You Don't Know - A Poem About Domestic Violence and Healing

by Ruby D. Gatling
(Hampton, Virginia, USA)

I was in a domestic violence marriage at the age of 19. I did not know that regardless of how much I loved this man who happened to be my first boyfriend, that I could not change him. He was like Doctor Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde....when he was sober, he acted like a normal person, but when he drinked, he drinked hard and became another total different person who became violent and just plain mean.

I wanted to make him become who I wanted him to be. To be the person who I had dreams of sharing what I felt would be a good marriage. I stayed with him for years and finally, I broke free...I spread my wings and took the flight to becoming me again and finding my true self. I wish I had left sooner, because I had a son and a daughter who now exhibit his behaviors in their relationships, and I cry a lot about how they would have turned out if I had left sooner.

I tell my story to many who will listen and I talk to young ladies and men about being in a domestic violent situation. I tell them to Get Out! You can't change anyone unless they want to sincerely make that change. There are too many men and women who will treat you good and kind and love you for you! without all the violence and disrespect.

Below is my story put into a poem I wrote that helped me with my healing...


You don’t know
What goes on
Behind my door
You don’t know
The pain I feel
Because he hit me
Really hard
In the head
With a jar
You don’t know
How much
I wish
I never met him
But now
I feel
I’m stuck
With him
You don’t know
How much
I wish
I had someone
To tell me
Not to get
Involved with him
You don’t know
How much
I’ve grown
To hate him
After listening
To him
Tell me
Lie after
Lie after
You don’t know
How I’m feelin
Because you
Never had
Your head
From being
You don’t know
Because you
Know what?
I never spoke
About it
I never
Told a soul
But you know what?
They knew
Because they saw
The bruises
The black eye
The swollen lip
But I
Never mentioned
How mean
He was
To me
Isolating me
From friends
Tellin my friends
Never to come back
Making me feel
As if the world
Was lost to me
My life
My hopes
My dreams
Left me alone
To think a lot
About how my life
Could have been
You don’t know
How many times
I wanted to
Just run and
Run and run
You don’t know
The sacrifices
I made
While trying to
Please this person
Who on his good
Days tells me
He loves me
He cares about me
He’ll take care of me
I feel pity and mercy
For him
At that moment
But then he changes
And he erupts
Into a
I’ve seen before
Then I remember
What he’s all about
You don’t know
That I’ve made plans
To leave him
He don’t know
That the day
Is coming when
He’ll look for me
And I’ll be gone
I’m gathering up
My strength
My courage
Because I’ve had
Enough Of
Uncertain days
Restless nights
Fearful dreams
Broken promises
Broken heart
Broken spirit
Broken down
Old me
You don’t know
That I’m
Powerful and strong
That I’m about
To stand tall
That I’m
Rebelling out loud
You don’t know
But you’ll find out
That today
I took my flight
I’m on my journey
My wings are light
My head is cleared
You don’t know
He will know
I freed myself
From his bondage
Invisible iron
And twisted steel
Mind boggling
Brainwash and
My thoughts of
Everyone will know
I took back
My life
I found
My soul
My spirit
My heart
My happiness
My love
For ME
And I’m
Traveling on
A new journey
Of finding

Written by: Ruby D. Gatling
October 19, 2009
My birthday gift to myself
Copyrighted @2009

Click here to post comments

Return to Poetry, Poems and Songs.