50 Shades of Sanctioned Domestic Violence – A Society in Trouble

Every time I tell my story, I risk extreme judgement from people who try to wrap their minds around the ridiculousness.  While I have received an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family, and even complete strangers, there is still too often the person who needs to “explain” what about ME put me in this position and how I can avoid being a victim in the future.  While this judgement from (sometimes completely well-meaning people) continues to hurt on some level, there will still always be a part of me that wonders if there is SOMETHING in my personality that made me such an easy target.  Moreover, why is it that I stayed even as long as I stayed when there were certain things about Luc that never added up?

Today I went to lunch with some co-workers and the topic of conversation became centered around the book “50 Shades of Grey”.  While I admit I have never read the book (nor want to now), this conversation struck a cord with me that I don’t believe it would have before I was a victim of a psychopath.  One of the “supporters” of the book mentioned that the main character is a successful businessman who enjoys a deviant sexual lifestyle.  He went on to describe (without flinching) that the main character talks a college senior (he stressed that she was a virgin) into signing a contract that dictated what she would eat, that she would allow him to hurt her, etc.

As my coworkers were discussing the various aspects of this “relationship contract”, I felt as if I was going to throw up.  I couldn’t believe that this sanctioned form of domestic violence was being glorified in pop culture and revered as anything other than an example of a relationship with a psychopath.   What was even more disturbing was that the few at the table who actually found this a bit disturbing (myself included), seemed to be judged as “prudish” and not open minded.

What I find interesting about this book and its popularity is the fact that society is becoming desensitized and almost idealizing these characters to the point where when women (and sometimes men too) see people like this, they don’t immediately recognize the danger.  This book is not the only example we have of this in pop culture these days.  Many movies also show the story of these “aloof and emotionally shallow” men (James Bond for example) and the woman who hang on their arms as sex symbols.  Many people look at the James Bond character and hold him on a high pedestal of manliness and “cool”, but if you really unpack the character – he is a womanizing jerk who appears to be overly concerned about his appearance.

During the lunch with my co-workers, I realized just how much this experience has changed me.  I no longer look at relationships the same and I don’t ever believe its right to make excuses for abusive behavior.  I also wonder to myself if society’s glorification of overpowering and abusive men predisposed me and desensitized me to what was really going on with Luc much earlier than I even realized.  When Luc was demanding that I rub his feet when I was 8 months pregnant, commenting on what I ate on a regular basis, and constantly tearing apart my self-esteem – would people think it was ok for him if he had announced that this was “just what he liked” or somehow talked me into signing a contract of abuse?  Someone who says, “Honey, I really enjoy raping people – don’t be upset…it’s just my fetish” – is this ok too as long as the guy admits it?  After being labeled as a “prude” for being uncomfortable with these things that have become so pervasive in our society, I remember wondering if I was being unreasonable when I should have been running for my life.

(Note:  “Sexual deviance” is a very common trait amongst psychopaths and Luc was no stranger to this term.)

Just three years ago (before I met Luc), I was young and naive.  I was that woman who felt safe believing that women who ended up in abusive relationships must have something wrong with them.  Realizing that any woman – even if she is smart AND beautiful – can wake up one day and find herself in an abusive relationship is a terrifying realization.  The thought that I could have been so fooled to fall for someone who was capable of the things Luc turned out to be capable of, would have rendered naive Cappuccino Queen completely paralyzed.  It is for that reason, that I try not to judge those who judge me – no matter how much it might still hurt.


  1. elva on November 29, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    You make a very interesting point in this entry. As a society we are becoming too desensitized to many things. children need to be taught to respect themselves and their bodies and their morals in order to not grow up thinking abuse is ok. Any type of abuse.

  2. Gemma on November 29, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I’m so sad to hear this story. So, so sad. As a fellow, former captive of a psychopath, with a young son, there’s a song I used to listen to all of the time. It’s by Ben Harper, it’s called Widow of a Living Man. If you can bear music at this point, it’s close to my soul.

    And, that is not my real email address I left, I do not give that out.

