Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Broken Girls and Unheeded Warnings

I ignored the well-meaning advice
From friends and family.
They didn’t understand.
They didn’t know him the way I did.
We were in love, and love conquers anything.
In his arms this broken girl
Found salvation in a dream come alive,
A balm to ease the pain of a chaotic life,
Unaware the path I had chosen
Only led to more chaos.
Seductive words from his forked tongue
Slowly weaned me away
From those friends and family,
Leaving me wandering
Coatless through the wilderness
With only him to save me.
His sweet words soured over time,
Turning derisive and cruel,
Stripping away my sense of self
Until all that remained was
A drained vessel to be filled
With more woolly logic,
More twisted illusions,
His viselike grip on me
Suffocating in every sense of the word.
The dream deteriorated into an nightmare,
Days carefully calculated to avoid his wrath,
Nights waiting to see what torture
Lie in store should his temper rise again,
Perhaps another verbal assault
Spiraling into something more physical,
Unwanted invasions of my deepest self,
Lying awake wondering
If this was the night when the
Cold metal of a kitchen knife
Would slide between my ribs
Turning white sheets to crimson.
By the time enough fragments of myself
Had returned to identify the danger,
I was nearly incapable of escaping.
I almost didn’t.

I’ve watched her grow from
Chubby toddler into gawky adolescent
Into a young woman who could be my daughter,
A beautiful but broken girl
Whose steps mirror my own path.
I know his embrace eases that broken feeling,
Brings a fullness to her life she’s never known.
Today I am a much wiser woman
And can see the warning signs,
She thinks no one understands;
I understand far more than she,
Knowledge forged in an abuser‘s shadow.
She shapes her life as he prefers,
Days carefully calculated to avoid his wrath.
She is already slipping away
From the friends and family
Offering advice I know will be ignored.
I find I cannot admonish her.
I can only pray she learns
Before repeating all my mistakes
And walks away from him
While she’s still capable of escaping.


Buddah Moskowitz said...

Brave and strong. I say print this out and leave it for her to find. Great poem.

Mary said...

Such gut-wrenching honesty in this poem. So sad that she is taking a similar journey and not listening to what you have to say any more than you would listen to others. I think Buddah has a good idea, Mary.

wurdz said...

This piece is the cumulative cries of women all over the world. Your use of imagery brings the reader inside your nightmare and drags them along for the ride! Excellent work.

Daydreamertoo said...

As a few friends advised me on raising a teen: 'You can give her all of the tools she needs to face life but, once she is on her own, she has to make her own choices good, or bad'
It's so hard to see this, especially if it is a place that you once were in too because you see it all so clearly. I would print this up with a little added note that most people like this person begin by 'isolating' these people they profess to love to the point that eventually (like my sister) they only believe them and nothing anyone else can say will make any difference. My youngest sister married a much older bully. after more than 25 years of being beaten/bullied she finally took one beating too many and is divorcing him (with much help from police/courts/social services etc. she has no self confidence or idea of her self worth at all and, it was hard for us (family) to have to keep biting our tongues.
Please, print all that you can up and leave it lying around so that she doesn't think you're nagging her but, she 'sees' the information about it all.
Heart breaking prose because it's all to real.

Laurie Kolp said...

Oh this is very sad, yet strong Mary. It's so hard to see someone suffering through the same things you have while they are in denial. I guess they have to learn the hard way like we did. Hopefully she's not defiant and takes the info the wrong way, though.

Brian Miller said...

i would hope that she would read this...perhaps send it to her in the mail...letting her know you have been there...and are not just attacking the way she has chosen...

Anonymous said...

it's really hard to deal with people who are abused, they are so needy and take up so much of your life.

if i could have just one wish

Victoria said...

Many of us learn the hard way that our friends and families see things we don't when we're in love. This is heart-breaking, Mary, and too oft repeated.

Cathy said...

whoa, didn't expect that. Very good

Rachel Hoyt said...

OH wow. This one hits close to home for me. I wish ALL the she's could get slipped a copy of this.

Cressida de Nova said...

You have done a great job with this subject. It does seem to run in families.

Fred Rutherford said...

incredibly strong emotional piece. Fantastic job here. Moving story, I couldn't imagine being in a situation such as this and pray more people have the strength to do what is right for them, whether it is leave, stay, get counseling or what not. It's a tough spot and the abuse has to stop, but things are complicated in life, that's where the more prayers will hopefully help the right thought for the person to come around. Thanks for righting this, it should be read.

Heaven said...

This is real sad and deplorable. I can't understand why a woman would subject herself to be the shadow of a man, who doesn't appreciate her. I pray that the daughter will listen and heed the wise words of her mother ~

Fine writing ~

Just Me said...

Heartbreaking but incredibly accurate. Felt like you may have been writing about the culmination of all my relationships. Very well written. Thanks for sharing!

brenda w said...

Thank you for casting light into a dark corner of humanity. It is difficult to leave the controlling cruely of an abuser. Been there. I also spent several years volunteering at a battered women's shelter. The stories are unnerving, and the number of women who choose to return to that life is alarming.

Great poem, truly.

Jannie Funster said...

Abuse just keeps on going until we learn how to stop it in our hearts.

This really touched me and I feel for that girl.