Creative Writings and Art
by Survivors of Therapist Abuse, Clergy Abuse,
and Professional Sexual Misconduct
If you are interested in submitting your writing or artwork, please contact Kristi through the Contact page. Along with your creative work, please include your name, any information about yourself that you would like included (one to two sentences maximum), and how you would like to be identified (by name, pseudonym, “Anonymous,” etc.). You can also include the date you created your work and any other relevant information.
~ ~ ~
Talk therapy to energy work
We went from one day to five
I truly felt it were he that was keeping me alive
He had me lie down and told me he was using his hands to heal
Yet always very quickly my body did he feel
When I felt sad I came to you
Because you were the only one who knew
If I began to cry you would say maybe I should go away
That such an arrangement I could not handle day to day
Once he said perhaps he should die
So that I did not have to live this lie.
I yelled I am okay
Please don’t go away
Give me one life
This has been too long
I know it is wrong
It never has felt right
I just pretend it is alright.
I will always hurt
No matter if you are here or there
Because you are not mine it is not in the design. It was a game that turned into
Love but with bitter sweet moments,
a magical land
Where you took my hand
Where you helped me stand
Where you said you care
If you did
I would not live life
As though my heart has been cut a thousand times with the same knife
What if I never again see you
My life will never be as I once knew
I can never forget
Already many tears
And so many fears
It has been going on for so so many years
No one to trust
Even though one day I must
I cannot tell
Even as my insides yell
I would not go to the police
For me it would not provide the freedom of release
I just want to be free of the lie
Free to be me
© 2015 SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com
* * *
* * *
The Unbroken Silence
The unbroken silence, the story untold
The pain not shared because no one wants to know.
The unknowing, unknowable ache, the hurt unheard.
The painful silence, the silence of shame.
A shame from believing the promise,
A broken promise sorrow.
Shamed into deafening silence
Smothered and broken.
Laughable trust, broken faith,
Betrayed and shattered.
How does someone begin to pick up the pieces?
Vanished trust, unfindable hope,
Fear of being, dread of day
Controllable distrust, managed mistrust
© 2014 by Kelly Sweatt
* * *
Come into my Parlour, Said the Spider to the Fly
Lured inside your spider’s web with promises of care
My wellbeing your prime concern – you promised to be there.
Despite my early warning signs, I listened and believed
In all you said, it all made sense. Inside I felt relieved.
“Come talk to me, tell me your story. I want to hear it all
I’m interested in all you say.” And so I bared my soul.
I trusted you with all my pain, and shared my deepest fears
I gave you everything I had, and cried so many tears.
Until one day, when I awoke, I realised my plight
My therapy had been a joke, and so began my fight.
I fell into your sticky trap, ensnared by all you said
Believed in your integrity. Believed in what we shared.
Slowly, I began to see, your self loathing and your shame
But when I questioned I received your anger and your blame.
Now stripped of my defences, had exposed my infant self
So fragile, left wide open – for you to help yourself.
Hoodwinked and fooled, felt so ashamed – how could I be so blind?
You stole my soul, broke all the rules – and you were so unkind.
Terrorised and terrified, confused, entangled too.
Attached so firmly, lost myself. I thought I needed you.
Your cruelty and ignorance have caused me so much pain
Maleficence and arrogance – to meet your needs , not mine!
Finally I saw the truth, saw through your little game
Of cat and mouse, spider and fly – a creature filled with shame.
To feed your soul you preyed on mine – and so I did comply
My pattern, history, destiny – our relationship awry.
You had become my jailor, your web my darkest jail
I lost all sense of who I was, confounded, stuck, impaled.
To free myself I had to find a part of me unknown
A wily cunning creature – a spider of my own.
I wove my own protection, a silky soft cocoon
And lured you in with empathy – I understood your moves.
I retrieved my tiny infant, and held her very close
You rescued and you shamed her – in my book, that’s abuse.
I gave you understanding, you felt my empathy
The tables turned and you exposed your hidden self to me.
Horrified, re-traumatised – I needed to escape
from your traumatised imposter. My emotions had been raped.
One year on, the residue of our encounter still affects
I trusted you with heart and soul, and deserved all your respect.
The bitter truth still haunts me – that you were not yourself
You stole my child, abandoned yours, and then you harmed my health.
How can I forgive you for what you did to me?
I feel such rage and hatred for all your cruelty
Yet understanding is my goal, my mind to live in peace
I see your plight – your wounded soul – this torment has to cease
Revenge and retribution is not my scene at all
Forgiveness is the answer, to dissolve this mighty wall.
© 2014 by Sue McDonald
* * *
You chewed me up like a piece of gum
Using me until you sucked out all of my flavor
Plucking me out of your mouth when you determined
That I no longer served you
And now I find myself on the bottom of your shoe
Forgotten until the day
That I annoyingly bring your consciousness
Back to your step
Back. To. Your. Step.
Now I am hard and adhering to your debris
You cannot just wash your hands of me
As if saying that cleanses you of responsibility
You cannot just stomp all over me
I will reveal your atrocities.
