Saturday, 2 April 2016

A Quiet Case Of Abuse

Abuse in designer middle England, the Titcheners

The slow burn storyline of the domestic abuse between upper middle-class Rob Titchener and his emotionally fragile and rather bland wife Helen is presently weaving it's way to what seems like a dramatic climax in Radio 4 's The Archers.
For nearly a year we have heard Rob chip away at Helen's self esteem, whether it be a simple comment on the suitability of her dresses for the Hunt Ball or the more moustache curling assertion to her family that she is becoming more mentally unstable before the birth of her second baby.
The pattern of abuse is well known to many at it involves isolation from family and friends and the gradual dominance of all decision making within the home and although the "pulling of wool over the eyes" of Helen's usually astute and somewhat cloying family seems a step too far down an unbelievable narrative, the storyline has been, for The Archers, somewhat of an earnest and realistic portrayal of domestic abuse.
Timothy Watson, brings a cut glass whispering menace to the damaged Rob ( recently we have met his equally soft spoken and manipulative mother Ursula so we know were he gets it from) and although the usually self righteous and whinging  Helen ( played by Louiza Patikas) is not my favourite character , her decent into silent victim has been such a boost to the soap which in recent times  has become somewhat stale.
Wisely The Archers' scriptwriters have brought back the ever chipper Kirsty ( Annabelle Dowling ) who has seen through Rob from the start. This week she has provided Helen with some practical support in the guise of a mobile phone of her own ( with credit!) , the number of an abuse charity, and most importantly the idea to discuss things with Rob's first wife, Jess, who went through all the same behaviours, and escaped, this has proved to be a valuable lifeline for the haplass Helen and in the case of the meeting of the two Mrs Titcheners, a surprisingly moving piece of radio.



40 comments:

  1. I do wish we still had similar radio programs here.

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    1. But you do, it is available on line

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    2. Just let me smack myself in the head now, lol.

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  2. I read something about The Archers a couple of days ago. I had no idea it was still running. Is Maggie Smith in it?

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  3. Although I don't get the Archers I do "get" the domestic abuse. It actually surprises me that people can be so evil to someone they claimed to have loved. But I suppose we are all complicated and I for one am not totally convinced humans were meant to spend their entire lives, 24/7 which another person. Maybe that was just because I made an appalling choice of spouse. Or maybe it is because there really is an awful lot more mental illness/instability than we think. Anna

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    1. This storyline mirrors real life very well
      The abuse is insidious at first, and takes place in what seems like on the surface, a balanced and educated family. The abuse is also mental but there has been rape within the marriage.....
      An interesting twist on the physical bill sykes type villian

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    2. Treaders,
      There's nothing complicated about abuse, nor is it down to mental illness, nor is it related to spending a lifetime together. Abuse comes from a grandiose sense of entitlement and a total disregard for the victim(s)

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    3. Kylie you are probably right. Over time I have mellowed in my thoughts a bit because I have found it easier to move on, but I still have a hard time believing someone can actually believe they have such a sense of entitlement and disregard for others, although my ex fit the bill (though God knows he was certainly no catch!). Anna

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  4. It's mpved so slowly for me I'd given up listening.Might catch the omnibus though! x

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  5. It's mpved so slowly for me I'd given up listening.Might catch the omnibus though! x

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  6. I stopped listening round about when the Junior Grundies/Archers/Carters etc started speaking - it just got so dull and miserable.... I miss Dan and Walter and Pru....

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    1. Carol Treggorran came back recently wanda old thing

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  7. This is the best storyline since Brian was knocking-off Shervawn (phonetically spelt, of course). Don't you want to kill Rob? He even looks the part. The Grundys, however, remain as two dimensional as ever, but they are the 'Bottoms', Shakespeare-wise, and fulfil the old roles.

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    1. If he says " darling" to Helen one more time, I'll kick him in the knackers myself

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  8. I think it has been a well written and brilliantly acted storyline.I think we have seen the boring future when this reaches its end,and we return to Shula the even more boring Dorothy and the comic turn that is the Grundys,yawn,yawn.

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    1. Who the hell is Dorothy?

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  9. Emotional abuse, emotionally fragile, victimization, control, - sounds impossible, but after 44 years it becomes the norm.

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  10. I have never listened to The Archers John, so can't really comment apart from to say that any kind of abuse in a relationship would lead me to go - but that is easy to say when it is not happening isn't it?

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  11. I had a very close, dear friend whose husband, over the years, completely wore every bit of spirit from her. He was cruel and nasty and every time I'd try to talk to her about him, she would grow completely quiet. Eventually, I realized that my role in her life had to be one of simply "being there" should she need me. And I let her know I was.
    The saddest thing to me was that when she finally did break free of him and was so very happy, she began to get sick and was diagnosed with a terminal neurological disease which took every single thing from her. I swear to you- I think the abuse she suffered fried her neurons. And even during her illness, that man managed to get hold of her finances (for awhile, at least). She is dead now and he is still alive. And I mourn the loss of her every day.

