Rihanna has become one of my heroes of late. Eminem has always represented all the guys I’ve ever dated, so it’s fucking brilliant that they decided to do this video together. He’s a great artist. Amazing lyricist. A known abuser and now recovered drug addict. Always the image of a great and loving father. A crazy alter ego that has violent and misogynistic thoughts on every album. On this song Eminem forces Rihanna to sing the role of her victimhood in a way that soon may become more of a verb more than her own name. The archetype of a triumphant and Glamorous Survivor. “Tougher than a lion.. no pain is forever, Yep you know this.” The one we all want to be once the bruises (if there are physical bruises) heal. “She Rihannaed through that situation..” I just heard one of my ex boyfriends’ names being used as a verb by way of another boyfriend I am attempting to ex out…”I Jimmyed that relationship so I could stay at her house another week.” he said. (which means he freeloaded rent and board off of a girl he was dating in exchange for mediocre relationship moments). Ah, the oh so familiar financial abuser that too many “independent women” seem to pair up with. I think Ne-Yo wrote that song for those guys, rather than as a fucking compliment to any women. It was dedicated to all the free loading men that Beyonce and Destiny’s Child in Pay My Bills talk about..
I’m not sure why the boyfriends that I started to get after 22 became tumultuous. (GREEK CHORUS: Because you became a sex worker, LOL! LOL!) I’m not sure why after being single for 9 years did I fall in love with someone who was so similar in both beautiful and fucked up ways as this other first love of mine who was a closet heroin user who i spent 10 months with in the Mission District of San Francisco trying to heal, love and mentor when I was 23. Different illnesses and issues, different people, same manic cycle, similar beautful lies… I hear myself in Rihanna’s voice as she talks so lovingly about Chris Brown and his future. She wants him to just “grow up and learn from this experience.” She still loves him. Love doesn’t go away right away. she says and I know this so well. An abuser is often the adult victim of child abuse or assault and the other partner often feels sorry for that little boy inside the man that lashes out at her while she tries to mother him. Repeating the cycle of the abuse between the childs parents and the tension between the abused mother and son.
I wasn’t beat up and left in a car before I was supposed to attend the Grammy’s but I’ve been deeply entrenched in other forms of relationship violence almost all of the relationships that I’ve had for the last 10 years. I would throw ‘benign’ objects (like a bag of fast food, a large soda; separate occasions) at one of my ex boyfriends to get his attention and wipe the stupid blank look off his face when I told him to get a job and pay some rent, for instance. I’ve had another someone I was in love with threaten by text message to do a drive by on my house and set my kar on fire…I told him if he was going to do that he should be the one to pull the trigger [so I could look in his eyes while I died for “love.”] but I knew it wasn’t a serious threat, it was a twisted thought from a very lost person.
I never thought he would do it, but the fact that I have, like Rihanna heard what it sounds like when this person that you think that you are in love with tells you that they are going to kill you [if you stop loving them].
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I was the one who demanded that Jimmy and I go to counseling together but soon realized that because I was the one instigated physical violence, I was therefore the ‘abuser’ and they wouldn’t see us together as a couple while ‘physical abuse’ was occurring in the relationship. So I quickly learned to control my physical reactions and started to use my voice and just scream my frustrations at him, which did not come out as words but aimed to be a vocal assault of some sort to get him to stop his behavior and see that I was becoming enraged. One time I remember gesturing punches towards his face that were controlled enough to not touch his face but show that I wanted to physically assault him because I was so angry. Things got better over time. We learned how to work better with each other. But I was unhappy for 8 months having this roomate that I didn’t want and couldn’t seem to get rid of before I finally called the cops on him. One day, he decided to get something and he wouldn’t stop calling and knocking on the front door when he arrived uninvited. I was trying to create a new space boundary since he had finally left my house. He had finally packed up his stuff to move out after pleading with him for months to leave. but he was back on a day that we weren’t scheduled to hang out and I didn’t feel like letting him in or answering his phone calls. I have 3 phones and a front door and he was blowing up all of them. In a panic I called 911 and they arrived after almost 40 minutes and 2 calls. I didn’t really feel that he would hurt me, but I had just been pushed to the point of police intervention by this guy after months of warning him that I would do exactly what I ended up doing. I asked his parents for help with the situation and they shook their heads and told me to call the cops and that I allowed this to continue and they couldn’t help him because he was an adult.
