Friday, February 13, 2015

Fifty Shades of PTSD

" a nutshell, folks. If 50 Shades was sexy to you, I kind of have to question your past."

I've read a TON of posts about the Fifty Shades of Grey situation. Yes, it's a situation. I honestly was not on either side of the line. It's fiction. Yes, fiction influences... etc. but, when I informed my husband of the newest wildfire buzz going on in my literary world he scoffed. His response was, "What about Dexter?" 

Yes, what about Dexter? Or what about all the vampire novels? Or any NUMBER of horror shows that we can't seem to tear ourselves away from? We idolize all kinds of villains. I'm not saying this is right, but I do believe it's a matter of choice. 

Now, about that quote that led off the blog. I'll take a moment to try to calm down. Nah, there's no point. I have nothing against the person who said it, but I feel like some tutelage is necessary. So here goes:

Yeah, you probably might question my past. It's none of your business though. But, I'll open up that door for you just a little so that you might get a glimpse of why that upsets me. I'll try to be quick and not go off on too many tangents. My past is sordid. I was abused as a kid. It took me a long time to realize that it was abuse and an even longer time to stop comparing my abuse to others'. Well, I wasn't raped as a child. It wasn't violent. My therapist talked me out of all my excuses for realizing what had really happened. There's something else they don't tell you about early childhood abuse... it can linger. 

It can linger in ways you don't even hear about. It's called PTSD. There are images and flickers and reminders of things that make me absolutely afraid to move. I'll tell you the other thing about childhood sexual abuse that you probably do know... just not in the way you think. See, most people who become abusers have a history of being abused. Now, chew on that for a moment. I have been stigmatized in that people believe I will be an abuser simply because I was abused. I would never.  

But, it doesn't mean my abuse didn't affect my sexual appetites. Now, my sexual appetites are none of your business. They simply aren't. And the fact that they would even be questioned makes me cringe and want to go hide under a rock because I feel guilty. It reminds me how I was shaped -programmed- sexually as a child. But, I logically know I have nothing to be ashamed of. So what if I find the character appealing? 

When I read that my past should be questioned because I like something? Are you kidding me? Yeah, thank you, I'm having to remind myself that my past is not my fault and that it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's certainly not for anyone else to judge. You can't preach sexual freedom and then judge the freedoms they take. 

As for Christian (and as I said in my original review of the series), I think he has PTSD. I told my husband I would never knowingly wish my issues on another human being. I actually advised my neighbor against having anything to do with someone who had PTSD that refused to get help. It's a no-win situation. It's because I know what the disorder does. It's not pretty. But, that doesn't mean Christian Grey's don't exist. I don't think Christian Grey is a villain. I think he is a hurt man who eventually finds some form of redemption. That's all I can hope for myself... some form of redemption. So while you bash him, it feels like you are bashing me and all those who are like me. Now you know. 


  1. Thank you for this. I've actually gotten pissed off at Fifty Shades bashers this week. I really enjoyed the series. And I've never had abuse issues in my past. I just enjoyed it. And it's fiction. The characters don't owe us anything more than to entertain us. I wish people would stop holding them to a higher standard. And yeah, I rooted for Dexter every week.

    1. I just don't get why we're supposed to rally against this one book/movie. There are plenty of other things that warrant rallying against by these standards (standards that I wasn't even aware existed). What surprises me is that a lot of this is coming from people who never even read the books. I figure if we are to boycott it, we should boycott it for being a published fanfic... just saying.