Thursday, 27 January 2011

If I were you……

Morning all from a frosty Corfu. Yes – yesterday -1. Hey – for us, this is positively Arctic.
So, today I thought I would rant about that one little phrase that drives me crazier than any other. I wouldn’t put up with that if I were you. Well, you are not me, are you? In the words of Mr. Bond…never say never.

In a way, this rant is a follow on from the last blog post in so much as it touches on another issue raised in my novel, Fragile Dreams.

Why did Lisa always feel it necessary to remind her of her husband’s iron-rod of control? But that was women; secretly delighting in even their friends’ less than perfect marriage. It drew the spotlight away from their own miserable existence.

Ellie is a women trapped in a loveless marriage. Worse, her husband is a psychological bully. Before I go any further, I must stress I am not going to discuss domestic physical violence. I am not qualified to do so. It is a whole different ball game. No – I would like to focus more on the subtle mind games many men play on their partners. It was a comment made by a friend of mine that led me to consider this topic. We were discussing a mutual acquaintance who, for want of a better word, is controlled by her spouse. His wants always take first place in their household. She bends to his will. My friend’s comment was….how do these women get themselves in that situation…..if that were me, I wouldn’t put up with it. Stop right there, I said. How do you know what you would do? Second, who the hell are you to judge?
I am sure no one sets out for this to happen but that is the thing about control freaks. They are clever, they know what buttons to push and before they know it, their victims are sucked in, seduced maybe by a sweet smile and deceiving words…it’s because I care about you. I can understand how seductive it is in the first throes of romance to believe your man is so possessive because he adores you. A pattern is set, one that is hard to break and once the children come along, it is often too late to change it. More often than not, a woman will put up with the verbal abuse, the constant nagging to try and keep the peace. Of course, for those foreign women there is the added problem; if they were to leave, were can they go? Back to their home country? Not always feasible. One has to look at it from the children’s point of view. In their hearts they are Greek. They do not want to leave everything familiar to them.
My point – do not be too quick to judge. In fact, by coming out with this rubbish, all you are doing is making this person feel even more inadequate. It’s added pressure. If you know someone in this situation then try to be supportive and understanding. What they need is a friend, not a jury.
But what is it about women? Why do we always have to judge? If it isn’t about relationships, it’s about how we raise our kids? Judging, judging – always judging. You don’t let him/ her do that do you? I wouldn’t put up with it. If he was mine blah blah. Oh please – we all have our ideas on child rearing and while we are on the subject of child rearing, what is it with this competitiveness? You know the parent I am talking about. Whose sole conversation revolves around her children’s achievement and begins every conversation with and what is such and such up to, purely so they can ram down your throat what a band of budding little geniuses they have stashed at home. Please – let your kids breathe. Let me breath. Life is not a battlefield. There are no winners or losers. And – I beseech you, less of the…if I was you…

Let’s move on to a happier topic. Music. Where would we be without it? It certainly rocks my world. It is the inspiration behind most of my work. I hear a song and – whoosh – it gives me the mood and atmosphere I am seeking. Do I play music while I write? Not initially, while I am scribbling out my first draft. I am too immersed in my story for any distraction. If I were to play my favourite artists, I would lay down my pen, pick up my air guitar and burst into song or worse – leave my desk completely and jump into disco mode. However, once my tale is down on pc and I begin the tweaking process, then it’s no holding back. The music blares from all speakers. My play list? Depends on my mood. For those who know me, Savage Garden and Darren Hayes are at the top, closely followed by anything heavy metal and rock. I do confess to being a huge Gaga fan. There is something about that feisty, talented, arty young woman that appeals to me. What I do have is particular songs to fit the mood of each one of my stories; a set of lyrics which helped me form the characters.

Cold, Cold Heart – Daniel: ‘Mine’ by Savage Garden
Actually, Daniel has two songs: Electricity by Anathema

Dreamweek – Izzie: ‘Pour Que Tu m’aime Encore’ by Céline Dion

Fragile Dreams – Ellie: ‘In Your Eyes’ by Darren Hayes

Written in Stone – Cassie: ‘I Just Want You to Love Me’ by Darren Hayes

Class Act – Rebecca: {still looking for a home} ‘Name of the Game’ by Abba
Past Undone {wip} –Lily: ‘You Can Still be Free’ by Savage Garden

Spin – Sara: {ongoing project since…ever, really} ‘Sara” by Fleetwood Mac

Class Act – Rebecca: {still looking for a home} ‘Name of the Game’ by Abba

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my little selection. If I had to pick an all-time favourite? It has got to be Sara – Fleetwood Mac.{Well I always wanted to be Stevie Nicks}. See you next week. Back to frivolity and my Top Ten Twenties Moments.


  1. Totally agree about the part where you cannot judge or say 'you'd do this if you were in the shoes of...'. Been there, experienced that, and it's unnerving as hell! My first husband was an emotionally abusive manipulator, and when details of our break up came out, everyone and their mother was telling me that I'd been a fool to out up with it, to try and salvage my marriage the first time I learned he had cheated, etc.

    Nobody can and should judge, full stop! Thanks for saying this out loud, Viviane.

  2. It's a thought provoking topic. A minor character in my wip is in an abusive relationship, initially pyschologically, then physically, but it is a subplot which is only dipped into.I agree that the topic is too sensitive for amateur psycholgists.

  3. and thank you for your honesty. I think you will find Fragile Dreams interesting.

  4. You put into words what many people think, but don't act on. In my debut novel, The Brat, the heroine survived a brutal childhood. While it is refered to nothing is detailed, but the essence flows through the book. In my new novel, Duty Calls, coming out next month, the heroine has escaped an abusive marriage. Again refered to and not detailed, but the long-term impact on both heroines is the thread that weaves through their stories and makes them the strong women they become.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and came away saying 'There but for the grace of God...'

  5. Thank you for your comment. I am so glad more authors are dealing with real-life issues in their romance . Good fiction should reflect real life. I am a little tired of these fiesty, strong heroines. Don't get me wrong; hats off to women who are so in control but sadly, we are all not the same. Some women have no choice and should be understood rather than made to feel inadequate. There is a line from my earlier novel, Dreamweek.

    God, what is it with your sex? You‟re so hell-bent on destroying each other. Isn‟t it enough we men do it for you? So true, isn't it?

  6. I totally agree with you when you say it's added pressure, they don't need judging on top of what they are already going through.

    Great post again.

    By the way... I also own an air guitar... but my office is so small I tend to chair dance more. Do you?

    I hate to lower the tone to fluffy bunnies and shoes, but that's one cute twitchy nosed fella you have there, Viv!

    And... I so wish I had dreams like yours! The Gallagher brothers, for goodness sake!!!!!(re my blog post!)



  7. Friendship not judgement. Bravo. I absolutely agree-- with this caveat. Some friends offer the "I would do this if I were you" purely to offer insight and choice. They do not mean to press you to do what they suggest, but are offering their experience and opinion through the vehicle of sharing what they truly would do. Now this may not be what you would do. It is absolutely always your choice as to how you respond to challenges. But a friend's insight can add, well a broadened worldview and opportunity to choose more wisely.
    Of course there are those "friends" that do offer in judgemnet. In my opinion, these are not friends, but judges/control freaks/immature women wnating to bolster their own psyches through taking on the Agony Aunt role. Their "advise" should be taken with as much consideration as they have given you in the shelling out of said.
    As in most cases, it is how it is said and meant that reveals its usefulness and intent.

    Christine London