Friday, June 1, 2012

Fifty Signs of Abuse

Okay, not fifty, but here are some signs of abuse:

Is jealous or possessive toward you.

Christian has decided Ana is his because he "took" her virginity. He doesn't like anyone else being in her life.

Tries to control you by being very bossy or demanding.

There isn't a time when Christian isn't trying to be demanding or bossy towards Ana. He tells her when to eat and how to dress, even getting upset if she's wearing too little. He gets upset when her hair is damp after a shower because she could get pneumonia or something.

Tries to isolate you by demanding you cut off social contacts and friendships.

 Jose. That's all I'm saying.

Okay, I'll say a little more. The first week they know each other, Ana goes to meet Christian's parents. She still hasn't signed the contract. Mom asks Ana if she's doing any traveling over the summer, and Ana says she's been thinking about going to visit her mother in Georgia. Christian gets pissed. Like, PISSED. He even tells her it's something he's angry about. This is Ana's mother. Even if it was her best friend from kindergarten, Christian has no reason to be upset with Ana for thinking (not making any plans yet, just thinking) about visiting her mother. He's isolating in other ways, but this was the one that got my blood boiling.

Is violent and / or loses his or her temper quickly.

The times Christian gets angry and petulant are always times that any normal person would be fine. Just like Ana wanting to see her mom. He gets upset over petty things, too, like the eating thing, but also he thinks Ana doesn't sleep enough, the night she drunk dialed him, etc. Any time Ana shows any sign of independence, he gets upset.

Pressures you sexually, demands sexual activities you are not comfortable with.

The book is basically him trying to talk her into being his submissive sex slave.

Abuses drugs or alcohol.

He drinks a lot for a guy who supposedly never gets drunk, but he's actually too controlling to get drunk. It's the opposite side of the coin.

Claims you are responsible for his or her emotional state. (This is a core diagnostic criteria for Codependency.)

Yes. Whenever Ana wants to be herself, he gets upset. He even tells her at one point that if she would just sign the contract to be his sub, then they wouldn't have to argue about anything any more, because she'd just do what he wants to do without question. Basically, her being an autonomous human being is upsetting to him.

Blames you when he or she mistreats you.

See above. He wouldn't be angry or have to spank her for being bad if she'd just do what he says without question.

Has a history of bad relationships.

So far he's had fifteen subs and a cougar who used him as a sub.

Your family and friends have warned you about the person or told you that they are concerned for your safety or emotional well being.

Kate is the only one he can't charm. Naturally, he's not very fond of her. Jose's not too fond of him, but that's because he likes Ana too.

You frequently worry about how he or she will react to things you say or do.

Ana is such a bundle of nerves around Christian that she can't eat half the time she's with him. She also worries about how he's going to take certain things, like the fact that Kate's brother is going to be one of her roommates, or that she wants to hang out with Jose or anything like that. She makes her life revolve around him.

Makes "jokes" that shame, humiliate, demean or embarrass you, weather privately or around family and friends.

No, he's not like that. He jokes about his "twitching palm", but she does too.

Your partner grew up witnessing an abusive parental relationship, and/or was abused as a child.

Yes! Christian was totes abused as a kid.

Your partner "rages" when they feel hurt, shame, fear or loss of control.

See above examples. Christian views any disagreement that Ana has as an argument, and gets angry with her when she's upset with him for the intrusions he makes in her life, particularly with buying her a car because he's decided that hers is unsafe, and buying the company she gets a job with because she turned down his offer of internship. There's also petty stuff, like if he thinks Ana is wearing too little, or eating too little or walking down the street without an escort.

Both parties in abusive relationships may develop or progress in drug or alcohol dependence in a (dysfunctional) attempt to cope with the pain.

They do drink a lot.

You leave and then return to your partner repeatedly, against the advice of your friends, family and loved ones.

So...Ana actually leaves Christian a couple of times, but every time he comes back for her and Kate is the only voice of reason. Mostly because this all happens so quickly (their relationship is seriously a week-long thing) that no one else really sees how much Christian hurts Ana.

You have trouble ending the relationship, even though you know inside it's the right thing to do.

 That's pretty much Ana at the end of the first book.  

Does the person you love...

• constantly keep track of your time?

 Christian is all over Ana about where she is and what she's doing.

• act jealous and possessive?

 When is he not?

• accuse you of being unfaithful or flirting?

 He doesn't necessarily think she's unfaithful or flirting, but he thinks that every man in the world is trying to "steal" her from him (remember, she "belongs" to him because he "took" her virginity) and that the men can't be trusted.

In the second book, Christian gets angry at Ana for hugging Jose, and then later for teasing Christian's bodyguard about something. Ana freaked out about the second one, worried she had gotten Taylor into trouble by teasing him.

• discourage your relationships with friends and family?

 The Georgia thing. He was really upset that she decided to go, and then he showed up in Georgia even though Ana had told him she wanted to be away from him and have time to think.  

• prevent or discourage you from working, interacting with friends or attending school?

 Christian would prefer that Ana didn't work at all, and gets upset any time she makes plans.  

• constantly criticize or belittle you?

 The one good thing about Christian is that he tells Ana she's pretty and smart a lot, and when she's given a promotion at work, he is totally unsurprised and says that he has no doubt her work has realized how valuable she is.  

• control all finances and force you to account for what you spend? (Reasonable cooperative budgeting excepted.)

 He's always pushing money on her and trying to get her to accept his elaborate gifts, and he's only upset when she won't take it. It's the opposite of a controlling spender.

• humiliate you in front of others? (Including "jokes" at your expense.)

 Again, he doesn't do this. It's the only thing on this list he doesn't do.

• destroy or take your personal property or sentimental items?

 Ana had this classic VW Beetle. Christian freaked out that she was driving it and basically forced her to sell it (she had been thinking about selling it, anyway) and then he bought her a new car. It's not so much that he takes them, he tries to replace everything that has meaning to her with something that will make her think of him instead of whatever the other stuff is.  

• have affairs?

 Christian doesn't have affairs, but he's still pretty chummy with "Mrs. Robinson," the woman who seduced him and made him her sub when he was a teenager. Ana has repeatedly told him that she's uncomfortable with his relationship with this woman, and even though he expects her to give up Jose (she won't), he can't see why she's upset about Mrs. Robinson. He also has women who work with him, but apparently he's not out to rape them despite the fact that he's sure men are out to rape Ana.

• threaten to hurt you, your children or pets? Threaten to use a weapon?

 He threatens to spank her pretty much from the beginning, when he went to kidnap her at the bar. 

• push, hit, slap, punch, kick, or bite you or your children?

 They don't have kids. Yet.

• force you to have sex against your will, or demand sexual acts you are uncomfortable with?


 The whole book is about him wanting to do sexual acts with her that she is uncomfortable with. 


  1. The sad (infuriating) thing is, were this list and responses posted elsewhere--with no identifying information to clue in readers--I'd GUARANTEE women would cry out in protest, stage interventions, threaten him with harm, etc etc etc.

    Slap "fiction" and "romance" and "erotica" on the label, and...suddenly, it's A-OK. I don't get it. He's two steps from being a complete monster, and women are swooning in the streets!


    This should be added to the book as a health warning.