open letter to an abuser

what does your face look like to someone who hasn't seen it a thousand different times, a hundred different ways? the past has taught me to read the subtle lines around your mouth, to catch the rolling thunderhead in your eyes before the first bolt of lightening strikes. these days, it would take something impossible to catch me by surprise ... if we, our relationship were new, if we could begin each moment as if there were none before it, maybe you could be different, or i could respond with truth. in love. in a way that you would hear.

what do your words sound like to someone who has never heard them before? that tone, that tone, that tone which, from its overuse, has deafened my ears to its meaning--what does it sound like? i hardly know. you say the same things, i can practically recite your lines, as if we were players and this were going to be some Psychology major's fodder for analysis. maybe we are, maybe the script has been written and we're too caught up in our roles to imagine that it could be different. we're too consumed to see that, until the day is done, the pen is still alive in our hands.


is it better to throw in the towel, to cut my losses? because history has taught me the painful lesson that people can change but they aren't likely to in this lifetime.

they tell me to hope! hope, ha. how long? how long, how long, how long is too long to hope? the shiny-eyed optimist cheers, "until death! until the final chapter! until we are unchangeably changed!" but this, really? this? this i should endure. i should hope, pray, work for something better. well. empiricism would disagree, my friend.


do you know what the worst part is? you don't have to lay a hand on me but i can still see your fingerprints. i may not hear your voice but there are days that your words come out of my own mouth. poison! like a virus, like a tube of toothpaste, like pavlov's puppy... vile, treacherous regurgitation. i'm hardly more than domesticated animal, barely holding the wild beast in check.

what have you done? do you have any idea? these are not scars, these are mutations. stolen potential, ripped away from me before i even knew what it was. am i anything more than a victim? please, God, tell me there is something more, something left to salvage from this wreckage. i trusted you. implicitly. i knew nothing else.


tell me, what demons do i face today? and alone! how will i ever be healed? restored? complete? no, i am damaged. i am unchangeably changed. and it's your fault. and you can't even look at me. can't even share two civil words.

i could limp on alone. i could leave you to self-destruct. oh, believe me, i would love to. the urge is powerful.

but there is one thing worse than being me:

being you.

knowing what you have done. un-undo-ably. seeing what you have created. feeling powerless to change. you can't face me because your sins are written all over my face.

there is only one way out: together..... ironically enough.

because i need you to tell me that you were wrong. that you know it. that you feel bad. that you didn't mean to. or maybe you did, but you hate that you did. that you are sorry. that you are in need of forgiveness. that you are weak and unable to change and you wish you had known what it would do to me and that you wish it had been different.

and you need me to tell you that i forgive you. that i love you. that i'm ok. really, i am. i'm ok. i have been unchangeably changed. twice. i know, impossible.

"for men, this is impossible. but all things are possible with God." Jesus told me so.

if the gospel is true, there is no condemnation.
if God is real, the wasted years will be restored.
if we are His, there is hope. hope for a day when every tear will be wiped away and every pain forgotten forever in the blaze of His marvelous light.
if we are His, there is nothing so good that we could have that would be better than knowing Him.
if we are His, there is nothing so terrible that could happen to us that it would steal the joy of knowing Him.

if we are His, we are unchangeably changed. it's His fault.

so yes, i forgive you. every day. what else can i do? i know no other way. i know nothing else.