So many people look at Whitney Houston and other rich and famous celebrities like Lindsay Lohan with disdain. How could someone so beautiful and talented throw it all away? They wonder. They are so ungrateful, they say. It is easy to jump on this hate filled bandwagon, as gossip and trashing the lives of those more rich and famous than ourselves seems to be part of the American culture, but step away and look at the big picture. Did Whitney Houston really have it all? Beauty? yes. Talent? Yes. Money? Yes. Health? No.
These women, like many other people in and out of the spotlight are suffering from a debilitating mental illness called addiction. Addiction can rob you of your life for years and still not kill you. People like Lindsay Lohan and Whitney Houston haven’t been themselves for decade(s). From the outside, the fix looks obvious, but from the inside, every waking moment and even the most simple of tasks is like hard labor. For them, what you and I would call life is thought of as the time spent in between getting a fix.
While the unaddicted are whole (think 100%), the addicted are working with a deficit, a void they will spend years trying to fill with all the wrong things and people. People blame Bobby Brown for introducing Whitney into a world of drugs. This isn’t entirely accurate. He may have introduced her to drugs, but the void was already there before he came around. He didn’t make her susceptible, she already was. She was too weak to say no to a drama filled relationship with him in favor of looking out for her own best interest and too weak to say no to drugs as well. But why? Quite simply, it all comes down to self-esteem. Around the time Bobby Brown came into her life, she was already a pretty big deal. Everyone thought the world of her and maybe she didn’t believe it. Maybe she was too humble to accept this adoration, maybe there was a little voice inside of her screaming that she wasn’t perfect like everyone thought she was, and maybe just maybe she decided she needed to prove it. Doing so would certainly take some of the pressure off. So even without him it is likely that she would’ve found her way to this type of lifestyle eventually.
When I decided after my last terribly abusive relationship that I was done being abused by men, I figured making the change from dating abusive men to dating normal ones would be as easy as flicking off a light switch. My life, until that point had been so dramatic that I decided to chronicle the journey in my book, I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell: Tales of Love Lost at Sea. I’d planned on writing about my unbelievable relationship past and then write a very happily-ever-after ending based on what I foresaw to be my sunnier dating future. Par usual, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Though I made a conscious decision to no longer involve myself in unhealthy relationships, the rest of me still had to catch up with that thought. There really is a common personality trait in people who end up in abusive situations. A lot of these victims and future victims of abusive relationships have low self-esteem, but other personality traits can lead to this situation. Being vulnerable, too trusting, or not assertive enough can entrap you in a variety of unhealthy situations not limited to romantic, (also friendships and work-related scenarios).
I think Adele’s video, “Set Fire to the Rain,” is a great example of a typical abusive relationship. It is actually difficult for me to watch, but I like this song… It does a very good job depicting the typical dynamics, the physical abuse, the screaming, punching, pushing, but what’s even more important is that it depicts the “making up.” The “making up” part of an abusive relationship is by far the sickest facet of the entire dynamic. In fact it is so painful to be without this person, the very person who causes the pain because, consequently, they’re also the only one who can make it go away- now that’s what I call a dilemna. Try putting up with this awful cycle for months and even years and tell me how your health is faring- non-existent I would say. If they don’t kill you,there’s a good chance you will kill yourself on purpose or by accident. 1 in every 5 female murder victims in the US are first victims of domestic violence.
This week has not been a slow news week at all! You know how I love to pick apart the psychology of people in bad relationships, as I did in my article about Kat Von D and and Jesse James and my more recent article about Maria and Arnold but now that I hear that Rihanna and Chris Brown may be sending each other affectionate tweets and that Rihanna is also tweeting a mystery woman who is thought to be Chris Brown’s mother (who is urging them to get back together) I am at a loss for words… Rihanna, really?
There are few people in this world I dislike. It’s a short list really, let’s see, one of my ex-boyfriends, my crazy uncle, and CHRIS BROWN. Most people make plenty of mistakes, some offensive, some hurtful, and some otherwise. Most of the time you can forgive people while others were just born bad: rotten apples. This is the category where I put my ex, my uncle, and Chris Brown: bad apples indeed. Rihanna may forgive Chris Brown, but I never will. Someone like that is an OJ Simpson waiting to happen and if you were lucky enough to get out alive, like Rihanna was, you really shouldn’t risk going back.
People are horrified over the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s in which Kim Kardashian takes a closed fist swing at husband Kris Humphries. Despite the entire scenario being caught on camera, many viewers are still wondering — is this domestic violence?
How is this a disputable question? Though some have tried to downplay her violent reaction by calling it “playful,” throwing a fist at your husband is not playful and technically falls under the category of domestic violence. It seems that because Kim is a woman people are confused as to whether or not her action falls into the “domestic violence” category. My answer: yes, it absolutely does.
