A Different Perspective

The Spotlight: Surviving R. Kelly; The Wife of A Sociopath


Hi guys, happy Saturday. How are you doing? I hope awesome.

So, I’m back on The Spotlight with another topical issue. This one has divided and still divides the world, as the convicted pedophile, R. Kelly, still has a significant number of people behind him who choose to believe in his innocence despite all evidences. I have no clue what their reasoning is…

Anyway, when the hashtag, #SurvivingRKelly, was trending three years ago, after the release of the documentary by the same name, I wasn’t privileged to watch the programme, being in Nigeria. I’m not sure when it was released here, but I came across it on Netflix last Sunday, and though I initially wanted to put it off as old news, I finally succumbed to curiosity and clicked play. Nothing prepared me for what I was about to watch.

Watching the documentary was enlightening, shocking, heart-wrenching, and anger-provoking. I couldn’t stop watching until I completed the entire season one (unfortunately, we still don’t have access to season two in Nigeria. #NotFairNetflix) And from there, I went online to watch more and read up on as many articles as I could to learn about this scandal and what has been going on. I had questions about so many things that were brought up in the documentary and sought and found answers through the videos I watched and the articles I read.

I really commend everyone who was part of making this documentary series, because it tore down the veil of secrecy around R. Kelly and other celebrities who use their privileged position to abuse vulnerable fans and proteges seeking entry into the entertainment industry. We have all known to some degree that these things happen…but there was no outrage, because we were only smelling the shit…once in a while. It made us suspicious, but we were still able to function in ignorance. We didn’t see the rotteness that caused the smell. The documentary did that. It uncovered the shit demon, and the world finally realised that it was a really toxic problem that could no longer be tolerated.

So, it bothers me when people say they don’t need to watch the documentary, especially since he has been convicted because of it (insinuating that the documentary tainted the court procedings by making people biased – I would argue that it made people AWARE). That there are other issues more pertinent in our own country, so we need not concern ourselves with what’s happening over there. This attitude of ‘it’s not my business’ is one of the reasons this problem has been allowed to fester for so long. We need to show much more concern, because as someone has said, “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.” We live in a global community now, and our neighbours are not just the people living on our street. Also let’s not forget that R. Kelly’s operation and influence spans continents!

Also, it’s not just the abuses that took place that we should be outraged about, but why it went on for so long without any penalties on the perpetrator. We should seek to ensure that it doesn’t continue to happen without consequence. It will not take anything from you to watch the documentary, and it might be the only way you support the victims, because you become a listener. They went to the trouble to produce the documentary, even knowing the threat to their lives, because all the other means they employed to be heard went on deaf ears. Don’t turn a deaf ear to them now. Please, if you have access, watch the documentary and see how you too can lend your voice to the many issues it raises.

I know it’s late in the day, but I still believe it’s better late than never to add your voice to an important issue that concerns us all. One voice may not have much impact, but many voices of people who believe in the value of their voice, certainly does make an impact.

According to the documentary, there are 50+ victims of R. Kelly, based on those who have pursued some form of justice (so, not including many unnamed and tormented or terrified victims around the world). And I learnt from further study of the case that his victims include men and young boys, as well as Caucasian girls (though the documentary argues that it went on for so long because R. Kelly primarily targeted Black girls – a point that I’d agree with).

However, for this post, I would like to focus on The Wife of a Sociopath, that is Andrea Kelly’s experience while married to the serial abuser, Robert Kelly, and post-divorce.

I believe she was the most abused because of the nature of their unique relationship. And I have been so sad to learn of how she has been further victimised since she finally found the courage to speak about the things she endured at his hands. While others may walk away and eventually rebuild their lives untainted, she has to live with the fact that she is the mother of not one but three of his children, and she has to deal with the unique challenges that will also bring during and following this case.

I spoke about this on the first episode of The Spotlight podcast, Surviving R. Kelly; The Wife of a Sociopath. LISTEN HERE.

Please take a moment to listen to the podcast before continuing. This post serves more like a follow up, buttressing points I feel need more spotlight. There are many things I said in the podcast that I won’t repeat here.

