Bumping Uglies Used To Sell, Now It’s Abuse & Dysfunction

Yes, I read all three of the books I shall not name (there’s a blog post about that). I read the Twilight books. I want to write a best-selling novel, so I read a lot. I read what sells in hopes of figuring out what appeals to a mass market on a grand scale. I freely admit that is my goal. I also watch an insane amount of television. I go to the movies by myself a lot too. I listen to a ton of music, and not just heavy metal or folksingers, but every type of music. I love the stories, I love the beats. That form of storytelling is two-sided, music and words, they both evoke emotions. Some days I consider myself an observer of human nature. I create characters in my head to work through my own demons. Rising From The Fire is a story that was born from attending Catholic school from first through fifth grade.
(The entire time) I struggled with religion versus spirituality. My mother was married to an abusive man, my stepfather, and he was a deacon in a Lutheran church. He would drag me with him every Sunday morning. So I was bombarded on both sides by religion. Eventually my mother opted out of church attendance. As my mother’s child I was also given a reprieve. That still left school, where every time I read passages from the bible, I found the entire thing confusing from the language to the stories. Add to that, those bits in conflict with the bible and my stepfather’s actions caused me to seek my spiritual guidance elsewhere.
Personally, I felt God had a lot of explaining to do while I was growing up. What kind of God allows sexual abuse of a three year old? Or lets a teacher’s entire family die in a fire? Those answers were in no bible I ever read. Growing up was hard, scary, and lonely. I had no siblings, and there was a time when my relationship with my mother hadn’t quite hit the level of friendship we shared toward the end of her life.
As much as I loved my mother, when I was younger spanking was an acceptable form of punishment in our home. As I got older there were times when it turned into physical abuse. Again, I had times where I got contradictory messages. I wasn’t allowed to be physically abusive, yet I was abused in my home. This is why I struggled with my temper and anger, and sought out abusive and dysfunctional relationships as a young adult.
It took two years after my mother divorced my stepfather, for me to do something to break the cycle of abuse in our relationship. The catalyst of the final physical fight I had with my mother was when she hit me with a broom for refusing to take out the garbage. I refused because I was in my underwear. She demanded I do it immediately before going to bed. I yelled I would get up early enough to do it in the morning, but since I was supposed to do it the night before and she was angry about something else, that fight happened instead. The night after my mother threw me out of the house in my underwear for an hour, I went to my school counselor and reported the incident.
I made the choice to seek help for what was happening in my home because of what happened between my mother and stepfather. At the time I don’t think she could see that I was in a similar situation, and although the movie Irreconcilable Differences opened the idea to me of a kid divorcing their parents, I didn’t feel that was an option for me at the age twelve. We entered therapy together, and separately after my school brought my mother in for a conference.
My mother grew up in a physically abusive household, just as I assume her parents did, and so on and so forth. I heard story after story from my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side, about how their mother would discipline them. A well thrown wooden spoon incident created a lifelong scar between my uncle’s toes; he’d  snuck a peek at what was in the pot for dinner. The burn marks on my aunt’s upper arm by a fresh off the stove hot comb from when she wouldn’t sit still to get her hair straightened. All I could think after hearing these stories for the first time was I was okay with the fact that my grandmother had passed before I met her.
I think I had a fear I would abuse a child and that is a huge part of why kids ain’t for me. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t, but this way I’ve never had to test the theory out. I’ve had enough therapy, and Nike, my cat, who I love and adore. Nike is not declawed. Even when she scratches me or hates on me for turning over when she was so comfortably resting on my leg, I do not abuse her. I love her so much that there’s nothing she can do to make me angry. Sure she annoys me, or amuses me, but she never does anything to spark a feeling of anger. I guess that’s the biggest difference between a mostly defenseless pet and a child.
I’ve written quite a few pieces with a non-consent/rape as their genre/theme. Some are posted, some are not. I know that I write those kinds of things, not to glorify rape or non-consent, but to work through my own demons on this subject matter. It is therapeutic and since I choose to write erotica it is easier for me to make my characters rape victims rather than molested children. It’s a way to conquer my demons. I think with Forced To Change I’ve finally been able to gain closure on my need to work through that particular issue.
So now onto the next, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in a few abusive and dysfunctional relationships. I brought up the books I shall not name and Twilight because both series are bestsellers that glorify very dysfunctional relationships. Then to further the issue, both heroines not only allow this abuse, but go on to forgive, much too easily, the assholes and call it love.
Neither character addresses these issues or even acknowledges that there’s a problem with their love interest’s behavior. Okay, maybe a little bit from the books I shall not name. Either way this trend started so many years ago and recently a posting on Facebook by Laurell K. Hamilton got me thinking about the fact that this issue isn’t new. The glorification of abusive, dysfunctional relationships has been going on for years. Ever notice that it’s easier to eliminate sexual content from viewing on your television than violence?
Don’t get me wrong, I rather enjoy reading LKH, she’s one of my favorite authors. I even found the recent posting interesting and agreed with some areas of it. One thing I cannot condone is her assumption that abusers cannot change. I agree that loving someone hard enough will not get it done, but therapy is only one path to self-growth. I don’t condemn therapy, I’ve found it quite useful for myself. The bottom-line is an abuser has to want to change, and then make every effort to change.

