I saw someone- a peer of mine- post the following on a women’s business networking forum on Facebook:
“Have you ever had a boyfriend or Significant Other that didn’t support your goals? How did you deal?
Expanded: My goal is to be a working artist after college. One reason why I’m majoring in marketing in college is a lot of artists are bad at promoting themselves hence the starving artist stereotype.
Whenever I draw or paint, my bf tells me my pieces are “pathetic” and there’s no legitimate feedback at all. I told my bf I want to start a YouTube or Periscope and do artsy things on them…
But he said that no one will watch and that I’ll be a “whore” if I make online videos. I don’t even know where the whore thing comes in. I don’t do anything whore-like at all. It was soul-crushing when he told me this. 🙁
Please advise accordingly!”
I took a deep breath. It was immediately apparent to me that this young lady was at the mercy of an emotionally and verbally abusive partner. I somehow doubted she realised the seriousness of her situation. As if the lack of support for her creative will wasn’t bad enough(coming from a significant other), the word “whore” stuck out like dog’s balls to me as a huge red flag.
I immediately felt like I knew that girl because I was her one day. I mean, her experience is the kind of thing I unwittingly tolerated in my early twenties.That was until I wised up to the world and the fact that I deserved better. I felt for her today… I felt her heartbreak, but I hope my message to her only conveyed strength.
Immediately after she hit post on that message some two hundred women commented their advice for her. Most of that advice (as one could imagine) were colourful versions of leave that douchebag’s sorry behind, now.
Fortunately after hearing it from the masses the young lady at the centre of the storm concurred that it was the only viable solution to her woes. So clutching the support of a couple of hundred women she had never met,this young lady pledged a break-up was on the cards. This is a decision I hope she follows through with after obviously needing a sounding board to validate her choice.
This predicament reminded of a blog I wrote for The Huffington Post – Actually It’s Not Me, It’s You!
In that piece I talked about how, “For a period of years in my early-to-mid-twenties, verbal and emotional torment came with each and every relationship I entered. Back in those days, if there was a cutie at the bar that came with a slightly less obvious touch of mongrel/arsehole, I was sure to stumble over them.”
I spoke of how, “The only commonality I could come up with about those I was involved with was little old lonely and unsuspecting me. This basically meant that after some time, having been witness to a pattern emerging where I was the only common denominator, I naturally blamed myself. You want to know something? Today’s me says- F**k that!”
I’m not for one minute claiming perfection and in hindsight; I may just have been a little too keen to find love. But I blame my gaggle of former ‘lovers’ for the train wreck of low self-worth I felt in my early-to-mid-twenties.
Facebook was not really on my radar back then… but had it been I can imagine I would have taken to it for advice as well, because in the digital age that is exactly what happens when you are lonely and desperate for someone to listen. In this day and age I actually find it infuriating that people still exist in this world that literally set out to break another person’s spirit- as if life isn’t already hard enough. These cretins are like broken-down-old-zombies and their energy is contagiously crushing and soul destroying.
Now, I can’t go back in time and chat to my 20-year-old-self and call “bullshit” on those people who told me I was unlovable and unworthy. I can’t go back all those years, and shake myself until I would emerge from the coma of misery my former lovers created. But maybe… just maybe through my words I can reach out to my peer in this predicament, because clearly I’m not the only one to have experienced this faux type of ‘tough love’. This girl and I were at different stages, but both of us were scapegoats at the hands of the textbook style – emotionally abusive.
I now know (and one day this young lady will hopefully soon realise) that while we second guessed every single thing about ourselves, it was actually them. They were the sh**ty ones and the broken ones, who wanted to break us to break us and bring us down to their level. It’s pretty tragic really.
I sent the girl my Huffington Post piece with a message to the effect of “Be strong, be brave, put those big girl pants on and show him the door.” I wanted my peer to mark these words: When you’re in a toxic relationship it has nothing to do with how ugly, unlovable and unreasonable you are. Or in her case how “pathetic, untalented and whore-like” she is.
I know this now and she will hopefully soon realise this too. It has everything to do with the perpetrators who choose to emotionally abuse you only to trap you again, like the bloody rock-spider that they are. I have witnessed this pattern first hand, second hand and third hand, time and again.
To that young lady –my peer- I offered these words in conclusion (words which I only hope she believes): The right one is out there for you. They will eventually treat you like the princess that you bloody well are! Go ahead and make your art and find your happy ending because it’s out there for you. You must believe it, and never settle for the easy option of Mr or Mrs Wrong. It never was me who was faulty, defective or unlovable, and it’s certainly not you.