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Empathy: Blessing or Curse

I deserved better

So many nights I hid from you

Hide and seek was our game

But you always won!

I put my life in your hands

Because I understood why you did it


I deserved better

With your fists clenched and knuckles white

You knew I'd be too scared

And too weak and too trapped

Or maybe just too powerless

I screamed and tried to fight back

I put my fists down and felt so weak

Because I understood why you did it


I deserved better

When you promised to take me away

To save me from my past.

Promising the world and a sense of self-worth,

You grew angry and distant.

I began to tolerate the wait

Because I understood why you did it.


I deserved better

Every night I hoped for the relief of dying

As I barely fought back

When you wrapped your hands around

My jaw, my back, my wrists, my arms

Because I understood why you did it.


I deserved better

Every single time I was told,

“I’m not enough,” until it became a constant thought

I stopped protesting and accepted it

Since you knew me better than anyone

And continued to love me all the same.

I stopped arguing every time your actions or words

Proved you honestly believed I never could be

Because I understood why you did it.


I deserved better

When I stared in the mirror asking myself,

What is wrong with me?

Why do I keep fucking up?

Why am I never good enough

For you, for my family, for society

For myself?

So I tried to change and be better

I tried to shape myself into acceptance

Instead of valuing and embracing self-love

Because I understood why you did it.


I deserved better

When I allowed every degrading word

Take over my mind and tear into my soul

Everytime you lifted me from the ground

Just to throw me back down

And force me on my knees to beg for forgiveness.

I lost myself as every part of me lay broken at your feet

All because I understood why you did it.


I knew I deserved a better life

So I found the strength to leave

But the scars never faded

They never healed

I fell back into the same patterns

And allowed even worse into my heart

All because I understood why he did it too.


© 2021 Grace Peterson

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