Abusive Relationships-A Closer Look

This is another one I wrote a while back that I’m posting here. I feel a bit odd about sharing this because the situation I’ve described in this and other posts (like this one) is nowhere near as bad as what other people I’ve known have been through, but I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did if I can help it. Anyway, here it goes.

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I wish I wasn’t able to write this article.

I don’t say this to imply that I hate that I’m a good writer or using the internet to research. It’s actually fun…too much fun, considering how easily I get distracted. :) No, I hate that I don’t *need* to do research to write this article. Instead, all I have to do is look at my past.

The funny thing is that I had no idea that the relationship was abusive at the time; I knew I didn’t like what was happening, but I thought abuse only looked one way (hitting) and that it was easy to tell what “fits the definition” and what doesn’t. Nope. Since I didn’t have the luxury of this knowledge when I was coming along, I’m going to give you a few ways to tell if your relationship is abusive before you get in too deep to get out.

1) He ‘swept you off your feet’. Declaring his love immediately to get you in a relationship is a big clue. Abusers look for vulnerable people-for instance, people who just got out of relationship the way I had. Getting you to commit to him quickly doesn’t give you a chance to see him for what he is. Besides, you don’t want to let yourself get swept into a relationship if you’re not ready to be in one.

2) Your partner is excessively jealous and controlling. He has to know what to wear, where you are, who you’re with, when you’re going to be back, etc.

Come to think of it, this sounds like how a parent would act. Difference is, he’s not. He has no ‘right’ or ‘position’ over you the way your parents did as a kid. You’re not a kid anymore.

3) He attempts to isolate you from your friends and family, mostly by ‘requiring’ that you be with him at all times and/or behaving in such a way that your friends will not want to be around you. I can tell a few stories about this, but I won’t. Let’s just say that a lot of this goes on behind your back as well as to your face.

4) He makes you feel bad about yourself. This is the biggest reason people stay in these relationships-they think they can’t get or don’t deserve any better.

5) Threatening to hurt or kill himself if or when you try to leave. This might sound romantic in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ way, but it’s not. It’s coercive and controlling. That, and he’s probably not as hot as Leonardo DiCaprio. :)

6) He never takes responsibility for anything. His family, you, his boss, the kids…everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. That way, he doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing because ‘…made me do it.’

I remember saying stuff like this when I was six and broke the cookie jar. At least a six-year-old has an excuse to be childish!

7) He tries to change your looks. ‘You know, you’d be really hot if…’ ‘Maybe you need to…’ comparing you to other women, etc. This sort of criticism does not come from a person who really cares about you, even if it is framed as a joke. Besides, you’re beautiful just the way you are.

8) He pushes and pressures you into things-sex, drinking, drugs, etc-that he knows you don’t want to do.  He then criticizes or makes fun of you for your reluctance-you don’t want to have sex because you’re a ‘prude’. You don’t want to drink because you’re ‘no fun’, you won’t ‘play hooky’ from work because you’re a ‘goody-goody’…you get the idea.

9) He has a bad temper and blows up over little things. This makes you afraid to do or say anything he doesn’t like, including standing up for yourself.

I have no end for this except to say that if these things seem familiar to you (or you see them in a friend), get out. Don’t walk-run, and never look back. You deserve much better than this.


The Girl in the Back of the Room

I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. In fact, that was one thing I wrote in those “where do you see yourself in ten years” sections in those “senior” books we got in high school. Anyway, I wrote this as an “audition piece” for an online women’s magazine. The magazine hasn’t officially launched because of some family issues the editor-in-chief had, so I’ve been given the “green light” to publish this in my own blog. The advice is to the 20-year-old me from the [censored]-year-old me.

My column name is “The Girl in the Back of the Room” I chose it because that’s the girl who sees everything that’s going on. That, and that’s who I was through most of high school. I hope you like it.

