Some time has been spent in reflection and coming to terms with a dark time in my life. Those years, when I went through them, didn’t seem so bad. However, the more I look back on them the more I realize all the things that went wrong, all the things that were wrong, and all of the unnecessary problems I was dragged through because I was willing to show compassion to someone who never once appreciated that I did.
I have written a series of poems and had originally posted the poems all individually, but there’s something more effective about getting the story in one shot. These poems are about that trying time in my life. A time that looking back I find it hard to believe I ever went through.
The thing is I went through it, and since it occurred I have had a lot of trouble talking about it, thinking about it, and even writing about it. It still makes me feel ashamed of myself and my past, but all that does is let the abuse continue on.
I have often just overlooked it as my overreaction to a series of events that took place over 5 and a half years of my life. I brushed aside the warnings of others that saw something was wrong in favour of my detrimental situation. I took each guilt trip, each harsh reaction to me finding enjoyment in life as my punishment for not having her with me while I was enjoying it.
I watched her spend time with her friends, take lavish vacations without me, and buy nice things that only she could use with our money while I sat at home alone, waiting for her to say it was alright for me to come with her. Sure I was never hit, not until she realized I was leaving did she react with violence, but the last straw was the morning I woke up to her holding a pillow over my face. From that moment I had no choice but to leave, no matter what it took.
Thinking About It
It still hurts when I get to thinking,
Those mistakes enough to start me drinking.
Seeing the places I let myself go,
Hard to believe that I didn’t know.
Thinking about all the signs of trouble to come,
And remembering the drop from where I came from.
Such a big change in so little time,
That someone knocked me down so far, a great crime.
Thinking about the struggle to fight my way out,
Always dragged back in by my own doubt.
Trapping myself in that poisonous situation,
Locking myself in with my own frustration.
Thinking about it, I can feel the pain again inside.
From it I’ve never been able to hide.
It helps to let go of the past, but sometimes you just can’t. You have to come to terms with it, no matter how hard it is to do that.
For me the best way to do that is to put it to a page, write it down and read it over a few times to let it sink in. One of the things that was taken away from me in those tough years that I’ve left behind was my ability and desire to write.
Every time I put a pen to a blank piece of paper my mind just went blank. Sometimes I got a few lines down before I stopped writing, sometimes a whole page, it depended solely on how long I had been away from her. A day could lead to a few sentences, a week a page or two, but no matter what it stopped when she returned and the judgement came down about wasting my time writing.
Now I turn to writing to let my imagination run wild, and can it ever run without the constraints of the past.
Writing About It
I feel better getting this pain off my chest.
Letting it out this way is for the best.
Writing it down for myself to see,
Can only make things easier for me.
A trying time I left behind,
After it all, myself I will still find.
Sure it hurts to see it again,
But it’s now just a lesson I learned back then.
A painful era that crafted a better man,
Still I’m becoming him, but I know that I can.
Yes, I still have a long way to go,
But I’ll be there one day, I know.
Writing about it helps to get it all out,
Lessening my fear, shattering my doubt.
After all the time I have put into rebuilding myself, recovering from the past the hardest thing that remains is talking about it. To date I have not really talked to anyone about what I went through. I still find it difficult. I still hate the idea of talking it through with someone.
More than anything I worry that I’ll talk about it and start to feel ashamed of it again. I won’t feel like I’ve learned and grown, just that I’ve lived that terrible mistake.
The hardest part of talking about it is saying the reason I stayed for so long. Many of my friends and family know the moment that led to my decision to start climbing back out, but none really know the reason that moment really started me on my way out. It was the guilt. It was always the guilt.
The moment I realized I needed to get out, was the moment I realized that she had made me feel guilty above all else about ever choosing to leave. That moment was when she tried to pull the same kind of guilt trip that I had given into over and over again, on two of my close friends. I wouldn’t stand for it, and I wouldn’t have stood for her trying the same thing on my family. I had been made to feel guilty, and I wouldn’t let the people who I really cared about be made to feel the same way.