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    1. Thank you for sharing about your friend. -so very sad, indeed.

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  12. My ex husband used to unplug the phone and take it with him when he went out..... so I couldn't talk about him to my family...... I left him more than 25 years ago and still the memory of that dreadful man haunts me from time to time. He used to tell me that he would throw acid in my face if ever I left him... Thank God for Women's Refuge centres.

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    1. Thank goodness you survived!

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  13. I've been an Archers fan for over 40 years now, and this is the strongest story line ever (though it has had little fillips down the years - I can still remember Susan telling Neil Carter she was pregnant! Cue music . . .) Helen's inability to make a stand and total vulnerability against Rob's increasing control and manipulation have been incredibly well written and portrayed. So much so I can't look at the photo of the guy who plays Rob (Timothy Watson) without seeing a reptilian and predatory look on his face. Poor man!

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  14. I have had to switch the radio off when Henry has been involved, when he was in his room the other night it was heart breaking. I haven't heard the meeting of the 2 women, I'll listen to it on I-player.
    Lisa x

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  15. I didn't know there were still radio programs like this (except from your previous references to this one). Hopefully the writers will continue to try to extricate Helen from her situation. The storyline may provide a bit of a public service to anyone listening who is suffering the same abuse.

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  16. The Archers! Used to listen to it, without fail, every day. I detoxed from the programme when we came here, but now you have reminded me to listen to it again....the Internet will provide that service for me. Not sure if I could listen to this particular story line though as it would probably remind me of my first marriage, and the violence I suffered. I got out as I could feel myself sliding into a nervous breakdown if I had stayed. No support in those years. I felt very much on my own. He was such a charmer to everyone else, but behind closed doors he was very different. It was the strangling which took the most toil on me. Couldn't bear anyone touching my neck for years! Not to worry. I survived, and I came to bless the experience eventually because it enabled me to be empathic with others who were suffering from domestic abuse.

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    1. Hthank you vera. An honest comment. Thank you for sharingq

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    2. I'm so glad you're a survivor Vera.
      It's tragic that we all "know" someone who has been through this. It's very common. We're fortunate that in our culture it is recognised as wrong and there is life after abuse.

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  17. Domestic abuse yanks my chain. And I hate the term. Domestic implies tame. And that abuse is anything but... It is more often being tagged Family Violence here, which I am more comfortable with. We lose two women to death from their partners here each week on average, and many, many more (and their children) are permanently damaged.

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    1. 'Family Violence' is certainly a more apt description.

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    2. That is an appalling statistic, isn't it, EC?

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  18. I listened faithfully to The Archers when I lived in LDN. This is an important albeit upsetting storyline.

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  19. I listened faithfully to The Archers when I lived in LDN. This is an important albeit upsetting storyline.

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  20. How easy it is to ask, "Why don't people suffering abuse get out?" In my case, it was because my violent husband threatened to kill my Mum and Dad - and believe me, I knew he would. So I stayed, put up with the beatings, the shouting, the mental abuse, the all-night prodding and questioning . . . until he picked our crying baby out of his cot one night and violently shook him until he went floppy. I left the next day, asked the police for protection (it wasn't forthcoming!) and went to stay with my parents, terrified that he would come after us all. It is NOT easy to walk out!

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    1. How awful, Rambler. He knew just what would keep you there. Glad you got out eventually.

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    2. Rambler, that is EXACTLY they way it is. People said to me I would get out the first time, but I had to get all my ducks lined up in a row, a place for me and the kids, the court case, and our finances separated because I could have probably landed up bankrupt (and expect no help from the French authorities) or at least in debtors court (then where do I take my kids) because of HIS spending, which under French law I, first, and then the kids, second, would be responsible for. I ended up taking on over 250,000 euros worth of HIS debt in order to get out! Yes you did read that right, but get out I did but it sure wasn't easy. Anna

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  21. I shall be catching up with The Archers this morning while I do the ironing. It is high time that Rob got his " comeuppance"!

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  22. The lightweight nature of the Archers is why I have listened to it on and off for years. It's entertaining without being too heavy, like a rom com or cheesy novel. I've found this storyline far too distressing to listen to.
    Incidentally, even non violent, non abusive marriages can be hard to get out of. I know, I had two of them.
    My second ex was just as manipulative and devious as Rob, but he wasn't violent, just a prat. Everyone else thought he was wonderful, as did I, otherwise I wouldn't have married him.
    There's a lot of bad marriages about.

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  23. Another show I need to check out!

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