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Monday, November 19, 2012

'Manda's Musings- Real Life Twilight--My experience in an abusive relationship

**Quick note. I am taking a break from my "Positive Energy" Blog Experience--not because it was too much for me or anything, but because I planned it so inefficiently over NaNoWriMo and baby, writing 50k words is no small feat**

*Secondary quick note--This is in no way intended as a cry out for help or a pity fest--Merely to explain a situation-and to serve as a warning that this CAN and DOES happen to ANYONE* 

Now, those things being said, let's get on with this. 

I am not a TWIHARD... but I did enjoy the books (as bad as her actual writing abilities are Stephenie Meyer is excellent at character development and cliff hangers... which make for a very addictive read), and I really loved the last movie... and have seen all the movies. When I first started the books, I was with John. It was not hard for me to make distinct correlations between my relationship with him and Bella's relationship with Edward. I thought, though, that was just the typical behaviors of a book--trying to make the characters relateable.

Enter: Ben. Someone with a good head on his shoulders, who has never even been witness to abuse in a relationship. I realized, quickly, when with him (although it took repeated experiences) that what I had been through was not normal. 

I suffered PTSD from the relationship I had with John for over a year. I worked VERY hard with a counselor and many other people and services to make it through to the brighter side.

As you know the last Twilight movie was released this last week... and with that dug up old articles and reminders of the unhealthy behaviors exhibited therein. Here is one article I read... beyond just what it said about the movie, I realized even more what it said about my past:

According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, these are some signs that you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

I was being threatened multiple times per day. Even something just as simple as staying late for school resulted in rage I feared on a daily basis.

* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

"Stay away from the werewolves. I love you."

Yes. I was not often allowed to speak with my family. I was not allowed to say "I love you" to anyone else. The list is very long. 
* Make all of the decisions?
Definitely. Convinced me I was unable to balance a checkbook and then lead us down a road of negative bills and credit which cost me personally over 20 thousand dollars to get out of (and I'm still working through it) 

Not to mention--He ordered EVERY meal for me... I remember the week after I left him the VERY FIRST meal I ordered I cried... I couldn't believe how freeing it was to be able to choose for myself again.  

* Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even deny doing it?
"If I wasn't so attracted to you, I wouldn't have to break up with you."
I wish you weren't my soul mate sometimes, Then I could just leave you and be with someone who was less painful to be around.  Also: I just can't stand to be apart from you... your friends should understand that.

* Threaten to commit suicide?

"I just can't live without you. In fact, I'll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you."
5 times, to be exact.
* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.
This one is a bit harsh-he only ever threatened to LEAVE or HURT me, never to kill me... Threatened to kill people I cared about. 
These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.
Has your partner...

* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn't have time for anyone else!
Touched on this earlier... I was not allowed to spend time with any of my friends, alone, for any extraordinary period of time. 
* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
In the time that I was with him: Broke my phone (Hated that I was texting and threw it across a room), Punched walls, pillows and doors, as well as shattered the windshield of our car with his fist... 
* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?

Pushed-Often... Several times. Almost punched me twice. 
* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
"We're breaking up. And I'm leaving you in the forest."
He did not do this--but there was one time I THOUGHT he was going to ... 
* Scared you by driving recklessly.
*nod* yup

* Forced you to leave your home.

She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.
um... I don't remember this happening either... Well... there was that one time I drove ALL THE WAY TO Arkansas alone in the middle of January to go get him... my mom about killed me... 
* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.
* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon... (I know, I know, cheap shot.) **PS I don't appreciate this comment about the Cullens (assuming that is what she means) being Mormon... that's just offensive on so many levels...
YUP... If the house wasn't clean... it was my fault.
* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Check, wolf-boy.
This got so bad that even if I went out for lunch with a female friend I was a lesbian and cheating with them... It was painful trying to abide by the "love no one but me" standard... its no wonder I fight for my right to love anyone and everyone now... 

According to the NDVH, "If you answered ‘yes' to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship." This list is fifteen.

So there you have it... My relationship with John in a very boxy nutshell... 

I will try, forever probably, to be sure to talk about this with everyone I know. Not because I think it is something to be proud of or because I want sympathy, but because knowledge IS POWER. No woman or man should have to be in a relationship like this one, and popular culture like the Twilight Saga are exactly what continues to perpetuate this. 

Like I said-I am just as guilty as anyone else-I support the brand of Twilight by reading the books and watching the movies. But, I think by recognizing how real the abuse and manipulation are in the series, the more freedom we will have from situations like this one. 

I am hopeful for a brighter future. In my 20s I have been in an abusive relationship, cut ties with almost all friends and family, realized I was being abused, left that relationship, reestablished my connections, and started a healthy mature relationship with a different amazing man. By the way, I am only 25... a lot can change if we want it to. 

If you can relate to ANYTHING in that list in your current relationship (or a friendship, or an employment, or with a family member), I plea for you to SEEK HELP!!! Even if it is just sending me an email and working through it that way, or finding a counselor, or speaking to someone from your church or community. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! NEVER accept someone telling you that you are!

SO MUCH LOVE! <3 <3 <3 <3

Manda (My email is

PS HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Spend it with the ones you love! :)