Walking Away From 50 Shades of Grey

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I HAVEN’T read 50 Shades of Grey. I made a conscious choice not to. I haven’t seen the movie either. I’m making another conscious choice not to. You might argue, in that case, that I have no business blogging about it.

So, I won’t. This blog has absolutely nothing to do with the book and movie franchise that, reputedly, began life as a piece of Twilight-based fanfiction, precisely because I’ve chosen to give them all a very wide berth.

What I WILL talk about is some of the themes the franchise is throwing up for discussion. Because I CAN speak about some of these first hand, and I DO have opinions I’m choosing to share. You can choose to disagree with me, of course – that’s what makes social media such a brilliant platform for debate and discussion. My truth might not be your truth and our value sets might be very different, but that doesn’t mean my opinion is any less worthy than yours, however much it might piss you off.

Here goes…
I don’t much give a damn about the BDSM content everyone’s talking about. Seriously – I really don’t. Whatever you want to get up to behind closed doors is absolutely your business.

But…. I do believe there’s a line (in AT LEAST 50 different shades of grey) where, as a healer and empowerment mentor, I perceive an energetic/spiritual imbalance that, arguably, needs some attention. There’s a huge raft of teachings in shamanism about the use of power and control – in a nutshell, it breaks down to never setting out to exert power over another, attempting to take power from another, or giving your own power away.

With this in mind, I want to talk about the element of the 50 Shades discussions I’ve personally found the most disturbing. Where’s the line between the usual give-take of a relationship and a level of control and manipulation that is little short of legitimised abuse?

First-hand experience
And here’s where I have some first-hand experience to draw on – both as someone who has been through a relationship filled with emotional, mental and sexual abuse (and spent years rebuilding myself and coming back to strength) and as someone who has, in later years, supported others through similarly imbalanced relationships.

Let me tell you, when I was in that relationship, I didn’t even realise I’d lost myself until it was too late. I spent years putting up with the erratic mood swings, believing I just needed to try harder and then maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to make my abuser happy. I lived with increasingly barbed comments, all designed to destroy my self esteem, and some of the most beautifully-crafted emotional blackmail I’ve ever known, so that one moment I’d be dealing with someone little shy of psychotic and the next moment a snivelling, wounded child who only needed approval and, of course, I was the only one who could ever make it better. I put up with their increasingly bizarre and distorted fantasies, and learned to hide my physical and emotional pain from friends, family and co-workers. Thankfully, after regularly praying to die as an escape route – and coming pretty close a few times – something inside me just switched.

I was lucky.

Somehow, my abuser – my Christian Grey – pushed me too far, and something changed. There was a numbness. A distance. A coldness. And – thank whatever spirits were looking out for me – I found the strength to walk away (okay, run away) from what my solicitor called one of the worst cases of partnership abuse he’d ever seen.

That was many, many years ago now and, when I look back, I can hardly believe that broken shell of a woman was even me. It’s one of the reasons I can understand why soul loss is sometimes one of the best coping strategies the human being has. After lots of tears and one helluvalot of work to heal and come back to wholeness, I simply feel thankful for the teachings and for the understanding being in that kind of relationship provided.

I feel very lucky to be able to understand how people (not just women) lose their sense of self in certain relationships and don’t even realise how broken down they’ve become. Without that experience? Well, it’s very easy for people to make statements such as “if it was that bad, they’d leave” or “they must enjoy it or they wouldn’t hang around”. It’s not easy. It’s NEVER easy when someone has that kind of emotional hold over you – especially when you throw love into the melting pot, however warped that might sound.

I’ve seen many people discussing the control elements shown in the movie and that, for me, is never right and probably shouldn’t be glorified on the big screen. I was pleased to hear the young woman left the relationship at the end of the movie, yet I’m told she returns in the next book. Given my choice to be 50-Shades-Free, there’s not much I can add, except that I hope people (regardless of gender or sexuality) reading the books and watching the movies aren’t taken in by the Hollywood treatment of a relationship that seems to tick the boxes next to psychopath, sociopath, narcissist and abuse. It’s so, so easy for people to fall into abusive relationships, without the marketing machine displaying them as exciting and even desirable!