So, if you’ve listened and are back with me, lets look at five ways that the wife of a sociopath suffers, and why it is such an awful abuse.

A. The wife of a sociopath is a victim of dream theft. The sociopath pretends to believe in their victim’s dream and pledges to support them in achieving it. He takes advantage of the woman’s desire for emotional connection, pretending long enough for her to believe that she has found her true love, but then denies her the very thing he dangled in front of her to get her to agree to marry him. Subsequently, the victim’s heart is broken and their trust in their spouse is destroyed. They wake up to the realisation that they were deceived, tricked, and now they have to make the most of what they got from the deal.

Sometimes, it is a name. Sometimes, it is financial security. Sometimes, it’s just the status that they are married. Whether they are happy, whether they are thriving, whether they are barely surviving is a different matter altogether. Most victims will function in this sort of entrapment, until they reach their breaking point… Usually when they constantly entertain thoughts of death and commiting suicide, instead of enduring their situation a moment longer. This was also the case for Andrea Kelly. She was on the verge of committing suicide when she received the saving grace to fight for her life by leaving her abusive environment.

B. The wife of a sociopath is a victim of identity theft. The sociopath, who does not regard his spouse as her own person with emotions, needs, or rights, superimposes unto her the identity he thinks best suits his needs. So, he uses every means to destroy her ability to make decisions, think for herself, have self-esteem, while forcing her to do things to prove his control and dominion in their relationship. She is no longer her own person. She is who he says she is. When it suits him, he bolsters her up, and when it doesn’t, he knocks her down. Her existence is to serve him. Her own desire and will are inconsequential.

For Andrea, this played out by being told what to wear, having to ask permission to leave her room, to eat, to speak to others and so on. Her case was pretty special. I think such drastic change in her personality/identity came about because of her financial dependency on him, and his physical assault, which he used to make her compliant. Also, with the arrival of children, the dynamics changed to favour R. Kelly, as the wives are the most impacted by the birth of children, and are usually protective over them. So, for the sake of her children, she probably complied more and followed the path of least pain, even though it was still a theft of her identity.

C. The wife of a sociopath is a victim of neglect. To the sociopath, his wife is worse than a slave in his house. He treats everyone better than her, because she was the fool that agreed to marry him, and he has a paper that says she belongs to him. So, he starves her of attention, praise, support, food, respect, because he doesn’t see any value in serving her or nourishing their relationship. He does the bare minimum, so that if he is accused, he can deny it, but ultimately, she exists in his home, she doesn’t live WITH him as an equal.

She will usually beg for everything she needs, and have to justify every expense she makes. So, though his duty is to love and care for his wife, he neglects her in a way that he can’t be accused of neglecting anyone else, as he doesn’t have those duties to them. By extension, the sociopath also neglects his children, leaving them in the care of an emotionally battered wife, who lacks what she needs to thrive as a human being.

D. The wife of a sociopath is a victim of emotional abuse. As a way to control his wife, the sociopath plays with her emotions. Sometimes, he intentionally makes himself vulnerable to her, so that she grows emotionally close to him and makes herself vulnerable to him. But his behaviour is inconsistent, and while she hopes and expects more emotional connections, he withdraws from her and denies her this human connection. He also burns bridges where possible between her and others with whom she may have emotional bonds, so that she’s practically desperate for any attention or affection from him.

Also, he hurts her emotionally by being unfaithful to her. He may or may not make his infidelities obvious, but he is usually in control of when she discovers the infidelity, usually at a point when he has sufficiently destroyed her identify and self-esteem such that he knows that she would be unable to say or do anything but cower in shame and endure. He may also make her feel responsible for his infidelity, saying that she is unattractive or not good in bed, or some other way insufficient as a wife or woman.

E. The wife of a sociopath is a victim of psychological abuse. This is ultimately the end game, when the sociopath has successfully taken control of his victim’s mind. Through deception, blatant lies, half-truths, coercion, insults, and aggression, the sociopath weakens his wife’s ability to reason, to process thoughts, or trust her own judgement. He isolates her so that he becomes the only person feeding her information, and the information is calculated to the point that her own mind becomes useless.

