On Rihanna And Relapse

TRIGGER WARNING for violence and abuse (please disregard this post if discussing intimate violence is a trigger for you).

I am really tired of people judging Rihanna for going back with Chris Brown.  Of course I want her to get away from him and make herself safe, but to call her names for going back to him is just heartless (it’s like saying, “get confident, stupid!”–it is also abusive!).  And I think it might be a good idea to suspend judgement if you, personally, have ever gone back to a person, situation, or substance that YOU loved but is bad for you.  Yeah, you know those cigarettes are bad for you, but knowing that doesn’t stop you from chain-smoking, right? Alcohol in excess is bad for you, but are you “stupid” because you relapse?  Are you an “idiot” who deserves abuse because you keep procrastinating on going to the gym?

Or are you in need of more help and support in kicking a bad habit??

Going back to an abuser is does NOT make someone stupid or deserving of more abuse.  We ALL go back to those things that are familiar, or we find to be comforting, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is bad for us.  When you are guiltily smoking that cigarette and cursing yourself, do you think someone calling you “weak” or “stupid” is going to help you kick that bad habit?  NOT USUALLY.  Most of us would say that gentle rebuke with stronger reminders about the worth of the person is the way to recover from a relapse.  The person is probably already internally talking negatively about their “weakness” to themselves, in fact. They know what you think, and often berate themselves that they don’t measure up to others’ standards.  They might think this is what they deserve, or that they are too weak to change. Ever felt this way about anything that made you feel powerless in this world? Then it’s time for some compassion instead of angry judgement.

Going back to an abusive partner, friend, or family member MAY mean that the survivor needs more support and/or help getting out of an abusive situation. It may mean that they are scared to leave or for things to change. To know instead that “relapses” might be part of the process is a healthy way to think about change, and shaming and ridiculing those who relapse just reinforces the abuse.  Unless you have been a victim of intimate abuse, then keep your judgements to yourself and work on YOUR shit instead of feeling better by cutting someone else down.  And furthermore, if it is your first instinct call out someone struggling with violence in their life, you should seriously check yourself.  So, feel free to call out Chris Brown on his violence and misogyny, and I’ll even agree with you that he is a piece of shit as long as he doesn’t get help for his abusive patterns…but STOP JUDGING and NAME-CALLING RIHANNA for relapsing. The relapse is often part of the abuse, and your asshole comments aren’t doing anything but showing your insensitivity/privilege/internalized oppression.

You want to HELP stop violence, don’t you?

Recent article of Chris Brown being an abusive, misogynist asshole at Huffington Post.



~ by Angela Rhetorica on March 10, 2013.

One Response to “On Rihanna And Relapse”

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