Here is the dictionary definition of domestic violence “violence committed by one family or household member against another — see also restraining order.” They are husband and wife therefore it certainly qualifies. If they were strangers and she did this is would still be labeled violence just not domestic violence.
How is this a disputable question? Though the media has tried to spin her violent reaction as “playful violence” throwing a fist is just that: domestic violence. I believe that because Kim is a woman people are confused whether or not her action falls into the “domestic violence” category. My answer: yes, it absolutely does.
Here is the Dictionary.com definition of domestic violence “violencecommittedbyonefamilyorhouseholdmember against another —seealsorestrainingorder.” They are husband and wife therefore it certainly qualifies. If they were strangers and she did this is would still be entitled violence just not domestic violence.
Are people quick to defend her because she is physically smaller and weaker than her husband and he could possibly “take it?” Keep your judgements to yourself people, no man deserves the humiliation that goes along with being beat up by a woman despite whether or not he can physically “take it.” It is the emotional and psychological impact that lasts long after the physical bruises have faded. Men are often silent victims when it comes to being victims of rape and/or domestic violence. For male victims of domestic abuse and rape it is even more stigmatized by society than it is for female victims (though neither have it easy). Society unfairly labels men who complain about violence from a partner as “not real men” or just plain weak. This is wrong. Anytime a person is abused by a family member it is domestic violence whether it is a female or male throwing the punches.
The other thing that really alarms me about the whole scenario is her immediate reaction- to throw a closed fist punch at him. If it was as “playful” as her public relations team would like you to believe, she may have swatted him away, even lightly smacked him. Those reactions are not necessarily acceptable, but certainly not as shocking as throwing a punch. And just imagine how outraged Americans would be if it was the other way around: Kris throwing the punch at Kim. Just my two cents…
Today I flunked out of self-esteem class. And no. I’m not joking.
“I just don’t think I can get through to you. Don’t take it personally, but here’s a list of other therapists that might be a better fit. It was nice meeting you.” Are you serious? Good thing I didn’t take it personally- that would’ve been very detrimental to my self-esteem.
Upon hearing of my expulsion from self-esteem class, my other counselor -the one who recommended me for self-esteem classes- subtly asked me not to come back. I told her what he’d said and how I was confused as to what he meant by he couldn’t get through to me. I am not a child. I didn’t misbehave. I took the class seriously. As we conversed and continued to talk about other things she seemed to become very irritated with me.
Sometimes when we don’t trust ourselves, we feel very insecure about stepping out into the world to live life. I know I was afraid to go out and be my own person because of the abuse and rape I experienced at a young age. I feared that I, again, wouldn’t be able to protect myself if put in a compromising situation. As a result, I entered into an abusive relationship and subsequently continued this pattern for years. I was attracted to these types of relationships because on a subconscious level the aspect of control imposed limits that made me feel “protected” when everything around me felt very out of control. Alone, I felt vulnerable; like I could become a victim again at any time.
Like a text book abusive relationship, the imposed limitations ended up including a list of things he didn’t want me to do, people he didn’t want me see, and places he didn’t want me to go. Somewhere in my psyche I knew this and permitted it to happen because I felt more insecure out of the relationship than I did in it. Ironically, I ended up existing in this cocoon for several years instead of navigating the world on my own.
Please check out my new article about the residual effects of domestic violence.
I will never forget the dread I experienced when I was honest about my feelings with my abusive ex-boyfriend. Anything and everything can and will offend an abuser, especially when you disagree with him. What an abuser chooses to get upset about is their choice and is as unpredictable as the weather; something that was benign yesterday can be infuriating today.
Disagreeing with him was never a good idea. After doing so, I remember that sick pang I’d get in my torso as I awaited his imminent reaction. And even when there was no reaction, I found myself wondering and even asking him if he was mad at me. Why? Because that’s what I expected: He usually did get mad at me when I voiced my opinion. Why wouldn’t I worry? Anger was the typical response I got when I was honest with him about my feelings or frustrations. Even with no response, the push and pull of his abusive dynamics prevented me from thinking properly; I was left emotionally “hand shy,” inwardly wincing before each anticipated strike.
I will never forget the dread I experienced when I was honest about my feelings with my abusive ex-boyfriend. Anything and everything can and will offend an abuser; especially when you disagree with them. What they choose to get upset about is at their volition and as unpredictable as the weather; something that was benign yesterday can be infuriate them tomorrow.
Disagreeing with him was never a good idea. After doing so, I remember that sick pang I’d get in my torso as I awaited his imminent reaction. And even when there was no reaction, I found myself wondering and even asking him if he was mad at me. Why? Because that’s what I expected: he usually did get mad at when I voiced my opinion. Why wouldn’t I worry? Anger was the typical response I got when I was honest with him about my feelings or frustrations. Even with no response, the push and pull of his crazy abusive dynamics incapacitated my mind with fear and left me emotionally “hand shy.”