A Deaf Girl’s Journey
Through Trust, Betrayal,
Abuse, and Redemption
Published by LIFE SENTENCE Publishing at Smashwords – Copyright 2014 Deb Myers
“The coexistence of Friendship and Eros may . . .
help some moderns to realise [sic]
that Friendship is in reality a love,
and even as great a love as Eros.”
(C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, p. 99)
ertainly, C. S. Lewis is not equating friendship love as erotic love between teenagers and adults. However, a love that begins as friendship, and grows into lifelong marriage commitment, is often the best foundation for a satisfactory sexual relationship. But Lewis does have a point.
Sometimes there is confusion as to which form of love is expressed between humans. Those nearing adulthood can mistake heightened activity in the brain for adult feelings of love. Love expressions by teenagers are not the same as mature adult expressions of love. That being the case, the addition of physical or sexual relations between an adult and a teenager confuses the hearts of both, and improperly connects unstable emotions and preoccupies the minds. Pleasure to an adult is dissimilar to pleasure to a teenager, especially when the heart is the motivating factor. For “out of the heart . . . come evil thoughts, sexual immorality . . . adultery . . .” (ESV Mark 7:21)
Teenagers do not make adult distinctions between physical pleasure and emotional stability. Teenagers are crush-oriented and mature adults tend toward unconditional love. However, teenagers and adults who connect emotionally over time, or begin sharing their personal problems with each other in private, risk blurring what is actually taking place. As a result, physical relations may be right around the corner.
Trusted adults making profound connections with teenagers, have not changed much over the years. It is just that in today’s world of ubiquitous sexuality and rising sexual predation – nurtured by adults and teenagers online – we find newer and easier fertile ground. This new ground is where the seeds of relationship ruination may take root.
Compounding matters of the heart is the human brain, which because of age, maturity, and a host of other biological and choice-oriented factors, involves a vast range emotions. Teenage brains are not adult brains. Teenage romantic affections naturally run amuck, let alone when adults are the targets. An adult entrusted with authority over a teenager, who finds his or her emotions connecting deeply with those of a teenager, must seek advice on how to handle and even diffuse these emotions.
Neuroscientists today are discovering new and wonderful things about the brains of teenagers, and the differences that exist between their brains and adult brains. One thing most adults already know is that teenagers are highly emotional, and that these emotions seem larger-than-life. The reasons for these heightened states of emotions are because of the flow of neuro-chemicals and neuro-connections in the teenagers’ brains, all of which characterizes lesser-mature brains. Teenagers naturally draw toward friends and strive for acceptance by their peers – often defending themselves and their choices to extremes, in the process.
Lewis had it right about friendship love. However, teenagers also seek acceptance by those in authority over them. Whether teachers, coaches, or administrators, sometimes it is easy to misconstrue teenage attention as teenage romantic affection. Therefore, if left uncorrected, the adult and teenager run the risk of an improper emotional connection – the likes of which may result in something more physical because of personal desires for acceptance.
Classroom teachers must especially be on guard. Their environment brings with it a natural social packaging, as well as heightened emotional states. A problem begins to arise when teachers allow themselves to think students’ very “fired-up” teenage brains are fully-developed emotionally and can handle adult-relationships.
Matters of the heart and brain are as tricky as they are complicated. Deb Myers has written this personal memoir titled
, in which she chronicles a period in her own life where she crosses into an inappropriate teacher-student relationship. As you will see in her journal entries, emotional connections result from a series of choices. At first, expressions of empathy draw the two together. Over time, the teacher becomes emotionally significant in Myers’ life.
As a teenage student, Myers willingly returns these affections, and validation by her teacher makes her feel good. However, does she really know she is actually the victim? Most teenagers do not. This bond between teacher and student eventually finds its way into a physical and sexual relationship. This should serve as a warning: Emotional bonds between adults and teenagers that result in sex, produce their own forms of bondage, as the reader will come to understand.
Every day, there are appropriate and inappropriate relationships that take place between teachers and their students. In terms of the latter, no distinction is made – whether we speak of Christian schools, various private and parochial schools, or public schools. The law makes no such distinction either, as to faith or tenet, or educational philosophy when a crime is committed. The reality is, sexual predators and sex-offenders are of both genders, of all ages, and come from all backgrounds and professions.