 

Dear Girl,

 I’m a college student who has been dating her boyfriend for about a year. He just kind of ‘swept’ me into his life; I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and he gave me a lot of attention when I needed it. The trouble is, it’s gotten to where it’s a little *too* much attention. He always has to know where I am at any given time and makes me feel bad if I want to be alone in my dorm room or hang out with my suite-mates rather than spending time with him. I want to break up with him and have tried to on a couple of occasions, but he always talks me out of it-he says he loves me, that he can’t live without me, that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, etc. He’s even said that he’ll hurt himself if I leave. I don’t love him or feel the same way about him, but I can’t help but feel like I have to stay so I won’t be responsible for anything that happens to him. If he were to kill himself because of me, I would feel like a terrible person for the rest of my life.

My friends say I need to tell him goodbye in no uncertain terms, but I don’t know how to without feeling mean. I’ve always had a problem with being too nice, but I don’t know any other way to be. My friends also say he’s playing on my good nature and manipulating me into staying with him. I’m starting to agree with them. But how can I break up with him so he’ll leave me alone without having to be mean about it?

-Confused in Connecticut

Dear Confused,

I wouldn’t normally use the words, ‘Bite me’ in and advice column, but I think it fits here; this is what you need to say to your ex because he doesn’t seem able to understand much else! You’ve tried to let him down easy, but now it sounds like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be blunt. Tell him how you feel or, in this case, don’t feel. Yes, you’ll hurt him and feel like you’re being mean, but sometimes you really can’t avoid it. Despite his statements to the contrary, the nicest thing you can do here is make a clean break.

As for him talking you out of it, don’t give him the chance. Do what you can to avoid being alone with him. Have someone else with you whenever you can. Don’t answer his emails, don’t take his calls, ignore his knocks on your door and have your suite-mates to do the same. If you have to, report him to campus police.

You are not-I repeat, not-responsible for what happens to him! It’s not up to you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he’s the one who controls his actions, not you. If he truly is suicidal, he needs to see a doctor. Either way, I agree with your friends-he’s probably saying this to make you feel guilty. I hate to say it, but what you’re describing sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship. If you go on any longer, things will only get worse until you find yourself in too deep to get out. Do yourself a favor and get out now. Believe it or not, it’s okay to think of yourself sometimes. If you’re really concerned about him, tell him to use the campus counseling services or have a mutual friend check up on him. Whoever talks him through it, it should not be you.

As for being a bad person, that is not even close to being true. It would be one thing if you were hurting him out of spite, but you’re not. The fact that you are concerned about it at all shows how *good* a person you are.

Apparently hindsight really *is* 20/20.  Maybe now I can finally let go of that chapter of my life.

 

 


The Men of ‘Project Runway’

(Disclaimer-Neither The Prozac Queen nor her ‘subjects’ are to be held responsible for any asthma attacks suffered/deadly sins committed/computer keyboards damaged that result from reading this post. Drool at your own risk.)

I’m publishing this again because I’ve found yet another reason to love Mr. OctoberTim Gunn has an “It Gets Better” video too.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I didn’t know if it would be weird for me to write about a TV show without having a purpose other than for my own entertainment. I’m not sure why, but the phrases ‘creepy stalker’ and ‘desperately needs a life‘ come to mind.:) I love to read reviews online, but most of those appear in ‘zines’ with people whose jobs are to watch TV and comment on it. In other words, people who get paid to do what I do for free. :) I’ve now read other people’s ‘personal reviews’ and I figured, what the heck. It’s not like anything I say will (or should) be taken seriously. So, here goes.

Despite the fact that I have about as much fashion sense as a turnip, I love watching Project Runway. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a reality show on Lifetime where a group of fashion designers complete weekly challenges for a chance to show at Fashion Week and all kinds of other awesome prizes. I especially like the ‘Unconventional Challenges’ where they make dresses out of corn husks and stuff they found in a pet store! There’s also the one where they had to talk people out of their clothes (hmm, shouldn’t we at least wait until the third date for that?) to use in their projects. I haven’t seen every season, but that’s what the internet is for. So you know what I’m talking about, here’s a link to the show’s site-http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway
There’s also the ‘All Stars’ show where they bring back designers from previous seasons to compete all over again. http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway-all-stars

Heidi Klum is the host…she’s pretty nice, but I love Tim Gunn, who serves as a sort of ‘mentor’ to the designers. He’s so classy-he has a way of telling it like it is without making you feel like a squashed bug. He would be so much fun to hang out with but, seeing as I’m a nobody, that’s about as likely to happen as my cats are to follow instructions. In other words, never. Oh well.

