Working in the adult industry can at times be empowering for women. You can pick and choose who you work with, plan your own schedule and run your own business. You can also make a good income if you are disciplined, professional and consistent. There is however a darker side to the industry and there are those that prey on sex workers and see them as a source for money, sex, or resources. It might be a producer that tries to push your boundaries or steals your content. Sometimes it can be closer to home. It might be a boyfriend or partner that claims to love you but sees you as a meal ticket and a free ride through life, while they live off the back of your success.
There are countless women in the industry that have suffered abuse or have been in toxic relationships. I have known many ladies throughout the years that have been subjected what to amounts to emotional torture at the hands of a partner. When you have been abused, whether emotionally, financially or physically it can erode your self-worth, chip away at your confidence and can take a long time to heal. There is often a great shame attached to it to, as if it somehow diminishes your power as a female. You might wonder how you could let it happen, but of course it never starts out that way. Predators are highly skilled in targeting their prey. They might stalk you online for months first, getting to know what you like and what your motivations are and so they rehearse their script and tell you exactly what you want to hear, all while they have their eye on the prize. Meanwhile, you may think you have met a soul mate at first, because they have researched your values and ethics, they will mimic them at first and so you will think they are just like you. There will be love-bombing and they may say things like, “we are soulmates,” I’ve never met anyone like you,” “you are the best thing that ever happened to me” “we were met to be.”
Of course, this phase doesn’t last, along the way they will devalue you and then will start to criticise and belittle you. Emotional abuse can be so insidious. It may initially look like they are trying to help as they try to mansplain things to you and tell you that you shouldn’t work with certain people because they are “concerned.” This is all a clever exercise in priming you to see which buttons to press and how to manipulate the situation for their own agenda. If you don’t detach yourself from the situation early on, it will escalate and the predator will become more controlling. These kinds of men are very narcissistic and will use a whole host of different tactics to wear you down and convince you to make choices that suit them. They don’t tend to go for weak people as many people might believe because a weak person has little to offer them. They tend to go for those who have strong values and are highly motivated, but they will chip away at them night and day to warp their sense of reality. I often think the techniques they use are very similar to those used in the SAS or terror organisations when they take a captive. At first, they will pretend to be your friend – “Just tell me everything and I can help.” Then the mindfuckery comes. They might deprive you of sleep night after night, then guilt or trick you into running around for them so that you are so exhausted you cannot think straight and have no energy for yourself. You feel to weak to put up a fight as all you can dream of is getting some rest. During these phases the gaslighting has already begun, “I didn’t say that,” “You must have imagined it,” “You always misunderstand what I’m saying,” What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you take a joke!”
You might start to feel confused and that is unsurprising. When you live in a war zone day after day you can start to suffer from PTSD and if you have any pre-existing traumas these can be triggered during the process, causing your faculties and mental processes to become cloudy. Intermittently, a narcissist will show loving behaviours if they think you are close to escaping their clutches. They will throw you meagre breadcrumbs and proclamations of their love to keep you hooked, because now you are miserable and want to believe it really is just your imagination. You just want things to go back to normal, you back down to keep the peace and so the cycle begins all over again.
Foolishly, I showed this diagram to an abusive ex hoping to appeal to his better nature. He laughed and said he was going to frame it and stick it on the wall. He took pleasure in knowing he had hurt me and it all it did was give him more fuel. Men like this are not capable of change.
On average, it takes a woman or man seven attempts to leave their abuser.
I highly recommend watching the Netflix series Maid, which illustrates how subtle abuse can be. The raging is an obvious sign, but it’s the gentle manipulations and the daily chipping away at you that can leave you the most conflicted. I intend to write a separate blog about the series soon, but in the meantime, add the show to your watch list and check it out.
It might make others uncomfortable to talk about abuse and many might wish to switch off or turn away. There are many reasons for this:
1: They couldn’t possibly believe that the charming person who told them how brilliant they are is an abuser.
2: They feel guilt. They wonder how they missed what was happening. What they may not consider, is how the abuser has played a long game, using different techniques, stories and ways to manipulate the circle of people around him or her. How truly convincing their act is.
3: They just can’t handle it.
Of course, there are many other reasons, but just because it might make people uncomfortable doesn’t mean that you should stay silent. You have every right to heal and own your truth.
As I mentioned previously, those that have experienced abuse often feel a great shame attached to it, so they suffer in silence. They might worry that friends will say, “I told you so,” or even that others may view them differently or somehow see them as damaged goods. I want to set the record straight and confirm that men or women that have been abused are not damaged or broken. Despite an onslaught of psychological torment which may span months or years, they have managed to escape their abuser, pick themselves up and start again. I want to normalise people in the industry being able to talk about what happened with them without fear of retribution, so that they can heal and feel supported. There should not be a stigma attached to it and suffering at the hands of an abusive person does not make you any less. You are already enough and just because somebody else devalued you, you should not devalue yourself.
It is however important to understand what lead you to stay with an abuser and address this so that it does not happen again in future. Perhaps you were re-enacting old survival techniques in response to past trauma that lead you to try and please the abuser. You may have some co-dependent issues, which can be quite painful to accept, particularly if you generally view yourself as an independent person. You might be a people pleaser or believe it is your job to ‘fix’ broken people. It isn’t. We are only responsible for our own happiness and it is up to others to work on their own issues. Julie Roberts coined it beautifully when she said, “Ladies, you are not a rehabilitation centre for badly raised men. It’s not your job to fix him, change him, parent or raise him. You want a partner, not a project.”
Of course, the same applies when the genders are reversed, but in this case, I refer to cases within the adult industry which is mainly men who abuse women. It’s unfortunate that I need to point this out in a world where there are some men will read this and automatically be angered and protest – “but what about women who abuse men?” Yes sometimes it is the other way round but most men do not live in fear of women on a day to day basis and it is generally women who are murdered by their partners. https://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/femicide-census-reveals-half-of-uk-women-killed-by-men-die-at-hands-of-partner-or-ex/
Changing your mind-set:
I am not a trained therapist. I can only speak from my own experience and what I have witnessed so I would suggest speaking with the professionals linked at the end of this blog. However, I will share a few thoughts of my own. The first step is to look within and confront your own issues that are causing you to stay with someone who enjoys hurting you. You deserve to be with someone who fulfils you and makes your life beautiful, not someone who makes you feel as if you are walking on eggshells through a perilous landscape of misery. If you can’t find the former, then be alone. Spend time being you. Do things you love. Take the time to find what makes you happy and learn some new skills. Just think, if you applied all your passionate energy that you give to the abuser on yourself instead, think of all that you can achieve and be capable of. You are amazing and have survived through things that others have never had to experience and that makes you incredibly strong and powerful. You just need to believe in yourself.
If you are doing all these things and still cannot escape your abuser, find someone you can talk to about it. Abusers will try hard to isolate you from friends and family so reach out to someone, and if you feel alone and have nowhere to turn to, there are charities such as Refuge and Women’s aid that provide support and even housing.
You can also contact Claire’s Law who can trace your abuser to see if they have any previous incidents and provide advice on how to escape. You can call them and delete the calls log on your phone afterwards or contact them online and it will all be confidential.
I highly recommend the following book by Lundy that look at why men abuse and control. It’s an absolute must read if you need some guidance. Many women who are abused are in denial at first or may make excuses for him, “Oh he had a bad childhood,” “He doesn’t mean it, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Lundy says that he knows exactly what he is doing. If he didn’t why does he choose to only do it in private, not around people? Why does he know exactly how far to take it without getting arrested? Some food for thought.
One of the biggest misconceptions that if he doesn’t hit you it isn’t abuse. If he is coercing you, controlling you, using your money, or if you are scared of saying no to him then it is abuse. All abuse is abuse.
He might scream at you, throw things at you or near you, punch walls or smash things up. This is a test to see if he can intimidate you. Don’t think that he won’t eventually start to get physical with you too if he thinks he can get away with it. Well adjusted, healthy people do not punch walls, or even try to coerce you with emotional blackmail.
Take back your life and live the life that you want to live. You don’t need someone that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
If the abuser doesn’t want you to speak out then guess what? They shouldn’t have abused you in the first place. So, own your truth and take the first step to regaining yourself and your mental wellbeing.
Peace sisters, you are loved. 8>
Here are a couple of useful links: