“He Never Hit Me”
I saw this article from Anna Kendrick in the LA Times. She discusses her new movie and how personal it was to her because she was in an abusive relationship. I’ve always liked Anna, even if she’s definitely a theater kid (eager). If you took theater you know what I mean. That's also kind of what make it so shocking. Even Anna Kendrick can be a survivor of abuse.
I’m just going to paraphrase the article because it’s a bit of a read. I have not yet seen the film (it hasn't been widely released). From what it sounds like it may be a modern day Gaslight. Cukor! Bergman! If you have never seen Gaslight, go watch it as soon as you finish this article. You will not be disappointed.
What I found interesting was Kendrick, not just admitting that she was abused, but describing how it felt being in a non-traditional abusive relationship. "Watching movies while in her own abusive relationship and never recognizing her own experience, which made her question whether it was just normal" is something I know I’ve done. It really weighs heavy on your mind. It causes a lot of problems that make it harder for you to come to terms with it.
She further explains “Well he never hit me and I’m not really afraid that he’s going to hit me. How do I discern between normal conflict and abuse? ’”. I think every woman can relate. Society gaslights us into accepting so many things that are actually abusive behaviors or things that’s we shouldn’t accept. “Kendrick discussed how living in an abusive relationship creates so much self-doubt that people question their own reality. She describes it as, “He’s so convinced that I am a monster that I can’t see how I am not.” I did this a lot after my relationship ended. I still do it.
How many people have been there? 🙋🏻♀️ I have an entire stream of consciousness blog post (during my mourning period), where I’m trying to come to terms with it. 'He never hit me, but…' how many women say that? Just asking ourselves that invalidates and diminishes our experiences. “In society, physical abuse is very clearly defined as an evil, and I think psychological and emotional abuse, even for those who have suffered it, can sometimes question whether it’s a real thing.” Until you’re being forced to question reality and your experiences I don’t think one can really know just how taxing that is mentally and how it degrades any work that you can do on yourself.
“Simon [the abusive boyfriend] genuinely believes himself to be the victim.” When people ask “Did he hit you?”. Well no, but. My ex Christian was the same. He tried to DARVO me, and this caused a lot of anguish because I started thinking if I hurt him, I’m sorry for hurting him because I love him, and I never want to hurt him, I must be an awful person because I caused him pain. And this thinking was just one long spiral, never ending. I still go through it.
Of course that’s the key difference isn’t it? Taking responsibility and accountability, feeling shame, being in pain at the thought of hurting them. Having those thoughts creep into your mind almost daily and feeling constant remorse.
But that’s what makes you a good person. Because the abuser doesn’t feel any of that. The abuser is only a victim in all of it. The abuser pretends they didn’t do anything wrong. Abusers never do anything wrong. They’re perfect. Nothing is ever their fault.
I’m really happy women are able to share these stories, and most importantly to share these stories publicly. It makes me feel less alone and makes me feel like my experience is validated. And because we have each other, and each other’s stories, we can form a protective bubble around each other, and advise each other, and in that we get the courage to stop accepting it. If you would like to know about safe spaces please feel free to message me. There are numerous private groups where you can hear from other women, share your story, and find people who understand what you’ve gone through or what you are going through.
I know it’s heavy subject matter, the film itself looks a bit suffocating, but it helps me to see my story from other women. In turn I hope my story helps others. And I hope this movie does the same.
“Alice, Darling” releases on January 20th.