  3. Hilary on November 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I read Fifty Shades after an acquaintance of mom’s recommended it to her, and she ordered a copy. I was similarly horrified and thus only skimmed most of the text. For those of us who have been there, it’s clearly a description of being ensnared by a psychopath. And yet I see posts popping up in my FB newsfeed in which women I knew in high school are pretending to be married to Christian Gray. There’s something very wrong with our society when we want to trade our own stable, loving husbands in for the “excitement” of an abuser. It makes me sad and sick and scared.

  4. Mamaof1 on November 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I, too, am a victim of an abusive psychopath. I left him when my son was 18 months old. I know I am lucky to be alive today. I fought and fought for my son’s safety and well being. I was fortunate that he really didn’t care about my son and left me alone about a year ago (thank goodness he moved on, but I’m sorry for the girl he moved on with). I spent 3 years in fear … fear of my safety, fear of my son’s safety and fear of my parents’ safety. This was my first encounter with someone like that … someone who manipulates and deceives, who knows how to work systems, who holds value in absolutely nothing except their selfish desires. I hope that judge struggles to sleep at night, I really do. Some of the family court judges I’ve been in contact with put no value on the children. That horrible man that took your baby, he may not face his proper judgement here, but he will some day. My heart has ached for you since I first learned of your story. You’ve been in my prayers.

  5. Amanda on November 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Lots to say about Fifty Shades, but not germane to this discussion. Hera, it would take at least 26 miles to sort through the questions you raised, miles I’d happily run with you any time. First and foremost, as an intelligent, good women surrounded by intelligent, good family and friends you have an expectation that your choice in men would follow the same trend. And when you realize this isn’t the case you probably have too much invested to jump when you should. Looking to yourself for the “blame” gives you control over what happens in your life — it does NOT mean there is fault with you any more than it means that any of this was your fault.

    • cappuccinoqueen on November 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Amanda, you make some excellent points. Relationship investment is really dangerous. I beleive that when I got pregnant, this relationship investment became fatally dangerous. My social/cultural norm was that you marry your child’s father. Period. I remember when I was four months pregnant, I left. I drove around for hours crying and questioning whether or not being with this man was the right decision. That night, he hadn’t even shown me a fraction of the horribleness that followed – BUT, it was enough to cause me to question whether or not this was a healthy relationship. What brought me back? I questioned myself and I felt “invested” and felt as if I needed to try and make this work for the sake of my son. What I didn’t realize was that it was my maternal instincts that were making me want to run and that running would have been for the sake of my son. Had I left when I was four month pregnant that night…I wouldn’t be sitting here writing…while looking at a picture of my son whom I will never hug again. Likely, instead, I would be hiding out somewhere hoping the monster never finds us while lying about having a miscarriage if he did. It’s sad, but totally true.

      • Christine on November 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

        I struggled with that internal conflict too. Early in the marriage I was still in the dark about what he was truly capable of and how disordered he really was, but I intuitively knew something was “off” with him and I suspected that he didn’t really care about me. I stayed those first two years mostly out of Christian guilt (divorce is sin, I took a vow). I was afraid of him, but I wasn’t sure why.
        But when I became pregnant I discovered his true nature, and I understood why I was intuitively fearful of him. We had been arguing as usual, and I told him I wanted a divorce. He picked up a chair and threw it across the room and he told me in no uncertain terms that he is a doctor, and that I have a “mental health history” and that he would use that to get custody if I dared to leave him. He asked me point blank, “Who do you think the judge will believe? Me, the Doctor of Psychology, or you, with your mental health history?” He reminded me that he testifies frequently and knows the judges. I was only weeks pregnant and he was already threatening to take the baby if I left him. Oh, and he is a Doctor… a Licensed Psychologist to be exact. And that “mental health history” that he threatened to use against me was nothing more than a short bout with an eating disorder (a year) and a long term struggle with anxiety.

        Throughout the horrendous marriage he constantly accused me of being “unstable,” “belligerent,” “rageaholic,” even “psychotic.” He kept me trapped in what my attorney called a psychological prison, threatening to prove me crazy and win custody if I dared leave him.

        If only I had turn and run when I got those first uneasy feelings about him.

