The Shrinking Woman — a poem about the way women are conditioned

Just for today, we’re breaking our pattern of one post per weekday, because the Child Custody Battles post is just a set of links.
This item is a little bit different from our usual offerings. It’s not a Christian item, but  I think many of our readers will relate to it.

20 thoughts on “The Shrinking Woman — a poem about the way women are conditioned”

  1. A poem for women who have lost themselves. May God be the voice of truth that all people are graced by His love and have full value and worth as individuals, regardless of gender, role, or position in life.

  2. I like the line “I asked 5 (?) questions in class and all of them started with Sorry”
    that was so me. It seems impossible to train yourself out of it… I find myself shushing my daughter in public…probably out of the same motives.
    But then again I yell at my boys to shut their mouths on an almost hourly basis, so maybe it’s just noise overload. :/

    1. Indeed, why do we always feel we have to apologize and feel that we are a burden or at least an inconvenience to people? I know my husband always made me feel like I was a liability to him rather than an asset. Probably why I am always apologizing – apologizing for taking up space and being alive?! God forbid!

      1. I honestly thought that was just me and something was wrong with me. I’m told off regularly for saying “sorry”. Sometimes I honestly don’t think I need to be but it’s more out of courtesy, or keeping the peace. We hate to hurt people or have a rift or ‘bad-blood’ between us.

        Now I’m beginning to see more clearly. This is probably the one thing I recognised and others around me that I felt needs worked out of me. Yet I would rather be loving and kind than lose my apologetic side. As abusers never really apologise.

  3. I finally listened to this poem. I suppose I was afraid to. In my family it is the opposite. Women eat to suppress our pain. My mother has gone from 120 lbs at 5’4″ to as much as 250. I am the largest I have ever been at 148 and 5’1″. Until I was 35 I never weighed more than 105 lbs except while pregnant and refused to gain more than 20 lbs. It is all learned behavior because of pain and abuse. My 1st husband used to call me fat when I weighed 110 lbs while pregnant with my 1st child. While strolling me through the store he would excuse me to other people taunting, “whale on the beach”. In adult hood I have weighed at lowest 85 lbs. and as high as I am today. We are a product of our environment and I struggle never to gain more than where I am. There other things we struggle with besides food and our size. I used to have my nose and ears pulled having been told they were large. For the longest time when I would allow myself to look in a mirror I saw the reflection of an elephant with its long trunk and huge floppy ears. I did eventually realize that I am or a normal size and it was all abuse and his pleasure in making sure that I felt that I was ugly and nothing.

    1. Brenda, his taunting of you was appalling. Methinks that for those who taunt and and do not repent, there are a horde of devils waiting to taunt them in hell.
      What cheap thrills he got, and what a big price he will pay if he despises Christ right to the end (which we know is most likely, given his track record thus far. . . )

      1. I believe you are right, Barb. That was 40 years ago and outside of the normal aging process, my nose and ears still look pretty much the same. I was never a beauty queen, but not the monster I was made out to be either. I truly hope that he found his way to Christ, but from what I understand of his life it hasn’t happened. I haven’t seen him in 25 years; not that I want to. I know now that he did all of those things to make himself feel good about cheating on me during those years.He was quite attractive back in the day and the ladies loved him. I wonder sometimes, now being closer to 60, if he may be a regret or two or if he is still the same arrogant abuser that he was then.

      2. So well said, Brenda R. living with abuse drives one to extremes. King David felt free to pray imprecatory Psalms against his enemies. We are reluctant and I know it is because of the cross and grace bestowed, but I know God’s grace abounds more, much more, to the oppressed and broken. There will be a great vindication for you on that day when all is set straight and justice and truth reigns. Bless you for sharing and may God heal all the broken wounded places in you with His perfect love and acceptance as He created you exactly to His beautifil and perfect design. May He heal the broken places in each of us. He will-we may not realize it fully until that final day, but He is faithful.

  4. Thank you DD2, I began praying for the broken places of my heart with his Spirit on a daily basis sometime ago. It soooo works. He is faithful and wants his daughters healed. I also ask each day to point out any sin in my own life that needs to be changed. He will not be done with me until I take my final breath, you are right about that. I look forward to that day.

    1. I also pray and ask daily to see my sin and needed areas of repentance and change. I, too, long and look forward to eternity with Him. Women/men who have lived out lives under the pressures of abuse seem to have a kindred spirit, longing for Heaven.

      1. For the longest time I prayed that the Lord would take me home and if he didn’t have that in his plan a card board box would do. I look back on that and think any woman who would prefer a box over the house her husband lives in……I’m sure you know the rest. If makes me cry thinking about it. And perhaps its time to find out where the people who truly do live that way and reach out to them.

      2. Yes, yes, yes! Great point! Thanking God with you for the humbling pain and grace which brings vision to see, feel, and understand with no judgement the plight, needs, and hurt of others.

  5. It’s hard enough to go through this, but constantly having family and friends not understand (and think you’re looney) is almost worse after you’ve had the courage to escape it. This was a good portrayal of the overall atmosphere of an abusive relationship/household. Why does it seem that the young woman still doesn’t quite get it, though?

  6. Oh, no! I was just reading one of the ACFJ posts about the movie “Tangled” about the abuse and manipulation of Grothel and I accidentally posted in this thread instead! Facepalm! I am really sorry, not to mention really embarrassed, LOL! I’m going to go crawl under a rock right now. Blush!

  7. Arwen2002 MAY 8, 2014 – 9:03 AM commented:

    Oh, no! I was just reading one of the ACFJ posts about the movie “Tangled” about the abuse and manipulation of Grothel and I accidentally posted in this thread instead! Facepalm! I am really sorry, not to mention really embarrassed, LOL! I’m going to go crawl under a rock right now. Blush!

    I wonder if – unwittingly – Arwen2002 summarized the gist of the poem The Shrinking Woman.

    The abused are often accused by their abuser(s) of using too many resources, including the basic needs to sustain life.

    The abused shrink on every level – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. Shrinking on any / every level becomes habitual, an unconscious way of thinking and believing, a “mind rut” needing a grader to even the road.

    The abuser(s) in our minds need to shrink.

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