When Fifty Shades of Grey first started becoming trendy, I rolled my eyes and ignored it. I knew the reviews spoke of poor writing and low quality. I’m a literature fan and don’t typically read romance novels, so I figured this was more junk on the cheap book rack at the grocery store. But as I learned more and more about what people were saying–specifically people who’ve survived a relationship with a sociopath or therapists and domestic violence counselors who know about violence, control and sociopathy–I started to become alarmed. I decided to read some of the books for myself. I am divorced from a very controlling sociopath, so I wanted to see if Christian Grey was as bad as I kept reading.
It turns out, he is a full-on obvious sociopath. But, as with real-life sociopaths, many people won’t realize that and more people will not care if they’ve been warned. The complaints about this book aren’t really about the BDSM, (although some more conservative people are bothered by that as well,) it’s more about Gray’s complete control of the “relationship” with Ana. This is a guy who can’t feel love or show a conscience. She is a business transaction and an object for him. She even knows this and wants to avoid it, yet is drawn back by the charm. (How many of us who have left a sociopath remember that feeling of confusion!?)
That’s bad enough that many domestic violence advocates are talking and former sociopath victims are boycotting. But, what I find disturbing is the public’s reaction. Despite warnings from experts and first-hand witnesses of sociopaths, women who like the books do not want to listen. They want to close their ears and dismiss the concerns. Those of us who have escaped a sociopath will remember that experience all too well! No one wants to open their minds and accept that maybe the person or book they read is an abuser or promotes abuse.
So many abuse survivors, including myself, say that what hurt us the most was not the abuse, but the fact that the people we reached out to for help didn’t take us seriously. I see similar denial in the supporters of Fifty Shades of Grey. Unfortunately, some women will see Grey as a sexy alpha male instead of the sociopath is. And more women will learn to accept being miserable as a normal fact of life.
In the book, Ana ignores her concerns and falls in love with Christian despite feeling hesitant. How many of us were so desperate to be in love that we overlooked a mountain of abuse and problems hoping the sociopath would change? I know I did. I wish now that I’d left after the first signs of violence. My ex sociopath showed me early on that he had no conscience. If someone shows you that believe them!
This book would be better reading for people wanting to learn about sociopaths than it is as a romance novel.