50 Shades of Emotional Abuse

Truly, I am not understanding the hype generated by this movie (or the books for that matter).
I’m not speaking without knowledge of it at all. I’ve read the books – all three of them.
Borrowed from a friend on the proviso that I not tell anyone else who had loaned them to me (was she ashamed that she was reading them?), I worked my way quickly through all three of them. It wasn’t hard to get through them at a fast pace when I began skipping the pages and pages of sex contained between the covers. I had to wonder at the stamina of Christian Grey. But then I guess when you get off on dominating someone else, it might just give you more energy than that battery operated rabbit on television that keeps going, and going, and going…..
On the whole, I found the books to be poorly written. Apparently they began life as fan fiction and a publisher saw the potential money to be made from publishing them. Although many fan fic writers take the time to hone their skills, apparently there are those who do not.

So why did I keep reading them?
Well duh! To find out what happens in the end of course. It’s part of the human need to know these things I believe.
I wanted to know just how much a young and naive college student can go through in her life and quest to find true love with a man who really is in it only for himself. Of course, books being books ‘they all lived happily ever after’ and this is where the reality of the relationship became a fairy tale. For it is a rare abusive relationship indeed that sees the abuser reform and become the model partner in the end.

I wish itย wasย true. Especially for the hundreds of thousands of women (and men) who are trapped within emotionally abusive marriages and relationships right now. The women, who think that if they just change something about themselves, then everything will be alright.
The women who have their husbands call them when they are visiting friends demanding to know when they are coming home and why aren’t they doing the housework like a proper wife should? And why didn’t they ask him first whether they could leave the house?
Of course, that doesn’t sound at all like Ana (the central character in 50 Shades of Grey at all). I believe that Christian monitored her movements through the laptop he bought her and the tracking device in her phone. And heaven forbid that she should leave the state to visit her mother!
I’m just trying to remember whether Christian told her that she had to choose between him and her family because that is something that many emotionally abusive partners do.

Reading those books was like taking a trip down memory lane and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant trip.
So as I read online the hype surrounding the release of this movie I am astounded at those who are defending this as ‘just a story’ and not abuse at all because it happens between two consenting adults. The sex I can let go. What two people choose to do in the bedroom that they both enjoy is their own affair.
What I do find difficult to deal with is the way in which Christian’s domination spills over into their every day life. He controls what she wears and how she wears her hair. He controls what car she drives. Who her friends are. He tells her what she can and can’t eat (or drink). He lets himself into her home uninvited. He stalks her. He wants to ‘own’ her. And being naive, she believes that she can’t live without him and that this behaviour (even when it makes her uncomfortable) must be as a result of something that she has done.
She bites her lip. It’s something that she has always done. Yet he makes it a punishable offence.
Does that sound like a healthy, loving relationship to you?
I have read that in Christian Grey’s defense, he suffered abuse as a child and this led to his desire to explore the BDSM lifestyle. It’s the tired cliche that the abused become abusers. This isn’t always true and it certainly doesn’t make it right.
(Please note, that I am in no way saying that BDSM is abuse just that the central character uses this as his excuse).

What part of ‘it’s only a movie’ are young and impressionable movie-goers going to understand? Those that model their lives on people such as Kim Kardashian or Kanye West? Those that believe that what they see in movies, or read on the internet is all true?
This movie (and the books), rather than portraying the abuse as something that is not right have glossed over it and coated it with a ‘sex sells’ idealism.
To be honest, the sex in the books became boring after a while and I found myself saying “Not again! Really? In an elevator? Don’t you ever stop?” amongst other things. When you get down to it though, it is the whole concept of sandwiching the abuse between the sex that has lessened its impact and made it appear as if it is all normal.

I’ve read (and heard on the radio) that a true BDSM relationship is entered into willinglyย  by both parties and both are completely aware of what is required (and expected) of each other within the relationship. In 50 Shades, Ana has no idea and falters in signing the contract that she is being pressured to sign. She is inexperienced and naive. She lacks confidence in herself and so is ripe for exploitation and abuse. Many in the BDSM community are angry at the portrayal of this within the books and in the movie as it isn’t a true reflection of their chosen lifestyle.
When a woman (or man) enters into this type of relationship, they do so willing to comply with all that it entails. This is where 50 Shades crosses the line into abuse and masks it with the ‘love story’ and sex in an attempt to make it alright.

