The Sunflower Project
Helping survivors turn towards the sun
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Submission #2

Manipulated Meanings

by Misha Woodward

Manipulated Meanings

by Misha Woodward


When I was a kid,

Parents taught me that if a boy hurt me,

He liked me.


So when I grew up,

I learned being abused,

Meant he loved me.


When he kept me from going out,

It meant protection.


When he blamed me for attention,

It meant he was worried.


When he insulted my appearance,

It meant he was helping.


When he yelled and he screamed,

It meant he was right.


When he denied my emotions,

It meant his were stronger.


When he forced guilt on me,

It meant he’s the victim.


So when he threatened suicide,

It meant his life meant more,

Than my freedom ever would be.


I used to think that those threats,

Meant my life had worth to his,

Because he couldn’t live without me.


Little did I know,

That it just meant,

He couldn’t live without power.


My world became about his,

Because two people are one,

And I shouldn’t be selfish.


He held me so close,

It was leaving me breathless,

I wish I knew I was drowning.


I learned to be a pretty doll,

Being nothing but a prize,

Letting him own my life.


He always knew a doll couldn’t speak,

When you cut her strings,

To the world.


I could cry for hours,

But no one would hear me,

I was always taught it’s my fault.


Sometimes I wished to god,

That he’d hit me,

So people could know why I screamed at night.


I didn’t have enough bruises to cry wolf,

My trauma didn’t come with physical pain,

No one thought this meant abuse.


I was taught to suck it up,

I was taught to fake happiness,

I was taught this was love.


His lies became truths,

The only things I really knew,

Every word filled my fears.


In my head,

I still hear him,

I’m undoing his noose.


I’m still lost on what love is,

On what’s trust,

On what’s worth.


So for now I’m relearning,

What it means,

To be whole.