Survivor Creativity

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
How dare
How dare
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
Never regret

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

By Anonymous
©  2015


* * *


You promised to help
You promised I would be alright
So I told you my past
Hoping it would go away at last

One day you gave me a hug
With all my might
I held onto to you so very tight.
Then one day you pulled me close and told me how you were a man and from that day on it began.
I did not put up a fight
It was not real
But oh how did it make me feel

But you never told me I had to
It was something I wanted to do
You told me you could go to jail if I were to tell
I wanted to live inside this fairy tale. At times it felt like I lived in a kind of hell but I kept on telling myself all was going well. Sometimes living in a lie made me want to die.
Love is funny it has
No boundaries
We take what we can
A stolen hour
A stolen minute
A quick I love you
We live in the moment
There is no future
That we know for sure
So we hold on for however long.

By Anonymous
©  2015

* * *

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

* * *

Chewed Up

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.

Remember me?
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
By Anonymous

* * *


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.”


“But what?”

“I am not.”

“Not what?”


“Ah. Must you be at peace to live in peace?”

“I—  But—  My heart . . . ”

“Your 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.

Completely unexpected.

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—
shouldn’t I?

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.
Solidify myself.
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 smile.

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—
would he?

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.
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?
It’s inconceivable.

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.

Prepare yourself.
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
“just right.”

I do not play by the rules.
(Not anymore.)

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
“Good girl…
you will find out just how bad I can be.

By Anonymous
© 2011

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  1. Just read your poem, Split – it speaks to me, and sums up the complexity of the situation. I look back and can’t believe I lived through that period, putting my trust and my self esteem in her hands. The abuse which ended 6 years ago was followed by a period where she extorted me, which ended 5 years ago. The shame I feel is only secondary to the anger about it all.

  2. Thank you for allowing me to have a place to go to read that makes me feel less alone. I’ve gone from feeling so hurt and fearful to angry and full of hate. The roller coaster of emotions that happens without me realizing it. I struggle to feel normal. One minute I feel strong and justified and then hurt and ashamed all over again. I’m now very aware of the emotional mess and the toll it continues to take on myself and anyone in my presense. The once loving and caring person has so much Hate inside I break down. I want to feel “some” anger to allow myself to stand up with confidence and attempt to push forward but a piece of me fears standing up for myself. Do as I say is what I’ve always been told, just do it or someone that “thinks” they know what’s best for me. No more,…I know what’s best for ME and it’s not people wanting to manipulate and control me. I was a very afraid and ashamed but you just wouldn’t listen to me so now maybe, just maybe you will be forced to finally listen. If not, that’s okay too but you WILL have to listen to someone. I’m so angry at you for you knew I opened up and had such a hard time trusting people. Shame on you is all I can say!!! To anyone else out there struggling this is a good place to come for a small outlet. We all have our own circumstances but for me just reading some info. on this website has been much needed. Take baby steps and give yourself persmission to have some hard days or hard hours or hard minutes. I get so frustrated that I beat myself up and think it’s a sign of weakness that I can’t do this all alone but I pray this too shall pass and I have to remind myself that I’m only alone if I choose to be alone and there is some help. If nobody around you seems to understand or they are unable to give you the support you need because they simply do not know what to say keep reading and looking for someone who will listen. Thanks for letting me vent a little.

    • Dear A.

      YOur feelings – all of them mirror exactly those I have had. It’s a relief to hear someone else has felt all those things in response to an abuse just as I have had. It is the same roller coaster I have been riding for nearly a year. You don’t have to do it alone, there’s no shame in needing help from others. A friend of mine made a huge deal about this to me recently… saying I was loved by so many and suported by so many who are almost as hurt ans angry as I about what as happened and about how much harm it has caused me. Keep up the good work. As my friend said, you are growing more reilient avery day. Beth

      • Beth, thank you for your kind words. I visit this website often because I have been feeling very alone. I have no family and I’ve felt so isolated. I have been afraid of my own feelings because they go from hurt to extreme anger. I have rage and trust NO ONE awful feeling but no surprise why I feel this way. I feel like my life has been on hold but yes, I’m wanting to move forward some how some way. I really appreciate being able to come here and remind myself I’m not alone and reading comments from all of you are really a huge help to anyone going through this. I’m glad you too found this website.

  3. Scars and Split touched me so strongly. It took me 7 years to finally wake up and get out. I almost married my therapist. I pray for anyone out there to have the strength to “cut the chord” no matter how “in love” you feel. As soon as you do not have contact you can get sane and see the barm and finally heal the soul and body. Kristi, thank you so much for doing this website. I am isolated frequently with this deep would and looking fine on the outside which is a kind of suffering. I am determined to not let the crime destroy me. Thank you.

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