Thursday, February 14, 2013

words: Trying to Please

I was recently listening to Poolside Stories on ABC Radio National. The series features audience stories that were contributed to the ABC Pool website.

I was really moved by Trying to Please by Samantha Crow, a story of emotional abuse.
It strongly reasonated with me, for I knew a beautiful woman who made a similar brave decision to leave an abusive marriage so I really wanted to share these powerful words by Samantha Crow...

Trying to please

I escaped an abusive relationship by moving across the country.

A friend tried to console me saying, “God only sends angels.” to which I quipped, “Yeah, I know this one’s name: Lucifer.”

The relationship was abusive. Not physically: I would have spotted that sooner. Emotional abuse is insidious. It seeps… infects…destroys. We are unconscious of all the things that go into making up who we are until they are taken away.

Mind: “Don’t be stupid.” “They talk crap. Turn it off.”
Speech: “I can’t believe you said that.” “Don’t say things like that.”
Style: “Are you going to wear that?”
Laughter: “That’s not funny. Switch channels.”
Body: “Grow your hair longer.” “Go to the gym more.”

He believed in the ‘power of now’, so was not interested in knowing my past. He shut the door on who I was, so I lost sight of it. Eventually I did not know who I was, what I wanted, or where I was going. Strangely, he berated me for having no ambition. Apparently, ‘now’ includes the future.

But everybody loved him. His friends all looked up to him: the life of the party. He was the apple of his family’s eyes. But nobody saw, nobody knew. I reasoned “It must be me. It’s me. Of course it’s me. How could everybody else be wrong?” How was it that I was so detestable that I could never please such a great guy? So I changed: moment to moment, trying to read his moods before he had them. Trying to please. Trying to be better. Trying to be.

I fell pregnant. He said he didn’t want children. I couldn’t end its life. The house grew tenser. Tenser. At three months, I miscarried. After agonising in the bed for hours, my hopes for that child fell away in the shower. Hospital. Scraping. They gave me a toy in remembrance. He called me selfish.

I had to escape. Do or die. I looked for somewhere else to live. Why stay here? Sydney had been calling for a while, from across the continent.

Could I get a job in Sydney? I applied for one. I was interviewed. I got the job. When did they want me? Next week. Right. Book a hotel, give away furniture, give away cookware, give away books, give away clothes; see family, see friends. Two suitcases and a plane ticket: I was ready.

Sydney was overjoyed to see me! The harbour bridge exploded with colour and light above me as my taxi headed for the north shore. The Mardi Gras fireworks heralded my arrival, my new beginning.

I came to Sydney and came back to myself. On this foundation I began the construction of a life. My job is fulfilling yet challenging and is blossoming into a career. I have finished my Masters and have begun study towards a PhD. I have wonderful housemates and have gathered a group of funny, intelligent, caring and supportive friends around me. Sydney is home.

He cried the morning I left…

I have come to know Lucifer: he is the bringer of light. I am enlightened.

Samantha Crow
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

1800RESPECT the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service can provide assistance through their professional telephone and online, crisis and trauma counselling service 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.


  1. Hi Rachel
    Please excuse the irrelevance of this comment in relation to the post though I couldn't see an alternate way to contact you.
    I stumbled across your blog whilst searching for 'Vintage Sheets'. I've been hunting for some for a project of mine though am having trouble finding the right pattern. It looks like you may have a pretty extensive collection. Just wondering if you might be willing to part with something if you happen to have what I'm looking for? Please feel free to contact me to discuss further :-)
    Thanks so much

  2. Hi Rachel, I know this isn't the right place, but I cannot access your email and I really wanted to say thank you for your very generous donation to my Frocktober fund. I really appreciate it (and it was lovely seeing your name pop up this morning!) I hope you are well, and I hope you receive this email. I am very grateful. Take care, Kylie x


Thank you for your lovely comments x

Related Posts with Thumbnails