Domestic Violence Life Lessons From #freebritney, Pop Idols Need Help Too

Not into pop music, I was surprised when I came across the tenacity of Britney fans, especially this account BritneyHiatus on Twitter. Which has been doing deep investigation into her situation, very impressive! 

The timeline I looked at is typical for a victim, where she had a string of very public breakdowns in the late 2000s and what's happening now. 

During that time, Spears was spotted driving her SUV with her son Sean on her lap and not strapped in a car seat. She also famously shaved her head and was seen hitting a photographer's car with an umbrella.

In 2008, Spears made several trips to rehab and was committed twice to a psychiatric hospital — also known as a 5150 hold in California, where Spears lives, Laura Newberry reported for the Los Angeles Times. Newberry spent three months examining Spears' conservatorship.

Her father, Jamie Spears, petitioned for an emergency "temporary conservatorship" after Britney's second psychiatric hold, Newberry reported. 

A conservatorship is also known as a legal guardianship. It's granted to those who are incapable of making decisions, such as people with mental disabilities and those with dementia. Law experts told Newberry a conservatorship was "unusual for someone as young and productive as Spears."

From other sources, I gathered that she was involuntarily institutionalised and put on medication. As someone who was misdiagnosed with bipolar (she's diagnosed with that too) when I had CPTSD from abuse, I wasn't never institutionalised but I was sabotaged and shamed by my abusers for seeking help every step of the way.

They also used me going for therapy and getting a diagnosis as a way to justify how I deserved their control and the problem was me all along. 

Yeah right, fat chance! 

“Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out,” she said in the For the Record’s documentary. “But in this situation, it’s never ending.”

Her fans are doing an amazing job, kudos to them 

Photo found here 

Sabotaging a victim's independence by refusing them help directly or refusing to support them in getting long term help such as counselling is one common way that abusers keep victims trapped.

Forcing medication so the victim is mentally confused is also a way abusers will reinforce control. Abusers want victims to get up ASAP and labour away for them as soon as possible, the wellbeing of the victim is secondary to money, achievements and image of the parents or the image they demand she has. 

In this case, she faces far more pressure than non public facing survivors, especially if the public persona is about empowerment or being a strong woman, this can place her under more duress, giving her much more considerations, making her unable to see how her wealth can be the key to release her to greener pastures. 

Why Trump Reminds Me Of My Abuser, How Melania Might Be Happy He's Losing

When someone has an official diagnosis and hospitalisations, this is weaponised back to place more control in the abuser's hands, when it was the controlling behaviours that made her mentally ill in the first place.

Desperate to regain some fraction of control in their lives, victims settle for medication and live a diminished life still filled with inner turmoil that doesn't go away. 

It's better than nothing is how survivors think at that point of desperation, where they're psychologically trapped in a corner, feeling helpless. 

I know that's how I felt, I was surviving and it was better than nothing. 

Usually the victim voluntarily (in my case) or involuntarily is placed on meds that treats the symptoms but not the root cause of the problems. This allows the person to function, but also convinces the victim it's a temporary glitch, a stressful phase which she came out of, not a matter of possible deeper problems with the people around her, that being around them will make sure she stays mentally ill. 

There have been many reported cases of abused females institutionalised against their will throughout history, causing them greater harm. 

Victims always blame ourselves for mistreatment, ALWAYS. The other idea is far more frightening, deep inside we're scared to death of pulling away from them and scared to death of having to face such debilitating conflicting pain inside us as well.

To pull aways from abusers, we have to face how much they have robbed from us, how much pain we have repressed and battle it out of our system. 

This is a long drawn out process, which cannot be done unless we go no contact with them, decide that if it's them or us, we choose us, we choose to be free. 

The thing is no one wants to believe that family members can be abusive, this is one of the problems I find in my research of domestic violence, that it's taboo to talk about abuse within the family, especially if it was female to female abuse, for example mother to child.

Male to female is still more widely recognised, thanks to feminism. This success has however made female to female, female to male abuse a much more taboo topic at the same time. 

What Is Victim Blaming From A Survivor's Mouth

People see it as betrayal of a blood pact, betrayal of the sanctity of family values, advocates are accused of airing dirty laundry, taking any kind of action to safeguard ourselves is seen as creating trouble, being nasty women. 

People see not hanging onto utopian ideals of lasting forever love from parent to child as unromantic, too cynical and too cold, when millions of abused kids suffer this fate. 

The whole idea of mother instinct is detrimental for women in many ways, moms have unrealistic expectations of themselves which leads to mental distress, do not think they deserve professional help, they end up taking it out on daughters, daughters who're socially silenced by the same idea.

Intergenerational wounding is a real thing. From dad to daughter, from mom to daughter, this is so common. 

