Intimidating behaviour is uncool.
Whether it’s hitting, grabbing, pushing, throwing stuff, slamming shit or even flipping your lid in an uncontrolled manner, if it’s scary in the slightest, it is intimidating behaviour.
And that blows.
Many people (I won’t just say women but it is mostly women who are at the pointy end of this behaviour) think that if they are not actually being hit, that it’s ok, but I can tell you first hand that it is not ok.
When I was 19 I had a boyfriend who I thought was cool as shit. He was powerful, built like a brick shithouse, commanded respect within his community (a group of Sydney surfers who have made the headlines time and again for all the wrong reasons….and then they went made a movie about them. Go figure) and was just a little bit crazy.
We partied a lot, and times were nutty. When he and I were given the moniker ‘Beauty and the Beast’, I thought it was cool. I presumed I was the Beauty, of course. If I were labeled the Beast, I probably would have thought it considerably less cool.
In the year and a half we dated, the police removed him from my house, after the neighbours called citing domestic violence, no less than three times. I never pressed charges.
He was also questioned two other times for aggression not shown towards me.
You see, this dude of mine, he had a bad temper.
I moved house twice because my flatmates would end up banning him from our house because of his aggressive behaviour. He broke doors, smashed windows, and put holes in walls. My friends saw me belittled and pushed around and even threatened with a hammer.
My friends feared him, but worse than that, my friends feared for my safety.
I will never forget opening the front door one night to one of my best friends who took me by the head and rattled my brain.
‘You’re going to end up dead and I’m not going to watch it’
And she left.
And. I. Stayed.
He didn’t hit me. Not really. Sure, he smashed shit, but he only did it to emphasise his point. He didn’t really do more than push me a bit, and he was always sorry.
So very sorry.
Things came to a massive head in Bali on a surf safari when things got right out of hand.
As predicted, I really did nearly end up dead.
He lost his temper one night out partying. I left the venue and sought a safe place to chill until the storm passed.
A male friend, a little placid man, tried to protect me and hid me in his room. When my boyfriend found us, I remember seeing my protector fly through the air after being punched in the face, so I left with this raging man who claimed to love me, before anyone else got in the line of fire.
We went downstairs to our room where he proceeded to unleash his wild temper in a display previously unmatched.
I remember the feeling of his hands tightening around my neck, squeezing the cords together. I had been crying hard, wracking the big blubs but I wasn’t crying now because you need breath to sob. I could still feel the tears on my cheeks as I looked up into his purple face. His eyes bulged with his anger and spittle rained down on me as he yelled at me while he pressed his weight onto my throat as I was pinned to the bed.
And then black.
When I came to he was rummaging around, throwing shit around and I dashed from the room while he was in the bathroom. The proprietors of the hotel, who had seen or heard most all of this disgusting scene, quickly beckoned me to hide in a little, dark, rat infested hole in the wall behind the front counter where they stored rice. The kind old lady pressed her finger to her lips in the international sign for silence as she closed the hatch on this tragic young girl.
I sat in there, wet with tears and snotting all over myself, listening to him raging around like a mad bull trying to find me, until I finally passed out, crouched in a corner.
Did I mention someone had given me a Rohypnol? Minor detail. It was the little placid dude, he said it would help me relax. Understatement of the century, FYI.
Anyway, I digress….
I woke the next day in a bed. Someone had carried me to another room and locked the door from the outside. I woke to the sound of the key unlocking the door and someone slid a tray bearing some tea and banana pancakes onto my doorstep.
My throat was covered in bruises but my ego had been beaten to death. I flew straight to my Mama in Melbourne where I stayed for a few weeks but when I returned to home, I also returned to him.
I know, right????
What was it going to take?
Truth is, I was scared to leave him now. Scared to stay and scared to go.
Quite the conundrum.
Then one day, I woke up one morning in an apartment with strange brown carpets and walls, that I didn’t want to be living in, with friends that didn’t want to see me, terrified of my lover and I just thought –
I don’t want this for my life.
Breaking up was hard. He couldn’t understand why I was leaving him.
He stalked me, and terrorised me at work trying to get me to get back together.
Further intimidation didn’t really work in his favour.
I moved house yet again and ended up pretty much repeating the mistake with someone else who intimidated me in a different way, but that’s another story. I think we can safely say I had a self-esteem issue in my early 20’s.
My point is, I’m a smart, sassy, spunky chick, but at that time of my life, I didn’t think I was worth more.
I don’t think Nigella needs our judgement. I dare say with her dirty laundry out flapping in the wind right now, she’s looking fairly closely at her lot.
We’ve seen some damning photos, that prove that no matter how successful or how rich and glamourous your life might look, everyone has dark secrets.
I hope you stay safe, Nigella. I hope you consider your children, not just their safety but the lessons you’re teaching them. Only you know what goes on inside your marriage…
But intimidating behaviour, on any level, is uncool. Scaring people you love is unacceptable.
Being scared by someone you love, is not good love.