The Most Brazen Example of Co-Dependency I Have Ever Seen: Penelope Trunk Refuses to Leave Her Abusive PartnerCarolyn Castiglia
You guys, you know it’s bad when my response is “holy shit.” Cuz I’ve seen some stuff in my life, and I’ve made some poor choices in my life. Like Penelope Trunk, the famed blogger who once tweeted about how relieved she was to be having at miscarriage a work, I had a dysfunctional childhood, though (I just learned from reading more about her) not nearly to the same extent. Trunk wrote this week of how she was taken out of her parents’ home when she was 14 and how they told her the family was “much better” with her in the mental ward.
Trunk says, “So I did therapy alone, and after a while I got that feeling again: That maybe now I would be the type of person my parents liked and we could all get along. I lasted one day at my parents’ house before there was violence. I tell you this to tell you where my comfort zone is. Right there.”
Girl, I understand. I do. But let me say this, boo: when a man is hitting you, and Trunk’s “Farmer” is, YOU DON’T NEED ANY OTHER EXCUSE TO LEAVE. Especially when you have kids.
The world (okay, the blogosphere) knows Trunk is obsessed with having drama in her life – she’s built her career on it. I don’t follow Trunk’s blog regularly, but I’ve been directed to it multiple times as she’s written various intensely personal posts, like this one in which she admits her partner is beating her and that she is not ready to leave. The post is titled, tellingly, “The psychology of quitting,” as if walking away from domestic violence is giving up somehow. Giving up on being able to change the person who is hurting you, because that’s what will heal all of the hurt you’ve experienced your entire life. I know that desire all too well. I have invited many men into my life, men who I looked at with eyes of pity, men who I thought I could help – felt like I had to help – and it took me all this time to realize that in doing so I was simply displacing the healing energy I should be directing at myself.
I feel sorry for Trunk, who leads her post with a sexually charged photo of her body naked from the waist down, revealing a bruise on her hip “from where the Farmer slammed me into our bed post.” It’s clear that she has not reached her rock bottom in this relationship; even though she says she thinks she’s “dying,” she writes, “I am not leaving.”
From her post:
The hardest thing about leaving is that no one cares. My parents were so relieved when the police finally took me out of the house. The police said, “We’re going to have to take her now,” and my mom said, “Thank you so much! Please do that.” She wasn’t mean when she said it. She was genuinely relieved.
That’s how the Farmer will be, too. He broke up with me 50 times while we were dating. He loves the feeling of getting rid of me.
That’s why I can’t leave. I want someone to miss me.
Well, girl, I hear you. But guess what? The only people who are going to miss you – and who probably already are missing you in many ways – are your children. It’s amazing how abuse has a sick way of trickling down from one generation to the next, and while Trunk may not be hitting or verbally abusing her kids (I don’t know and truthfully I don’t want to search her blog to find out), she is, by example, setting them up to abuse or be abused by a partner in the future.
And also, babe – I’ma get totally, totally for really real with you right now, Penelope – you are probably right. It might be true that no one cares about your fate. Because you don’t care about yourself right now, so why should anyone else care about you? I’m not mad at you, I don’t think you’re a loser, I don’t think you’re a fuck-up and I get how you got here, but I know deep down you know you are the only person who can get yourself out. It’s not doing that that makes you a loser. Because you deserve to get out and your kids deserve a mother who wants to get out.
I know how hard it is. But do it anyway.
I wish you the very best. Truly.
Read about this mother’s post-divorce story: A Perfect Day