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.
The good news is that you’d be wrong to believe any of those things. You are worthy of being loved in a way that makes you feel safe and comfortable. No one deserves to be miserable for the sake of commitment, or love.
Despite how you may feel as a survivor, you are not alone. There are people who care for you more than you could ever know, family friends and, yes, even strangers. Even if you don’t see them anymore, because they always get angry when you stay out late with friends or family. There are always people who will care enough to help so you don’t have to do this alone.
Not everyone will understand, but you aren’t alone. We can raise awareness and erase the stigma. We might have gone through abuse, but we aren’t victims. We’re survivors.
Abuse survivors have experienced the worst of people, and still believed there was good in them. When you have that kind of courage and strength, day after day, you have the courage to get the help you need and the strength to get back on your feet.
About Too Close
Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.
Available at: Amazon
About R Phoenix
Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slavedriver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers.
If she had it her way, she would describe the books in her “Ripples in the Status Quo” world as: “Supernatural creatures take over the world and turn humans into pets and food. There’s some sex between guys. And… um… fucked up things happen.” It’s probably a good thing she has people around her to remind her that she actually wants people to read her books. (They should really be more diligent, especially when they know she’s writing her author bio.)
She’s an author, stay-at-home mother, housewife, second time college student, and duck herder extraordinaire. She’s learning how to cook without burning the house down, her garden is somehow neither drowning nor drying up, and one day she might remember what that mythical thing called “free time” is. She’s starting to wonder who thought it was a good idea to write bios in third person.
She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. Really, it’s not you. It’s her. All the same, she’d love it if you’d say hello, because it makes her day to hear that someone read something she wrote. If they enjoyed it, there’s usually an awkward happy dance and embarrassing sounds of joy to accompany it (no, not that kind of sound, you perv). If all of that hasn’t scared you away, please say hello!
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