Not a single change is ever made in your life without your participation. It could take forever, and therapy is a tried and true way to do some self-discovery, figure out who you are and who you want to be. But to suggest that it’s the only way doesn’t leave room for those who find help in support groups or church or whatever it is that people do to conquer their issues.
We’re all on a life journey, I call it a divine path. As individuals and together. To suggest that your way is the only way to enlightenment is to say that there is only one way to love, live, and be. Therapy worked for LKH. It worked for some of the people in her life. But what drove me nuts about her posting was therapy doesn’t work for everyone. Religion isn’t for everyone. We don’t all learn the same way.

Personally I’m a hands on learner, I have a friend that has to read every manual to figure out how to do something. I like tutorials that I can do at my own pace. He reads a how-to book one time and he’s mastered the craft. He didn’t grow up in an abusive household. I did. So yeah, I had a real fear of passing my issues on to a child and opted not to have children. He can’t wait to have kids. He’ll probably make an excellent parent. I’ve been told by a lot of my friends and family that I’d make an excellent parent too.

I think back to my own mother and there are things that I found sadistic and twisted about her parenting style. Crap, I’d probably pull pranks on my kid, too. Some of it sorta walked the line, like when she used to lock me out of the car just to watch me chase after it, tears streaming down my face because I was four and thought she was really leaving me. Now, looking back, can’t say I wouldn’t do that shit to my own kid, cuz today, it makes me laugh my ass off retelling the story. Some of it just made me grow a thicker skin and trust me when I say, I needed one growing up.


  1. Bravo Simone for calling the dysfunction what it is: a form of abuse. I was just thinking of abuse/dysfunctional families after reading our mutual friend's piece yesterday. It was hard to read for many reasons, some very personal. Even my novel is full of "abuse" that was not called abuse when we were kids.. our parents were just "being parents". I haven't read LKH's post, but will look it up. I agree with you that people can change if they truly want to. I tried really hard as a mom when my daughter was little, but I just sucked at it. Despite my best intentions, I found that I often did what had been modeled for me and it was wrong. So even though it was hard, I made myself change. I do think that you are mature enough and self-aware enough now that you would be an excellent parent, yet I understand your decision. Sorry for the rambling response..but that's what comes of making an Aquarian think! :)

  2. I agree that people can change if they actively participate. In some form or other, we all strive to change. I try to figure out why some best sellers are best sellers. In some cases, I'm stumped. Perhaps I'm just not that author's audience, which is highly probable.

  3. I think you are way ahead of most people who grew up in abusive situations because you see it so clearly for what it was. How brave and smart you were to seek help at such a young age.

    I completely agree with you that each individual has a different way of healing - and it always has to start with them wanting it badly enough.

    It's more than a little disturbing to see how the mass-population of women eat up the abusive romantic relationships in popular fiction. No matter how much I know that sort of thing sells books, I just don't think I could ever write that sort of thing.

    And HEY! Thanks for your cheering at the Joust!!