Like most other reality shows, half of the draw is the level of attractiveness of the contestants. However, since Lifetime caters to women, any and all ‘eye candy’ I notice is of the male variety. Finally, something just for us!

Now, some of you are probably asking, “Wait a sec…aren’t all these guys gay?” My answer to that is, “And? Your point is?” I don’t know, and I don’t care. Gay, straight, bi, tri…it doesn’t matter. Hotness is hotness. It doesn’t matter anyway; the closest any of us will probably get to them is licking the computer screen.* Oh, well.  In that vein, I’ve come up with the Project Runway Swimsuit Calendar. Well, not really, but here are my ‘nominees’, in no particular order.

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How to be a good friend to someone with bipolar disorder

(I’m publishing this again because I found a new resource that I think will be *immensely* helpful, both to you and your friend. Thanks to Healthline.com for bringing this to my attention!-PQ)

Hi, I’m [river in Ireland] (*cue twelve-step group greeting here*), and I have bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. To people who have known me for a long time, this isn’t usually much of a shock. Actually, I take that back. People who have known me and been close enough to have seen some rough times aren’t usually that surprised.  As for everyone else, my friendly and talkative exterior can hide pretty much anything I want it to.  I’ve had to use this skill a lot in the past because I have had some people find out that I have bipolar and not be very nice about it. I think my favorite comment was that I was ‘demon-’ or ‘spirit-possessed’. *roll eyes* Others think I’m not as much fun anymore since I have begun taking medication that doesn’t allow me to bounce off the walls like I did before. Still others think I’m just a freak. Of course, I was pretty freaky before, but that’s not the point. :)

The point is that people with bipolar disorder can be quite complicated; things can bother us that won’t bother ‘normies’, and our medications and treatment can take a lot out of us.  The disorder is very complex and there is more being learned about it all the time. There are various different symptoms or signs that can be mistaken as something else entirely, which makes it really difficult to figure out.  It can really screw with someone’s life.  For instance, it wasn’t uncommon when I was first diagnosed to get four hours a sleep a night for two weeks straight and clean the house up and down at 3 am**…only to crash the next week and not shower or leave my bedroom for two days.  That’s not even counting the episodes where I was crying and throwing things one minute and dancing a jig the next (only a slight exaggeration), with major swings like this happening in the same day.  It’s kind of hard to hold down a job when your boss can’t figure out what planet you are going to be from one minute to the next!  That’s not even talking about the medications and their side effects-I’ve been through several changes and can’t even keep track of them all. One of the medicines that worked the best for me also gave me shakes so bad I had to see a Parkinson’s doctor.  Another gave me gas you wouldn’t believe, and still another made me gain so much weight that I was nearly too fat to fit into my wedding dress! And you know what’s scary? I’m one of the luckier ones, because I can even take medicine;  I know some people who haven’t been able to find anything that doesn’t mix badly with their other medications, assuming they can find something that does anything at all.

Bipolar has a strong tendency toward comorbidity-meaning, it often occurs alongside other similar disorders.  I’ve lost friends and had others change how they relate to me, although I have had some actually come closer because they had similar problems and felt I wouldn’t judge them.  Generally, though, it’s one of those things you don’t really understand very well unless you have it yourself.  In this spirit, I thought it might be fun to give sort of a ‘guide’ on the care and feeding of your bipolar friend. :)  So, let’s get started:

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Me and Toby

Photo on 6-5-14 at 1.50 PM #4_2One of the few pictures I like of myself.

 


A Beautiful Song

I was writing this post on All Women Stalk-http://music.allwomenstalk.com/best-breakup-songs-for-valentines-day

when I found this song. I remember hearing it in 2001-2, and it was every bit as heart-wrenching then as it is now. I don’t know how to embed videos and I’m not sure it would even be legal for me to do that (copyright laws are odd that way…), but here’s the link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMi9FoNZZtM

I hope you like it! It made me cry the first few times I’ve heard it…I think we can all relate to our feelings for someone hanging on long after they’re gone.  I know I can.


“STRUGGLE TO FORGIVE – AGAIN” – Jan 18

“STRUGGLE TO FORGIVE – AGAIN” – Jan 18.


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