The Right Fit

I had an interesting conversation last week with a few friends about why I am so offended when a guy says: “I’d love to see you
without makeup on.”

It all started in
2002 after my husband came from Jamaica.  

I’ve written a prelude about my
marriage, you can read it in the following post:
Upon his return to
Canada and permanent residency, the niceties were gone and he became demanding
and controlling.  

He wanted me to get rid of my cats, didn’t want me hanging
out with friends, alienated my family and was watching my every move.
He was cheating and turning the tables on me to the point that I
was questioning my actions even though I was doing nothing wrong.  I walked with my head low to avoid eye
contact with other men, didn’t go out without him and dressed in loose baggy
clothing most of the time. 
I would get calls
at work that went something like this: “Where were you? Why weren’t you at
your desk?”  I tried at first to just ignore it but having grown up
in an emotionally abusive home I quickly started to feel robotic and anxious.
Then in 2003 I
answered a casting call for a television program called The Right Fit. They were looking for people interested in quitting
smoking and being filmed in the process.  It was a six month stint that
included acupuncture, a video diary of my progress and a makeover at the end.
They included my daughter, husband and even co-workers in the story.  He
was very annoyed and not supportive, concerned only about why we weren’t getting
paid for this.  
After the show
aired the Producer of the show called me. She was concerned about my well-being;
she had witnessed his tactics of control and my anxiety.  As I spoke to
her on the phone I broke down and told her how frighten I was and a complete
nervous wreck.  I mentioned I had not talked to my family about this since
they were expecting the marriage to fail.
When I hung up the
phone the bedroom door swung open.  It was him….I had no idea he was
home.  He came and stood over me with his 6’2 frame and his mouth almost
covering mine, he yelled at a high pitch “you fucking
bitttttttttttch.”  My hair flew back from his breath and my whole
body went numb.   That was the day I left.  

I called my Mom and found
an apartment immediately.  It was the last straw; he had humiliated me to
his family, alienated my friends and family and made me nervous of my own
shadow.  He insisted on picking me up at work every day only to have me
trembling when a male co-worker stood by my side.
It took years to
recover and in many ways I don’t think I will ever completely be the same.
 What I have done is worked really hard at making sure it never happens
again and that is why when a guy says he wants to see me without makeup on I
don’t want anything to do with him.  It is a sign of control in my books.
Love me for who I
am, don’t try to change me.  I cringe at any request that reminds me of
the past, I am the way I am and that’s it.  I won’t cut my hair or dye it
a different colour, stay fat or lose weight, not wear makeup or sexy clothing
because it makes someone else uncomfortable. 
This is “Gail” and what you see is what you get.
The right fit is
about someone loving you unconditionally in the same way you love yourself and
others.  So if a man is looking for someone who doesn’t wear makeup then
he shouldn’t date me.  Below I have
attached signs of abusive behavior in a partner.  It was originally printed in the Ann Lander’s
JEALOUSY – In the initial stages of a relationship, abusers say jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy has nothing to do with love; it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. Abusers question their victims about whom they talk to, accuse them of flirting and are jealous over time spent with family, friends, or children. As the jealousy progresses and escalates, abusers may phone frequently or drop by unexpectedly. Abusers usually refuse to let their significant others have jobs for fear they might meet someone else or develop a support system. Behaviors like checking car mileage or asking friends to spy are other signs of pathological jealousy. 

CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR – In the initial stages of a relationship, abusers explain that controlling behavior is concern for the significant other’s safety, the need to use time well, or the need to make “good” decisions. Abusers are angry if the other person is “late” coming back from the store, from a meeting or appointment, and they ask extensive questions about where their partners went and who they talked to. As controlling behavior worsens, abusers tend to interfere more and more in their victims’ personal decisions, like choice of clothing, church attendance, or money. Abusers may even make victims ask permission to leave the room or the house.

QUICK INVOLVEMENT – Many victims dated or knew their abusers for less than six months before they were engaged or living together. Abusers come on like a whirlwind, claiming “love at first sight.” Abusers flatter their victims with statements like “You’re the only person I have ever been able to talk to,” “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone,” or “I’d kill myself if you ever left me.” The abuser needs someone desperately and will pressure a victim to make a quick and total commitment.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS – Abusers are dependent on victims to meet all their needs. Abusers expect their partners to be perfect mates, parents, lovers, or friends. Abusers might say things like “If you love me, I’m all you need and you’re all I need.” Victims are supposed to take care of everything for abusers emotionally and usually take care of everything else in the home, too.

