Today's post at NTs are Weird blog brought back a very painful memory for me. It was certainly not as severe, but it was an extremely painful life lesson, a scar that threatens to rip open at times.
Late in 5th grade, we moved from a suburb of a fairly large city to a small town. A very small, nearly non-existent town. It was beautiful, and I got the one thing I had wanted for years: a horse.
My first day of school I walked into class after registration to find my new teacher disciplining her class by making them copy pages out of the dictionary. I came in well after the incident had occurred, and I'm sure most of the students had no part in it, but I, along with everyone else, was forced to participate in this punishment. I knew then that things were going to be very different.
Previously, due to my good behavior and excellent grades, I had gotten on well with many of my teachers, and had been the pet of my previous 5th grade teacher. Yes, I had a few social difficulties, but I had done nothing too weird, and I was always willing to help.
It was a small school, and there was only one class for each grade. She was the only 5th grade teacher. I believe it was the next year (I am not positive) she became one of the teachers for the junior high / middle school students. We had different teachers for our subjects, and shared the same school with the elementary students. I don't remember which class she was teaching, but she seemed to develop an intense dislike for me that year.
If a student was not doing well, the teachers would send home notices to the parents and have a parent-teacher conference. That year (remember, I had never gotten into trouble for anything and had always carried an A average) I was called to the front of the class and handed one of these notices. She filled it out and announced the contents to everyone in the class. She gave me C minuses straight across (achievement, behavior and effort).
I took it home in shock. Half the class found it hysterically funny as I certainly was not a problem student and the other half seemed to be in shock with me.
Then came the conference. The teacher, in front of my mother, lied about me, belittled me, screamed at me, and my mother did nothing. Nothing. In fact, she turned on me, questioning me, the daughter who had never knowingly lied to her. I sat there sobbing, denying everything, asked the teacher to show my mother my work to show that it was good (the teacher refused, having destroyed it to prevent me from proving the lies), and my mother did not help me. She did not question a thing the teacher said, and she did nothing about the fact that I was being abused in front of her. I went home miserable, and my mother began to think that everything I had ever told her was a lie. Our relationship was never the same.
Now, certainly, this is nothing compared to the horrifying physical, mental and emotional abuse and neglect suffered by millions of children. But it doesn't change the fact that it left a huge scar on my soul, and caused the development of the extreme cynicism and lack of trust that are a large part of my personality.
It's impossible to forget something like that. And while I may have let it go enough for it to be considered forgiven, I lost my faith in my parents forever.