Courageous 10: Haunted by you – Facing my denial

Haunted by you

I’ve been really up and down this past month, a mixed bag of feelings and emotions that have been difficult to express in words. I saw my ex for the first time in eleven months. I only saw him from a distance, we didn’t speak or anything but it left a lasting impact on me. There was this brief moment where I glanced over and recognised him and found that he was looking directly at me. I will never forget the expression on his face, mostly because I was familiar with it. It was one of deep sadness mixed with vulnerability. I was accustomed to seeing that expression after some of his episodes and it was that look – the child-like, vulnerable, hurt expression that would cause me to gather him in my arms to “protect him.”

After seeing him, I found that I was unable to sleep and I felt very unsettled. A lot of the guilt and feelings of failure as a wife returned. I did a lot of soul searching and I realised that my denial of our situation was linked to my fear of reducing him to that vulnerable state. I would try to do everything in my power to protect him from himself and from life, with limited success. But it lead to me bottling my own emotions inside. I would bite my lip and refrain my discussing any disagreements, whether they be a minor incident or something serious. That look scared me. It deeply affected me to see my husband reduced to such a state. It was in those moments where I became acutely aware that my husband was not the man I had hoped for – he wasn’t capable of supporting himself let alone me. He couldn’t protect me, or be the head of our home when he couldn’t self-regulate his own emotions or protect himself. I was his protector, he used to refer to me as his ‘Iron Maiden.’ But, over time as my anxiety and stress from his constant episodes threatened to overwhelm me and eroded my sanity, I eventually became aware that it was unhealthy for one person to physically carry another.

One night, after tossing and turning in a failed attempt to sleep I felt an overwhelming desire to write down exactly how I felt after seeing my husband. I wrote everything that I had been thinking and feeling down in the form of a poem. I think it explains my emotions much more powerfully than anything else I could say. It is titled: Haunted by you: No more!

Haunted by you – no more!

The way you look at me

Is the look I’ve come to know

Helpless boy

Pitiful soul

Abandoned child

No one else

could understand

my apparent lack of empathy

my supposed “ambivalence”

to your state

of vulnerability

But I’ve seen this before

It’s the face

that wins me back

each time

It persuades me to give in

once more

and to persist in my denial

It coaxes me

to fix, heal, forget

and forgive

what is broken

and unfixable

Deep internal scars

that time cannot heal

and flashbacks that

I will remember as long as I


Terrible things have come

to pass

Things have been said

and done

that cannot be brushed off

with a simple

“I’m Sorry”

Things of the heart

are not lightly shaken

It’s got a hold of me

I’m wrapped around your finger


All in that single expression

That face is my doom

My endless cycle

on repeat

like a wheel stuck in the mud

in the midst of a


The rut is ever deepening

and becoming more entrenched

My only hope

is to fight my overwhelming


to love you back to health

and to accept all your baggage

at the cost

of my very soul

My strength lies in my ability

to remember

what I am trying so

desperately to forget

To hold onto

the knowledge that you

have ripped me

apart from the insides out

That I have not

imagined this pain and

trail of destruction

to my life and those

around me

That I am right

to run away

and turn my back on you

and all we shared

There is nothing that I

can do

to change this situation

or to make it better

I was never at fault

never to blame

I have loved too much

and given all I have

at such a cost

reaching the very end of me

The least I can do

for myself

is to give my body a chance

to relax and recover

Give my heart a chance to

heal and be restored

Give my soul time to

breathe again

It’s time for me to

rediscover life

and what it means

to find myself

and find joy in the knowledge

that here on my own

I am safe

I cannot be disturbed

without my permisson

That last line means a lot to me “I cannot be disturbed without my permission.” I am beginning to understand that I can be assertive. I am beginning to give myself permission to speak out about my feelings and acknowledge my need for space when I am feeling hurt and vulnerable. I am learning to be kind to myself and what it means to put my own needs above the needs of others. The truth is, you cannot love if you do not first love yourself. You cannot give out of emptiness. To truly be able to help others, I have to be whole myself. I am on a journey, and the end point will be a life of total freedom where I will be at peace.

From Christy x

About christysarah99

This blog is for all the Courageous Women out there who have stood up to their man and ended the cycle of abuse for them, their children & their families. I separated from my husband in January 2014 due to his emotional abuse and violent behaviour. I believe strongly that NO WOMAN should stay in an abusive relationship.
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