The Man Behind The Mask
by ~ Robin
I remember that night
When he first caught my eye
He had a penetrating gaze…
Never looked away as he walked by.
He made me feel special
Said all the things I longed to hear
At the time I was so lonely
And he always kept me near.
After a while
He stopped answering his phone
I never knew the reason
Why I was suddenly alone.
He was in a bad mood he’d say
And didn’t want me to suffer
I guess I’d miss the red flags
Because they smelled like flowers.
He asked me to marry him
The ring was flashy and impressive
I thought he must really love me
To go through that much effort.
Six months passed
And he was drifting away
It was me, he said
I’d gained too much weight.
He was leaving me for her
And showed no remorse, not a tear
I was completely devastated
How could it not bother him, after all these years?
In the end she left
And he came back to me
He talked of how he adored me
With feelings I thought I could see.
Fast-forward two years
First baby was on the way
I was finally top of the world
And glad that I’d stayed.
But before he could take his first breath
As his little heart stopped beating
The earth swallowed me whole
And further clouded my thinking.
He was nowhere to be found
I often cried alone
He told me I should go out more
After only a few days at home.
He put it away so quickly
But who was I to judge him?
So I wrote off another clue
Like I did with everything.
Then more children came
And life seemed so grand
I still didn’t see it as one sided
There was so much I didn’t understand.
But then I was alone again
And could do nothing right
It seemed like he hated me,
Always trying to start a fight.
It was my hair, my clothes
The way I spoke, the things I said.
Everything was my fault daily
And I felt like I was dead.
He burned through the money
More and more each passing year
The debt, it mounted
And so did my tears.
So for the first time in decades
I started telling him no
If we can’t pay the bills
You can’t buy whatever you want.
He became very angry
And then my things went missing
He told me I was going crazy
And for a while I believed him.
Then one day I was driving
And noticed something wrong with my car
The front driver’s tire was loose again
For the second time that summer.
Later I would find out
That this a common scheme
But why would I have thought that
He would never do that, or would he?
A big storm rolled in
On that fateful day
I called to tell him
That we had to go in the basement.
No reaction, no fear
No emotion of any kind
He never called later
To see if we were all right.
It was that day I decided
That I was not living this life
I took off my rings
And refused to live as his wife.
For the next month he tormented me
And followed me around
He said he put rocks behind my tires
To see if I went out.
I was shocked by this behaviour
So I went to seek help one day
But what I was told
Just blew me away.
So I started reading
And everything fit to a tee
A very dangerous man
Was sleeping next to me.
I fell into the abyss
Sat on the floor for hours and cried
I didn’t want it to be true
My whole life with him was a lie.
I learned I was targeted
For the traits he wanted to steal
And causing me to suffer
Was the only way he could feel.
They manipulate you daily
Cause chaos and confusion
Hide your car keys
And then tell you you’re losing it.
I thought the scariest people
Were serial killers on the news.
Because they’d fooled everyone around them;
Not knowing I was being fooled.
The most devastating part
Was not learning the truth
It was watching him do everything
And knowing for sure it was true.
I decided to tell him
Please go for help, I would ask
And for the first time ever
I met the man behind the mask.
His face contorted
And he became someone I didn’t recognize
At the time I didn’t know it
But I’d just met Mr. Hyde.
Swallowing my fear
I thought I could plead
But the very next day
I found my dogs running in the street.
He’d let them out the front door
And drove away like it was nothing
No guilt, no remorse…
Completely devoid of feelings.
How could he do this?
The sick realization set in
The man I was married to
Was capable of much more.
So I stood up strong
And fought back against his anger
And struggled through the heartbreak
The death of a dream, my future.
He threatened suicide if I left him
And tried to tighten his hold
I found him watching me sleep
Which made my blood run cold.
I still managed to get away
My head spinning, my heart torn in two
The hardest decision I’d ever made
Became the best thing I would ever do.
I’ve fought unseen battles
Over the last year,
But the goal has remained the same
I won’t be controlled by threats and fear.
I’m rebuilding my life
And reclaiming my identity
I’m slowly getting back
All the things that he took from me.
He tried to break me
And he almost succeeded
But those very traits he wanted
Are the ones that move me forward.
If you see red flags
That may seem familiar
Please look them up
And don’t stay like I did.
You can’t fix it or try harder
Hoping it will change
You will lose yourself in the process
And they will stay the same.
The strongest people have risen from ashes
And rebuilt their lives
And I don’t remember the last time
It felt so good to smile.
Always remember your self worth
And insist on respect
But most important of all
Never let anyone steal your happiness.
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