Is anyone else following the story of Charles Saatchi choking his wife Nigella Lawson in public this week? For those catching up on it, the billionaire asshole was dining with his celebrity chef wife Nigella Lawson and there was a fight, in which he grabbed her neck — not once, but repeatedly, was menacing, yelled at her, she wept and then — the part she’s getting crucified for in the media — when he stopped, she kissed him.
Saatchi, being the sort of disordered wing nut we can all relate to here at Chump Lady, minimized his actions and said it was a “playful tiff” and he was holding Lawson’s neck to “emphasize his point.” You know, I wonder how that goes down at stockholder meetings for Saatchi. If he doesn’t have everyone in half-Nelsons. Choking being an acceptable form of communication for the guy.
Clearly Saatchi feels entitled to humiliate his wife in public. You wonder what other sort of things he feels entitled to do behind closed doors. But tongues are wagging, some in sympathy, some in condemnation, and some in bewilderment — that as this fight was going on, she pleaded with him and she kissed him.
When I read that I totally could relate. I knew then that Nigella Lawson was part of the chump collective. If you haven’t lived with Mr. or Mrs. Scary yourself, well perhaps you can’t relate. Lawson was doing a version of the Pick Me dance, a cha cha we’ll call Placate You. It’s based in that same mistaken assumption that if we’re just kind enough and worthy enough, the abuser will Stop Doing Terrible Things.
Look how much I love you. Look how wrong this is. See how devoted I am. See how I am trying to stay calm in the face of your rage. See how I am trying to disarm your accusations that make no sense to me. Let’s try to figure this out together. Let’s try to achieve consensus. Don’t you love me? I know you love me. I love you. My love for you will rise above this. My love for you is BETTER than this way you are behaving right now.
And so she kissed him.
Some say she “submitted” to him. That’s one way to look at it. I see it as two people on totally different wavelengths. Lawson doesn’t understand that, as Dr. George Simon says “It’s not that he doesn’t see, he disagrees.” He WANTS to be abusive. He knows what the accepted rules of conduct are in public when dining with your wife, when fighting with your wife, and they do not apply to him. He feels ENTITLED to treat her like shit. No, not just entitled, he gets off on it. It’s about control.
Nigella Lawson still thinks it’s about love. And that is why she kissed him.