I was at the youth group I was interning at talking to someone when a junior high guy suddenly jumped on my back.

“Get off me, please!”

His weight started pulling me down.  I thought about defending myself, but I’m one of the adults responsible.  I can’t hurt him to protct myself.

“You’re hurting me.  Get off!”

My knees hit the floor, and the boy’s older brother called his name: “Get off her.”

Only then did he listen.  I lay on the floor, staying the way I had been forced down for a moment.  I was in shock.  I wasn’t angry, but I wasn’t sure what I was feeling.  I felt tears start to fill up my eyes, so I got up and walked into the empty bathroom.

I felt scared.  I felt helpless and weak.  I felt abandoned by the other leaders who could have stepped in sooner to help me.  Physically, I wasn’t badly hurt.  This twelve-year-old boy’s actions, though, brought up a fear that I didn’t anticipate and I couldn’t figure out why I felt this fear so strongly.

As the evening went on, I continued to think about it.  Why was I so shaken up by him jumping on my back?  My younger sisters, my cousins, sometimes a friend have all done it at one time or another.  What was so different about this?

Then the flashback came:

I am lying on the floor of the entryway attached to the living room of my parents house.  I am young, maybe eight years old at most.  My cousin, who has been living with our family along with his mother, is sitting on top of me, still hitting me.  I think he had tackled me, pushed me to the ground, and beat me up.  It was unprovoked, and this isn’t the first time that this had happened.  I don’t fight back.  I would get in trouble if I did, so I let him keep hitting me.  His mother does nothing.  I don’t remember what made him stop.


I had forgotten about this memory.  I had forgotten about my cousin and aunt.  I didn’t even remember that they existed, and the memories of these beatings had been forgotten with them, until now.

Unknowingly, a junior high boy had triggered the same feelings of fear and helplessness that I use to feel when my cousin would beat me up.  The memory is foggy at best, but the emotions are just below the surface.  I have just identified one more of many triggers to unpleasant memories.


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