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Thread by @heatherturman: "1/The abuse allegations against Chris Hardwick are a major breakthrough for discussions on domestic abuse & what behaviors it entails. I […]" #MeToo

, 38 tweets, 8 min read
1/The abuse allegations against Chris Hardwick are a major breakthrough for discussions on domestic abuse & what behaviors it entails. I spent all of high school in a physically violent & emotionally abusive relationship that I have only just begun to look at as an adult,
2/thanks to the #MeToo movement. When I first got into the relationship, I was only 14 years old. He was my first love (and only male partner I've ever had). The abuse started slow, with controlling behavior. First it was "Don't talk to that guy, he's a loser" then it became
3/"Don't talk to that female friend of yours. She's a loser. I don't want people thinking I'm with a loser." Soon I had alienated all of my friends. My mom and a few other adults expressed concern over my dwindling friendships, but I played it off like we'd just grown apart. Then
4/he came down on the clothes I wore. He would come up behind me at my locker & through gritted teeth would yell at me because my underwear showed a bit when I bent down. He told me I wasn't allowed to wear thongs. "Are you a slut?" he'd say. "No..." "Then don't wear thongs."
5/Then it was everything about the person I was. "You like @madonna? She's a whore. Don't buy her music." When I was 16 I woke up early the day Madonna's American Life album came out & I bought it at Target. When my bf saw it in my car he threw it out the window.
6/I played softball since the 1st grade and was the starting pitcher on my high school team. My bf forbid me from trying out for the team and even threatened to break up with me over it. We got in a huge fight when I went to the tryout and he lifted his hand to hit me...
7/I left and he called me freaking out saying he was sorry, blah blah blah. We didn't know it but we were being recorded on the answering machine & his parents heard me say he was going to hit me. My bf was like "You need to fix this. Come back over & tell them you were joking"
8/Like any abuse victim, he tore me down and built me back up. I had a sick alliance to him, and so I went there and we made up. I did end up playing softball, and one day I was supposed to pick my bf up at work, but the game went into overtime and ended late. I was so nervous.
9/I called him on my old Nokia cell and told him I was on my way. He said not to bother and that we were "over". He lived three blocks away from his job, so I just drove to his house and he was walking across his lawn headed for the door. I parked and ran after him and put my
10/foot in the door to prevent him from closing it. "Please!" I begged. He let me in & held me up against the wall by my throat. The next thing I knew, I came to on the carpeted floor of the next room & I wasn't sure what happened. It took me a few minutes to realize he'd choked
11/me until I'd passed out. In that moment I knew he was a monster. I ran out of the house and went home. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't go back to him. But he of course begged and pleaded until I did. Worse things began to happen and slowly but surely people began
12/to take notice of his behavior. My mom had heard some stories from her friend's kid & she forbade me from seeing him. But I loved him so I still saw him behind her back. He didn't know my mom didn't want us together, and when he found out? He punched me in my right arm over
13/& over from the passenger seat of my car while I was driving. He pulled my hair, screaming "Drive!" while I cried. He punched the same spot, yet the bruise spread up my entire upper arm -- it spread from my elbow to my shoulder & was swollen twice as thick as my left arm.