I firmly believed that if someone is knocking on your front door and they won’t go away that you have a right to call the police to ask them to go away. “Are you still in a relationship with this guy?” officer 1 asked.
“yes.” I said, “but he is not supposed to be here right now. I want him to leave and he won’t.” I had told him that we would stay together in a relationship but he would agree to move out, and I believed that we really were going to be able to do this.
“We don’t police people’s relationships ma’am.” officer 2 said. “someone has to go to jail nowadays, people’s lives are changed because of these calls.” It was a hard call because it wasn’t exactly a DV related 911 call, but it was. I don’t remember how I finished my conversation with them to close the door, but I remember seeing him in the back of the car in cuffs while they searched his car and crying at the sight of what I had just done. I was on the phone with my therapist while looking out the window. That was the last time I saw him. He didn’t return to my house, nor did he return a suitcase and laptop that I had basically let him use during the duration of our relationship just to add insult to injury. He was pissed I called the cops on him so he decided to keep $600 worth of my stuff.
It all occured when i was brand new to Facebook last year. The open ended “What’s on your mind?” was too much of an open space for me to not pour out what was happening from my desktop to reality. I Facebooked it while it was happening without caring about other people’s triggers or discomfort. “If you call the cops on your man, does that mean the relationship is over?” and someone’s response was,” no because when he gets out its gonna be the best sex you ever had and then some!” it made me laugh. you somehow have to find light with these things, and there’s no one better than the victims themselves to make a joke out of a serious matter. I’m just going to call the abusers the victims too because even punching the drywall beside someone’s face is a sign of your victimhood. It is abusive. It is a sign that you are unable to control your anger. You are a victim of your rage and your demons. Your lust when you end up having that make up sex. Your weaknesses when you go back to them. But I have learned so much with every fight that I have endured, and I can truly say that I can fight stronger and better and not allow myself to retaliate and stoop to the level that would lead us into that raging bullfight that is in the video which ends up in unprotected drunk sex spawning a devil unplanned retarded baby. At some point you learn not to take it there, and for some people, they NEVER LEARN. “If he EVER lays a hand on me,” the high school girl feminist proclaims,”I’M LEAVING.” But may she learn that it is never that clean and easy and more often than not, they DON’T hit you with their hands to cause the most abuse.
Eminem’s recent video truly reveals the complexity of relationship violence from what seems like a young addicts perspective. It is a paradigm I am too familiar with having fallen in love with people with addictions OR who might as well be drug addicts because they act that way anyway without drugs. Yes, we still live in a sexist patriarchal world but the reality of domestic violence has changed since the Battered wife image of the 80’s and 90s that Barbara Walters is still polishing the framework for. Eminem’s video and lyrics reveal that complexity. He has a phone number on his hand that she sees. She gets so raging mad that she SPITS in his face while he holds her down. I realize mostly that in these situation that there is ALWAYS a back and forth. He says something. She says something worse. He does something to spite her. She does something manipulative and vindictive to spite him. Sleeps with a co-worker or best friend. Texting a working girl in front of your girlfriend because you know that they will call back or text to get you into the fight that you secretly ask for. This is how Rihanna and Chris started brawling. Over another woman’s text message. Psychological WARFARE. Another woman’s voice, even if she is no real threat but a created threat by a manipulative and demented lover. This is how the 21 year olds girlfriend found out about me and I about her. I called his phone and she answered. this is how she got my phone number to harass me. Dirty, grimy immature antics made only from the insane minds of people so enraptured in the madness of their own NON LOVE that they can’t stop to think about what they are actually doing. Some of them, who were born and raised in abuse need to be told better.
“You DON’T say those things to someone that you JUST SAID that you LOVE.”