In this way she had already driven wedges between me and some of my friends and family. It was always the threats of her actions that kept me supporting her. She never threatened to hurt me, I would have never been afraid of her then. The threats started as what she would do to herself.
Talking About It
Still too difficult to talk about it,
The pain cuts deep and I feel like shit.
It brings tears to my eyes I choose to fight.
Hearing myself say it doesn’t feel right.
Still it’s shameful, I went through it all.
Hurt settles deep after such a hard fall.
To utter the words cuts like a knife.
Hard to speak of my former strife.
Still I fight the torture endured in my past,
The wound of it will unfortunately last.
This memory I struggle to put into speech,
A lesson I learned, I never wanted to preach.
Talking about it only brings it back,
A reminder of every single attack.
Living with the threats was a nightmare. Every time I acted on anything, any desire, any interest, any need, I had to question if it would lead to her action or inaction on a threat, or if it would lead to more threats against her well-being.
No matter what the outcome, I could not live with feeling like I was responsible for the harm she might inflict on herself. In the worst of it, I felt I needed to do whatever I could to make her feel important so that she wouldn’t hurt herself because of me. I bought her things I wouldn’t have bought her otherwise, I baked for her, cooked for her, cleaned our house that she always called hers, gave her money for things that she didn’t need, I put everything into keeping her happy because I couldn’t bear the idea of being responsible for her pain.
To cope with the strain this put on me, I got a dog. The sweetest, most lovable creature to ever be in my presence. No matter how bad things got, my pup always knew to show me affection, and she kept me grounded, but in the end even the love from her couldn’t make me stay.
The fear was always there, the threat of her causing harm to herself. How she couldn’t go on if I left, how she would throw herself into the river and let herself drown. How she would hurt herself if I went out, ‘accidentally’ tripping down the stairs because I wasn’t including her. How she would leave me if I couldn’t give her more, how I needed to be a better provider for her and her needs. Worst of all, how she would leave work to come home because she had this feeling I was out running around and she was coming home so if I was, I would find her there when I got home. How it was I would find her, she never would say.
Living Through It
Under the umbrella of constant threat,
Fearing her action, even more, the regret.
Afraid to go, because of a possible result,
Trying not to speak, so as not to insult.
Stressing over my own sanity, to help keep hers,
No matter the detriment that it incurs.
Worried of what would come if I didn’t show support,
The concern of whether any lack would be her sport.
Living through it was my worst nightmare,
Unable to walk away because of my ability to care.
Taken for granted in every possible way.
Used to her advantage, every single day.
Living through it, a version of Hell on earth.
Torn down bit by bit, she tried to take my worth.
When the time came that I knew I could not live that way anymore. I changed. I became a person that didn’t feel. I became numb to her threats. I lacked all reason to show her I cared, because when that moment came, I realized finally that after all that time, she never did.
The moment she tried to make my friends feel guilty for leaving her out of a picture, that was the point of realization. Really a minor thing, but it set off the chain of how it all started for me. First, it was how I should not spend my money doing something with my friends that had been planned for ages, so I could take her away for a weekend instead because I “Didn’t do enough nice things for her.” Then how I should leave the job I enjoyed and find a new job so we could live closer to each other. Followed closely by how that and many jobs to follow weren’t good enough for me, and how I should follow her to the city to have more opportunities. That’s where it really started. I missed concerts I had tickets to because she didn’t want to go with me, she even would pick up extra shifts at work to ensure she couldn’t go, and of course would never allow me to go without her and enjoy myself. She even pushed me to quit a job because the girls I worked with were “too pretty.” Suddenly nothing became good enough.
So in that moment I saw her trying to pull a guilt trip on two of my closest friends, the fight out began.
Fighting Out Of It
The frustration finally hit me,
All the torment plain to see.
I had been living under excessive control,
Now I had to climb out of that hole.
Nothing I had done was ever enough,
But that fact, is what made me be tough.