14/I had to work at my hostess job at a restaurant & when I got dressed, my sweater was baggy on one side and skin tight on the other. We stayed together still... The summer before our senior year of high school is when we finally parted ways. I had found him circling my yard
15/while I was getting ready to have my senior pictures taken. I had had enough & I told him he was crazy and we were done. I got into my car in the garage & opened the garage door, & he'd blocked me in with his red Mustang. He banged on my car window ordering me to open it
16/I cracked the window about an inch, and he forced it down with his angry, adrenaline filled body. I was terrified and crying. He grabbed my keys out of the ignition and bolted into the house. He scoured my bedroom for 'evidence' that I had friends
17/and it was then that I knew I had to call my mom and be honest about it all. I called her crying, and she said she was on her way from work. She called the cops too. My bf emerged from the house with my box of pictures, and he held a photo up to the cops of me and my friend
18/and her boyfriend guzzling from bottles of sparkling grape juice. It was from my birthday and my mom was in the house, and yet he tried to say "look! underage drinking!" Luckily my mom said "That's sparking grape juice, you asshole!" and that day my mom and I went to the
19/courthouse and filed a personal protection order. My bf's parents wanted to protect their son so they got one against me too. "We saw you throw your keys at him once." It was true, I had done that -- in self-defense when I was trying to get away. But I let them do it. It was
20/for the best. My bf called me & begged me to come with him to North Carolina where we could get married at 17. I told him no. When we started our last year of high school, we were seated next to each other in a classroom that was seated by last name (ours were close). We both
21/had PPO's against each other and the school officer even knew it, yet we were sitting right next to each other. Every day he would share with me details of all the girls he was sleeping with until I sobbed. We watched movies in the school theatre once & he pulled my hair
22/down & told me to suck his dick. I punched my fist upward and struck him in the nose. It was swollen & his new girlfriend called to tell me what a bitch I was for ruining his nose. So even when we weren't together, I was still being subject to his abuse. I made a decision
23/to move to Los Angeles immediately upon graduation. People always ask how my family felt about it, and they were in support because they all wanted me far away from him. For the first two years in LA, I spoke with him often. He managed still to control
24/me. But the new environment and the supportive friends I found saved me. The distance saved me. The independence saved me. I'm proud to say now that I haven't spoken to him in several years. People who know me well have a hard time wrapping their minds around my submissive,
25/weak behavior. But that's the thing, it can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter how intelligent, how self-sufficient, how strong... You can be broken down if you don't have a support system. I fell for this boy when I was weak. My dad had a drug problem & my parents were
26/often MIA. I'm grateful to my mom who helped me get out of the relationship, but truth be told she wasn't there at the beginning. And the relationship we had wasn't openly communicative. We weren't close. This boy made me feel heard, he made me feel seen. His father had
27/a drinking problem and so he used that as a source of connection for us. He understood me. And thus I pledged my allegiance to him without even realizing it.
28/I share these details because I desire to shed light on the fact that abuse can happen at any age. From 14-18 I lived it. During what many would argue were my most formative years. We must stop the shame that comes with this kind of abuse. "Why didn't you tell someone?"
29/"Why didn't you break up with him?" "Why YOU YOU YOU..." That is why. I felt shame admitting that the rumors were true. I didn't feel safe.
30/I felt like he was right about it all. I didn't deserve love. I wasn't worthy of love.
31/Furthermore, his parents enabled the abuse. They knew about it, and they chose to protect their son rather than ensure their son got help. He once stabbed me under the table with a fork while at Olive Garden with his family. It was literally happening right under their nose.
32/So when people like @skydart share their stories about high profile men, we must respond with support. We can't enable the behavior because we see ourselves in Chris Hardwick (as nerds) and want to protect the illusion. We must know even our idols are capable. Even WE
33/are capable of acting in fear of losing the love we don't feel worthy of, and thus we are capable of enacting controlling behavior. We are all capable of being enablers of that behavior. We are all capable of being victims of that behavior. The only difference between those
34/three persons (abuser, victim, enabler) and those who rise above it, is awareness. Awareness that this happens every day. Awareness that it happens to all people from all walks of life. Awareness that we all are responsible for allowing it to continue in one way or another.
35/Finally, awareness that in the depths of our hearts, we are ALL afraid that we aren't worthy of love. That is the human condition. And so we must remind each other that we are worthy by taking actions that demonstrate love, and being vulnerable enough to do so.
36/@skydart story was an act of self-love. She is worthy of love, and I am grateful she has the awareness now to see it. I am grateful I have the awareness now to know I, too, am worthy. I am in the most loving relationship I've ever been in, and in those moments when I get
37/afraid that I may lose the love of my life, I take a breath and think "Well okay. I'd better cherish it and give love today so I don't regret it later." Let's teach young people this type of thinking. Let's teach them loss. Let's teach them death...
38/Let's teach them that they are worthy of love, and conditions aren't love. Controlling behaviors are rules, which are conditions, and love is not conditional. Lastly, let's make sure the young people in our lives know they're safe to admit to feeling unsafe. That is all <3
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