Survivor Poem: An Ode To My Former Self

The poem below has been written by a survivor of Domestic Abuse Kat. 

Kat has been supported by BWP, attending our Survivor’s programme, and recently a Writing into Wellness event run by our Wellbeing team.

As you can read below, Kat is an incredibly talented writer, who manages to convey so much about her experience in a few powerful phrases.

Thank you for sharing this with us all Kat.


An Ode To My Former Self

You’re stronger than you think you are.

Though that notion may feel so very far

Removed from how you feel right now.

Never knowing when or why or how

The lion will bring you to your knees.

Fight, flight, freeze, appease…

Anything to stay alive.

And yet each day you lose some drive

To try. Along with your mind.

Or so you’re told.

You must be crazy – you can’t find

Your keys…again.


Anxiety, tears, depression, fears.

Locked down, locked in. There’s no escape.

Watch the knife draw blood, watch the skin scrape

Back, above weary hands.

You feel like no one understands

The guilt and shame…

But you’ve been carrying the blame

For things that were never your fault;

Isolation, manipulation, triangulation, assault.

Accusations of cheating were merely projecting

His own insecurities like a mirror reflecting

His covert narcissist.


The mirror you tried to avoid

As with your self esteem destroyed

You saw what he wants you to see

And tried to achieve what he wants you to be.

Too skinny, too sensitive, you can’t take a joke,

Your haircut that made you look like a bloke.

The rules ever changing, first Jekylll, then Hyde;

Never enough despite how hard you tried.

Not allowed to breastfeed, you’re ruining ‘his’ tits

But it’s not abusive ‘cos he never hits

You. Is it?


Forced kisses. Withheld love.

Always an ‘accidental’ shove

That was forgotten about by morning.

The times he said you’d “had your warning”

And fear rained down because you knew

That consequences would ensue.

Prolonged silence, abusive texts;

Never sure what happens next.

The sulking glares, the threats & stares,

Convincing you that no one cares

Apart from him, omnipotent.


Grand gestures post sudden break-ups

Followed by a “sorry, but…”

The phone would ring, you must pick up

The pieces of your broken heart

Every time he did depart

Or risk more eggshells to evade.


The strength to leave when others stayed

The tenacity in each tear wept

The courage to openly reject

His threats “you can’t get rid of me”.

But my darling, don’t you see?

The lion was not you, but he.

The taunts and sugar-coated lies;

He was the lion in disguise

A mask that slowly fell apart

To reveal his cold and empty heart.

Your strength led you to get away

Such might not be true of his next prey.