  6. Paula on December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I despise that book for the very reasons you mention. I have commented on numerous sites about my distaste for it and the only people who “get it” are those who have been exposed to the nightmare of abuse/a sociopath, too. We need to teach our children early about the warning signs of abusers. We need to teach boundaries. We need to explain that no one is immune to falling victim to a sociopath/psychopath. And that we must stop blaming the victim because I consider it an ambush, not a choice. Abuse at the hands of evil is a true ambush. We don’t sign contracts and know ahead of time about the true identities of these masked monsters, these wolves in sheep’s clothing. We are ambushed. It’s in our upbringing (give people the benefit of the doubt and a chance to change) and our empathy that we tolerate it, however, until it’s almost too late. 🙁

  7. Siryn on December 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    There is nothing safe, sane, or consensual about those books! Christian is a creepy stalker and a control freak, and definitely a psychopath! That women find him attractive is ridiculous. It’s also appalling that the author portrays it as possible to change the man, and ‘fix’ him. Way to perpetuate a stereotype and creating unrealistic and possibly dangerous beliefs in young girls/women. No no, really, stay with that psychopath who wants to control every aspect of your life. Because your LOVE can CHANGE him and then you will live an amazing glorious life. Excuse me while I go throw up.

    • cappuccinoqueen on December 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Siryn, Yes….I will go and throw up along with you. I can’t understand why any woman would read this and think it was “sexy” nor can I understand why any man with a mother, daughter, sister, or even just a heart would think it was ok. Blah…

    • Leslie on December 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      Those who find this book sexy and exciting have clearly never BEEN with one of the FREAKS described in the book. I’m just sayin.

    • thecontessa on December 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

      I have many issues with the Shades of Grey obsession. The books are badly written and cast even more stigma and negative myths about the kink sexual subculture and the individuals who do enjoy kink as part of their own private and healthy relationship. Members of the kink subculture are actively speaking out against these books, its misogyny, and its blatant promotion of abuse, but that is beside the point.

      Syrin, you hit the nail on the head with the fact that women are often led (by each other!) to believe that we can change men. I am thinking all the way back to fairy tales like Beauty & the Beast! I am personally tired of bad behavior being excused as “boys just being boys”.

      What we need is to destigmatize mental illness and have open conversations about personality disordered individuals of BOTH genders rather than pretending they are “rare”. There are studies that show that there are more psychopaths in corporate America than in jail. Why? Because the growing “winner takes all” and “dog eat dog” culture of our society rewards psychopathic behavior.

  8. Victoria on December 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Hera ~

    You and I think so much alike…..I watched interviews yesterday with E. L. James, the author, and found it repulsive. Being dominated and submissive were things forced upon me while being with the abusive pscyopath. How a woman would consciously and voluntarily choose to be tormented, abused,and degraded is beyond me. It’s good to see that I’m not the only sane person that sees it that way. I will not be reading the book or the upcoming volumes.


    • cappuccinoqueen on December 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      If this author likes this sort of behavior, maybe I should introduce her to her perfect mate – I call him Lucifer. He would love for her to sign a contract opening her up for legally sanctioned abusive behavior. That way, if he killed her…he could just produce the contract and state that she asked for it. In fact, if that sort of thing happened in Prince William County, VA they would probably call it a suicide and allow Luc to obtain a huge insurance policy.

  9. Debbie on February 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    In answer to your question as to why he ‘picked’ you – I think it was because you are good, kind, stable and you were obviously a meal ticket for him. Your ex never cared about his own Mother, his ex-partner or your Son – they were just a means for him to profit from their deaths I am so sorry to say. For God’s sake who insures the life of a tiny baby? His plan to hurt your Son was totally pre-meditated as anyone can plainly see. I have life insurance – but only so there is money for my children if something ever happened to me. Psychopaths never have feelings for anyone other than themselves and all they care about is what they can get out of other people – how useful they are to them. Having a relationship with someone who conned you is not your fault – there is not anything ‘wrong’ with you – he saw your kindness as weakness.
    As you know, me (and so many people following your story) have all been there – and still are there in my case.
    Nothing compares to what you have been through however and I will never forget your story as long as I life

    • cappuccinoqueen on February 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      You are right Debbie, he didn’t care about the people he killed OR anyone else. That is the classic sign of a psychopath. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Too bad for him that the only person he cares about is a worthless piece of human skin who will spend the rest of his life behind bars trying to hide from men who want to have their way with him.