Hot tempers

I try to put a little spin into the things that I write. I know that BADASSCHICK is geared towards strong women and as such, it’s also geared towards relationships. I’m all for that: I’m a strong woman in a relationship. But, as anyone who’s over the age of 12 knows, relationships are not all romance, passion and love. Which brings me to the topic of this month’s article. Hot tempers.

Granted, some people love a hot temper. It works wonderfully for the amateur Domme and the G.L.O.W. girl {no, that is not a candy raver crossed with a glitter goth, for those of you who were in Pampers during the 80’s}. But it’s a different story when it’s not part of an act.

My question is: What differentiates a hot temper from abuse from just being a moody I was stunned and a little angry that someone would label me as an abuse victim. What do they know, after all? jerk? A few years back, it was all about knowledge and what defines what. Where everything under the sun got its’ own politically correct thesis. Personally, I don’t think anything has been cleared up by all the definitions that were set out. It’s more confusing if anything.

When I was in high school, I dated a guy with a hot temper. The general population thought he was a great guy, but certain things sent him over the edge. Once that fuse got lit, there was no going back. We were together for 4 years and most of that time was spent fighting. He would lie about doing drugs and blow up when I called him on it. He would sneak around with other girls and blow up when I asked him why he was out so late. He would get pissed when I didn’t check in with him or if he heard I was hanging out with people he didn’t approve of.

The list goes on and on, but in my mind, he was just a jerk sometimes. Other times I thought I was just being a brat. Our last year together, I had joined a “men suck” bitch session at work and regaled my coworkers with some of the milder, yet irritating tales about what he’d done. One of my co-workers pulled me aside and asked me if I realized that he was abusing me. I was stunned and a little angry that someone would label me as an abuse victim. What do they know, after all? Only the few things I told them about a couple of bad days. It wasn’t like I was walking around covered in bruises. But the thought was now in my head.

I thought about the fact that he had hit me and threatened me. I thought about the number of times I would sleep with him when I didn’t want to just so he wouldn’t get pissed off and start a fight. I thought about the number of times I would sleep in the bathroom because it was the only door that had a lock on it. I thought about how if we fought in the car, he would go into reckless driving mode to scare me. And I thought about how we both always blamed it on me “pushing” an issue too much. Maybe he was more than a prick with a bad temper.

I had read that abuse is anything that implies violence or a physical threat that is intentionally and repeatedly used as negative reinforcement to make someone do something they normally wouldn’t do. But who determines if it really does imply violence? Yeah, it’s obvious if someone is waving a gun at you and saying “Bitch, do as you’re told”, but what looks like him in a bad mood to an outsider is a great big warning to an insider. Who’s interpretation really counts? Who is to say that I wasn’t being hypersensitive to an idea that was put into my head by someone else? And who is to say that I wasn’t at fault because I “knew what was coming”, yet did it I thought about how if we fought in the car, he would go into reckless driving mode to scare me anyway? Or because I stuck around? At that point, does it make me a masochist or just plain stupid? Then again, who’s to say there was any way for me to “win” in that situation?

Did I turn someone with a hot temper into an abusive man simply by listening to someone else say the word?

It’s a dangerous line to walk. It wasn’t a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. He didn’t lock me in closets or beat me so badly I needed to be hospitalized. There was only two times where he flared up at me in front of other people. And it’s not like I was so innocent or either of us were so wise. Sometimes he said he was sorry, so perhaps he did feel guilty about it, or maybe he was scared of getting caught.

Years later, I was with someone else and we had a fight. I was being overemotional and he had said in his famous sarcastic-yet-bored tone — Yeah, and I suppose I’m abusing you now.’ It made me think about my first boyfriend again. Maybe I was wrong to use the “A” word. When I look back on it now, it’s very hard to remember any of the good things. It’s hard to recall the first few months that drew me in or the first time I’d felt trapped. The bad times occasionally run through my mind in bits and pieces, but it’s nothing all that terrifying anymore. I’m not scarred, much.

Out of all of it, very little remains of those four years of my life. An aversion to conflict, an inability to deal with someone raising their voice and a messed up wrist. I was lucky, I suppose, and I’m not a victim. I can’t be because I don’t give him enough credit for that anymore. I don’t give him enough credit to be one of the dark and menacing villains in those made-for-TV movies. He was just a guy who could have been a decent person, but decided that forcing other people to cater to him was a lot easier. As for what I think now, yes, he was abusive, but I didn’t hate him for that. I hated him for the temper that let him think brute force on a 14 year old was ok. I hated him because I knew him well enough to know that there was no “history” that would make him that way, he simply was that way.

It’s been 5 years since I left him, and it feels like a lifetime. I’ve had other long term relationships since then and I realize that the “knowledge” I had, that all relationships have their ups and downs and that there was nothing out of the ordinary with us, has since been proven false. In the past 5 years, I have not been threatened or hit. I can now be upset about something without being afraid it’s going to start a fight. And I don’t have to lie to my family and friends about what is going on in my life, because it finally is my life again. Maybe there is no such thing as a hot temper. Perhaps it’s only an excuse. But if the things I have seen in my life are any indication, a true hot temper is a rarity. I am hoping that’s the case.

Eschient See all posts by this author
is a feroscious bunny rabbit.
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