While doing some background research on emotional abuse.I recently came across the persona and writings of Najwa Zebian, the Lebanese-Canadian poet, activist, author, and powerful speaker. Her words brought me to a standstill and I knew immediately that I needed to know more about her and her story of abuse.
First things first, my situation is completely different from hers (sexual abuse), but as a friend and lawyer pointed out, abuse is abuse, and it all starts in the mind. It is important to me to establish the crucial difference here, because I do not wish to imply any further similarities with Najwa Zebian’s case. What I do admire, however, is the courage, the strength, and the determination to speak out and be heard, encourage other people out there who are trapped in similar situations to stand up, assert themselves, and speak out.
Najwa Zebian took to poetry, as a coping mechanism (story is in the video), and here our paths meet again. “Write your story”, she said. Put it down in words, if not for the sake of documentation, but for the sake of having an outlet, to unburden the soul even in the most private of spaces within the pages of a notebook. I speak from experience and on behalf of many others, when I share that victims of emotional abuse often suffer in silence, too terrified to voice out their pain, overcome with excruciating shame and confusion – because more often than not, the perpetrator is a person who is very close to you.
Don’t break a bird’s wings
and then tell it to fly,
Don’t break a heart
and then tell it to love,
Don’t break a soul
and then tell it to be happy,
Don’t see the worst in a person
and expect them to see the best in you,
Don’t judge people
and expect them to stand by your side,
Don’t play with fire
and expect to stay perfectly safe,
Life is about giving and taking
You cannot expect to give bad and receive good
You cannot expect to give good and receive bad.
– Najwa Zebian