We learn to differentiate between healthy and controlling, toxic, behavior.
[TW: ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE]
“I used to date a psychopath and I was planning on getting a spray tan for prom and it turned into a whole ass argument about how me wanting a spray tan = me wanting to cheat on him,” she wrote, “and that’s the story of why I look pale as f—k in all my prom photos.”
I used to date a psychopath and I was planning on getting a spray tan for prom and it turned into a whole ass argument about how me wanting a spray tan = me wanting to cheat on him and that’s the story of why I look pale as fuck in all my prom photos
— Alyssa Schoener (@alyssa_schoener) March 17, 2019
Alyssa’s tweet racked up over 126,000 likes, 5,000 retweets, and 500 comments from women who had also found themselves in controlling relationships.
Many of these women’s stories shared behaviors that the National Domestic Violence Hotline would call “toxic” and “abusive.”
Abuse isn’t always physical. Partners who “insult, demean or embarrass you with put-downs,” or “control what you do, who you talk to or where you go” are abusive partners.
A disconcerting amount of women in Alyssa’s replies had exes who forbade them from going to the gym, wearing makeup or any sort of “revealing” clothing, or hanging out with their friends and loved ones.
One man called his girlfriend a “cheater” and a “liar” for going to he OBGYN.
Unsurprisingly, some of the men who were worried about their girlfriends cheating were, in fact, cheating themselves.
Luckily, many of the women in the replies presumably had a healthy support system and were able to dismantle their toxic relationships.
But it’s vital to remember that many victims of abuse are unable to leave.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “people who have never been abused often wonder why a person wouldn’t just leave an abusive relationship. They don’t understand that leaving can be more complicated than it seems.”
In fact, the NDVH notes that “leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse is about power and control. When a victim leaves, they are taking control and threatening the abusive partner’s power, which could cause the abusive partner to retaliate in very destructive ways.”
So to tell an abuse victim to “just leave” is simplifying the situation grossly.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.