Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

That’s not me!

Reading tips on how to spot an abusive relationship and get out early is, I fear, something you only benefit from in hindsight. I’d be willing to bet far fewer people read those early signs and think “Yes, that’s me. That’s my relationship. I’d better stop this before I can’t”. Instead the main readers are those, like me, that thinks “That was me and thank God it’s not now.”

The trouble is we make excuses, rationalise, explain it away, compensate.

  • It’s his culture (in this case Turkish).
  • It will change. If I just give up this thing I thought was important but doesn’t really make any difference to me either way, I can save the real battles for the important things.
  • Actually, his way makes sense and my culture has got it wrong. I mean, women are better at certain things than men and I am just in the thrall of my own culture and perhaps it’s not going so well over there.
  • Look at all the things he does do that an English guy doesn’t.


So, you end up making tea and playing housewife, wearing what is approved, seeing friends less, lying about things you do and places you go so as to still be able to have some freedom which increases your daily fear levels, walking on eggshells, accepting insults and belittling behaviour, playing into the role of “sweet” and “innocent” because that’s where your value lies, doing fewer things for yourself because it supports him as a man to do them for you and it’s nice that he wants to, isn’t it?

I remember one of the many, many times I got it wrong and went about something in my old, independent way. First summer in Turkey, 40 degree heat, every movement was a trial. I dragged myself to the mall to buy a fan about a week after everyone in the city had cleared the place of cooling apparatus.

He called me while I was there and I complained mildly about how I’d lucked out. He was angry/offended because I’d tried to do it myself when I could have asked him.

“I know this fucking city in every place. You don’t trust me.”

Meaning I didn’t trust him to take care of me as his role as man states he should. My simple, independent, adult, nothing action had insulted him.

My thinking was far too English. I was free, he was at work. I didn’t want to be a pathetic burden who couldn’t even buy a fan. It was no big deal. I think if I’d come back with a fan, it wouldn’t have been such a problem but the fact I didn’t trust him to do things  even when I couldn’t do them myself only compounded the insult.

That was early enough on that even though I’d experienced the icy silences before, I still never saw them coming and was mostly bewildered. That would have been the time I’d have read those How to Spot An Abuser articles and said “That’s not him, it’s just his culture.”


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This entry was posted on May 30, 2013 by in Thoughts and tagged , , .
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