It is true that humans are sexual creatures that seek friendly affections and attention from others. Yet, there must be boundaries. The classroom is no exception to this rule. Myers illustrates clearly that teenagers making adult-like choices are not the same as adults making choices. Both are self-serving, but there are vast differences. God is working and Myers discovers that the Almighty “creates clean hearts, and renews right spirits” within us (Psalm 51:10). When it comes to teachers having sexual relationships with students, we can be certain that the teachers are certainly not the victims in these situations.
There are many environments where adults and teenagers work in close proximity. Teenage students and their teachers are never to be encouraged to cross boundaries with each other. However, these boundaries must first be set. This can especially difficult when the teacher is close in age to his or her students, or when particular relational nuances add special considerations in communicating matters of the heart.
Teachers are naturally given toward compassion and moral purpose. This is confirmed by Michael Fullan, in his book
, where he writes, if we scratch below the surface of a good teacher, “we would find moral purpose.” Teachers and students involving themselves in inappropriate relationships compromise both the student’s moral development and diminish the teacher’s entrusted moral high road.
Ernest J. Zarra, III, Ph.D.
Crossing Into the Emotional,
Physical, and Sexual Realms
February 14, 2014, Valentine’s Day
Holy Spirit, you nudged me to write. I do not yet know the outcome, but I trust that my story will help someone. Thank you for using my book to reach others in whatever ways you desire.
Peter, my devoted and much-loved husband of 24 years, this book wouldn’t have been possible without your love, support, and encouragement. Thank you for always being there 24/7.
Savannah, Seth, Summer, I was awestruck by your non-judgmental reaction when I shared my past with you. Thank you for allowing me to share my life with the readers.
Sumangal and Shantou, you don’t yet fully understand what my book is about. Thank you for your patience as I sat glued to the computer all day long, writing.
Pete Rothenhoefer, you recognized my style of writing with encouraging words. Thank you for the time you gave me.
Dan Rotach, Peb Rock, Jeremiah Kelly, and Jenn Dorsch, thank you for making yourselves available to read my manuscript in its early stages.
Kate Etue, thank you for your invaluable help in editing the original manuscript.
Anna Peterson, you came along at the right time. Thank you for caring enough to speak the truth.
Life Sentence Publishing, thank you for believing that my book has a place on bookshelves.
glanced over my shoulder to make sure no cars were approaching before stepping into the street to open our mailbox. I quickly spotted two cream-colored envelopes in the bundle of mail. On the upper right corner were the twenty-five cent stamps I had personally licked and stuck on. I knew without opening it that the RSVP card inside had raised flowers printed on the upper left corner. The leaves around the flowers extended down to the bottom left corner. The card was simple in its design – just the way I wanted.
I looked at the return addresses to see who had responded. The minute I saw his name, my stomach became queasy. Forgetting I was only two feet from the road, with cars passing by every few minutes, I stood there, unable to move. It was as if every living thing around me held its breath.
Why does his name continue to have such an effect on me?
I closed my eyes and shook my head, not wanting to re-read the chapter I had already finished.
Will it be a Yes or Regrets?
After several seconds, I sighed, realizing I’d better return to the house or else Mom would probably wonder what was the matter with me.
Mom was sitting in her favorite spot on the couch in the living room, her eyes glued to
Days of Our Lives
on the television when I opened the front door. As soon as I stepped into the living room, she glanced at me. Seeing that I had picked up the mail, she raised her eyebrows, questioning. Without a word, I knew what she was asking: “How many people have responded?”
“Two,” I answered, walking across the living room into the dining room, not wanting to talk further.
Fortunately, Mom’s show was captivating, which meant that she would be glued to her seat for the next forty minutes. I pulled out a dining room chair from the table and sat down. It took me several minutes before I was able to open the envelope. Slowly, I pulled out the RSVP-before-July-15-1989 card and stared long and hard at his familiar handwriting:
He is coming.
Why did I invite him? Why couldn’t he just say he wasn’t able to attend?
Not that I really needed answers. I did not have much choice. I had to invite him. He probably felt he had to come. Otherwise, it would raise too many questions.