Feminism has failed miserably at publicising this perspective, it's gutting when I see so called feminists not wanting to talk about this form of abuse, especially since it damages mom and daughter at the same time, that's a heck a lot of women all at once. 

Feminism isn't about who abuse who, it's about all abuse is unacceptable, no one should be abusing anyone, anyone who is abused need help and empathy.

Everyone deserve healing and freedom from psychological jail. 

Since part of her doesn't trust her own mental faculties, which can happen even for someone as brilliant and as successful as Britney, the fear of "going back there" makes her give up control to her abusers to govern her. The more mentally ill she is, the more she's losing control, the more she gives up control to them.

It becomes a cycle of despair, hopelessness and defeat. 

Abusers are often quick to convince victims that "they're doing it for her own good", " it's for the best". They take more and more control of her life, slowly but surely.

In her case, her dad is threatening her with her kids, parental alienation is another popular way to manipulate females into servitude. Mothers feel additionally torn between herself and her kids, this adds more stress to the situation. 

Britney Spears' most recent financial documents showed that as of 2018, she had a net worth of $59 million. That year, she spent $400,000 on living expenses and $66,000 on household supplies.

She also spent $1.1 million on her legal and conservator fees that year. Her father took home $128,000 of that, according to the documents cited by ET.

The relationship between Spears and her father made news in August 2019 after Kevin Federline — the father of her two sons — filed a police report alleging Jamie Spears had abused one of his grandsons during a visit at his home. According to reports, he “violently shook” 13-year-old Sean after breaking down a bedroom door to reach him.

The boys were granted a restraining order against their grandfather.

Medication was never meant to be a permanent solution to mental distress, it doesn't help that over medication is a real thing, I also suffered medical harm when I was severely over medicated as well as dealt wrongly prescribed medication for conditions I didn't have by doctors. 

Psychiatrists just dish out meds like water, without questioning whether there're more serious underlying issues that affect the mentally ill. Mentally ill people have to advocate for ourselves, we cannot rely on profiteers to have enough ethics, this is another way we give up control to a failed system.  

The reality is mental health stigma is widespread even within the medical community, it's the idea that patients are forever unable to function, forever unable to decide for themselves ever again, so others must take over control of all areas.

I find this robs more power from clients, this did add to my distress at that time, it was about 12 years ago that it happened to me. 

Looking at her official account reveals more things, how she was trying to assure her fans she was fine is a typical reaction to controlling behaviours, where she finds the need to please their controllers to stay safe and how she feels obligated to handle everything on her own. Where she is busy expressing gratitude towards her fans, out of shame and also out of frustration. 

Abusers expect victims to be ultra independent, so they do everything themselves and depend on themselves completely, control is often twisted into protection, protecting her from self harm, protecting the people around her from her and protecting her from financial ruin. 

Apparently such an amazing, wealthy, got it together, talented 38 year old woman cannot manage hiring neutral parties to help her with her finances. She can earn millions, go on several sold-out world tours, make a series of record breaking albums, secure a Las Vegas residency. 

Yet, she cannot self govern, do daily things like drive, vote, spend, date, do anything normal for herself. 

“Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out,” she said in the For the Record’s documentary. “But in this situation, it’s never ending.”

Please, give me a break, she can definitely handle these things. 

What I also found interesting was how she was posting spiritual stuff, I also relied on spiritual help during my teen years, unable to cope with post violence distress, I found I could only depend on God, it was hard to trust anyone then.

Regaining trust in people again is a long process, it's still frightening sometimes for me, when someone shows signs of control, I have to refuse enmeshment.

Controlling people by the way is pretty common.

I can revert back to my wounded child and start to want to hide, pretend I am OK and put on a false bravado so others don't worry about me. Do everything myself and not ask for help again. 

Trying to struggle alone, trying to do it all, trying to be brave for everyone else but myself. 

Mariah Carey also mentioned how her first husband, who was also her manager then, was controlling her movement. She had security guards wherever she went, there was CCTV installed in her house and he would mentioned how he always knew what she was doing. 

I made a video about it

Talented women can become cash cows for controlling men, who convince them that they would never make it without them, they're THE crucial part of their success, they're their benevolent knight in shining armours who always have their best interests at heart. 

Victims then struggle with being trauma bonded to them, thinking it's the same as secure attachment or love bonds which respects their autonomy.

Love bonds gives them credit for decision making abilities, take their opinions seriously and have a reciprocal idea of interaction, where the wellbeing of both parties are taken into consideration.

By understand there's always a grey area when it comes to autonomous decision making, that they might not always agree and it's OK, they can still be supportive nonetheless. 