– – –
You could try applying ice.
You do seem to have that down to an art.
© 2013 SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com
* * *
I fell this week in my classroom. I landed hard, and got a large abrasion on the top of my kneecap. It hurts a lot! Now every time I bend my knee (which happens all the time during the day) it cracks and pulls and hurts some more. I have to keep it covered to protect it. However, I can see it starting to heal around the edges. I know in a week or so there will be new pink skin grown to make it whole again.
I wish the same healing would happen for my heart . . . my soul. I wish for, no, I long for the day when I carry a scar. It’s still an open tender wound caused by the betrayal of a man I trusted. That was his job, to be trusted. He took that trust and used it as a weapon to hurt me. The wound he inflicted is still fresh, even though I haven’t seen him in two years. I haven’t found the way yet to heal my heart.
The other thing is, people see my knee and exclaim, “What happened?! Are you okay?” They immediately ask what’s being done to fix the trip hazard to make sure it doesn’t happen again. No one, including me, spent even a second blaming me for getting hurt when I tripped. It’s so much easier to have empathy for a person with a wound you can see and you can understand.
This invisible wound is trickier. Most days I function quite well. It’s easy for most of the people who know to forget about it. It must be getting better by now. Maybe it’s too scary to think about. Maybe if an injury happened to me, it could happen to them. But mostly, I think it’s the invisible nature of it that enables others to forget. It’s only in my everyday consciousness. I don’t have to see it. I feel it every day.
I want my scar. You know the kind. You don’t notice it every day. When you do notice it, you think, “Oh yeah, I remember that one. Man, that hurt.” Then you get back to your day, because the scar doesn’t hurt. It’s simply evidence of a wound that has healed.
© 2012 by Ellie Eaton
* * *
Into the Light
“I do not want to be angry,” she said. “I want to live in peace.”
“So, live in peace.”
“I am not.”
“Ah. Must you be at peace to live in peace?”
“I— But— My heart . . . ”
“It hurts. I have grief. I have rage. I have . . . shame. I want to forgive. Really, I do. But, I . . . can’t.”
“Then you are not ready.”
“So many buts! You cannot forgive until you are ready to forgive. And when you’re ready, forgiveness will happen of its own accord.
“It seems to me you are trying very hard to atone for something that is not yours. Stop punishing yourself. Stop hating yourself. Only then will you be at peace. It is yourself that you need to forgive. It is yourself that you need to love. Until you do that, you will be at war.
“Do not let what has happened turn you against yourself. Do not let his violence create more violence within you. Do not let his actions make you hate yourself. Let him bear his own shame, carry his own burden. Do not carry it for him. Cast it aside. You have your own life to live.
“You imagine he has contaminated you with his hatred. But you are the one who is holding onto it, letting it root and grow inside of you. Let go of his hatred. That is not who you are.
“You were created from love for love. Remember your light. Always remember your light. You are light.
“Shine through his darkness. Shine through your darkness. Let yourself be light. Let yourself be.
“You do not need to wage war against darkness and vanquish it. There is no need for battle or endless struggle. Let go of that. Set down your burden, and simply let yourself shine. There is no battle to win, no demon to defeat. The only war is with yourself.
“Struggle does not make you more worthy. It doesn’t earn you love, happiness or peace. It only wears you out and keeps you from remembering who you truly are. So— Stop fighting. Step out of the struggle. Let yourself live. Give yourself the love and acceptance you so desperately crave. That is your peace. So simple, yet we make it so hard. Let it be easy.”
“Thank you,” she said gratefully.
And, smiling, walked into the light.
© 2011 by Kristi Coombs
* * *
I Keep Walking
I walked by his car today.
It was there, in my neighborhood,
at the top of the hill in front of the church.
There I am
on my way to the rose garden.
Out for a much-needed afternoon walk.
I see the car, the color (a hundred like it in this city),
the front bumper with no license plate (a handful like that in this city).
On the inside, two drinks in the cupholders.
On the back, the license plate that begins with 4KCA . . .
My feet keep walking as my mind registers that it’s his car.
I should be afraid—
Out of nowhere, the thought: Maybe it’s not his car anymore.
My eyes take in the two men working in the churchyard.
After all, I don’t know it’s his car. He could have sold it.
He could be driving around in heaven-knows-what and I wouldn’t know.
I wouldn’t know! How can I protect myself from what I don’t know?
I don’t want to not know!
My feet keep walking.
Thank goodness he’s not in the car.
What the hell’s it doing there?
What’s he doing there?
Is he in the rose garden?
In one of the shitty apartments across the street, buying drugs?
Did he park all the way up here to go down the hill to the business district?
No, no way. He’d never walk this far if he didn’t have to. He’s too much of a wuss.
I keep walking.
Jeez—what am I going to do on my way back? Am I going to walk past his car again?
I could cross the street,
go a different way.
I sigh. I am so tired of being afraid.
Maybe the car won’t be there when I get back.
