FKA Twigs Reveals Abusive Relationship Inspired Her Music Video

Unpicking the addictive pattern of tenderness and pain

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FKA Twigs is a phenomenal woman.

A creative powerhouse whose music, style and imagery inspires millions, I think she is an anomaly in a world of homogenous pop stars who all look and sound the same.

She is also an artist in total control of her words.

Refusing to read from the script that many want her to, she won't talk in interviews about her relationship with Robert Pattinson and instead recently chose to speak honestly about her personal experience of being in an emotionally abusive relationship with an ex (before she started dating Robert Pattinson).

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The 28-year-old spoke to ES Magazine last week about the inspiration behind her Papi Pacify music video in which a man is seen sticking his fingers in her mouth.

'In the relationship I couldn't communicate,' Twigs revealed of her ex. 'The person I was with was stopping me from explaining how I felt. So the physical manifestation is someone putting their hand in your mouth.'

She continued, 'But there's an element, too, of liking that as well. It's messed up. It's addictive.'

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Responding to a suggestion about the brutality of image, she said: 'Violent, or beautiful? It's kind of sexy, like emotional abuse can be tender. That's why it's messed up.

'If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it can be tender, that's why you stay. And you stay because there's a poorly part of your mind that likes it.'

Reading those words may make you feel uncomfortable.

You may judge her for 'glamorising' abuse and worry that young women will misinterpret her remarks as meaning abuse is desirable and sexy.

And young men might interpret it as justification for abuse.

'If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it can be tender, that's why you stay. And you stay because there's a poorly part of your mind that likes it'

You may even think she shouldn't have spoken out at all.

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But I'm personally glad she did.

For a woman who seemingly has it all; confidence, talent, wealth and a not-awful-to-look-at fiancé, to have experienced abuse shows that it can happen to anyone.

Reading about the addictive pattern of tenderness and pain she describes felt horribly familiar to me.

Having spent two years obsessed with the idea of winning love from someone I now realise was a narcissistic abuser, I can relate.

At the time, I thought that the whole thing was terribly romantic.

That grand romantic gestures and painful goodbyes were movie-magical.

That playing cat and mouse was normal. But after too many scratches to my self-esteem I realised this wasn't love, but self-loathing.

Honestly, I feel embarrassed writing these words because I fear you'll think I'm a silly fool and that, perhaps, I deserved to be belittled and shamed.

Abuse is incredibly insidious and complicated. Abusers often appear charming and friendly, otherwise why would you fall for them.

They can make you feel like the only person in the world, or like you are nothing.

That's how it works psychologically.

Imagine being with someone who can be horribly cruel one minute and loving the next.

Wouldn't the warmth following the cold feel confusingly delicious to your wounded self?

Of course that sort of adrenaline-fueled emotional whirlwind can be addictive.

And of course some victims find it hard to leave, convincing themselves that this is the greatest love of all and yes I believe – even sexy.

In a world where women who suffer abuse – emotional, financial or physical - are so often blamed, it's unsurprising that Twigs' comments have hit a nerve.

But let's be really clear - whatever shape abuse takes, it is never your fault.

We are not asking for it. We don't bring it on ourselves. We don't deserve it.

Twigs is right – abuse is messed up: as she says it's a 'poorly part of your mind that likes it.'

The idea that, because a woman or an artist is in the public eye they should keep quiet or sugar-coat their truth to be more palatable for an audience is even more so.

This is her truth as she sees it.

But let's be really clear - whatever shape abuse takes, it is never your fault.

It's important we take her comments seriously; after-all, she has first-hand experience and thankfully has the insight to be able to recognise the subtleties of abuse.

I have two hopes. First, that her comments might encourage more people to speak out about their experiences – in whatever messy or inconvenient words they want to.

And secondly, that if there are any young women reading Twigs' comments who recognise the cycle of tenderness and cruelty she articulates, it prompts them to reconsider whether their relationship is really a healthy one.

FKA Twigs is a talented, creative, dynamic woman who has a voice loud enough to talk honestly about her experiences. The saddest thing is that many victims don't have the same chance.

Before we jump to silence and judge women for their honesty and the language they choose to use, let's listen to what they have to say – no matter how brutal it is.

HELPLINES for sufferers of abuse

Refuge - helping across a range of abusive issues, has specific section for teenage girls; 0808 2000 247

Living Without Abuse - region specific, their website is for everyone but support services only available for Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland; 0300 365 0112

Supportline - providing confidential emotional support for several issues, including domestic abuse

Galop - LGBT specific, offering practical and emotional support; 0800 999 5428

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