Emotional abuse may not leave physical scars but it still leaves scars upon the lives of those it affects.
My hope is that those who read the books and watch the movie, see it for what it is and understand that this is not about a healthy relationship.
I’m not telling you to boycott it. Far be it from me to do that. I am not picketing it or trying to get it stopped. I believe that people should be able to make up their own minds and make informed decisions on what they see.
What I am hoping is that people realise that any form of abuse is ‘not on’ and just because Hollywood dresses it up and puts it in a movie, it still doesn’t make it right.

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60 thoughts on “50 Shades of Emotional Abuse

  1. Beautifully stated! Most of the stuff Hollywood pumps out these days should be pumped into the sewer. In the 1940’s and 50’s, the actors and actresses had class and true style. Frankly, dressing up emotional abuse sounds like the devil at work.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I agree Suzi. I only got part way through the first book until I became completely disgusted with the whole idea of dominance. For me, it was shameful, a turn off to say the least. All my girlfriends believe it was the best book ever written. That saddens me a little that something so abusive can seem we appealing. Kudos to you for taking a difficult topic like this one on. I’ll be getting back to my self help books now….A Return to Love ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hear hear. I’m actually glad I bought them. I know no one else (in person) who read them and I can now make an informed opinion on how utterly awful they are.
    As for the BDSM angle, what is true is that many “normal” un-abused, healthy adults enter into the lifestyle. Equating Christian’s will to beat someone because he was beaten as a child is like equating sex with rape. If he’s doing it for revenge against his mother (which, if I remember right he admits to) then it’s an act of violence … like rape! A BDSM relationship is every bit as loving as one that isn’t. It’s not about revenge.
    Ugh.
    Excellent post, Sue.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m pretty sure it was a friend of the family who abused him Linda because there is a scene in a later book where his mother goes right off when she finds out. But the thing is, he went into that relationship with Ana not looking for love or romance but to punish her for the question she asked about whether he was gay or not.

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  4. Ok. So, I’m probably in the minority here.. but I’ve never read it, nor want to read it. I just don’t get the hype. I should be disgusted by the what i’ve heard about the contents of the book, but it’s not even that. It just sounds like a waste of time to read such trash. And after reading your post, Sue… I’m so glad I didn’t read it. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is poorly written fan fiction that has been converted into a book. I am willing to overlook the many sex scenes in the book but I can’t get past the way he emotionally manipulates a naive young girl.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Many people go by what advertising, mass media and TV suggests. If they scream from everywhere: that’s a must see and best book ever and best movie ever, all that means is that they’re trying to push it hard to make more money out of it.
    As to the subject, it is hard to understand how something that disgusting as emotional abuse and exploitation be can be called a love story and some similar nice descriptions. This society doesn’t care that much about true values, but about cheap sensations which yield high profits. It is sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it is all about how much money that can be made from the books and movie to be honest rather than whether the author is good at her craft. Regardless of whether it is a work of fiction or not, it glorifies an abnormal relationship and makes it appear normal.

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  6. Abuse is abuse whether physical or mental and no matter how you try to dress it up.
    I haven’t read the books or seen the film. I don’t want to. Heck, if there’s a lot of sex in it I probably wouldn’t understand anyway……but if it does glorify the control of one person by another and doesn’t show that the ‘victim’ is naive and being abused then Hollywood has done the world no favours again. Anyone who’s gone through a relationship in any way like this has suffered, and no, the abuser doesn’t suddenly become a good guy.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree David. The abuser doesn’t suddenly reform under the love of the person he is abusing. Sadly there are many women who are in abusive relationships right now that believe that by staying they can love them out of it. Unfortunately a leopard doesn’t change his spots without an awful lot of therapy and self help.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This film and all the positive one sided hype troubles me. I was abused as a child so I am not comfortable watching it, but I cannot imagine how no one seems to care that he is not a loving person. If my daughters went anywhere near him I’d be so upset, not because of the sex, but as you point out, his control of her life.
    I wonder will there eventually be a backlash? I hope so.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t know Tric. I have read both sides of the argument on social media over the past week or so about the movie and the books. I have read comments by men and comments by women. Everyone seems to take something different from it. I am not coming at this from a christian perspective or any other perspective apart from life experience. Sadly, unless someone else has the same life experiences they are not going to agree with what I say.

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  8. As a teacher who’s students are mainly teenagers I find these books scary. Many girls i teach have read them because they are easy to read (simplistic language and grammar structures) and it is sex or promoted as sexy. I worry that what they read is seen as normal for a sexual relationship and then get trapped by boys whose education is coming from porn. It all ends up in a serious downward spiral.

