
There are other bits and pieces of the school that I do remember, random bits of information and fragments of images, voices, or scents. One in particular was a pond of fish outside the school that seemed to be comforting. I recall watching them swim and feeling like them…trapped. But seeing them and how they remained so peaceful gave me hope that better things were to come.
I was younger than the other kids, and painfully shy so that didn’t help me. I was teased mercilessly, however, when a teacher was around or my mother was there, they acted as if I was a friend. I firmly believe that the events I experienced at this school, began my deep-seated problem of letting my fear of failure, and my fear of being disliked hold me back from all of the things I wanted to accomplish…something that I continue to battle to this day.