ISOLATION – Abusers try to cut their partners off completely from all resources. If the victim is a woman and has male friends, she is a “whore.” If she has women friends, she is a lesbian. If the victim is a man who is close to his family, he is “tied to his mother’s apron strings.” Both male and female abusers accuse those who are supportive of their partners of “causing trouble” and being a primary source of the couple’s problems. Abusers may want to live in the country (sometimes without a telephone) and may not want victims to use a vehicle, or they may try to keep them from working or going to school.

PROJECTING BLAME ONTO OTHERS FOR PERSONAL PROBLEMS – If abusers are chronically unemployed, it is always someone else who is doing them wrong or is out to get them. Abusers may make mistakes and blame the victim for upsetting them, keeping them from concentrating, or from doing their job. Abusers tell victims they are at fault for almost anything and everything that goes wrong.

BLAMING OTHERS FOR THEIR FEELINGS – Abusers tell their victims “You make me mad,” “You’re hurting me by not doing what I ask,” or “I can’t help being angry,” In fact, abusers make decisions about what they think and feel, then use these feelings to manipulate victims. More subtle are claims like “You make me happy” or “You control how I feel.”

HYPERSENSITIVITY – Abusers are easily insulted and may claim their feelings are hurt when they are really very angry. Abusers may take the slightest setback as a personal attack. They rant and rave about injustices that have happened to them– things that are really just a common part of living, like being asked to work overtime, running into bad traffic, or being asked to help with children or housework.

CRUELTY TO CHILDREN OR ANIMALS – Abusers may punish animals brutally or be insensitive to their pain and suffering. They may expect children to be capable of doing things far beyond their ability (e.g., whipping a 2-year old for wetting the bed) or may tease children until they cry. Abusers who beat their partners commonly beat their children. Abusers may not want children to eat at the table or may expect children to stay in their rooms all evening.

PLAYFUL” USE OF FORCE DURING SEX – Abusers often like to throw their victims down and hold them during sex, or act out fantasies in which their partners are helpless. Abusers let the victims know the idea of rape is exciting to them and may show little concern about whether victims want to have sex. They will use sulking, intimidation, or anger to manipulate the victim into compliance. Abusers may start having sex with victims while the victim is asleep, or demand sex while victims are ill or tired.

VERBAL ABUSE – In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this behavior is used by abusers to degrade the victim. Verbal degradation may include running down victims or their accomplishments. Abusers will tell victims they are stupid and unable to function alone. This may involve waking victims up in order to verbally abuse them and not letting them go back to sleep.

RIGID ROLES (MASTER/SERVANT BEHAVIOR) – Abusers expect victims to be subservient to them and often insist that victims stay at home and obey them in all things– even criminal behavior. Abusers see their victims as inferior, stupid, and unable to be a whole person outside of the relationship.

THE QUICK CHANGE SYNDROME – Many victims are confused by their abuser’s sudden changes in mood. Victims describe that one minute abusers seem nice, and the next minute they explode; one minute they are happy and the next, they are sad. This does not always indicate some sort of mental problem or that abusers are “crazy.” Explosiveness and mood swings are typical of abusers who beat their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like hypersensitivity.

PAST BATTERING AND A HISTORY OF PHYSICAL ABUSE – Abusers may admit that they have hit someone in the past, but frequently claim that the victim “made them do it.” Victims may hear from relatives or ex-spouses that the person has been physically abusive. Batterers will beat any partner they are with; situations or circumstances do not cause them to batter.

THREATS OF VIOLENCE – These include threats of physical force to control the victim. “I’ll slap your mouth off,” “I’ll kick you,” or “I’ll break your neck.” Most partners do not threaten their mates, but batterers will often claim that “Everybody talks like that” or “I didn’t really mean it.”

BREAKING OR STRIKING OBJECTS – Breaking valued possessions is used as punishment, but its primary objective is to terrorize victims into submission. Abusers may beat on tables or walls with their fists, or throw objects around or near their victims.

ANY FORCE USED DURING AN ARGUMENT – Abusers may hold victims down, physically restrain them from leaving, push or shove them. Abusers may hold their victims against a wall with statements such as “You’re going to listen to me!”

In short, abusive relationships leave victims feeling hopeless — believing they don’t have the right to say no, that they are to blame for the abuse, and that it will stop if they change their behavior.