To The Man Who Loved Me After My Abuser

Jan Phoenix

You have no idea the effect that you have on me.
The feeling I get when you pull me in close to your chest,
The way tears well up in my eyes when you touch my skin and kiss my lips
Because your touch is so gentle.
How I melt into you when you hug me from behind,
How I don’t try to keep myself awake when I stay the night in your bed
Because I feel safe lying next to you.

You don’t know that my dreams of him have stopped.
You don’t know about my dreams of him at all.
Before you, my sleep was punctured every night by his face,
His words,
His touch.
Before you, I didn’t sleep.
I tossed and turned,
Disturbed by his invasion of my unconscious,
Frustrated with his continuous and perpetual haunting.
Sleep turned into another form of torture
Where what used to be a refuge from my own mind became yet another place he could find me.

His abuse broke me like I’ve never been broken before.
He shattered every part of me.
He took control of my mind, my heart, and my soul and did what he wanted with them.
He drained me of every ounce of self-confidence I had.
He manipulated my mind and blamed me for everything.
He called me names that I came to believe to be true.
He got angry whenever I claimed my own individuality.
He treated me as though the only value I have in the world is what lies between my legs
And he told me that even that wasn’t worthwhile.
He made me afraid to fall asleep when I stayed the night in his bed
Because I was worried I would wake up to find him violating me,
Taking advantage of my unconsciousness.
He took what he wanted from me whenever he wanted it.
He treated my body as his property to use and abuse.
And when he was done with me, he cast me aside like a piece of old garbage,
Blind to the lasting damaging effects he caused.
He left me crumpled on the floor to pick up whatever remnants of myself I could find.
And acted as though it was all my fault.

I came to you broken and fragmented
And I’m still that way.
I came to you damaged
And I think a part of me always will be.
I came to you wounded
And I think I’ll always have some scars.
I came to you as someone in the process of reclaiming her own body.
I came to you as someone who was trying desperately to like herself again.
I came to you as someone who believed that she doesn’t deserve love or kindness.
I came to you as a woman who believed that her only value in this world is her vagina.
I came to you fearful and anxious and torn apart from the inside.
I came to you broken beyond belief,
Broken beyond repair.

Or that’s what I thought.
And then you happened.

I am very adamant about being my own healer.
I am very apprehensive about placing my happiness and security in someone else’s hands.
I don’t look to others to fix me, to heal me, to take care of what’s broken.
I am very stubborn about being my own caretaker.
I am fiercely independent.
I am fiercely protective of myself.
I am strong enough to pick myself up and get myself through anything.
I have done so, I can do so, I am doing so, and I will do so.

But what I’ve come to realize
Is that maybe this particular damage does require another person’s help
Because it was another person that broke me,
That made me fear intimacy,
That made me believe that I don’t deserve love or kindness or respect.
So if one person made me fear and believe these things,
Maybe someone else needs to prove them wrong.

And maybe that someone is you.

I knew things would be different with you the very first night we met
When without knowing anything about my past
You held my hand gently in yours,
Intertwined your fingers through mine,
Looked at me with overpowering kindness,
And asked,
“Can I kiss you?”

And it was in that simple question
And in your kind and gentle lips,
That you pulled me to the surface
And gave me a long-awaited breath of fresh air
Just at the exact moment that I was about to drown.


I don’t know what the future brings for us.
I don’t know how we’ll evolve from here.
But I’m cautiously hopeful
And I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

But whatever does happen, you’ve already given me a world infinitely better than what I’m slowly leaving behind. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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