Three weeks ago, if had you visited Oscar Pistorius’ Wikipedia page, you would read about a hero. His story was a noble tale of overcoming the odds. Pistorius, a double-amputee athlete, participated in the world’s biggest athletic events (most notably the 2012 Summer Olympics) alongside “able-bodied” competitors.
Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia, a disease characterized by a “congenial absence of the fibula,” bones located in the lower extremity of the leg. At 11-months-old a large portion of his legs were amputated. Despite his physical limitations, Pistorius excelled at athletics inevitably gaining the nickname “the fastest man on no legs.”
This write-up reads like an obituary and in a way it is. Pistorius’ tale borrows many characteristics from the structure of a Greek tragedy. He is indeed a “tragic hero” and within this thought lies the clue as to why some people are so devastated that he committed this crime.
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp’s story is consistent with a typical abusive relationship. We will never know exactly what happened on Valentine’s Day in the home of Oscar Pistorius.
“Pistorius said in an affidavit read in court Tuesday that he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and budding reality TV star, had gone to bed and that when he awoke during the night he detected what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom.”
This resonates with the dynamics of many abusive relationships in which outsiders rarely see any evidence that abuse has occurred. Ideally for Pistorius, the possible abuse and inevitable murder of Steenkamp would’ve gone unnoticed. But it didn’t. A witness heard screaming before the shots were fired.
Despite the account of the witness, Pistorius continues to play the role of innocent victim and garner sympathy from his supporters for the “accidental” shooting death of his girlfriend. His actions are an example of a pathological sociopath at his finest. How do I know? I went out with one and he almost killed me.
Bulimia, What Made Me Feel So Much Better?
Those days I didn’t feel alone, I just wanted to be left alone. Something about binging then purging my food calmed me, but why?
- Hayley Rose 2006
It was years before I got a better understanding of it all. Between years of doing it and not doing it, the issue began to dwindle. It was during the times my bulimia seemed to be non-existent and then spontaneously seemed to start up again that I gained my best insight. When the binging and purging would return after long periods of normal eating/living, the psychology became clear.
Was I dating someone that was wrong for me? Or hanging out with the wrong people? In a job that made me miserable? It seemed that whenever I was making or living poor choices, I’d find myself in the bathroom vomiting sometimes four or five times a day.
Finally, after more than a decade of living like this, I began to see the pattern. My behavior was similar to the behavior of an alcoholic who turned to drink. Rather than confront my issue I ignored it through the mind-numbing compulsion that is the disease bulimia.
This I did despite knowing how dangerous anorexia or bulimia can be.
It was during the final and worst romantic relationship of my life that I began to see these patterns. Why was I throwing up again? Wasn’t I suppose to be happy that I was with a nice guy for once? Nice is an adjective far from what he truly was. I think even then I knew the truth, but by then it was too late; I was already on my way down a landslide without any footing. The red flags were there and I didn’t want to see them. The longer I stayed, the more I threw up.
At the height of my vomiting, when our relationship finally began to unravel, we got into an argument over it. It disgusted him, I disgusted him, but even that wasn’t what the fight was about. “You could just stop but you don’t want to!” he shouted.
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 textbook 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.
Read the rest of the article after the jump.
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.
You can read the full article here on The Huffington Post
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.”
Me a loooong time ago!
As a child, I remember being fairly different from everybody else. I was the only kid in school with a tie-dyed backpack– probably the only kid in school who wanted a tie-dye backpack- and believe me, I got made fun of for it. As time went on and I grew up, the fundamental person inside never changed, though I often lost track of who I was. We are all like a jigsaw puzzle; a box full of unique pieces that only together can make up the whole . Often times, we encounter the wrong people. Like careless school children they mess with the puzzle, jamming the pieces together, carelessly tossing them around, before throwing them back in the box. Over time, pieces end up missing. First only a few pieces are gone, but the more careless people who we allow to mess with the puzzle, the more pieces disappear. Inevitably, if you have absolutely no discretion with your puzzle, you will end up with no pieces and an empty box.
About a month ago, I realized my puzzle was missing some pieces. I, of course was not the one who made the discovery, but a friend pointed it out. Parts of my identity were missing; they’d been stripped away by my last relationship. I didn’t realize I was just a pawn in his game of complacency. I was too innocent or too naive to notice. When my ex told me I was naturally beautiful and didn’t need to wear make-up, I believed him. What a nice compliment, right? Wrong, my friend pointed out it was part of his plan to get no one else to look at me. She had a point. Never before dating him had I dressed so casually. I explained to her why.
For one, he never got dressed up to go out with me. In fact, he might’ve picked his clothes up off the floor for all I know. After a few times of him arriving to pick me up dressed so incredibly down, I began to feel uncomfortable because I was over dressed. I wore beautiful scarves and jewelry, always bright colors, with make-up to match. I began to resent the fact that he didn’t try one bit to impress me, sometimes not even bothering to iron his clothes. So I began dressing casually, jeans, t-shirt, little jewelry, if any. “This isn’t the Hayley I know,” my friend said. “For the last six months, you have been dressing like you just rolled out of bed.” I again disagreed with her and explained why I had little desire to look good for someone who could care less about looking good for me.
When people fall prey to abusive relationships, it is often difficult for them to get out. When they do finally get out of the relationship, they often find themselves repeating this same pattern again and inevitably ending up in another abusive situation. For somone who has never been in this situation, it is difficult to understand why the abuse victim continues to live this way. Usually, the abused party will continue to play the role of the victim in this cycle of abuse until they have their “Tina Turner Moment.”
Ike and Tina Turner had one of the most widely publicized abusive relationships in entertainment history. Through over a decade of marriage, he abused her and other band members. When we think of their relationship, we often think of the physical abuse, the most difficult type of abuse for an abuser to hide as there are immediate physical scars and symptoms, but there was undoubtedly more to it than just physical abuse.
I was once victim to these circumstances. I had grown up with abuse and the pattern naturally took a role in my relationships when I began dating. Each boyfriend became progressively worse than the last. Until I met one guy who was everything the others weren’t. He was nice, polite, and gentle. He loved children and animals. Though this is who he portrayed himself to be, there was something empty about his actions, as if he was acting the role of this nice guy without emotions behind it. That was one of my first impressions of him; that he was pretending to be nice but was really a psychopath. I soon learned why they tell you to always follow your instincts.
My family and friends met and liked him. I confided to a few of them my fear that maybe he was just pretending to be nice and that he was truly a psychopath. Since I have a reputation for being overly cautious, they brushed my statement aside and cited that I was so used to being in bad relationships that I was scared that a nice guy was actually interested in me for once. Regardless of what they said, I still thought I might be right. I wasn’t yet strong enough to break out of this cycle or to listen to my inner voice, and of course, I wanted to buy what they were selling. Everyone wants that nice person to sweep them off their feet, to kiss their tears away, and to (insert other ridiculously overused love cliches here). Anyway, I wanted what everyone wanted: love, and here he was promising literally to be my knight in shining armor. I was incredibly vulnerable as I fell into this trap. I had just been ditched by another guy who I dated briefly, after confiding in him that I had survived rape.