Why now?
Why am I saying this now? Because everyone’s talking about the movie and I’m seeing a real split between those drumming it up as an exciting romance awakening so many women to sexual adventures and new highs, and those seeing a really disturbing undercurrent of abuse and control.

I don’t believe anything happens by accident, so if my experiences can do anything to help open people’s eyes and think twice, it would be remiss of me to keep quiet. If people can see that the woman who walks on fire, leads empowerment seminars and generally leads a pretty happy, fulfilling life once allowed her spirit to be broken, maybe they’ll think twice.

And maybe, if anyone reading this is already lost in that place and sees my story, they might just find that kernel of strength, deep, deep inside, and find the help they need to begin to step back in to their power.

• What do you think? Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Is it harmless titillation or something quite different? Leave us a comment on the blog – we’d love to hear your thoughts (providing they’re fair and constructive, of course).

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About Taz Thornton (www.firechild-shamanism.co.uk)

Speaker | writer | firewalker | empowerment coach | shamanic artist | mentor | encourager. Debut tome underway for Moon Books. Follow me on Twitter - @TazThornton and find FirechildShamanism and TazThorntonOfficial on Facebook.
This entry was posted in Healing, Shamanism and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Walking Away From 50 Shades of Grey

  1. Tim says:

    I totally agree with everything you said in the blog, and that is exactly why I won’t read the books or watch the film(s) either. My only other opinion on the movie, is that they should’ve cast Matt Bomer in the part of Christian (unless maybe he refused the part…) as he just has The Look ^_^
    [Edit to clarify] Not that I think he has the look of an abuser, but that he has the classic Tall Dark and Handsome features which such a role requires

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so glad you walked out and rebuilt your life! ♥
    I have not read the book or watched the movie, Taz. Something about it shouts ‘evil’ to me. No, I’m not a prude or a fanatic. But I hate when things like this are marketed so cleverly and subtly to have everyone longing for something that might not be good for them.

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  3. Nancypants says:

    You give me hope after reading your story. xxx

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  4. lottiewishnetwork says:

    Thank you for sharing a part of your story Taz. I’m sure it will be both helpful and empowering to more people than you will ever know.
    I have also chosen not to read or watch what Fifty Shades has to offer, so am maybe also not in a position to make judgement, but judge I have.
    Having experienced what I’ve been told was ‘profound abuse’ from an ex-partner now diagnosed as psychopathic I understand how a person that is usually viewed as strong and energetic can become controlled and lost within a relationship.
    I think it’s a real shame that the titillation that is on offer seems to be glorifying, and in some way romanticizing extreme control within relationships. And am fearful for how this will play out, particularly with its younger viewers.
    I have chosen to vote with my feet.

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  5. Wow, your thoughts on the subject are spot on. I will not read the books or watch the movie, because they are poorly written and the romanticism the movie gives the relationship. I was quite disturbed when my 16 year old nieces father downloaded the book for her a while back, neither he or my sister reading about the book first. I let them (and her) know my thoughts on how inappropriate it was for someone her age and I was somewhat blown off by them. I asked my sister to at least speak to her about how that type of relationship and balance of power is not healthy. The way she has been raised makes me worry that she would do anything for a guy if he “loved” her. I hope I end up having some sort of influence on her decisions as she gets older.

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  6. betternotbroken says:

    Read the book at what I thought was the lowest point of my life, and it didn’t help lift me. What you say about abuse is so true, you don’t know until you have lost yourself. You made healthy decisions, I hope they continue as does your healing.

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  7. Melanie says:

    I haven’t read the books as the reviews on Amazon convinced me it was repetitive drivel so I made a conscious decision it wasn’t for me either but I have a close friend who is currently in the same relationship you were in a few years ago and I am going to put this blog in front of her today. It might be the just the thing to make her realise that she has been manipulated for too long now. She needs help but I don’t want her to feel judged as it’s her life and she already feels hopeless without people telling her she’s a fool for staying. She’s so weakened by his constant torture yet she tells us he’s not well, she made a vow in sickness and in health. How can she abandon him now? Grrr! I’d push him off a cliff! Well maybe not push him off a cliff but I’d send him on a one way flight to somewhere remote! Thank you for another great blog Taz xx

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    • Thank you Melanie, and you’re welcome. Of course, it’s so easy to stand back and judge, but in these cases (at an energetic level at least), healing is usually needed on both sides. I really hope your friend finds the strength to move on and heal, and that her partner is able move forwards in a healthy, balanced way too.

