Chris Hardwick is Trash.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

As most of you guys probably know (if you follow me on social media or have read this blog long), I was in an abusive relationship for 4 years while living in Kansas.  I speak about this fairly often, and always when something hits a little too close to home in the news, because I think it's important to remember that this sort of thing happens to all kinds of people.  I'm just about the last person anyone I know would think would put up with this kind of thing, and that's why it's so important that I talk about it.

I've been a fan of Chris Hardwick since his days on G4, and I even remember crushing on him at 10 years old when he was on Singled Out.  He seemed like a nice guy, like someone that I would really get along with, and he was into the same things that I was. What's not to like?  He's married to Lydia Hearst, who I'm also a fan of.  Lydia is beyond gorgeous, a big time horror fan, and a super cool chick.  Again, what's not to love?  So when Chloe Dykstra came out with claims that he was emotionally and sexually abusive to her for the duration of their 3 year relationship, I was shocked.  I was mostly shocked because I believed it immediately, despite being a Hardwick/Nerdist fan.

My ex in Kansas was charismatic and everyone loved him. He was eccentric and artsy and girls fawned all over him.  He was emotionally and physically abusive after 6 months, and continued for 4 whole years.  He isolated me from my family and my friends and convinced me to drop out of college and move to another state with him when I was just barely 20 years old, and he was 26.  I chose to go.  I chose to stay for 4 years.  I chose that because he made me believe there were no other choices.

Chloe Dykstra says that her abuse began weeks into their relationship, and this abusive continued and escalated for the duration.  She never said anything publicly because she thought people wouldn't believe her, and because people liked Hardwick enough to overlook it.  And while her post detailing the abuse was important, she was not wrong to be scared.  It took me a couple years of being away from the situation before I said anything about how bad it was.  I felt like I wasted a big chunk of my life, and there are still things that I feel that are related to that time (I continually ask people if they're mad at me, because they haven't said otherwise).

Chris Hardwick was lovable and "gentle" (to quote Adam Carolla, who wasn't in the home of these two people and has no idea what he's talking about).  People like Chris Hardwick and my ex are really good at making certain people see them in a certain light, and know how to be abusive without being seen as a person capable of abuse.  One reason why this story in particular hits really close to home, is because Chris Hardwick is seen as a kind of nerd-hero, and in recent years nerd culture has been horrible and toxic.  The nerds have taken over, and become the new jocks.  It's evident every time I talk about my love for LOTR and some idiot guy gets aggressive out of nowhere and quizzes me about every detail in every book. It's sad because he was supposed to be one of the good ones, but it turns out he's one of the worst.

Supposed texts have been released that show Dykstra asking Hardwick if they can work it out, and being emotional about their separation.  People are using this as "proof" that she wasn't abused, but this is complete bullshit (pardon my French...).  I can tell you first hand that when you finally get up the courage one way or another to get out of that situation, they still have a hold on you.  They still can make you believe that you are worthless and that no one else will want you. "But you've dropped out of school, your family won't want you back,  you have nowhere else to go."  Hardwick also moved on rather quickly, which is classic abusive behavior. "See, everyone wants me and you're all alone."  The manipulation that happens in a years-long abusive relationship is deep, and it doesn't just "go away" once you leave.  It has been happening for years, and it takes even longer to get over it and to realize that everything they told you was a lie.  You want them back, because they're so good at making you think they're right and you really won't be better off.

So why did she speak about it now?  When someone is "famous" and successful, speaking against them in any way brands you an "attention whore" and a host of other awful names that people want to call you.  My abuser was not famous, and I was still called these things (I sometimes still am if the right person reads my posts, and because I'm not afraid to talk about it anymore).  I made the age-old mistake of reading comments on her posts, and I was really disgusted by what I saw.  "Fame-whore," "liar,"  "I stand with Chris!"  What these people are really saying is "I believe that any woman is more capable of lying about abuse, than I believe any man would be abusive."

I believe women.  All women.  Even if we don't get along or if we've never spoken.  I believe you. Because no one wants to famous for being abused - that's not the kind of attention you want.   I know how hard it is to say anything about what you've been through, and how scared you are of not being taken seriously, or having your friends abandon you. I know how embarrassed you are of how you put up with someone like that for so long, and how low your self worth was.

I believe Chloe Dykstra, and Chris Hardwick can go to hell.

This morning Hardwick's wife, Lydia Hearst, made a statement on Instagram that she supports her husband and that "the truth will always win."  I don't think it's right for her to comment on another woman's experience.  Hardwick might be a great, loving, doting husband to you and that's amazing that he was able to turn it around like that, and we should all be happy for you, but that does NOT mean that Chloe Dykstra had the same experience.  I have been harassed and called a liar by a new girlfriend of my abuser and it never made any sense to me.  If he's changed, I'm really happy for him and happy for your relationship, but that isn't my experience with this person.

Dykstra is not a liar just because she said something about your husband that makes you uncomfortable, Lydia Hearst.  And you can support your husband and love him despite the mistakes he has made in his past.  But you were not present for their relationship and you do not get to define another woman's experience.  Accountability is the key word here, and Hardwick has only deflected and said that Dykstra cheated on him and released text messages publicly "discrediting" her statement. I've had both of these things happen to me before.  It didn't make my abuse any less real and it didn't make it ok.
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