How to get out of an Abusive Relationship? Awareness, people!

Asshats can squelch your Bad-Assery. You are a Badass. You just know you are. You have at least ten jets that propel you through your badass life. The problem is, when you date an Asshat, they can drain your jets. So instead of having all ten of your jets at your disposal, trying to change and control an Asshat can use up the energy from each and every one of those jets. I’ll offer myself as a case study: From 1992-1997 I dated and lived with an Asshat I frequently refer to as Mister Cruelly Handsome. During that time I was trying to make a career as an actress in Hollywood. And during that time I booked only two jobs. One national commercial and one guest-starring role on one episode of a television show. Prior to dating Mister C I’d performed in five music videos, five plays, booked two movies (one where I played the lead), booked roles in four television shows and had a 5-month run in a prestigious theater on the east coast, making me bi-coastal during that time. My focus shifted from building my career and body of work to managing a relationship I had no control over. I spent an embarrassing buttload of time stalking Mister C to make sure he wasn’t cheating on me (he still managed to), going to therapy with and without Mister C in order to figure out how to change and control him, going to self-help conferences in the hopes they could help me figure out how to change and control him, hashing over all the details of what Mister C was or wasn’t doing with friends, colleagues and pretty much even innocent passersby in order to figure out how to change and control him. Because I spent five years with only one or two of my jets at my disposal I got, literally, nowhere. I didn’t even move closer to my personal goal of marrying and starting a family. If anything, the more jets I used to move Mister C toward that future with me, the further I travelled away from my heartfelt desire. When I finally unclenched the fist with which I grasped this toxic relationship and let it go, suddenly all ten of my jets were on fire. Here’s what happened:
  1. I quit trying to become a professional actress.
  2. I started writing plays instead and three of them were instantly produced.
  3. I gained entrance into the exclusive UCLA master’s screenwriting program and finished my degree with a 3.98 GPA.
  4. I signed with the biggest literary agency in Los Angeles.
  5. I sold my first screenplay to Warner Brothers and made enough money to permanently quit my day job.
  6. I landed a succession of other screenwriting jobs for Disney, Fox Family and Lifetime.
  7. I met and married my husband.
  8. I became a homeowner with my man.
  9. I gave birth to two beautiful, beloved daughters.
  10. In the safe harbor of a loving relationship I continued along my journey of personal discovery and growth with changing myself for the better as my only goal.
And guess what? All of this happened within six years. Just one year longer than my dead-end, toxic relationship with Mister C.

So I have a task for you. I want you to make two lists.

One of the most unexpected and sneaky tactics of a veteran Asshat to keep you in an emotionally abusive relationship is ... drumroll please ... the C-word. Not that C-word! Jeez, guys. No, the word I'm referring to is CRITICISM. It would be unfair to say that, prior to the Asshat coming along, we had unmitigated self regard. At least that wasn't the case for me. When I started college I was just emerging from a fairly horrific awkward phase which included that Triumvirate of Terror: 1. zits 2. naturally frizzy hair aka pubic head 3. non-existent breast flesh. Having said that, by the time my freshman year of college rolled around the zits were gone, the boobs filled a small B-cup and the pubic head ebbed and flowed with the ever-evolving curling iron/hair gel technology. There was a light at the end of that spit-curl tunnel. But then I fell in love with the Greek God. I've mentioned him previously and have to reiterate that there was a lot of real love in our 5-year relationship, but it was always undercut by a current of Asshattery on his part, and masochism on mine. When the three-month honeymoon period ended that C-word reared its ugly head. We were sitting on my dorm bed. I was wearing shorts when he reached over, pinched my thigh and a few little dimples appeared. "Oh man, you've got cellulite," he said. "Cellulite?" I queried. At 18 I didn't know what cellulite was. I'd spent puberty and beyond pretty much skin-and-bones, just wishing I could put on a few pounds to fill out my Jordache jeans, so cellulite was, as yet, unknown to me. I learned a great deal about cellulite from the Greek God. #1 It's disgusting and verges on sinful. #2 It's caused by laziness and lack of discipline. #3 It's unattractive and makes men not want to have sex with you. #4 You'll never be good enough until that cellulite is gone. This is what I looked like with my cellulite: [caption id="attachment_14601" align="aligncenter" width="600"]signs of an abusive relationship This is a blurry action shot, but I think you might see the point I'm making.[/caption]