      All love and strength to you and everyone involved xxx

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  8. Taz, I’m with you. I read the first book and made a choice not to read the others or to see the film. I feel passionately that the books, and now the film, portray something that I see as abuse, as sexy, romantic, glamourous…. I am concerned that so many women, and not just young women, are so drawn to a story that, for me, has nothing to do with love. Thank you for sharing your truth and your story Taz. Love, Catherine

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  9. Andy says:

    I haven’t read the book or saw the movie. The people that I know who have (or are admitting to it) are all women. (I’ve heard the books described several times as ‘Mummy porn’.) I wonder if there were men in the queue outside of the cinema? A few of my female friends who are quite erudite abandoned the books, or rather the first book, for not being very good. But, like you, having steered clear, I can’t really give an opinion on them.
    Ps Your own story is quite inspirational, by the way.

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  10. Maz says:

    wow Taz, thank you so much for writting this, i went through the same in with a relationship that manipulated me from the age of 18 for 4 years. glad i am not alone in the fact i dont want to know about the story at all really. like you i dont have a problem with what people choose to do behind closed doors, what i do have a problem with is dominance over another. and you have a way of writting about these things that just makes sense. the words are there i just never seem to be able to put it on paper lol. will be sharing. thank you x

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  11. Violence – be it physical or otherwise – has nothing to do with sex. Violence is about power; sex is about love. This male finds the whole abuse / control idea abhorrent – as so many other men do. Just thought I’d add a masculine comment to this thread – right there with you, ladies.

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  12. Susanne says:

    Not for me! I am always guided by my instinct – and my instinct has guided me to show no interest in the book or film – thus, I have not read the book, nor have I seen, or do I intend, to see the film. I did hear a brief snippet of the author being interviewed on the radio whilst I was driving one day. She said the story was a love story. It was at this point that I felt sad inside, as I wondered – what part does abuse, manipulation and disrespect play in the beautiful essence of love. None! This is no more or no less than ‘smut’ – dangerous smut – and I fail to understand why people crave it so. Why they prefer abuse over love, darkness over light, sorrow over joy, victimization over empowered self love, respect and care. How fortunate I feel to have such an inner compass that steers me well away from this base energy, in which I have no interest. I believe we all have such an instinct, one that offers up a sense of something being unhealthy – and often from afar, without our having become engaged, we know when something isn’t right ‘for us’. Such instinct is a calling that many ignore and therefore succumb to the temptation of something purporting itself to be harmless – when in truth, for those whom this is not ‘their kick’ – it is leading those who follow – down a path, that could, in fact, be harmful. As someone who offers guidance to others through my True Life Conversations and Correspondence, I am often assisting those who have become lured into, and involved in, such damaging circumstances – many who do things that they would never wish to have done – all-bar-none because they had been bullied or cajoled into it by another. And once they have partaken in things that often became well out of their comfort zone, they feel ashamed, less than, taken advantage of – weak. They believed that those who enticed them loved them – many were scared, as once in, they didn’t mean to get so deeply involved, nor knew how to get out. They felt controlled. So interestingly enough, I have noted quite a light forming around this darkness – one that is spotlighting it for what it is – abuse. It is my hope that the light is showing us that this is not a laugh; it is a serious problem – one that is coming to the surface to be cleansed and healed. One of those who came to me a few years ago spoke of scrubbing herself so hard to make herself clean that her skin bled. That is no love story – it is saddening to the very core!

