This article, entitled Mom-trapped: Can a schlub like you "escape" an abusive relationship? comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear © on chicagonow.com.
I’m about as terrible as a gal can be when it comes to the celeb smut.
I usually know the 411 on Britney and K-Fed, Brangelina, JLo and TomKat, because there are only so many Master’s degrees and action packed paperback novels for me to read before I need something that allows my brain to shut down to logic and reality. Smut gives a tangy flavor to my boredom, and since the celebrities say they are "just like us," it’s like I’m reading about my pals in glossy, airbrushed, overpriced magazines that entice me at the supermarket checkout.
So of course I’m following the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce drama (TomKat) very closely.
It’s not the “just like us,” (only famous and filthy rich) angle that intrigues me with this train wreck of a media circus. It’s the fact that it’s not just the smut sources claiming that Katie had to "escape". Even the mainstream media has speculated about the demise of this high profile marriage. If they were just like us, it wouldn't be international news. But in the all too human way, they are just like us. Schlubs ending a marriage. Wealthy and sparkly schlubs, but schlubs all the same.
Happens all the time.
I can’t speak to that other than to say that the therapist in me wonders if there is any truth to the signs and speculation (based on a whole lotta observation and behavioral crapola) that Mrs. Cruise was “Mom-trapped.” I’m interested in the idea that people can actually BE “Mom-trapped,” because I’ve seen how trapped moms suffer. I used to work with some of them before I took a sabbatical and started junking out on the tabloids.
Being Mom-trapped is essentially being trapped in a relationship because the mom in the relationship can’t safely untangle from a relationship without potentially risking the welfare of her children. Mom-trapped.
Can you imagine? Maybe you can. Maybe you fell in love with a person who initially wrapped you in fabulousness and gave you gobs of attention and support. You had never had such an amorous and attentive partner before and it felt incredible and safe. You were loved! So much that he needed to know your every move and plan and conversation, especially when you were apart.
What you are wearing, where you are working, who you are seeing and what you are saying all becomes important enough to your partner that you begin to feel smothered and unsure of his intentions. At this point, women either leave, (running FAST and never looking back) or they begin the dance of the dysfunctional relationship. This dance often leads to love, marriage and a baby carriage and by the time the woman realizes she should have high-tailed it out of there before she was told to cough up her entire life onto the carpet like an owl pellet for her man to dissect every damn day.
She is MOM TRAPPED!
I am NOT (I REPEAT not NOT not) saying that the relationship between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes included any sort of abuse, but I am saying that nobody has four hulky bodyguards with them at all times if they aren’t concerned for their well-being. Who does the kind of tricky exit with high powered attorneys while surrounded by beefy security dudes 24/7? A rich and famous celebrity that’s who!
NOBODY and I mean nobody really knows the truth, but based on the behavior of Katie Holmes, it’s understandable that the tabloids AND the mainstream news are all OVER this story. This story is much more interesting than summer re-runs (and the fact that I say that is a HUGE deal).
Why wouldn’t they be?
Tom Cruise is a massive movie star and a Scientologist and these two things are mysterious to most regular folks. We are fascinated by the lives of the rich, famous and powerful.
And that whole Xenu and the volcano thing.
But in reality, nobody but the people in a relationship really know all the facts contributing to a break up, and even then, sometimes the separate truths look nothing alike. This happens with schlubs like you and me and your neighbors and friends. Life and relationships are intense, unstable and ever changing.
What is killing me is that all the conjecture is just a bunch of hot crap in a bag, and the real focus whenever there is a big celebrity brew-ha-ha should be how to responsibly communicate to the regular folks, the lessons we can learn from the real life dramas being played out. I’d rather see the mainstream reporters take a responsible perspective on this clearly, contentious and complex situation that involves generalizing it for the schlubs.
Sometimes things get really screwed up scary between two people. Sometimes schlubs like me and you can’t hire The Incredible Hulk and his cousins or an attorney that charges $5,000 per minute for his/her legal services. Sometimes a schlub has to stay put or drag her kids to a homeless shelter or live in their car, sneaking out in the dark of night, hoping everybody makes it out alive.
Of course that’s the worst case scenario, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s not so serious. But the serious stuff didn’t start serious. Just ask any woman who has been Mom-trapped. Ask them how it started and when they realized they were in trouble and how it felt to be completely alone and powerless.
Now if I was a REAL reporter instead of a measly mom-blogger, I’d take this opportunity to find ways to initiate dialogue and disseminate information in a big news-casty way, shedding light on the importance of taking care of one’s self and finding a way to be empowered in relationships, ways to educate and inspire women to take the steps they need to take to safely untangle from unsafe and unsatisfying relationships. I’d stop with the speculation about something I know nothing about, and laser beam my focus on the stuff I DO know about.
I’d ask myself, Self – how can this story help others? What can be done with this platform?
Yeah, that’s what I would do.
So even though I'm just a wee blogger, I'm taking the opportunity to do what the "real writers" aren't doing. This ain’t no Today Show or People magazine, my voice is loud, but limited in reach. Maybe a thousand people will read this.
But even with my wee readership, I’m going for it. I'm using my social media platform, no matter how dinky winky in comparison to the big stuff, to provide some links for resources that I hope you will read and share. I hope you will talk to your daughters and friends and anyone you think could benefit from knowing how to be healthy in relationships and what to do if they find themselves in a pickle with regard to a romantic relationship.
Talk to your sons as well. It's not just women who get stuck in the cycle of shame and abuse.
So what's with me and smut?
I keep up with the smut because I love the movies and watching my “stories” on television and I love the actors! I like the fancy dresses and funny stories, the mindless hilarity that IS the contents of Paris Hilton’s storage locker or what REALLY happened at behind the scenes of “Different Strokes.” But it isn’t just the mindlessness that attracts me. There is always an opportunity for learning (and that’s how I justify the occasional five bucks I spend on the Oscar issue of “In Style” magazine) from the wild and often familiar adventures of the people we spend our hard earn cash to watch on the big screen.
So what I'm suggesting is that we learn from what we DO know, not what we DON'T know. Good Luck to Ms. Holmes. It’s good to see a gal doing the “Go big or go home” grand gesture, emphasizing her concern for her child. I’m truly happy for her. I’m happy for anyone who is able to do what they need to do for their children’s well-being. But nobody knows the facts. We can just guess.
However, since guessing has opened up the topic of not-so-hot and potentially dangerous and dysfunctional relationships, I just want to see if maybe this explosion of ridiculousness can benefit the women who are really interested in what might be happening in the TomKat scenario: The women who really ARE Mom-trapped, desperate for help and also watching Katie Holmes, wondering if she really is a schlubby as them. Wondering how the hell they can find help with a bank account in the negative and zero outside support.
Initiate a dialogue with others, young and old. Help each other to learn and grow and KNOW how to find the resources available for regular schlubs. There is hope and there ARE ways to "escape" that don't involve a gillion dollars or hiring an ex-UFC fighter as a round the clock butt-kicker, but that power lies in the knowledge: Knowledge that so many Mom-trapped women do not have.
If you are reading this and you know someone who is Mom-trapped – help them. Here is a place to start:
http://www.leavingabuse.com/ a website created by a schlub-ette who got out and wants to help others do the same.
Her name is Heather. She’s not a celebrity. She’s a schlub like you and me, and I’d take just ONE awesome website like this over all the smut on the planet.
Luck and love and may the smut teach you as well as entertain you, but read this NOT smut too:
Read more from Nicole at chicagonow.com/moms-who-drink-and-swear