A little while ago, I was asked a question that I really struggled to answer. Usually, any question thrown in my general direction is answered pretty quickly - either with the direct answer, a non-committal answer, or a grunt of manly acknowledgement.
This one, however, had me stumped.
"What subject do you care truly passionate about?"
Now, I take passionate to mean something that really gets you going, gets you up onto your soap box ranting and raving, that causes emotion to truly flare.
But I couldn't think of anything. Like, nothing would come to my mind.
I care about gaming, and I get pissed off when news reports directly or indirectly blame gaming/games/gamers as the cause for violence in the world.
I care about the welfare of my kids, and I get pissed off when I feel they are being treated badly by someone.
I care about my friends, and I get pissed off when my friends need help with something, but I am not in a position to assist them..
And so I went with the "I will think about it" answer - a cop-out, yes I know - and after twenty seconds, I promptly forgot about it.
A few days after that, a series of events unfolded in three different, completely separate ways. Two different, unrelated, non-communicative friends were having issues at home and talking to me about it. The third was a stranger and his partner/girlfriend/wife walking past me in the street.
The "man" was screaming at the woman. Properly full-on screaming at her, effing and blinding and calling her all sorts of harsh names. All because she had left some papers at home that he needed to copy.
The names he was throwing at he, the venomous bile-filled words pissed me off. Coupled with friends struggling in their own relationships - no actual physical violence (not yet) - it hit me with a flash what it is that I feel passionate about...
I HATE BULLIES.
Yes, I used the word hate. And I am sticking with that word.
Now, some of you already know this much, and some of you probably guessed or suspected (because I can be an arse), but most of my school life was filled with bullies. One boy made my life especially miserable, and even today I still remember the things he did to me, the things he had others say to me...
Adults in my life too were bullies, mostly of a mental variety, but some... not so much. Even as I've grown and become an adult, I've seen people abuse others both physically and mentally, and every time, it makes me properly angry.
Now, my friends that are going through this at the moment - and I stress, there is no physical violence, just psychological abuse and mind games - will not be named or given pseudonyms or anything like that.
What is it that drives people to become such bastards? I cannot understand it. you and I, dear reader, are normal, average people.. We deal with things differently, we argue or lose our tempers or whatever, then the mood blows over, and that is that. Other people seem to take pleasure in tormenting and controlling the people in their lives.
What gives anyone the right to tell someone that they are fat, or ugly, or need to change their appearance in some way... What sort of person controls the money in a relationship to the point you have to ask for it? What sort of person uses sex and intimacy as a weapon or means of control in a spiteful manner - I am NOT talking about 50 Shades or people that are into various kinks. Whatever works between two consenting & understanding adults of the right age is cool in my book! What sort of other half installs cameras in the house - not for security purposes, but openly admits to watch the person when she is at home to ensure she is doing her jobs and not entertaining someone. What sort of person cuts off all your ties with your friends and denies you the right to see or speak with them, all for no good reason? What sort of person is full of charm, politeness and light when out in public - playing Happy Families - and then, behind closed doors, revert back to their abusive, controlling asshat-self. What sort of person installs tracking & logging software on the phones or tablets so they know where they are, the speeds they are moving at, what messages or mails or comments are being sent and received.
A COWARD, that's who.
ANY man that treats his wife like an object, that makes her walk behind him, that watches her conversations with others, that talks to her like she is a pile of crap - you sir, are a coward and pathetic waste of air.
You partner should be loved and cherished. It is as simple as that. Regardless of her new haircut, you tell her she looks gorgeous no matter what. Regardless of you not buying her that new dress because you don't like it, you buy it because it makes her happy. If your other half has the only vice of playing online games on her laptop, don't disable the internet so she can't go onlne - buy her limited currency in the game.
It is not often that I get properly angry. I don't do anger very often - mainly, for all the reasons above but in regards to physical violence - but when I do, I get angry. I am not a physical-confrontational type of person, but there are a few people around the world that I would love to pay a visit, and stomp hard on your balls, one at a time. You don't deserve to be considered a man if you think she's a whore because she bought new underwear - because she needed new underwear...
Honestly, this post is taking me days to write, as I have to keep stopping.