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  13. tina brigden says:

    Oh my….your story is so so similar to mine. I was in a 14yr marriage that slowly descended into exactly how you described…before that I had been used and abused by various men from a very early age…not family…I don’t think I could have coped with that…I tried many times to leave in one way shape or form…I self harmed…n hated myself….its taken a long long time to be comfortable in my own skin…and its only been working with spirit that has saved me….that’s why I don’t want to read or watch something that…as you rightly say…glorifies abuse…mentally n physically… How ppl can think its remotely sexually gratifying I do not know…I don’t even talk about it to any friends who have read/watched it….I can’t believe how many are actually paying money to see it…I walk a spiritual path…one that satisfies me and nourishes me and enables me to grow and evolve my spirit and that’s all I need…I’m so glad you clawed your way back lovey…and I thank spirit for saving you bright blessings to you all xx bb xx )0(

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  14. B says:

    Love is truly ‘free spirited🎈and I’m ‘so thankful that I met a partner over ’20 years ago now, who not only recognised the ‘raw deals I’d had in previous ’emotionally , and physically damaging relationships, but who also saw ‘beyond the ‘mask id worn as I’d tried to ‘bravely hide my past abuse! He not only ‘stayed at my side as I began to find the courage to face my past demons, but gently and lovingly held my heart , as the holes and pieces began to realign. He began to assist me to reinstall the confidence to believe that I was a Woman, who ‘had the right to be me ,whoever that was ( for I had gotten lost in the mists of ‘task avoidance’ , with ‘all the hard work that I needed to begin as I had buried some past stuff ‘so deep’ yet naturally it ‘kept raising its ugly head,) he repeatedly & constantly reminded me that I was ‘worthy of being loved’, and that I must first learn to ‘come to love ‘me, right there in that broken place where I’d just been existing! – then he came to my side when I felt I wanted him there, and gave me the space when I didn’t! He taught me that ‘what I had ‘learned in a child’s world with irresponsible adults, I could now ‘turn around on its head , & ‘reclaim my power and my inner child, as an ‘Adult, and that its ‘quite ok to want to distant ourselves from , people, circumstances , or any situation where we feel ‘uncomfortable’ – most of all , when I had begin to blossom & grow, he told me that I had ‘done this all in my ‘own inner strength, and that he’d just been ‘privledged to witness the ‘transformation ! He still to this day says ‘ what do you think, or how do you feel about this! Yep , guess that’s why we were married 7 yrs back this June! He’s not ‘just my Hubby, my partner he’s my ‘best friend , because he taught me not what ‘love is! ( we’re stiill learning this’ ) – no he helped me see ‘ what ‘Love Isn’t’ – thankfully, !!
    I’ve not read the book , or seen the movie! No interest , I am a ‘work in progress on my healing path, but you know what ‘ I get my ‘highes and lows in a much more ‘healthier way these days, than having to depend on some ‘hyped up fictional ‘power trip book / movie, dressed up as a ‘romantic love story’ probably written by some ‘Misogynistical mind!
    Thank You for your sharing too . Blessings – )o( x

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    • tina says:

      Yes I too met my husband 20yrs ago and he has been my salvation…he has helped ( and still is helping me) put my broken pieces back together…I had 3 breakdowns with him by my side…and even now when things surface and I am partly broken again he is there holding my fragile heart while I mend…I truly would not be here if it was not for him…THAT is what I call true love….I can not have an intimate relationship n haven’t for past 7 yrs but he’s still with me…he is one in a million and can’t understand why he’s still with me…but he says TRUE love is not defined by a sexual state but a oneness that transcends over all of our relationship… He is truly my soulmate n I am blessed xx

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    • Thanks for sharing, B. May the steps along your healing path grow easier, your heart grow stronger and your smile grow wider. All love xx

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  15. Claire Muncaster says:

    taz –- if you truly love someone you don’t hurt them. you can’t. whether f’ship, family, anything. i thought it was just cos cg sounds boring, he’s got nothing to him, he doesn’t seem to have any sense of humour/anything. i am disabled so i go through enough pain as it is. i only read the books to shut 2 acquaintances of mine up

    grey = boring, nothingy colour, boring, nothingy books –- thank god i only borrowed them!

    ps your hair is amazing

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