I was a young boy, six-years old as I recall, and about to enter the first grade at the DeLand Elementary school. This was a big day for me, a chance to show my older brother and his friends what I was made of. The older boys had physically and sexually abused me and I wanted to be just like them. (Sounds crazy doesn’t it.) My plan was simple. I would act up in class until the teacher took out the paddle and spanked me. (Spanking was common decades ago.) My young teacher kept telling me to stop but I was persistent. Finally she removed the paddle from her draw and with tears in her eyes, she spanked me. (I later wondered if I was the first student she had ever spanked.) I couldn’t wait until school was out so I could tell my brother and his friends what I had done. But much to my surprise, they turned and walked away as I was sharing my experience. I believe they said that I was crazy.
Fast forward several decades later when I had been diagnosed with PTSD brought on by memories of childhood sexual abuse. I was talking with my therapist about my past behavior. Of course I had more troublesome experiences than my first grade spanking. “Why did I do such things when I was younger?” I asked. I was ashamed of my past behavior and didn’t understand why I had committed such acts. “How could I have done such things”
“You can’t know what you don’t know,” she said. Simple and powerful, that was her statement. I sat quietly as I reached for a response. It was obvious that my therapist wanted me to discover the meaning of her statement. This was the key to my past behavior.
(Part II will be coming soon.)