**UPDATE: I’d like to clarify something. I’m not ignorant enough to write a post on a book that I haven’t even attempted to read. Take a look at what I said below. I said I’ve not FULLY read the books. I made it most of the way through the first one. That was enough for me so I chose not to read the others. Please give me credit for not being a complete moron. I do have some wits about me.
Dear You Who Fantasize about Christian Grey,
What I am about to write isn’t easy for me. Actually, it’s a topic that I feel is better left in my past and until now I’ve been okay with doing just that. I purposely don’t reveal too much about my past on this blog because for the most part, those memories still haven’t been dealt with. Dealing with them would destroy me, so instead, I simply lock them away. Recently though, since a certain movie is about to hit theaters, it seems that my social media feeds are flooded with people…even teens as young as 13 who are all about the books and movies, all about Christian Grey, all about what they think it would be like, so for this short moment in time, I’m unlocking a few of those memories to share with you. Unfortunately, the books may be the only peek into that sub-culture that a lot of people get and that’s not okay with me.
I will also admit that I haven’t fully read the books…and I won’t be going to see the movie. The books for me, triggered memories that I had buried long ago and the movie? I’m pretty certain would be even worse. Just a quick side note: this post isn’t safe for children and it will be long. 2900 words long. I’m not going to do a lot of language censoring here so you may find yourself reading words that I normally wouldn’t use on the blog. Please trust when I say that it is necessary to really set the tone. If you can’t handle yourself with respect and as an adult? Move on.
I lived a very sheltered life growing up for the most part. Yes, I had my issues as a teenager, but even then I was still very sheltered. When I met my ex-husband, I had no idea what BDSM was. Literally none. I had never even heard some of the terms he was using in conversation in a sexual or relationship context. Words like master and slave, punishment, obey…and I had no idea what I was in for. I moved 800 miles from home to be with him. It wasn’t until 3 years later that I finally came to my senses. When I moved in with him, I wasn’t scared and thought I had no reason to be. This was a man who loved me after all, right? He’d never injure or hurt me, right? Sure I was treading new water, but I truly had no fear of him. I look back now and realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It started innocently in the truck on the way to his house. I stretched out across the seat to sleep and he placed his hand over my throat. I woke up when I felt a slight squeeze. It was then that I had my first “second thought” and wondered what I had gotten myself into. At that point though, I was broke and almost 600 miles away from anything and anyone I knew, on a major interstate, so I was essentially stuck. Then, I was no longer allowed to call him by his name…being made instead to call him something entirely different that stood for “Master *insert his name here*” and with having to ask permission for anything I wanted to do…even something as simple as getting a drink. Next came the rules and then? The first time he forced me. See what I did there? To this day, almost 5 years later, I still can’t call it what it was. You can figure it out on your own and once you do, please understand that it wasn’t the only time it happened. No means no, even if a woman is living with you or married to you. Then he introduced the the chains at night. You read that right. I slept with one wrist chained to the bed frame at night. Thank God that we never had a fire, because I truly believe that he would have left me chained there. The first time he hit me, flat out hit me, no sex or foreplay involved, was on the front porch of our home in front of God and everyone…including his teenage sons. It was a punishment because I had gotten upset (as in really upset) that he had spent $80.00 of our weekly grocery money on something frivolous.
The house rules were simple: There was God’s law, man’s law and his law. I was to follow his law as long as it didn’t break God’s or Man’s. In other words? I had zero say in anything. I couldn’t wear what I wanted to…he would only allow me to wear skirts and dresses, no panties. Why no panties? Because I had to “be ready for him whenever he decided he wanted me.” I couldn’t eat what I wanted to…or even decide for myself how much I would eat. He chose that for me. I can remember gagging down bean and bacon soup one day because I had been told that I had to eat it and would “displease him” if I didn’t. I hate beans. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without his permission. I couldn’t leave the room without his permission. At times, he talked about making me wear what are called slave bells on my ankles so that he would always know where I was in the house.
