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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 and are all being misled. So, for this short moment in time, I’m unlocking a few of those memories to share with you because if not, those books and movies may be the only peek into that particular subculture that most will even have and that isn’t 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(s). The books for me, triggered memories that I had buried long ago and the movie? I’m pretty certain would be even worse. I did make it almost entirely through the first book. After a solid week of nightmares, I chose not to read the rest or to see the movies.
Just a quick side note: this post isn’t safe for children. 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 of him and honestly believed that I had no reason to be. This was a man who loved me, right? He’d never injure or hurt me, right? Sure I was treading new water, but I truly had no fear of him. Looking back now, I 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 on my neck. 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 and on a major interstate at night so I was essentially stuck. Then, I was no longer allowed to call him by his name. Instead, I was made to call him something entirely different that stood for “Master *insert his name here*.” Then I had to ask permission for anything I wanted to do; even something as simple as getting a drink or going to the bathroom. Next came the rules which I’ll explain below 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 and that there was more than one part of my body that he enjoyed forcing.
Next 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 with 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 that he had spent $80.00 of our weekly grocery money on something frivolous for his bicycle. He rode a lot and a $80 basket that ended up broken a week later was not worth losing that grocery money. No amount of storage on a bike is worth taking food out of your family’s mouth. I hid in the closet after. His brother – a good man – had to talk me out of the closet. His brother never knew anything but I have often wondered if he would have even believed me if he had.
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 and he would only allow me to wear skirts and dresses with 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 haven’t eaten them since I left.
I wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without his permission. Actually, I couldn’t leave the room at all without his permission. I was almost always never without him by my side. 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 for those rare moments when I wasn’t in the same room as him.
On the extremely rare chance that I went somewhere alone, I had to be on his time getting back. If I didn’t get back on time – 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. His punishments could include anything from keeping me away from my child, forcing me to perform a sexual act on him or beating me with his crop, whip or fist. One time he made me eat cigarette butts as a punishment and another time he made me put the cigarette out on my tongue.
As our relationship progressed, the equipment he felt the need to use got worse. He brought home 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 look at a regular cable zip tie without almost hyperventilating.
Even things that were never meant to be used in an abusive manner were used as such. He had a Smith rack – a very large weight lifting machine/rack that he liked to use. I remember being bent over that bar and chained to the bottom weight more times than I can count. If I wasn’t bent over it, my hands were tied together and then to the top bar. I’m 5’3″ so I would end up on my tippy toes only to be left there. One of his fantasies that he often threatened me with involved tying me in that tippy toe position and a wooden block. It terrified me and he knew it and used it to keep me in line.
I also remember the final time he put me across the bar. He had chained me by the neck so tightly that I couldn’t breathe and fought. I fought so hard that I broke the chain and “his” collar and went flying backwards. I freed myself from the chain, but I also got a black eye and 3 broken teeth (now pulled) in exchange for breaking the chain and collar.
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. If he wasn’t beating me down there, he would leave me there alone to sit naked in the cold and dark for hours until he felt I had been punished long enough. I can still remember hearing my then three year old daughter asking where I was through the heating vents.
She never saw anything. I am thankful for that at least.
His anger got worse as time went on. In the 3 years we were together, he threw a chair through 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. 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 arm’s length from my family.
Then there were the moments when I needed to prove that I loved him. I have two circular scars – one on each breast – from one of the more memorable of those moments. To him, providing my love meant putting a cigarette out on each breast. I did it simply because not doing it would have resulted in worse.
Even after all of that, I stayed. He had 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). He had convinced me that I couldn’t make it on my own and that I was worthless without him. It really was the literal definition of brainwashing. The humiliation that he liked to inflict – 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 mooing if I gained even 1 lb over what he wanted and more – all convinced me 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. People did ask. I would tell them everything was fine, smile and change the direction of the conversation.
It wasn’t fine and neither was I. I felt lower than anyone should ever feel. Have you ever been so depressed that you no longer felt human? I have. 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. It changed my attitude though which only got me into more trouble. It made me angry. It made me bitter. It made me mean. My daughter still refers to me during that time period as “Monster Mom.” It changed me, but it made the pain easier to handle. It numbed what I was feeling inside and 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. The stuff that I have 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’ have come far too far and have worked too hard since leaving to risk the damage that bringing them to light would do, but to make a very long story short, I finally left.
I didn’t stay gone though. I told you that he had won and he had. I had been convinced that I needed him to survive so even though I had gotten completely away from him, I actually packed up and took a Greyhound back to him because I was so convinced that I needed him to survive. I’m actually grateful that he wouldn’t let me move back in. It may have landed me in a homeless shelter, but truth is that II 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. With that said though, 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 aren’t about love. They aren’t about sexual pleasure.
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. They can’t. 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.” That really is all I was. All of the abuse above and all of the stuff I still won’t talk about turned him on. It was sexually gratifying for him to hurt me.
- 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. To this day, if you ask his friends and family, I am still 100% to blame for everything that happened while we were together.
- 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 type of 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. Out of the 20 or so couples I’m thinking of is 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, but even so, 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.
I will struggle for the rest of my life because at my core, because of the damage, I am still broken.
- 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 someone beside me and on nights when I am alone; I don’t sleep. I need someone there to chase the monsters away and beats back the things that go bump in the night.
- I still struggle with success and the thought process that I am not good enough for it. I still hear those words – “worthless,” “better off dead,” – echoing in the recesses of my mind.
- I still flinch or duck and cover when someone around me moves too quickly.
- I still can’t tolerate someone standing behind me.
- I still can’t wear a necklace or anything on my neck.
- I can’t go into an unfinished basement without panicking.
- I still shy away from an angry person. My husband tends to deal with people in our lives if they’re upset because I instantly go into hide mode.
- I hide who I really am from the people around me because allowing them to see the”real” me increases the chances that I will be hurt again. Yes. It is utterly exhausting being two “different” people all of the time.
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. This post has been incredibly taxing on my mind and honestly I need to go be in a quiet place for a while so I’m simply 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. Don’t let fear keep you there until you or God forbid your kids are hurt or worse. I know you may feel that you can’t, 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.
And if by chance after reading this post, 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, but that you know this. Yes, he is mentally ill, but he is also incredibly talented at pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Mental illness is never an excuse to do to someone what he did to me.
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