Maybe none of this matters because it’s not his car anymore.
If he sold it, I wonder what he’s driving now?
If only I had a friend who was a computer hacker.
We could hack into the DMV records and find out whether he still owns this stupid car.
(Where’s Veronica Mars when you need her?)
I keep walking.
Down the hill, up the hill, into the rose garden.
Is this going to be the day?
The day I run into him?
Damn. I should have cleaned up my makeup before I left the house.
Maybe, if I keep my scarf pulled way up like this,
he won’t even recognize me.
I walk down the steps into the rose garden.
I try to feel my body connected to the earth.
I wish I didn’t feel so . . . insubstantial.
I start thinking about dinner.
I look at my hands in their black fleece gloves.
I think, Maybe the gloves will make it easier on my hands if I punch him.
I keep walking.
I look at the trees, the bare rose bushes, have an imaginary conversation with a friend.
But my mind always goes back to the car.
As I wind my way along the paths, my eyes check all directions, just in case.
But he’s not there.
Just a woman feeding the wild turkeys, cracking peanut shells between her teeth,
then throwing the nuts to the birds.
I climb the steep hill out of the rose garden.
The car is still there.
I’m on the opposite side of the street and I decide to stay there.
My eyes scan the apartments, the churchyard, the street, looking for danger.
I stare at the car as I pass it. I notice a sticker on the rear bumper.
He wouldn’t put a sticker on his car—
As I walk, I keep my eyes focused ahead of me,
taking in as much of my surroundings as I can.
I don’t want to be caught by surprise.
Where would he be?
What if he’s renting a room at the church to see clients? (a revolting thought!)
What if he’s dating someone in the neighborhood?
What if . . .
What if it’s not his car anymore?
I keep walking.
Maybe, when I get home, I can drive back up here, park,
and wait to see who comes back to the car.
What am I, a stalker?
No, I reassure myself. It’d just be like a detective on a stakeout.
Yeah, and how long am I going to sit there, in the dark,
waiting for something to happen?
Don’t I have better things to do with my time?
I keep walking.
When I get home, I lock my front door.
I am not going back out.
I do not freak out or burst into tears.
I do not call anyone.
I do not Google him.
Except for a funny feeling in my head
—a slight fogging up—
I am . . . fine.
(Fine being a relative term.)
I guess that’s progress.
At least I don’t freeze in panic anymore.
I just keep walking.
© 2011 by Kristi Coombs
* * *
This is madness.
The world has split in two and I have divided along with it.
I stand here and look over at my twin, who is lost in grief,
as I load my weapon and prepare to shoot the object of her affection.
To her you were god and guru
but to me you are the devil.
She longs for your touch, the scent of your body—
and if you ever lay hands on me again I will kill you.
When I remember you touching me I want to scream.
I want to scour myself clean of you,
exorcise you from every single cell,
purify myself so that none of your unholiness remains in my being.
Memories attack me frequently.
Your face rises up
and in my imagination, my sharp cat’s claws rake over you,
shredding you into tiny bits.
(I think she would like to put you back together again,
but I would like to put you in the deepest darkest cell I can find.)
You have become a monster.
I look back and am horrified by what I see.
How could I have made believe
that all those things you said and did were acts of grace?
(Oh, that’s right—she did that. She loved you
and truly believed you had her best interests at heart.
You took advantage of her loyalty and devotion and I despise you for that.)
All along our light was dimming, slowly dying,
and I knew that you were the parasite that was feasting on our vitality.
If only she had believed me.
She could find buoyancy even as the life drained out of us.
She loved you, utterly.
To her you were the savior—not the disease.
She never understood why she couldn’t stay afloat for very long.
She cried out to you for help, thinking you would save her,
and you left her over and over and over again.
She nearly drowned.
Is this the way you teach people how to swim?
We are both stunned.
What have you done?
And while she mourns the loss
and I try to navigate the nuclear fallout
we both agree that you must be stopped.
We cannot allow you to ever do this again.
She loads her weapon with love and compassion
as I load mine with rage and determination.
We will shoot your darkness full of light.
Together we will do what has to be done.
Your karma is coming to get you.
© 2011 by Kristi Coombs
Original version written 12/9/05 (just prior to filing a civil lawsuit against my therapist).
* * *
I Am Not Your Good Girl
I am not your good girl.
I am not your daughter
sitting on Daddy’s knee
gazing up at you adoringly
willing to do whatever she can to please Papa and make him
I am not your child (you sick bastard).
I am not your little doggy
who will lick you
roll over and do tricks
lap up the crumbs that you throw on the floor
get on all fours and wag my tail.
I will not heel.
I am not your student
doing her best work to earn Teacher’s approval
so pleased to get a gold star (and a kiss) for doing everything
I do not play by the rules.
So watch yourself.
Because the more you treat me like I should obey
the more I will defy you.
And if you ever dare speak to me again in that sickeningly sweet voice saying
you will find out just how bad I can be.
© 2011 SurvivingTherapistAbuse.com