“SPEAK TO ME LIKE SOMEONE YOU LOVE.” (I just saw a book with this title on this topic at the bookstore)
and this really IS a new concept to them. One that they can learn if you can teach them fast enough (and they are willing to learn).
I don’t let lovers or friends make a joke out of me as a regular habit. Hard love and cruel jokes= humiliation to me. I grew up as the youngest child and black sheep and am still treated like a 2nd class citizen in some ways by some of my family so I will not tolerate a relationship where I feel like someone’s little sister. A little humor is healthy, but constant and subtle degradation through mockery, passive agressive comments, passive aggressive jealousy, is NOT healthy for your lovers, partners or children, it adds up and spills over like a symbollic cup of violence disguised as a slow poison like the syrup of sweet Coca Cola.
I love the scene in the Eminem video where the two are sitting in the aftermath of their own destruction bonding on the light energy of their broken and dysfunctional love. I’ve felt that glowing energy between myself and the most beautiful and worst liars that I have ever loved. I believed that our love was the only true thing about the mess we were in. “Love is blind.” Rihanna says.”FUCK LOVE. Look at your situation from the 3rd person and see it for what it really is.” Great advice. Now applying it to your own life is the harder part. Only someone whose experienced a violent love like hers could even understand that love energy can exist and glow even in the ugliest and most brutal relationships sometimes. Everyone else is probably so judgmental. The abusers that I have known (physical, verbal, finnancial, chemical) have all had a magical romantic gift, charming and endearing a promise of a perfect love that lasts for a few days, a few sweet emails, until BOOM. explosion. and it always repeats. The 21 year old that I had blogged about before that was cheating on his girlfriend to have an affair with me was an abuser. I could sense it. I was part of his abuse, I was the other woman, and at first I was laughing about it. She was psycho and irritating and perhaps I have gained such a hard skin about insults via text message because I ignored so many of hers. This 21 year olds cock WAS magical and magnetic though. I do remember the magnetic power I had to turn away from with all my might. This is coming from someone who is totally not dick centered, not entirely attracted to genitalia but I knew a good thing when I felt it. It was quite possibly the best dick I’ve could remember having, but I BROKE LOOSE FROM IT without much damage!
EVERYONE has a QUICK solution to it and an opinion. No one understands but those that are in it that it is a longer process than we would often like it to be, but “just getting up and leaving” is sometimes just not a reality for most of us. Rihanna said she went back 8 or 9 times. The abused and hurt child desperately needs to have the abuser apologize and caress their wounds and tell them that they did not mean to do the things that they did.
What are your boundaries and how long will YOU let someone go before you pull out the stops on your relationship?
Has anyone ever stolen money from you? Spit in your face? Punched a wall beside your head? Crashed or smashed your car? Used a traumatic part of your past as a verbal assault during a fight? threaten to call your probation officer with lies about you? “joked” about cutting off your dick if you cheat?
Snoop Dogg has a song about the manipulation that goes on with the new DV laws called, “First one gets to the phone, the other one’s going to jail..” The urban reality of relationship violence, hip hop, people of color and probation officers is sung about in a humorous way..A LOT of the Black and Brown community is on probation or in jail or prison so this form of institutionalized racism helps to use domestic violence to further tear families and relationships apart. Or does it help to protect the victims by giving them ammunition to shoot back at their abusers?
Eminem’s video reveals well the cycle of violence told through the push and pull and the back and forth of the whole thing. I know for some reason that I am a red hot magnet for men and women with major trauma issues because I have my own and that often leads to the kind of relationships where people have to work out through acting out until they understand how to communicate in all the ways that they lacked as a child. I am better now because I’ve burned in those bedrooms. I think I know how to walk away. I just wonder why no matter how far I walk I seem to keep encountering these classic romantic turned abusive characters that are out of these pop stars music videos. Is it because I am so fucked up and labeled a wreck myself that I just can’t stay away from them, or could it be that relationship violence is more common that those of us that are so judgmental would like to admit. Are YOU guilty?