When the victim fights the process of psychological take over, physical abuse, including sexual abuse, is employed to keep her oppressed and afraid. Ultimately, his aim is for her to become exactly what he thinks she is – nothing. In some extreme cases, he may succeed in getting her to take the fall for him in criminal activities he has been engaged in, while her mind has been preoccupied with trying to make sense of her experience. He may even make her out to be crazy, as she is driven to that point with his gaslighting.

For R. Kelly, his lust for sex and deviance meant that sexual abuse was a key component in the assault he rendered against his wife, Andrea. However, sexual abuse or physical abuse are not the typical ways sociopaths oppress their victims. For the sociopath, ANYTHING is permissable to get what they want, however petty that thing is. R. Kelly was not in want of money but had a ready stream of it, which aided his ability to get what he wanted – sex from minors.

For other sociopaths, they do not have money and money is what they want. So, they might do everything but abuse physically and sexually, if that is the best way they can continue to get what they want from their victims. In this sense, they are as parasites living off a host, that is kept sufficiently alive to keep providing for them. They would only kill their host when they feel their survival is threatened. Even if they are exposed, they would sooner crawl away to find a less resistant host to prey upon than resort to violence. These wives may have a hard time proving that they were abused because everyone and their abuser will say – “But I never hit you, nau…”

Because they are afraid to imprisonment and being deprived of the thing they crave and live for, killing a victim is a last resort. The act of murder and serial killing is the domain of psychopaths, for whom killing and destroying lives is a game, as they try to see how long them can persist in their evil deeds before getting caught and brought to justice. And when they are, it is almost like a badge of honour, especially if they have prided themselves in carrying on for a long time. But for sociopaths, they just want to survive and thrive in their evil, without being found out.

It is quite likely that a sociopath would kill himself to avoid imprisonment, whereas a pyschopath would stand in court smiling…because you finally figured it out.

It is a sad realisation that there are far too many of these sociopaths out there, walking around freely while abusing their wives at home, and God knows how many others outside. I wrote about one in my fictional story series, The Naïve Wife Trilogy. They present a challenge for the sincere Believer that wants to keep giving their spouse the benefit of the doubt and love them despite themselves.

Are Christians supposed to endure abuse in marriage, while praying for the deliverance of their abuser? This was one of the questions I sought answers to while writing the trilogy. To spare you the suspense, I believe the answer is no…and I explained this in The Marriage ABCs. If you’re interested, do check out the books via https://linktr.ee/ufuomaee.

So, in light of these abuses, all of which Andrea Kelly suffered at R. Kelly’s hands, I think it is absolutely disgusting the way she has been treated by his fans, who, in addition to rejecting the testimonies of the many women who have stepped forward, have insulted Andrea and asked her to shut up and stop lying. So, the abuse has not stopped with leaving his home.

The guilt and shame can be like oil, hard to get off. She also lives with three people (their children) who constantly remind her of her life with R. Kelly, of the life she was robbed of, of the pains she endured to ensure their own destinies are not also affected. And still, as she heals, she has to ensure that they are well looked after and not deprived, despite the continued economic oppression she faces from a man who refuses to perform his duties as a father, his last offensive strike against her for daring to live without him…and speak against him.

My heart goes out to her and every victim of marital abuse. I am also grieved thinking of all the horrible things R. Kelly has been accused of doing to minors and young women, including forcing them to drink his urine and eat his feaces! I can’t deal.

I can’t believe that someone can be this evil. And I pray that justice is served when he is finally sentenced in May 2022. May the judge sentence him as though ALL his victims were underage White girls! Let him not get a lesser sentence because his victims are considered lesser. Then they too will be as guilty as the many ‘yes men’ and women around R. Kelly that enabled his predatory behaviour all these years.

May justice prevail!

Photo credit: http://www.canva.com

If you liked this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: “WHEN THEY SEE US” FILM SERIES BY AVA DUVERNAY

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