I found myself really looking up to this amazing teacher, and telling my friends and family about her. I looked forward to seeing her everyday at school. I started to really open up to her, as she made me feel I could trust her. She always cared about me, and was always there for me during rough times. She was always open to listen to my problems and offer advice. Summer rolled around, and we kept in touch everyday, I would share with her my summer days, and she would share hers back. She made me feel cared for, and always loved hearing about my day, as I did with hers. It is now my junior year, she told me she wanted to meet. I walked in, they both sat at the table across from me. Her face was serious. I sat down slowly, putting my bag down. She then started talking. I felt as if my world was stopped in time. I felt alone.

She continued to tell me that I was making her uncomfortable, these words she was telling me, little did I know they would haunt my mind forever.That she “cannot help” me anymore. That I need help, and should seek a counselor. Someone I truly admired, looked me dead in the eyes, and spoke some of the most haunting words I have ever heard to me. The meeting started off with her explaining how I make her feel uncomfortable. They kept stating I “did nothing wrong”, yet kept listing everything I did “wrong”. She also proceeded to tell me that I am with her too much, that I am “too” emotional when I shouldn’t be, that I should seek help. She said to me; “you need to stop caring so much about others. And “Don’t go home and cry to your mom, because I know you are going to go home and lose your everloving mind.” I began to get this overwhelming feeling wash over me, numbness. Numb to my surroundings. That day has scarred me for the rest of my life. I lost who I am. I couldn’t believe that a person whom I trusted would do this to me. As a result of that day, I cannot trust anyone, for the fear of putting me through that kind of pain again. I CAN’T go through that again.

A. Several questions arose while reading your letter, namely relating to your statement that “they” sat across the table from you. Who are “they?” Your teacher and who else? My assumption was that it was a school administrator but I can’t be certain. If so, the way they handled this situation is odd and unprofessional.

It seems that you and your teacher had a close and perhaps inappropriate relationship. Beyond that, I do not have enough information to fully understand the nature of your relationship. For that reason I can’t answer the question about whether or not you were emotionally abused by your teacher.

Generally speaking, what she did was harsh and unsettling. She may have realized the inappropriateness of your relationship and felt the need to bring “backup” for protection. She likely did it out of fear of getting into trouble. Perhaps she knew that her behavior was inappropriate and she wanted to protect her job and in so doing, blamed you for what happened. But it’s not your fault.

Please understand that her reaction to this situation is not a reflection of you. You shouldn’t take it personally. She made a mistake. She should have known better. Most teachers would not have done what she did. You should not assume that all teachers are untrustworthy just because one of them acted inappropriately. She does not represent all teachers or all people. Of course we should be choosy about whom we trust but we should never make assumptions about groups of people based on the behavior of one person. That type of thinking encourages discrimination and prejudice and leads to incorrect conclusions.

If you haven’t done so already, report these events to a trusted school authority and your parents. You should also enter counseling. This has already become, in your mind, a pivotal event and that needs to be addressed. Counseling can effectively treat the emotional effects which have resulted from this encounter and restore your faith in people. Problems will result from trusting those that you shouldn’t but problems will also arise from not trusting those that you should. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle