Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being young, smart, rich, and beautiful doesn't make you immune.

Today I listened to the Diane Reim show. The guest for the second half was Leslie Morgan Steiner. She is the author of Crazy Love, a memoir of her abusive marriage. The show was also about this relationship. She spoke honestly and sincerely about why she stayed with her abusive boyfriend, who then became her abusive husband, for several years. I liked her appearance on the show for two reasons.

First, she was candid in admitting that she loved her ex-husband even as the abuse happened. There were aspects of his personality that she loved. After all, she did fall in love with him. This psychological hold he had on her made it all the more difficult for her to leave. People say that money can't buy love. Well, money can't buy you out of love either. By other standards, she was in a perfect position to. She was financially secure, had her own job, and didn't have kids.

She stayed because she wanted their relationship to work. Her ex-husband had grown up in an abusive family and she didn't want to let him down the way other people in his life had. I think it's okay to feel some sympathy here for her ex-husband. But let me be clear: pity, sympathy, and not wanting to give up should not make someone remain in the relationship. Leslie Morgan Steiner realized ultimately that the help he needed was beyond what she could give; her presence was making it worse for both of them.

Second, both she and her husband were people you perhaps wouldn't normally think of as abuser and survivor. The point is that it can happen to anyone. He was Ivy League educated with a high-paying Wall Street job. She was also Ivy League educated and came from “a good family”. I don't think we can write her off as a poor little rich girl complaining about her glamorous Manhattan life. It's not only the poor mom with lots of kids and no education in the ghettos or in the developing world. Being young, smart, rich, and beautiful doesn't make you immune.

You can listen to the show here.

1 comment:

Jessieroo said...

I love your post. Well written, as usual Chen!