The only thing, oddly enough that I was allowed to do on my own…was vote and considering that only happened once in the time I was married to him? It wasn’t that big of a win for me. If I went anywhere alone, I had to be on his time getting back. If I didn’t, if I was even a few minutes late, I was punished. Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you that I don’t run on real time…I run on Stacy time and yes, I was punished for being late…a lot.
As our relationship lasted longer, the equipment he felt the need to have got worse. Headgear that would open my mouth far past what it was ever meant to, instruments that would bruise my skin and even tear it open depending on how hard he had hit me with it, industrial chains and more. To this day, my jaw still pops in and out of place randomly and I still can’t even look at a regular cable zip tie without almost hyperventilating.
Even things that were never meant to be used in an abusive manner were.He had a Smith rack (a very large weight machine for those that don’t know). I remember being bent over that bar and chained to the bottom weight more times than I can count. I also remember the final time he did that…when I couldn’t breathe because he had chained me so tight and fought so hard I broke the chain. I feed myself from the chain, but also got a black eye and 3 broken teeth (now pulled) in exchange for breaking it.
The basement was also a favorite tool of his. He would chain me to one of the support pillars, strip me naked, leave me there and only return when he felt the need to beat me with whatever implement he happened to have in his hand or just make me sit naked in the cold and dark for hours until he felt I had been punished long enough.
His anger got worse as time went on. In the 3 years we were together, he threw a chair threw a dining room window, smashed a flat screen tv and took a hammer to a desktop computer just to cement that I needed to fear him and that’s just what I remember off of the top of my head. He would get mad while driving, speed up and threaten to crash the van. He would tell me what a horrible mother I was, how my daughter would be better off without me, how the entire world would be better off if I was dead. I was a “stupid bitch,” “nothing but a c*m receptacle,” a “dirty w*ore” and more. He convinced me that everyone around me believed what he was telling me too. He drove my friends away…and kept me at arms length from my family.
Even after all of that and more…I stayed. He won. He had convinced me that I needed him. He had separated me from the only people I knew I could run to (my family and friends). The I couldn’t make it on my own. That I was worthless without him. It really was the literal definition of brainwashing. The humiliation that he did, things like making me wear a necklace that read “slut” in public, pissing on me as a punishment, making me kneel naked on grains of rice for hours, slapping me in front of his sons, tracking my weight and making me crawl around the house wearing a cow mask while moo’ing if I gained even 1lb over what he wanted and more, all made me believe that he was right. In my mind, at the time, I really was worthless and really was incapable of being on my own…and I truly believed that I was his property. I lied for him. I covered it up, looking important people in our lives, directly in the eye and lying right to them. I’d tell them everything was fine, smile and move on.
It wasn’t fine and neither was I. I felt lower than anyone should ever feel…so low that I no longer felt human. It was then that I started drinking again. Hiding the vodka in places that he wouldn’t think to check…sneaking shots (or double shots depending on how bad the day was) from the time I got up until the time I had to go to bed. The booze made it all easier to deal with. Yes, it changed my attitude but it made the pain easier to handle. It numbed what I was feeling inside and yes, there was relief that came with that. I didn’t feel sub-human anymore…I didn’t feel anything actually.
I wish I could say that was all that happened, but in truth? It wasn’t and the stuff I’ve left out, I won’t touch. Those memories are buried far too deep for me to even access anymore and they will stay there. I can’t afford, both literally and figuratively to bring them to the surface. I’ve come far too far since then to risk the damage that bringing them to light would do, but to make a very long story short, finally, I left. I didn’t stay gone though. I had been convinced that I needed him to survive. I had gotten completely away from him but was so convinced that I needed him to survive that I actually packed up and took a Greyhound back to him. I’m actually really grateful that he wouldn’t let me move back in. It may have landed me in a homeless shelter, but truth is? I needed that shelter. I needed to be forced to pick up the pieces. I needed to see that I really could stand on my own and that even though he thought otherwise? I am a damn good mother.
I tell you all of this not to make you feel sorry for me. Please don’t. I stayed. I don’t view any of what happened as being my fault except for that one thing. I stayed. Yes, I realize that my mind had been twisted. Yes I realize that I wasn’t okay. For me personally though, none of that matters. I stayed. Every bit of it helped shape me into who I am today…and I’m generally okay with who I am today.
The thing is though?
All of it? Everything I went through?
THAT is the Christian Grey that you fantasize so much about.
These books and the movie…they aren’t about love. They aren’t about sexual satisfaction. They are about abuse. Plain and simple. Christian Grey isn’t some loving authority figure who is going to lightly smack your hand when you steal a cookie from the cookie jar. The Christian Grey’s of the world are going to knock your teeth out, black your eye and tell you that you’d be better off dead just because they can…or because you did or said something they didn’t like.
- They’re going to leave lasting scars that will never heal.
- They will always have a mental hold over you that no matter how hard you try, you can’t get free of.
- They will damage you in ways that you never thought possible and leave you crying in the corner when they’re done with you.
- They don’t love you…simply because you’re not human to them. You’re nothing more than a possession…a pet..or as someone once said to me, “You’re nothing more than a piece of meat to him,” and that really is all I was. All of the abuse above and all of the stuff I still won’t talk about? It turned him on. It was sexually gratifying for him.
- They have the capability and eventually will, kill you.
- and even after the the relationship is over, they will continue to haunt you at night, try to ruin you with the people you love and put all of the blame on you. They will never accept responsibility for what they do or have done and instead will attempt to find excuses to explain it all away.
- The will never change…because to change they’d have to admit there was a problem.
With all of that being said, I’m sure that there are people who live that lifestyle without the abuse. I’m also pretty convinced at this point that those people are few and far between. I have multiple friends who either actively live it or did at one point and of the group, I can only think of ONE couple who aren’t actually in an abusive relationship…possibly two. Out of the 20 or so couples I’m thinking of? That’s a pretty low statistic.
It has been almost 5 years since I left. In that time, I’ve started my own business, cemented a future for my family and yes, I’ve re-married. It took years for me to trust a man fully again. I still struggle, on a daily basis, with healing. There are things that I still have issues with or struggle with that are left over from my own personal Christian Grey. Thankfully, my Tom is patient with me with me and willing to help me through it all. He is, by far, the second best thing to ever happen to me and I will forever be grateful that he came into my life, even if he doesn’t believe that.
- I still have nightmares and wake up panicked and crying. Tom simply rolls over and holds me until I fall back to sleep while I beg for it to be daylight and just hold on to him when he can’t magically make it go “poof! Daytime!.” I actually can’t fall asleep without him beside me and on nights when he’s out of town, I don’t sleep. He chases the monsters away and beats back the things that go bump in the night. He calmly manages the situation when I am triggered by something that most people wouldn’t think twice about. Like banning all zip ties from the house because the one time he brought some home (to organize electrical cords with), I ended up bawling in the corner. He loves me and he keeps me safe and for me? Those are the 2 most important things in our relationship.
- I still struggle with success and the thought process that I am not good enough for it. I still flinch when someone around me moves too quickly.
- I still can’t wear a necklace or anything really on my neck.
- I can’t go into an unfinished basement without panicking.
- I still shy away from an angry person. Tom tends to deal with people in our lives if they’re upset.
I’m not going to urge you not to see the movie. I’m not going to say to not read the books. While I don’t think the books should have ever been published or the movie made, you’re all adults and can make your own decisions. So I’m just going to end this by saying this:
If you are in an abusive relationship, don’t stay. Don’t wait until it really is too late…until you (or God forbid) your kids are hurt or worse. I know you may feel, but please trust me when I say that you can make it and you will survive without him. If you need immediate help, please call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They have advocates that can help you in 170 languages and all calls are kept confidential. Use a neighbors phone if you need or pick up a cheap prepaid phone if you can risk it.
If by chance, you’ve decided not to see the movie? Consider taking the $10 or so that you would have spent on your ticket and donating it to your local women’s shelter. I know they’d be grateful to receive it. If you don’t have a local shelter, you can donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline on their website HERE.
One last thing: I realize there is a chance that some who read this will actually know the man I’ve talked about it this post. Some of you may actually be friends with him. I ask that you make your own decisions regarding him. Even after it all, I still don’t think he’s a bad person per se’…just really, REALLY screwed up.
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