In my last blog about Fifty Shades of Grey, I noted that Christian picked Ana partly because she had poor boundaries and seemed timid, while her stronger friend, Kate, knew immediately that he was bad news. In this blog, we move farther into the book as Christian begins controlling Ana and dictating how she should eat and drink…when they still barely know each other and definitely do not have a relationship! Like most predators, he takes the liberty of deciding to run her life for her and he gets angry when she doesn’t live the way he thinks she should. All quotes come from James, E L (2011-05-25). Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, Book 1). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
At the very end of chapter three and beginning of chapter four, Christian and Ana nearly kiss and she’s feeling tons of chemistry, (which is not unusual with a charismatic narcissist,) but he refuses to kiss her, and instead tells her to stay away. In her disappointment, (as well as her excitement about finishing college,) she gets drunk and calls him while she is out at a club with her male friend and her friend Kate. When Christian hears she is drunk, he immediately becomes stern and angry with her and feels like he must treat her like his child. Ana narrates their conversation: “‘Anastasia, where are you? Tell me now.’ His tone is so … so dictatorial , his usual control freak. I imagine him as an old-time movie director wearing jodhpurs, holding an old-fashioned megaphone and a riding crop. The image makes me laugh out loud. ‘You’re so … domineering.’ I giggle. ‘I’m coming to get you,’ he says, and hangs up. Only Christian Grey could sound so calm and so threatening at the same time.”(p. 57-58). Is it his business to intervene when an adult woman is out drinking with her friends? No! Especially when he barely knows her.
Christian shows up at the bar pretty quickly even though Ana never told him where she was. He begins berating her: “‘It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia. I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really this is beyond the pale. Do you make a habit of this kind of behavior?’ My head buzzes with excess alcohol and irritation. What the hell has it got to do with him? I didn’t invite him here. He sounds like a middle-aged man scolding me like an errant child. Part of me wants to say that if I want to get drunk every night like this, then it’s my decision and nothing to do with him —but I’m not brave enough. Not now that I’ve thrown up in front of him. Why is he still standing there?” (p. 61). Good question! Why is he there in the first place? Why does her care what her drinking habits are? At this point, it’s none of his business. And how the heck did he know where to find her so quickly? Oh…he stalked her as she explains: “‘How did you find me?’ ‘I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.’ Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s still floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind. (p. 62). Okay, this is a big problem. His behavior is far out of line, but because he’s sexy, she lets it slide. Umm…no. That’s not good.
I have married two narcissists and both of them did things like this. I’ve actually never been drunk in my life, but each of them would get angry about when or what I ate, when I slept, how much I did or didn’t exercise. My first narcissist ex used to call me when he got to work to tell me to wake up, then he’d call me on his lunch break and scold me if I wasn’t eating at the same time he was. He wouldn’t let me have a job, but he called frequently to dictate what I did all day. If I was not doing what he wanted, he’d get mad! The second ex went so far as to take food away from me when I was pregnant because he said “pregnancy is not an excuse to get fat.” I was shocked. Both of them took it as a personal insult if I just went about living my life and it wasn’t the way they wanted. They couldn’t understand that different choices are not bad. (And I wasn’t getting into any trouble; it really was just a matter of different choices!) This is typical for narcissists to get mad when your choices aren’t the same as theirs. In their minds, it is a sub-conscious attack on their own lives if others do not match. To normal people, we are just being normal…. Ana goes on to state “He’s so overbearing. He runs his hand through his unruly hair. He looks frustrated, angry. What is his problem?”(p. 63). Exactly. What is his problem? She’s not living her life by his personal guidelines for his own life. That makes him mad.
Christian ends up taking Ana back to his hotel after she passes out and she wakes up in his bed the next morning. He’s quick to attack her choices and dictate what she’s “supposed” to do: “‘Did you eat last night?’ His tone is accusatory. I shake my head. What major transgression have I committed now? His jaw clenches, but his face remains impassive. ‘You need to eat. That’s why you were so ill. Honestly, it’s drinking rule number one.” He runs his hand through his hair, and I know it’s because he’s exasperated. “Are you going to continue to scold me?'”(p. 67). Yeah, she should have eaten a good meal before drinking, but it’s not his business! When I was living with narcissist one, he used to get angry out of nowhere and I was constantly asking myself “what did I do wrong now?” “How can I make this guy happy?” The truth is, nothing and you can’t. Every thing you do that is not exactly what the narcissist would have chosen is going to make them mad. And food issues seem to be common with them. They want to dictate what goes into your body.
Christian continues to tell Ana what she is going to do that day, and he harps on the food some more: “‘Eat,’ he says more sharply. ‘Anastasia, I have an issue with wasted food … eat.'” And then some more…”‘Eat what’s on your plate. If you’d eaten properly yesterday, you wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be declaring my hand so soon.’ His mouth sets in a grim line. He looks angry.” (p. 75). And these two are still not in a relationship, nor have they gone on a real date other than spur-of-the-moment coffee after a business meeting!
In just these few hours that elapse between her drunk dial and their afternoon parting, Christian has stalked Ana, taken her to his hotel, cleaned her up while she was unconscious, told her how and what to eat a few times, berated her and acted like an angry father. At least a father would have a right to comment on her life, but this is just some guy she barely knows who is crossing all her boundaries and trying to control her even though she is an adult. Red flags!
And she still doesn’t know about his “red room of pain” yet…. More to come in the next blog.