To bludgeon, cudgel, batter, and bruise, and leave you dazed.
With the skill and delicacy of an assassin, the thinnest of blades that slides through the cage you've built around your heart and leaves almost no visible mark, so that no-one sees what he's done.
With poison, venomous, scalding, acidic, that leaves you sick and burnt.
He has been like this since he was tiny. And it's always been me who has borne the worst of it.
I don't know why. Is it because I'm the one who stays? The one who loves him no matter what, the one who swallows the hurt and tries to mend what he's so thoughtlessly smashed?
Because I have. And I do. And I will.
Once, when he was younger, I would retaliate. Mostly in anger, sometimes in self-defence. I've lashed out, physically, verbally, I'm no angel. Just a human, failing. Flailing.
Now, my only defense is retreat. I wait, I heal, I try again.
He's my son. What else can I do?