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    1. Yes. That is such a concern that what is being sold in the media today as normal is being eaten up by the younger generation. I’m not criticising those who indulge in BDSM lifestyles if they are adults who know exactly what they are getting into however even the BDSM community has raised concerns about this movie.
      I really am concerned about the future of our youth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have never taken part in bdsm but from what I have read what takes place in the books is not bdsm. I know people who will defend the books but these are adults. It is not seen as right by society to let a young person watch porn, then why was it ok to push these books into the lime light with a movie.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree. I asked my Teen last night about Twilight and she told me that she enjoyed the first book but found the others silly. She did not find it strange in any way that Bella was being manipulated and controlled. She passed it off as “He’s a vampire. He’s different.” When you consider that 50 Shades began life as Twilight fanfic aimed at teens, this is scary.

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  9. Exactly Suz, I never read it because I heard it was a very poor piece of literary whatever!! Or maybe I’m getting too old to be interested in that sort of thing lol. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about but I always thought that people who need so much sexual physical stimulation must be missing something else in their lives? But to each his own.

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    1. Ha ha – too old indeed! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe I’m too old then because I ended up skipping pages and pages of the book to get past the sex scenes. Sadly, the books are about more than the sex though and this is what concerns me.

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    1. It is the whole idea of mixed messages that confuse those who are flocking in droves to read and see it. They take away what they wish from it all but sadly, often it is a distorted view of the world.

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    1. If you were in a past relationship where there was a lot of control and domination then these books may well be a trigger. I found it painful in parts because I wanted to yell at Ana (the main character) “Can’t you see what is happening. Get out girl while you still can”.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there are two schools of thought on it all – those who love it and those who don’t.
      Having taken the time to read the books to see what they hype is all about, I have no desire to see the movie.

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  10. Exactly…just because we CAN, does it mean we SHOULD? I knew someone once in that lifestyle. I wasn’t into it but I couldn’t help but ask what it was all about. WHY could someone be in pain and humiliated? He said it wasn’t about the pain but pleasing the master. It was all about pleasing. Oh okay…whatever lol. Not my idea of pleasing. I’m sure a psychologist could give us a clue as to why on earth that thought process occurs. I must be one of the only ones who hasn’t read these books (or listened in my case). I actually have the audio (got it free from audible.com with my many credits) but I have yet to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I don’t understand those who wish to adopt that lifestyle but then they probably wouldn’t understand mine either. However, those who are in it go into it with a full understanding. My concern with the story of 50 Shades is that this girl is pushed into a lifestyle by a manipulative (yet good looking – so that makes it alright apparently) and controlling man. I’m concerned that impressionable young women may find this normal.

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      1. Every generation more and more are thrown at young people. Some say they “grow up earlier” these days. I think being a parent in today’s world would be challenging. I can’t even imagine it, especially where I live.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Never read the books … and don’t plan to. Here’s another take from a 28 y.o. friend of mine: “So I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about how horrible, abusive, controlling, and manipulative Christian Grey is in 50 Shades. Has anyone else realized the similarities between that relationship and the one in the Twilight books? It’s one thing to have an adult book with these misconceptions of a relationship when it’s being read by people who can (hopefully) separate a book of entertainment from reality, but the Twilight series was even more popular and was being read by young tweens who have no idea what a healthy relationship looks like and use those books as an outline of the perfect guy. Just a heads up, ladies – don’t pick Edward, Jacob, or Christian. Always choose you!”

    So proud!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree Laurie. I had never read the Twilight books because I had heard that they were poorly written. I do believe the Teen owns them but she lost interest in them.
      Interestingly, over the past week I have discovered that 50 Shades was in fact fan fiction from Twilight. Replace Christian Grey with Edward and Ana with Bella (to protect themselves from copyright issues) and there you have it.
      I think what your friend wrote is perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing your review Sue. I didn’t read them and now I will definitely not read them. I don’t need a trip down memory lane either.
    It scares me, that young girls find this story so fascinating. I hope they will find themselves before they end up in such destroying relationships and need professional help to go on with their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve read them too and come up with much the same opinion as you. They were badly written and the sex scenes became boring and formulaic. Like you I read them to see what the hype was about and ended up feeling quite annoyed at the dressing up of emotional abuse. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for many years and one thing it isn’t is love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely agree Marie. Of course (as many of it’s supporters have said) “It’s only a movie/book”. My only concern is that young and impressionable people will believe that this is okay in a relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 50 shades of crap. It is ALL about power and control. Period. People who impose this power on others, who ALSO cannot have a ‘normal’ ( at least some experiences without whips and chains) sexual tryst with their lover, are IMHO weirdos to the core. Abusive creeps who are only about self-gratifying experiences.
    Blechhhh.

    Liked by 1 person

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