I wish to the highest heavens that those affected by such things can find and get help to get themselves and their children away from an abusive, toxic relationship. You might think "I'm OK, I can handle it" but if this is your life, you shouldn't HAVE to handle with it.
Look at it this way - if your child, married and living with her husband - came home to you one day and told you this was their life, what would you do? Would you tolerate such a life for her? Would you accept the mental abuse because she says she can handle it?
Of course you wouldn't.
If this is you, then get help. Ask help from friends, call your local police, ask them for help or guidance or assistance. There are various womens refuge or help charities help you get out from such an awful life...
And please please remember, just because you might think "It's OK that I am treated this way, at least he hasn't hit me" bear in mind that people like this can escalate. What starts as a new law being laid down in the house can become an argument, then a fight, then an injury. Any man... ANY MAN... that thinks striking a woman is a macho, cool thing to do, think again.
It makes them the biggest pussy there is. Big man, starting fights with your already-terrified wife..
It seems to be getting more and more commonplace too... So often I will see a man accusing his other half of being a waste of space or similar. Too often I will be talking to friends online, and find out over time what their home life is really like. More and more people seem to think that as there is no physical violence involved, that it's acceptable.
It isn't. Not even a little bit. If you are making your partner feel unloved, unwanted, unattractive, undesired, scared to do anything or go anywhere, use or withhold sex as a weapon, think you can treat them like a piece of sh!t, you are very much mistaken.
And I hope for the love of everything peaceful, that the shit you do catches up with you. That your actions drive your partner into the arms of another person... A person that will treat them right, with respect, care and devotion... If she wants to go out to a pub or club with her friends, you don't "allow" it or "let" her, you tell her to have a great time and to be safe. No curfew, no rules, no ultimatum. A man that will love every inch of her skin regardless of it being bony or jiggly. That when she says she needs something, you don't give her a set amount of money - you give her your credit card and take her to whatever stores she wants to go into.
No one should deal with this. No one should put up with it. It is wrong.
If you are trapped in such a relationship, please, do everything you can to get out. Don't accept it as the norm - there is a perfect someone out there for you somewhere - don't even put up with it or just take it as life... TALK to someone. TELL them what is going on. ASK for help - no matter how proud you might be, that help might be nothing more than a helpful word or useful advice. Your friends - your real friends - will be the ones that stick by no matter what, won't drop you for whatever self-perceived slight they think has been committed against them. When you are stuck in such a destructive relationship, your words - even mundane stuff talking about the weather - will act like a beacon of hope for the victim.
And you ARE a victim.
If you know or even suspect someone is in this sort of relationship - and PLEASE remember, it can happen to men too - all I ask is that you extend your hand to that person. Be a real, true friend to them. Make them see the world is not like it is behind their closed doors, and that you can be the person they trust to make them feel better and to trust.
If there are children involved - and, invariably, there usually are - then you owe it to THEM to get them free of such a life. One of my friends has a couple of sproglets from a previous marriage, and while the little girl is too young, the little boy IS old enough to see... And for some reason, also becomes a target of the hatred and vile sh!t the arsehole spews forth. Punished for the most minor of reasons. Treated like a little Prince one minute, then like a demon child the next...
If you have children, you need to get away, before the behaviour of one "adult" becomes learnt and considered acceptable by the wee one.
I like to think I am approachable. I like to think I am helpful. If you need help, if you want someone just to talk to, then by all means, consider this my extended hand. I cannot say for sure that I can help you. I cannot say for sure that I can fix anything for you. But I can say I will talk to you, give you advice, and listen to you if that is what you need.
No one on this earth deserves to be treated like an indentured slave. No one on this earth deserves to be treated like an unfaithful dog. No one of this earth deserves to be spoken to like a naughty six year old.
No one. Not ever.
The next time someone asks me what it is I am passionate about, I won't pause nor will I hesitate.
I am passionate about psychological and physical abuse that is used so prevalently in this day and age...
And it has to stop.
(Post-Script: I have sent this to those mentioned in this blog post before I hit the publish button... The fact you are reading it means I have their permission to let the world see it. I don't want people to think I am writing about things confided in me in secret. I have their permission, and their identities are well and truly covered)