Behind Too Close
by R Phoenix
Thank you for taken an interest in me, my work, and what I have to say. Much like Skylar, the main character in my contemporary book Too Close, I have a groan-worthy sense of humor. He didn’t get it from a stranger, but with some of that groan-worthy levity I would like to talk about some deeper stuff.
“I’m dealing with a lot of scary things. I think you have to react to them. And you either laugh at them or you go insane Or you shut off from everything and everyone. Trying not to feel.”
–Death Masks. Jim Butcher.
I’ve been surprised by how many people genuinely want to know about the motivation behind Too Close. I’m not here to tell you everything you read was true, even though my experiences have heavily colored the story depicted in this book. Unfortunately, all too often we run into the question of why people stay in an abusive relationship, and that is something I would like to touch upon in this blog post.
What did the grape say when it got crushed? Nothing. It just let out a little wine.
There’s a misconception that if you’re that miserable, you’ll head out and never look back, but it’s not quite that simple. I’m hoping Too Close gives a better approximation of why people stay. Of course, Skylar’s story is as purely unique as that of any other abuse victim. The reasons for staying vary greatly from person to person. To give you an idea, they tend to come down to thing like love, hope, fear, isolation, lack of resources, children, confusion, guilt, self-worth and social pressure. It is rarely just one thing, and often an amalgamation of several.
We don’t have any vegetable jokes yet, so if you do, lettuce know.
From a young age, we are taught responsibility by our parents, and that responsibility extends to honoring commitments. Then through media, we are often given the message that true love will conquer all and that you should give everything up for a chance at such unique happiness. Love demands sacrifice, love requires you to work on it. Love means that in the end all the hardships will have been worthwhile, because then it was true love!
Do not trust atoms. They make up everything.
We aren’t taught what true love actually looks like though, and all too often, we aren’t taught how much sacrifice is too much. When faced with abuse, reaching out for help becomes hard, because no one wants to admit that maybe they made a mistake in believing their heart and following their emotions. Maybe the situation is abusive, but it also provides financial stability, and wouldn’t it then be silly to leave that behind? Or what if there are children involved, and they are a good parent to them; would you deprive your children of that because you’re feeling undervalued? What if they also tell you that they love you? That they didn’t mean it and will never do it again?
Wouldn’t you want to believe that, knowing that a relationship is a commitment, takes work, and true love is worth it? Besides, where would you go? You can’t go back to your parents because you can’t work out your relationship. You’re an adult now…! Maybe you already know you should leave, but you’re afraid what your partner will do to you or themselves if you do. Maybe, after so long, you have started to believe your partner when they say they love you, but you make them so angry…! You kind of had it coming, right? You could have been nicer. And they’re not that bad. Other people have it much worse!
I tried to catch some fog. I mist. Continue reading