An ironic title for a Reality television star, Hiding From Reality details the physically and verbally abusive marriage of Taylor Armstrong, one of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills“. There’s a lot of scandal surrounding Taylor Armstrong (Scandal around a “Real” Housewife? No!) and her book – many people feel that although Real Housewives was strongly hinting – and some cast members were outright saying that – Taylor was being physically abused by her husband Russell, when he committed suicide she shouldn’t have published such a public memoir about her story. Publish it she did, and according to the show and to the book, her deceased husband Russell was far from the ideal husband that was portrayed initially.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that abuse is a very personal issue for me.
No one in my circle is personally acquainted with any of the Real Housewives or their husbands. I bet you don’t know them, either. You probably have an opinion about them, though.
Since I don’t know these people, what I’m about to say is pure speculation:’ I think this man’s suicide was a move of cowardice to preserve his reputation, which was already tarnishing rapidly, under the assumption that no one would speak out once he had gone. He realized that the damage done to his public image wasn’t something he could repair.
For a victim, though, it’s important to speak out about your time being abused as part of your own healing process. and for a mother, it’s incredibly important to make sure that your child receives the right message about what is and is not acceptable in a relationship. So, so many women never leave an abusive situation and never speak out about it at all; this particular woman was left by her abuser before she had a chance to go through all of the processes of healing, which added grief to the litany of other wounds this man apparently caused.
When I read the book, I wasn’t expecting much. Reality television show stars aren’t typically known for their writing abilities or their mental health expertise. Anyway, I overlooked the caustic reviews and read the thing, and it actually wasn’t bad. It reads like a tell-all version of every self-help cycle of abuse book published.
- “Even though he had just been physically violent with me for the first time in our relationship, I wanted nothing more than to be close to him.”
- “All he needs is unconditional love, and eventually he will soften. Eventually he will change.”
- “I was living under the myth that if I controlled Russell’s surroundings, I could keep him under control.”
- “I had always been able to partly justify my inability to leave our abusive marriage with the fact that Russell had never exhibited the worst of his anger in front of Kennedy. I still thought it was better for her to live with any imperfect father than no father at all. I know that some people might have difficulty believing that I truly did not think Kennedy was in danger…”
- “Russell was not happy, overall, with the medication’s effect on him. He told me that it made him feel numb, and he worried that it took off his edge.”
To me, the story all sounds completely believable, because I lived something similar. Again, I don’t know this woman, but I don’t think the book deserves all of the negative publicity it’s gotten. Look how many other reality television stars have leveraged their fifteen minutes of fame to start clothing lines or launch other careers; this woman is using her fame (or notoriety) as a platform to speak out against abuse. I refuse to find fault with that.
If you’re interested in reading, you can get your copy of Hiding From Reality here.
NOTE: I purchased this book for my own personal gratification, and I didn’t receive any compensation from writing my review. However, if you choose to purchase the book through my link, I’ll make a few cents on the sale (and thank you for that, really – every little bit helps.)