She reminds me of Amy Winehouse, when I saw her documentary on the plane, I started sobbing so loudly that people turned and stared. How her dad, her manager and her boyfriend, all males, were more concerned about her career, how much money she made for them, than her drug and alcohol addiction. The stressors of press hounds was breaking her down and she was spiralling, I believe their lack of due diligence led to her death, she was an angel gone too soon. 

I'm worried Britney will suffer the same fate. 

Victims often feel we have to put on a strong front, both because we don't want to burden people with our problems and because when we asked controlling people for help, they will not just abandon us, they will punish us even more grievously.

They see it as weakness and they already disrespect us so much, they already see us as trash objects to be used for their own goals, we feel trapped with no way out.

We want them to respect us, see the good in us, see our positive traits and abusers will refuse to, they're psychologically wired to ignore all that so they can stay trapped in their own often even more serious pervasive dysfunctions. 

So asking for help, accepting help is very tough for us, we had to be mature before we were ready and for someone who was thrust into the media spotlight at a young age like her, she has additional concerns to think about, her public image can make or break her career.

Her image is linked to her career and her finances is linked to her image, you see how entangled this is. 

We're sensitive to criticism before we heal, behind criticism was often violence or an increase in control, we're taught to keep quiet to keep the peace, to shut up and shut down ourselves, swallow and bottle up everything to "be strong" in a way that is destructive.

We can feel angry when we get additional criticism, we're already overwhelmed, we need care and understanding, not additional judgement. 

We will defend abusers due to trauma bonds, we will defend them when we don't know better, making it hard for people to rescue us. We had to build up strong defence mechanisms so we will not crash around them and these mechanisms can make it hard for love to get through.

Deep inside, we don't feel we deserve to be rescued, we don't feel we deserve to be free, even though a part of us is still fighting to get out, it is only when we cognitively understand how large the sacrifices are by being around them that we're motivated to get out totally. 

We have to find that ray of light within the darkness to hold onto, so we don't tip over the edge. Her fans have become that ray, they have become that motivation to push her to face her dad. 

Like many abused kids, there's a delayed adolescent to her, we find solace in little simple things, because when we're so broken inside, we had so little control in our lives, we also appreciate simple pleasures that fly over the heads of others.

This makes how we're able to be more successful than our peers even more puzzling and contradictory, how we can be so mature in some ways and behave in what comes across as childish in other ways.

When it's us being adaptable and resourceful, two things that will be helpful for career success, two things forced out of abused kids that become our superpower as we heal the broken bits, it's trying to find some temporary peace amongst the chaos when we allow ourselves to play. 

We need to play in a way we couldn't as kids, to hang onto the innocence we should have, when we were forced to be more mature than we had to be. We missed out on a lot during childhood, we were working before our peers, sometimes it meant unpaid emotional and intellectual labour at home, for our parents.

We should never have been exposed to such bullshit in the first place, the failure of adults to consider our wellbeing isn't our fault, we struggle to reconcile how people who should care for us are the ones who harm us the most, strangers can be more caring towards us than them. 

It's heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Her Instagram account made me want to cry. Her struggle with mental health is so similar, it's like I'm looking inside the mirror just to find my former self. 

At the end of writing this, I am in tears, I am crying and also healing, this pain is so large that many survivors say it's for a lifetime, it's that we manage better in time, we can still grief indefinitely though.

I find this is true for me. 

Let's remember that 1 in 4 women suffer domestic violence, this is a very large social issue. It's so common that many survivors need to depend on themselves to get out of it, if we can make life a little bit easier for them, show them some empathy and support, I don't see why not. 

Britney fans are educating the public and I for one are thankful for them. 

Fans behind the hashtag are doing such a good job at organising, it's incredible how concerned they're about her. I'm so glad that they see past her celebrity status and understand she's a full human first and foremost, that she deserves to take charge of her life and she deserves her independence. 

Having one kind person willing to investigate is a lifeline for survivors, I wish I had someone like them growing up, just that one person would have made a tremendous difference. 

I'm so inspired by them. 

Spears' conservatorship has already been extended twice in 2020. Join in to publicise this, so more public awareness is achieved. 

I find myself being a bigger fan of her music now as well, understanding her has created a nuance beneath her music that would mean even more depth to it than I bargained for. 

I made a video about Mariah Carey here

I also posted about Britney on my IG

I write loads about abuse on Quora so take a look! 

Eshet chayil, God is a She. 



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Comment on this post (3 comments)

  • conservatorship bank account says...

    These conservatorship abuse stories do occur occasionally, such as with Brittany Spears, but there are guidelines conservators have to follow for open accountability with your family and the courts. A conservator who handles your loved one’s finances through a conservatorship bank account can be extremely helpful, unlike the picture these viral conservatorship cases paint. Learn more

    December 15, 2021

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    November 10, 2020

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    November 10, 2020

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