The Sighting

So I just ran into Dr. T . . .

Okay, not exactly face to face, but close enough. Closer than we’ve been for six freaking years, since before I filed the lawsuit.

It happened at Whole Foods, just as I figured it would. I don’t normally go there much after 5:00 p.m., because that’s when I’ve seen him there—from a distance, of course. Despite the progress I’ve made in my healing, I’ve chosen to continue to avoid certain places at times when I think I’m more likely to run into him. Like Whole Foods after 5:00.

But today I was on my way home from a healing session and in kind of an altered state (which was maybe a good thing), and thought I’d just pop in and get the few things I needed.

So there I was in the middle of the body care section and I happened to look out right as he was passing the aisle. He looked down the aisle, straight at me, it seemed. But he didn’t react. He did appear to be in a hurry, so it’s quite possible that he didn’t recognize me or that I didn’t register in his brain.

My first thought was, Oh, hey, it’s John. And then, Oh. It’s John. Oh.

What was weird to me was that it was as if only six months had gone by since I’d seen him, not six years. It felt so normal. Like he was an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while.

Yeah, okay, kind of creepy. Except . . . not.

As it all registered, I stayed exactly where I was, not moving. I half wondered if he would come back and confront me, try to kick my ass (ha!). Nope. Didn’t happen. Though part of me wanted to follow him and see him, I remained standing in the aisle. (You ever feel like that—wanting to follow the person who did these things to you, as if trying to reconcile how someone who could do something so . . . demonic, could also be this “normal” human being? Or feeling compelled to run after them because the little kid inside you still wants to see and be seen by the parent, still thinks that connection was real and, not fully understanding what happened to it, wants to go find the parent, locate them in space and time? It’s as if I go into detective mode, like: Who is this person now? Where does he go? What does he do? What does he really look like? It’s like I need to know him, in real life, outside my idealized memories of him. Concretize him in my mind in this different way. Yeah, something like that.)

Since I didn’t really want to run into him again, I stalled. I walked to the opposite end of the aisle where I had a safe vantage point and stood by the endcap, watching, and noticing what I was and was not feeling.

And there was good news there.

I was not panicking. Or crying. Or freaking out. Or going into shock. I was not even sweating profusely (as I often do when I get triggered).

I could breathe and I could think.

I kept noticing that for a while and wondered what I should do.

Part of me wanted to buy a lot more food. I walked back to the chips aisle, where I picked up and put back several bags of tortilla chips. Instead of going for junky carbs, I managed to contain myself to a simple, small container of hummus. (Well, I am on a budget . . .)

After stalling for about five or ten minutes, I figured it was safe to go to the checkout area. So I did. I did not see him again.

And I remained “fine.”

When I got home, I left a voicemail for my current therapist, who of course is on vacation. (These types of events always seem to happen when my therapists are out of town!) And now I’m sitting here writing this. (Probably the least edited post from me that you will ever read!)

I haven’t been crying or freaking out or stuffing my face with food. I’m breathing and I seem to still be in my body. So maybe I’m okay. Maybe I’m really okay.

Which, all things considered, is a pretty good Christmas present, don’t you think?

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this experience with us Kristi. I’m not quite where you are in my own process but like I keep telling you, the fact that your so open and able to share everything with us is a gift. I do not have any family and lack a support system so right now this website has been comforting. Your such a great writer and you have the ability to captivate your audience. I was just curious if you wrote articles and such before these events? You do a good job, I can relate to a lot of it and at the same time you make me smile with your humor. It was so good to hear the Whole Foods trip ended okay for you. Sorry you even had to see him but you handled it okay. I used to have panic attacks at the thought of running into my ex therapist or his family. I made myself so sick I was worried I was being watched/followed since they all knew so much information about me. I look forward to being able to hit the fast forward button with my life and feel safe and protected. I think the way you described the grocery store event and how you were feeling was completely normal. It’s a very strange feeling when someone does such an act that we can feel so puzzled and still asking questions. I unfortunatly analyze and over analyze everything so I’m still asking my own questions. What the heck was he thinking? Is he crazy? Does he think I’m just some idiot? Is there something wrong with me like some tattoo on my forehead? Someone that told me I had so much hurt and anger but would in turn give my more hurt and anger and distrust. Hmmm Yep, maybe I will forever be questioning these things, don’t know. Anyways thank you as always for giving me information to take in and not feel so alone in this journey.

    • You’re very welcome! Thanks for the positive feedback!
      Oh, yes, those questions. And all the conflicting feelings! Did he see me? Did he not see me? If he did see me, is he going to ignore me? Maybe that’s a good thing. But wait—I want to have an effect on him! How come he didn’t react? What am I, invisible?? I’m so glad we didn’t have a confrontation—I’m scared of that! But if he confronted me, then I could yell at him and tell him what an a**hole he is! But…but…
      Aaaaahhhh!
      Yeah. Totally confusing!
      And then I try to come back to myself and be present and just let everything be as it is.
      The magic phrase: I am where I am and that’s okay.
      Just keep repeating that.

  2. Kristi,
    Oh my goodness! What an experience. I wonder about that very thing. What will I do when I run into him at Target or Vons? I understand those mixed emotions. I am so glad that came out of it okay. I’m so relieved that it didn’t torpedo you. Thank you for letting us know that a sighting like that can happen and be survived too.

    Take care,
    Ellie

  3. Oh my God. I’m so afraid right now and alone so I’m typing this to walk myself through Fear. 3:06pm a few minutes ago my phone just rang and I became paralyzed with fear. How could a call frighten me so bad? I identified the number as being from the neighboring city and because I was so panic stricken I looked the number up online which is fairly easy to do. I thought I was going to have a heart attack my heart is still racing. The exact address as the therapist office but the suite # was off so that’s why I didn’t recognize the number as being the therapist office. My head became flooded with questions and new fear. Why the heck is someone trying to call me from this medical building and same address but next door suite? Am I going crazy or something. I’m all alone right now so why couldn’t this call have come in when I wasn’t all alone? Wow, I feel so afraid right now. In the past he used to call me from coffee shops and hair salons so is this going to start up again? No, I keep telling myself this has to be some very strange odd coincedence/wrong number but next door to Mr. therapist office really? I just read this article about the “Sighting” and now I’m panic stricken to the point I’ve made myself sick ready to throw up. All the fear has started up full force again from when I first refused to leave the house. Wow. I feel so embarrassed of my fear but I know I have to tackle this head on some how. This website couldn’t come at a better time for me being alone without anyone to run these things past. I feel like talking to myself is better than hiding in bed and recognizing why I’m so jumpy. I’m telling myself to just try and remain calm and you have every right to feel nervous and concerned. Don’t answer your phone for anyone, keep it charged and inform the lawyer so he knows how scared you are. I have been unable to find a free PTSD support group and with so much fear I will continue to keep myself engaged in reading about this topic online. This has a hold on me more than I realized if a call to my phone has me in this much fear.

  4. Thanks again Kristi. You articulated EXACTLY how I feel. The wanting to tell him off and at the same time, wanting him to still believe in me, to care. My emotions are so bifurcated it is ridiculous.

    What makes it harder is that no one really understands. He had such a profound effect on my life. I trusted him without measure. I changed my whole life with his help. And then…betrayal. And it tearing my soul apart.

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