Written by Evi Idoghor
Over the past few months, I have been wildly anticipating Wendy Williams: The Movie. It was set to be a biopic about the famed talk show host, who came to the limelight through the radio in the early 90s and worked her way to becoming a television talk show host that everyone loved to hate.
I love Wendy William though, even if occasionally when I watch her, I often have remarks like—this is why people don’t like you, Miss Wendy. However, there is just something about her that has kept me attached over the years since I discovered her show back in 2009.
As I watched the movie and the documentary on her life that followed right after, I was astounded by discovering a slew of things that she endured over the years—multiple miscarriages, rape, and an emotionally abusive husband (just to name a few). I also think that a lot of the challenges that she faced (relationally) was due to a lack of relationship with Christ on both her and her ex‘s parts.
On his end, it was portrayed that he loved her (at least at the start) and was her protector before he began his infidelity. The first time she caught him cheating, he attributed it to the fact that she was on bed rest during the entirety of her pregnancy and needed someone to talk to. Perhaps if he feared God, he would have made better choices in their marriage, who knows?
For Wendy, if she also was devoted to God, perhaps she wouldn't have chosen him as a spouse. Although she played her part as a faithful wife, and I admire her for that. Now, seeing the way their story unraveled, it got me thinking—did he latch on to her because he already knew she was influential and would go places? or did her fame catch him unawares? Because as she grew bigger, he became her manager and started making decisions on her behalf.
He also disrupted her workplace so much so they banned him from showing up there. She was his "money maker" even though she did well for herself before he got on the scene. It was just a mess. Her co-workers and employees feared him. If he could exert that amount of fear on them, no one truly knows what she endured at home.
Those were tell-tale signs of the disaster that was waiting to occur. Little wonder she fainted during one of her live shows; she was enduring pain that most women usually fail to talk about—emotional abuse.
In an interview, she revealed that she remained in her marriage for the sake of their son, even after discovering that her husband was a serial cheater. I wouldn't have pegged Miss Wendy as that type of woman.
When we think about the word, abuse, especially within the context of relationships, domestic violence is one of the first that comes to mind. There are a plethora of campaigns that have been dedicated to shedding light on the physical abuse most women endure in their dating relationships and marriages.
However, someone doesn’t just become physically abusive overnight; it begins with another aspect of abuse, which is the emotional one, that is often overlooked, even if emotional abuse can also have the same damaging effects as physical abuse.
What is Emotional Abuse?
According to Psychology Today, “Emotional abuse is an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. The only difference is that the emotional abuser does not use physical hitting, kicking, pinching, grabbing, pushing, or other physical forms of harm. Rather the perpetrator of emotional abuse uses emotion as his or her weapon of choice.” In other words, it is just as evil.
Wendy Williams revealed that although her ex wasn’t a wife beater; she was an emotionally abused woman. I could completely relate to her revelation because I also was once an emotionally abused woman. The thing about emotional abuse is that it begins subtly. The abuser makes out everything that could possibly go wrong to be as a result of your doing. They are manipulative, calculative, and cause you to begin second guessing yourself.
I walked on eggshells around my partner at the time because I did not want to set him off. In such relationships you never know if they will return home in a great mood or foul one, so, you have to be on your best behavior at all times. Whenever I did something wrong, I was called names like dumb, stupid, and fat, even if I was skinny, which in turn created a string of insecurities about my level of intelligence and the way I looked (I still deal with that to this day.)
Although he never hit me, I felt his wrath each time he was angry. He made me feel small. I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, and smart enough. Nothing I ever did was worthy—I spent countless times crying throughout the course of our relationship. He also tried to isolate me from some of my friendships: I had to constantly delete messages from people he didn’t want me to share what was happening in our relationship. My relationship lasted only six months; I can only wonder how Wendy survived in that toxic environment for almost 20 years.
As she shed tears during her interviews, I couldn’t help but feel her pain. I knew it all too well. Loving someone who doesn’t appreciate you, and continually being used for their selfish gain. Just as her husband was a serial cheater, my boyfriend at the time also cheated on me with multiple women, however, he tried to flip the switch on me, alleging that I was the one doing the messing around.
Is Emotional Abuse My Fault?
When that happens, you begin to ponder—am I out of my mind or is this really happening?
A lot of women find themselves in similar situations today, yet find it difficult to break free. Because some are married, have kids, don’t have jobs, and if they leave, they wonder how they are going to take care of their children. Some might even be afraid for their lives or the possibility of losing custody of their children—it’s tough. I wish I could offer sound advice for those who are married, but I am not in the position to do so. The only thing I can proffer is for you to seek help from professionals, and those who have experience dealing with similar issues in marriages.
Yet, for those who are single, that is the person who is causing you grief na just ordinary boyfriend or fiancé, my dear, pack your load and never look back. If he is displaying such tendencies while you are dating, only God knows what will happen if you venture into marriage—don’t do it, it’s not worth it.
Don’t lie to yourself, it is not going to get better if he doesn’t acknowledge that he has a problem and is actively seeking help. Even if that were the case, leave him, you also need time to heal from what you have been suffering. I have been six years out, and I still think that I am not pretty enough. I am still insecure about my weight. Those insecurities have lingered, even if I know who I am in Christ. They still tend to present themselves in a different way.
So leave now, you will be happy that you did. There are many emotionally battered women walking around today—they can be found in our offices, schools, market places, churches, and neighborhoods. The same energy given to fight against domestic violence is the same that should be expressed against emotional abuse. If the problem is tackled when it is still at the emotional stage, perhaps it will never migrate to physical violence. That way, women would be empowered to leave such situations before things escalate.
Lessons Learned From The Movie
1) If he is engulfed with your career and has nothing going on for himself, that is a troubling sign: Wendy's ex spent ample time in his wife's career. He drove wedges between her, her bosses, colleagues, and partners. There was a time as revealed in the documentary when he pulled her from rehearsals and no one could utter a word about it—stage managers, producers, directors, and CEOs, all mum about the issue. If he didn't want things a certain way, everyone had to bend to his demands.
Now the marriage is over, she is stuck with paying him alimony. I was in a conversation with my friend, expressing my disbelief that she still had to pay him even if he got another woman pregnant, and I asked—isn't he ashamed to keep collecting money from her? I guess not!
If a partner can't give you room to become who you want to be, if they are constantly poking their nose in your business, if they keep offering unsolicited advice, especially when they are jobless, then that is a disaster waiting to happen. They need something else to take their mind off you.
2) Choose a partner wisely: there is this craze especially amongst some African American women that I have noticed who desire to be with "thugs," I really don't get it. I saw a post one day when a woman said something along the lines of—if he owned a gun, then the man would be all the more enticing. I actually don't get it. Perhaps because I am African, and we tend to steer clear away from people who are often rough around the edges, well maybe it's just me.
One of the things that attracted Wendy to her now ex-husband was the fact that he was a "thug." Well, I guess he showed her that being a "thug" came with a lot of baggage. When you choose a life-partner wisely, although you will still have issues in your marriage, because it's marriage, however, there are certain things like abuse and (possibly), infidelity, that you will not have to deal with.
The level of love and respect that I have for Wendy Williams just went to another level. Her ability to share her life's story with such vulnerability is commendable. As women, when we share our scars with the world, there is no telling who we might set free—it could even be ourselves. My prayers for her is that she feels better, finds Christ, and falls in love again.
Let us know your thoughts on this matter by leaving your comments below. Also remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update.
Like what you just read? Click this link to explore more on our Movie Reviews Page.