The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving.

A-close (1).jpg

The first person I met when I arrived in the US in 1985 was the son of a family where I spent Thanksgiving. Though we went out, our communication was so poor I was never clear on whether we were officially together. I moved to LA and in 1991, on a layover flight from LA to Europe, he met me at JFK and we kissed. The plane never left and passengers were bused to a nearby hotel. He came to pick me up and drove me to his home outside the city. 19 years earlier, I had been in a very similar scenario, being flown to JFK on the private jet of a perpetrator, and taken to a similarly somber hotel room where I was left alone, convinced I was going to be tortured and killed. A gopher knocked on the door and led me to the backseat of a chauffeured sedan, where the owner of the private jet was waiting for me, smiling. As we drove to his home in the night, I took in the atmosphere and surroundings like manna from heaven, believing myself to be deeply loved because I was not tortured or killed, and instead offered nurturing touch and praise: sexual abuse for sure - but of the kind most confusing to a child - the kind that calls itself love.

On that drive in 1991, I was unconsciously triggered back into that blissful feeling from my past, as my boyfriend drove me on the very same long and winding road to his parents' home. I spent two days feeling the out-of-this-world bliss high, absolutely loving every observable quality of my substitute perpetrator, always having been impressed with his extremely rational mind educated in the most prestigious institutions where he had graduated summa cum laude. I remained willfully blind to his habit of triangulating by constantly bringing up details of past relationships, or his failure to clarify his relationship status even though in his bedroom, heart shaped Valentine Day's balloons were still faintly swaying in their endless descent six months after the day.

I always kept a very special place in my heart for this lover. We rekindled the romance some years ago, many years after we first met. Me, having spent my adult life healing, and he avoiding it, I found his old habits alive and well. A special softness was reserved in his heart for women who, like himself, were too weak to start healing from their trauma. Whereas I, who suffered a thousand times more than he could grasp, found him unable to empathize when I shared certain things I lived through. As the strong survivor, I got his unconscious revenge stored in the deepest recesses of his consciousness, that never found its way to the abusive parent.

He was a stand-in parental figure for me too, and I gave him the power to hurt me. I first re-experienced the bliss, all mixed with the substitute nurturance through sex where partners feel deeply, and are connected yet not intimate. This soon turned to the fear of being hurt, a stand-in fear for the terror I'd felt in the hotel room and on that night flight back in 1972, when I believed I was going to be used for some dark ritual that would most certainly end my life.

Recently, my old lover and I met, and I spoke to him with clarity, not worrying I hadn't made myself clear the first time when he didn't hear me, or felt like I had to explain better, and I didn't allow him to repeat himself. It was as though I'd unleashed 100,000 volts into a 100 watt lightbulb - he was rather pulverized. We hugged to say goodbye, and for a moment all the feelings, expressed and unexpressed over all these years were felt in a surge of energy and emotion, and then I left.

M Becker