Something I have uttered only inside my head: “I wanna die” A phrase that is a cry for help. Usually in our most desperate time. I can’t speak to why she said this I can only sympathize. I had some of my darkest thoughts while married to Standish. Nights where we had been arguing till late.  Me, exhausted and at the same time wired from the mental anguish I just suffered. Him, asleep peacefully. I would be up, overthinking each statement. I wondered if he was right, and I was too sensitive. If it was as bad as I make it out to be then how could he sleep so easily. Was something actually wrong with me? Is it what he said: That I am crazy just like my mother? Is this all in my head? All this pain am I doing it to myself? The anguish of not knowing for sure would take over. Not all the days but some I wished I could just go to sleep and not wake up to another day of a war inside myself. If I never woke up, I wouldn’t have to hurt anymore.  It’s hard to describe to the outside world what’s happening. It would be easier to just sleep forever. 

How do you describe mental abuse to someone who has never experienced it?

 How can you explain that a person can leave scars without ever actually touching you with their hands?

 That it’s not just being called names. It is making you believe you are less of a person than they are. It’s stripping you of your dignity, tearing apart your sense of peace, reminding you of how lucky you are that they were there to save you from the dark world and yourself.  

 Here's my attempt at explaining what emotional/mental abuse felt like: 

 It’s like a poke. (Go ahead and poke yourself just once in the chest, not hard, but as though you are pointing out a stain on your shirt) 

That single poke didn’t hurt. 

But if you kept poking that same spot, over and over it would start to hurt. Not unbearable at first. Something you could almost deal with. An achy spot.

 Now imagine the poke became more frequent. Eventually it is a constant. Now that spot is tender.  Sometimes it's intense but often it is just that constant soft tap in the same spot. 

It consumes your thoughts; all you can think of is a way to make the poking stop.

 You will do anything to make it stop. 

You would change anything about yourself or your surroundings in hopes the poking ends. 

Sometimes the poking does stop, and the relief is pure bliss. You swear the poking doesn’t seem that bad, you can barely remember what it felt like, after all it was just a soft poke most of the time.

 You soak up every moment that the poking has refrained.  It’s a euphoric high. You feel on top of the world.

 Just as you are getting comfortable with the fact that the poke is gone, it comes back. It always comes back. 

Eventually you become numb to the poke, and you just go about the rest of your life. 

Your mind is a powerful tool in helping numb pain.

 Life has a malicious way of going on.  

You can no longer tell if the poke is real.

 If your mind is powerful enough to numb it, is it even really happening? 

The breaks from the poking come less and less. When the breaks from the poke do happen, it’s no longer a high. It’s a frantic overwhelming fear that the poking will begin again. When the poking stops you no longer feel relief only panic.

You begin to obsess over what made the poking stop, was it something you wore? Something you said? Something you didn’t do? Can you replicate it to make sure it stops for good? All those questions begin to tilt into an obsession as to what will bring the poking back.  

While it’s only a soft poke it is slowly damaging your mental health. 

How can you describe to another person that a small poke is killing you slowly but only on the inside?   After all it’s only a poke. It feels almost impossible when you feel all alone. The one person who you thought was the only one there for you is the one poking you all the while telling you that the poking isn’t real. Or not that bad. Or not their fault.  

I know the narrative that is being said about me by Standish. I am not foolish enough to think he would only call me crazy to my face. I am and always will be his “crazy” ex. I will take it. All because of those two letters after Crazy. I am his Ex. I never have to be poked again. (metaphorically or otherwise) 

I know now that I am not crazy, too sensitive, too picky, too needy, or asking too much. I know this because after Standish I have had healthy relationships, some that failed. The last 5 years have been devoted to an amazing partnership. A man who some days I wished could have seen the me I used to be before all the poking. That light as air, carefree, spirited woman. He loves me imperfections and all. I have never felt more loved and seen than I do in this man's arms. My feelings are confirmed and respected. 

I can’t express how deeply I mean this: If you aren’t happy, this life is far too short to not be understood by the person or people you love and hold the closest. If I can find the strength you can too.  


Before you go believing you are "crazy", look at the company you are keeping.   


****Please, if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide there is help: You can Dial 988 on a cellphone or call 800-273-TALK  

If this story seemed familiar, you are not alone. Just because you aren’t being physically harmed doesn’t mean it isn’t domestic violence. You have a human right to feel safe & valued in your relationship.  

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. 

If you don’t have someone to reach out to or you feel alone or ashamed there are people who will listen: 800-799-7233  

If you are in Maine, you can reach out to