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The poem below was written some months back – actually it was spoken as a voice recording. Sometimes things come when I don’t have paper or I am too emotional to write so I just press record. Also, I sing things out at times. I don’t know why I just do and it seems to help. It slows down the mind chatter and gets me into the feeling and right now I need to use what I can, as I still have a lot of fear and resistance to painful emotions.

Some events, self-reflection and some feelings led to some realisations about my addictions and my neediness: looking at where I was trying to manufacture self-worth and discovering I actually still felt really terrible about myself inside. Then looking and starting to feel where that came from. Realising I have a false belief from my childhood, that my existence has always been about what I can give people to make them feel better. That I have felt more like a thing, than a person. I was taught at a young age that other people’s needs were more important than mine and the only way I could get ‘love’ was to please them, pacify them, suppress myself and act in the way they wanted to do. My mother, in particular has a big demand that I validate and approve of her, no matter what she does, I must tell her in some way how wonderful she is. I watched her manipulate situations to get that from others and get very angry when it didn’t happen. She was very needy and I became her surrogate ‘husband.’ (see the resources page for some good books on emotional incest)

So I was taught and trained and it was safer to become a people pleaser and created a strong facade of “good and caring girl.” The sad thing is, I never actually felt my mum saw me that way. She saw and sees me as a problem. When we learn to barter, to people please, to sacrifice we quickly lose any sight of the real us. There may be odd moments, but we are mostly in the place we created as ‘safe’ as a child: be the person that other people want me to be and it will be okay. Of course, it isn’t but the belief was so strong in me – so I continued with it as an adult: unaware and afraid.

To add to the impact, I realised the lack of real love in my childhood, left so many holes in soul, I went looking for love elsewhere, eventually through relationship with men: breaking my own moral codes, compromising myself hugely, ending up in more unsafe places and events. I was desperate and unhappy and alone inside and willing to manipulate, please, compromise and do almost anything for approval. It’s really, really sad and so unloving to myself, and in fact to all the people I was in addiction with.

So this poem is very raw and direct (and long), but I thought it might help someone else with similar issues. I have also put some links to a talk where Mary talks about what she thought love was when she first met Jesus and how that changed as her relationship with him, and God grew. I have found it really helps to know the Truth, at least intellectually to start with, because its important to confront the false beliefs we want to hang onto.


I gave myself away,

I gave all I could to you..

For crumbs,

For crumbs from you.

I gave it all away,

became a slave to you…

for crumbs from you, then you and

you and you and you.

I sold my soul to you

prostituted myself for you.

For a crumb

from from you, then you and you.

The holes in me were large and gaping

The pain too much, so I was escaping

them: I just wanted you to fill them

Fill my holes..


I looked for ‘love’ in all the wrong places

I sold my soul to you…

for a crumb from you.

I gave it all to you and slowly killed myself..

for a crumb from you.

I shut my mouth for you,

I took it all from you…

For a crumb from you.

I lost myself to you,

then you and you and you and you.

I was taught how to do it by you,

but you raged at me when I didn’t fill your holes.

So I learned it was better to,

piece by piece, give in to you…

for a crumb… a crumb from you.

I took a crumb from you.

You were clever you never gave it all to me

you kept me begging for more.

Even when you slammed the door,

I went back to you,

“Give me a crumb, please do.”

But crumbs, filled no holes really,

So I went to them, to all of them

I laid myself with my legs open

give it to me… that crumb please…

A crumb from you.

I felt like nothing without it.

I sold my soul to them;

I gave away precious gifts that God had given me.

numbed myself out…

for a crumb from you.

sold my soul for you…

and you and you.

I took anything you gave me just to keep breathing.

I was hungry for something, starving and desperate

So I took a crumb from you.

I’d rather sell to you, than face the truth of me and you,

What you did to me.

I took a crumb from you

I became all the different people that I thought all the different people wanted me to be.

The sexy goddess; putting my hands all over you.

Opening my legs to all that you wanted

For a crumb from you.

I believed that was what you wanted.

Sexy stocking, blow jobs, anything you wanted.

I gave to you.

Many things I didn’t want to do;

I broke my moral code a million times with you.

I lost my innocence with you.

And then, some of you, took from me, without asking…

You drugged me, you pinned me down without asking

or I’d wake next to the man who said he cared

 And he was inside me

Didn’t ask, he just took.

And in my silence I let him.

I let him…

I didn’t know how to say no

Cause I never said no to you, safely.

So I never said no to them.

I sold my soul for crumbs

I forgot who I was in the facades that I made.

The performances I did should have won an Oscar.

I got good at it, so good at it

I really believed that that was me.

People pleasing queen I am;

Fixer, rescuer.

Can you see my crown?

It’s shining in the darkness.

I got rather proud of it.

It made me feel some worth

At least I can do this well

I have been doing it since I was 2.

I can fix and rescue and put together;

I can be the peaceful one in the storm;

I can wake you up from your drunken sleep;

I can help you vomit those pills back up;

I can make you feel good as a man,

As a friend.

I can put a plaster over your deep wound;

I am very good at that.

I can tell you to feel good about yourself

When inside I feel crap.

I can preach, but not practice;

I am very good at that.

I can say do this, and that;

I am very good at that.

Full of suggestions and ideas, places you can go to build your life

and do be yourself.

But I don’t do that.

I just do this; its my only hanging onto ‘worth’ I feel,

But now I know that this worth isn’t real.

Its not real.

Those crumbs they never really fed my starving soul;

they just kept me ticking me over in a place I don’t know.

None of it was real

Most of it was bad.

And sad and wrong.

There were moments when I got in touch with me again

There were moments when I loved my self, briefly.

When I did something I loved, I felt alive again;

Felt connected to me again.

But then, I sabotaged.

My desperate, needy holes they needed filling still.

Cause I wasn’t looking at the real reason I felt so shit inside.

Where any self-belief could only go so far before I hit a wall

or something from you…

Would come from you…

Like a fireball.

And everything I built would fall down around my ears

And I’d be nothing…on the floor again

And I’d be looking for the crumbs again in all the wrong places.

I’d look to them – men or women to give me the crumbs.

I’d pick up the crumbs and I’d rescue them.

And I would disappear again.

I’d disappear again.

I’d disappear again.

So there it is.

There it is.

There’s the pattern I’ve been in;

Wanting crumbs from her and him.

Grasping and grabbing at any validation;

Grasping and grabbing at any crumb offered.

Prostituting myself in so many ways.

And helping without sincerity

Isn’t helping.

A barter is not love.

Neediness is taking

something you need to give yourself.

by Maxine Bell February 2021

Links to the two talks mentioned, but there are plenty of talks about what real love is and the assistance groups talks are all about an Education in Love.

20131020 General Discussion – Q&A From People In Philadelphia S2P1

20131020 General Discussion – Q&A From People In Philadelphia S2P2

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