(Original post by Miss Trololol)
Yes, domestic abuse is probably the wrong word because we weren't actually living together but it was a very abusive relationship. He would stalk me to and from work, check my phone to see how I've been in contact with, get very jealous of any male friends and essentially control my life and I just let him get away with it.
Anyway, that's not the point. Fifty shades of Grey is an example of a very abusive relationship. It's not the BDSM that is the problem. Consensual BDSM is fine. I'm no prude and I like reading a good bit of smut. Hell, I've got a heap load of Mills & Boons books in my kindle so the sex doesn't bother me. It's all the stuff outside of sex that is so worrying :/
Here's a summary of some of the abusive aspects of the Ana-Christian relationship in the first book. The font in bold what is considered a relationship red flag from the book "How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved" and the extracts are from a blog page "Sweaters For Days and Moves Like Jagger". I've just copied and pasted it since the author sums everything up better than I can and I wanted to share it.
"You feel uncomfortable about something he has said or done, and the feeling remains.
I don't think we need to cite any one particular incident where Ana has been made uncomfortable by Christian Grey. This is prevalent throughout the entire book.
You wish he would go away, you want to cry, and you want to run away from him.
Ana often thinks about how she can "escape" Christian, how she needs to find an exit, how she can't handle being around him because she can't trust herself to think clearly. On at least three encounters with Christian, Ana has ended up as a sobbing mess.
You have the urge to "love him into emotional wellness," if that were possible.
We know that Ana does seem to believe that she can change him, or that he has psychological wounds that need to be healed.
You feel bad about yourself when you are around him
. One of the clearest indicators, to me, anyway, that there is a power imbalance in their relationship is the fact that Ana constantly compares herself - how she looks, how she acts, how she's dressed - to Christian and his very wealthy lifestyle, and she always finds herself lacking. She often wonders why he's interested in her.
You only feel good about yourself when you are with him.
Conversely, Ana doesn't have a nice word to say about herself unless it is confirmed by Christian. When her roommate tells her that she's pretty, Ana interprets it as a patronizing compliment Kate can't possibly mean, but when Christian Grey calls Ana beautiful, she suddenly believes that she is. In fact, the only time she believes anything good about herself is when it's Christian pointing it out.
You feel that he wants too much from you.
I think this one requires very little explanation. Not only does he want more than she wishes to give, he constantly pressures her to give him what he wants.
You are emotionally tired from him; you feel he "sucks the life out of you."
Now, Ana never says, "he sucks the life out of me." But again, even in the first half of Fifty Shades of Grey, she's doing a lot of crying herself to sleep, needing to get away from him because he's too intense, etc.
Your value system and his are very different, and it's problematic.
I have this phrase I trot out from time to time with my friends who are dating: If you have to "work on" the relationship within the first month, it's not going to work out. Sometimes, people are simply incompatible. Ana and Christian have spent most of their relationship with Ana trying to find ways around giving Christian what he wants, and Christian refusing to bend on his expectations. This is not going to clear up in a few more dates.
Your past and his are very different, and the two of you have conflicts over it.
Spoiler alert, Christian is obsessive and controlling about food because he went hungry as a child. And that's just one of the ways their pasts differ in problematic ways. While Ana sees his earlier relationship with a much older woman as statutory rape, Christian believes that it was appropriate and has a continuing friendship with the woman, which makes Ana uncomfortable. Ana doesn't even want the type of relationship Christian is after, they both are aware of this fact, and he continues to pursue her - which is disrespectful and puts even more pressure on Ana.
You feel isolated from other relationships with friends and family.
Ana doesn't just feel isolated, she is isolated, by the nondisclosure agreement Christian asked her to sign. She finds herself living a double life in order to please Christian and still maintain her relationships with her loved ones.
You feel in the wrong because he is always right and goes to great lengths to show you he is right.
This was most obviously displayed in chapter fourteen, where Christian responds to all of Ana's concerns and questions with long explanations that dance around actual answers. This shows that he is extremely condescending and doesn't actually care about her concerns.
You sense he is pushing too quickly for an emotional connection with you.
Okay, this one, Ana wouldn't check off, but I would. From an outside observer standpoint, Christian is running a very good game of "pull her in, push her away," which is forcing an emotional connection with Ana. After having coffee with the guy once, she's on the floor of a parking garage sobbing. This isn't just Ana being emotionally immature, it's Ana being emotionally manipulated by Christian.
You find yourself accepting him "for now" even though you have plenty of red flags that would help you to terminate the relationship if you paid attention to them.
Ana is already aware that what she wants from the relationship and what Christian wants are two vastly different, completely incompatible things, but she commits to the relationship despite knowing it has no hope of a future."
Still think there's no abuse in this relationship? Like I say, the novel romanticizes an abusive relationship. If it was a fictional novel about domestic abuse, showing how easy it is to fall into that trap but Ana eventually manages to pick herself up and move on then I'd say fine, fair enough. It does what it says on tin really. But it isn't. Nothing irks me more than constantly hearing/reading that Fifty Shades is such a romantic story. And it's all very well to claim that "oh, it's just fiction and fantasy" but it really isn't. I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard/read "Christian Grey is soooo hot. I wish I had my own." How many women are going to start thinking that it's okay to be stalked, manipulated and controlled your partner because Christian Grey does and "he's liek so hot!1!"
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