I stopped giving in to everything she wanted.
I no longer could be so easily taunted.
No longer caving to each empty threat.
My freedom was earned with all her debt.
Paying the price for her lack of action,
Those worthless words stopped getting reaction.
Fighting out of it, the threats only became worse,
The final one ignored, her parting curse.
The last things she threatened no longer were against her well-being, but against mine. As the fighting got worse, I guess she realized that she could no longer control me with empty threats against herself, and if that wasn’t enough to make her realize it; I was polite enough to let her know that she was an idiot if she thought I could believe she would commit suicide over me. Especially since I knew that she never had any love for me to begin with.
The final threats came quickly from there, first there was the threat against my reputation when she started into the accusations of me being unfaithful. Going as far as to call my own mother to try to win her to her side. The threat against my life came after that, with me awaking to her attempting to suffocate me with a pillow. That seemed to be the reaction to the realization that she had no grounds to accuse me of cheating. Finally, the threat I laughed off as the biggest lie that ever came out of her mouth. The curse she attempted to put on me to drag me down for the rest of my life. Threatening to ruin my life.
The way out came later that same night when I got home to an empty house, packed up my things to leave, and was interrupted by three uniformed police officers that were there to arrest me. The accusation, a horrifying idea that I could never have imagined.
At first, with all the uncertainty and legal issues that surrounded the sudden ending of that detrimental relationship, things were difficult. I didn’t know what to do with myself in my free time because it was no longer being dictated to me. I also had no idea what I really enjoyed doing, because I hadn’t done much that I really enjoyed in the previous 5 years.
Even with all the uncertainty, even with all the extra crap that I had to deal with when she finally followed through on a threat, I started to find myself again. I rediscovered the passion I had for writing. I discovered the interest I had in unique places and things, and I found peace in nature where I hadn’t found it in years.
Being on the outside looking back, was like looking at a broken mirror. I was the same person, but I was different somehow. I was happy again. Then I discovered that being happy, made me see a lot of things differently. Suddenly everyone that brought a little joy too my life, I was willing to give more to, but I also reacted poorly to anyone who tried to take advantage of me, even in the slightest way. All of that, dealing with my reactions and my emotions, I had to learn again.
This time though, I got to learn it all the way I wanted to. This time, I got to work at being me.
Being Outside Of It
At first, it was this scary new sensation,
Being able to give in to any inclination.
Rediscovering all the things that made life enjoyable.
Finding new things to love, I was now able.
There was so much to experience, so much to try.
So many things I had missed by just passing by.
The air smelled sweeter, the breeze more invigorating.
Everything was more beautiful, so much became inviting.
No matter what I did, it was a new adventure.
It all felt greater, now that I was never unsure.
All that I did, was done now with passion.
Never holding back, the thrill not to ration.
Being outside of it, I had real feeling for the first time in ages.
So much of life to be written in the upcoming pages.
It was about three years ago now that everything changed for me. Three years that I’ve spent almost entirely on me, growing, learning, loving life again. No longer worried about the result that could come from my every action No longer a victim, but a survivor.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
Beautiful words, when known unobscured.
Words with real meaning, to someone like me.
So relative to life, now plain to see.
I came to know there had to be more,
More than having someone who made life a chore.
I came to understand that it was abuse,
To live that way, there was no use.
I saw that way in life I couldn’t take.
Only a matter of time and I would break.
I conquered my fear and found my way out.
That I needed to leave there was no doubt.
A survivor is what I chose to become,
Bringing me a long way from where I was from.
There is much that lies ahead in life, and in every day I find a little joy. In every day there is a reason to smile. In every day there is more reason to live. In every day there is more reason to hope.
Most of all though, in every person there is the capacity to find a little more happiness in your own life, and no matter how they’ve touched your life, never regret the times that you brought them joy, even if it hurt you to do it. Ultimately, when the dust settles, no matter how a person has effected you, they helped to lead you to where you are, and if you learn the lessons from your past, there is only hope for your future.