Look for Listeners Poem

Look For Listeners Poem By Sue Ellson

Look for Listeners

By Sue Ellson


Look for listeners
Who can hear your words
Who can listen with love
Ask how to help your cause


Look for listeners
Your family and friends
Specialist providers
People who can make amends


Look for listeners
More than one
Speak your truth
Don’t come undone


Genuine listeners
Do so with care
Spread the load
Become aware


For when we are heard
We gain the courage
To fight the demons
To conquer our fears
To rise above challenges
And to believe in ourselves


Look for listeners
And be one too
Return the favour
Then be brave, be you


There have been a lot of uncomfortable topics discussed in the media recently and here in Australia, very specifically, cases of abuse of school children and work colleagues. As a child, I remember an educational campaign about ‘stranger danger’ and more recently I have heard about #LetHerSpeak and #LetUsSpeak.

To be able to speak, we need someone who is willing to listen and ask us how they can help. I have been silenced by various people for 10 years and too afraid to speak, for fear of judgment from the listener. I now realise that I should have been looking for the right listener, not stopping the urge to speak.

Whilst the concept of ‘stranger danger’ kept the message clearly in my mind, it didn’t teach me what I needed to know about the ‘strangers I knew.’ Australian of the Year for 2021, Grace Tame is providing a clear message of what to look out for in the grooming process of physical and/or emotional abuse:

Grooming Process

Number one, targeting. That is, identifying a vulnerable individual. In my case, I was an innocent child but I was also anorexic, with significant change happening at home.

Number two, gaining trust. That is, establishing a friendship and falsely lulling the target into a sense of security by empathising and assuring safety. For me, that was what I thought was listening to my challenges, empathising with my situation, and providing me a safe space to retreat to when I needed it.

Number three, filling a need. That is, playing the person that fills the gap in a target’s mental and emotional support. In my case, although I was surrounded by an incredibly attentive family and team of medical professionals, most of their support came in the form of tough love. The teacher thus assumed the role of sympathiser, telling me everything I wanted to hear.

Number four, isolating. That is driving wedges between the target and their genuine supporters. This involves pushing certain people away, but exploiting others.

Number five, sexualising. That is, gradually introducing sexual content so as to normalise it. In my case, in conjunction with subtly explicit conversation, I was carefully exposed to material that glorified relationships between characters with significant age differences.

Number six, maintaining control. That is, striking a perfect balance between causing pain and providing relief from that pain. To condition the target to feel guilt at the thought of exposing a person that also appears to care for them. By way of physical intimidation, combined with veiled threats, abusers scare you into silent submission.

If you are a survivor, of any form of abuse, please find the listeners that are right for you. There are people who are willing to listen and support you on your healing journey.

After visiting my doctor, I was referred to two service providers and have finally begun my healing journey. You can try somewhere anonymously first if you wish, but I do encourage you to choose a service that is aligned with your specific needs as I have been through general services in the past and have not found the help I needed.

Don’t give up looking for listeners and please, find a way to heal. Allow extra time than you would like for it to happen and treat yourself with compassion along the way. Make a commitment to your own wellbeing and let’s hope that we can all end the cycle. With love, Sue Ellson 🙂

P.S. This poem will be part of a future book I am writing called, ‘Poems for me to truly be.’

#LookForListeners #LetHerSpeak #LetUsSpeak #SueEllson #SueEllsonPoem #poem #poetry

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