Emotional Abuse and Pop Culture Negligence


Abuse (Photo credit: Ex-InTransit)


February is National Teen Dating ViolenceAwareness and Prevention Month. 

Violence in relationships can be physical or emotional and it happens in a variety of different types of relationships.  What makes it even more difficult for teens is that little experience with relationships and the pop culture negligence can lead to confusion.  Even for adults it can be difficult for the abused to realize they are being abused.  This can be even more difficult with teens.  Casual relationships as well as very serious relationships in the teen years can be abusive.

These kinds of relationships can be very harmful to self-esteem, body image, mental health and can affect the whole life of the abused.  Abusers can also constantly struggle to experience fulfilling relationships and suffer from mental health issues.  These incidences can also be dangerous and it is very important to be aware of the signs and safety precautions.  It is important to acknowledge any issues with relationship violence head-on and as soon as possible, no matter how benign or over things might seem.  Although physical abuse is terrible, I’m focusing on emotional abuse because physical abuse is usually accompanied by emotional abuse, emotional abuse is more difficult to notice right away and I have personal experience with emotional abuse.

Rihanna and Chris Brown concert, Brisbane Ente...

Image via Wikipedia

.  Chris Brown and Rihanna had a very public incident with domestic violence and now the two have collaborated on a song as if the whole thing never happened.  Did either of the two get the help they needed to recover from their abusive past?  Teens might think it’s possible to just forgive someone who has abused them and get back together because Chris Brown and Rihanna are okay.  Unfortunately abuse runs very, very deep.  Those who experience abuse in their childhood tend to either become abused or become abusers and unfortunately many, many people have experienced abuse in their childhoods, including neglect and abandonment and not having that in the past doesn’t prevent a person from experiencing it later in life.  It takes a concerted effort to really iron out the issues associated with domestic abuse.

Parents can also be emotionally abusive to their children.  Some children may take abandonment or neglect into themselves internally and cope with it by seeking abusive relationships or partners they can manipulate and control in response to their own perceived ways of participating in a loving relationship.  Oftentimes abusers have ideas of what the role of a man and woman are in a relationship that is unbalanced.  They believe there must be someone in control of the relationship and fill that role themselves.  This can lead to a number of surprising and confusing attitudes and activities.

Please check out www.thehotline.org and determine if your relationship is abusive or if someone you know might be in an abusive relationship.  Look into the ways of getting out or helping your friend or family with support.  This is important and it is very difficult to understand the reality in the face of careful manipulation.  For teens, families and relationships everywhere, we must stop this cycle of abuse in our culture.  A whopping 1 out of 3 high school relationships are abusive according to www.acadv.org  and similarly more than 1 in 4 teenage girls in a relationship (26%) report enduring repeated verbal abuse.

(Liz Claiborne Inc. study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited; February 2005.)

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (Photo credit: UMWomen)

What is the solution to this problem we have? 

I think creating healthy models of relationships is important.  Another important thing is to make all these facts and warnings known to teens and adults, male and female.  We also need to seriously, as a culture, stop denying the trauma we have faced and work on correcting and healing from them… When we recognize our issues and the mental health reality of ourselves, our loved ones and our culture, we should take the responsibility to give realistic standards and expectations for growth and stability.  Should people with abuse in their past work on those issues or follow the status quo and keep falling into false love relationships because it is “normal”?

We also have to look at celebrities as real people;  People with high-stress lives and honestly consider that to live their lifestyles most of them will either have to be very, very unbalanced, or very, very balanced.  It is not difficult to see where one stands if you’re looking beyond the glitz, glamour and commercialism and look at their actions, expression and the way they present themselves.  Now, should we allow these celebrities to be role models?  She we encourage our kids to look up to celebrities like royalty?  Should they get tons of money and lose their privacy and personal identities to satisfy some skewed view of an American Dream?

I think not… they should not be working if they are not well.  They should not work all year long, constantly in their role of “celebrity”.  We need to create a sustainable community in which creative people are not fueled by marketing machines and management.  Maybe then people will stop looking at the TV at all the train-wreck scandals and wonder why so many of our hometowns are becoming world news.  Let’s take care of our children…teach them the value of community and establish healing from crises and healthy relationship standards based on sustainability rather than vanity and Hollywood dreams.

–Still Dreaming For A Healthy Future


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