Pistanthrophobia

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Pistanthrophobia: the fear of trusting people do to past experiences and relationships gone bad.

I am frightened of you.

Frightened of the ways in which you can turn my world upside down.

Frightened of the way you can,

with a look or a simple condescending sentence,

destroy what tiny shred of my sense of self is left.

 

You ask me questions I cannot answer.

 

Fear grips me, binds my lips with caution tape,

my mouth fills with the blood of words nipped from my tongue by my own teeth.

 

I have listened to your harsh tones,

which mirror the harsh words thrown at me by men

much more cunning in the art of seduction,

and much more willing to spin a tale for me,

to build me up on a pedestal of

sweet deceit

only to tear me from my perch and toss me over

and down.

 

I am shattered,

and sewn together with the soft threads of hope,

thin, fraying strands pulled from the many silver linings of

a dozen false romances.

 

I am fragile,

and cannot bear your judgment.

The weight of your criticisms have already silenced me

while inside I scream to be heard,

my heart banging out that pitter patter rhythm,

a bird beating its wings against the rib cage beneath my breasts.

 

The anxiety fills me,

a sloshing abyss of oozing memories and fears

swirling through my mind,

reminding me of all the ways my words can be used against me,

have been used against me by men,

some like you,

and by you, yourself.

 

I cannot speak for fear that I shall say the wrong thing,

utter the wrong answer

to a question that should be opinion.

 

But I know my opinion is of little value,

I know my world, my history, my life

has no meaning in your eyes.

 

It is not

a conclusion I came to suddenly,

or a decision I made lightly,

but an analysis

made from the observations of

the way in which you choose to talk over

and around

and atop me and my feelings.

 

And it frightens me.

Causes me to make bad decisions,

causes me to scream inside my own head,

the anger and the fear and the desire,

tremulous thoughts echoing through my very soul.

 

Yet I wonder

if I can be so wrong about

the softness I feel in the way you touch me.

Or the way your lips brush so tenderly against my skin.

Or how you, who barely know me, gave me a gift

while those who’ve known me all my life forgot about me.

 

How can such sweetness exist amidst such harshness?

 

It frightens me into silence,

until the blood spills from my mouth into words on a page,

words which will be used against me,

as they always are.

 

Can you heal me?

Or will you break me?

 

I don’t know,

and it frightens me.

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