Picture the safest place you know. It probably serves as a great source of strength, and it’s something you can always go to in hard times. Now imagine ripping that comfort and safety away, leaving nothing but shattered pieces of what once was.
This situation happens in the most recent episode of Jersey Shore when Ronnie destroys all of Sammi’s possessions. When Sammi finds the mess Ronnie left, she becomes overwhelmed and collapses to the floor. She appears helpless, unable to find the words to express her confusion over how someone she loves so deeply could treat her this way. Sammi reacted this way for a specific reason.
When one partner destroys the other partner’s things in their room or another safe space, a huge boundary is broken that unfairly strips the victim of their sense of security. This is an example of intimidation, a form of abuse that leaves a victim feeling scared and trapped, often to the point where the victim feels forced to give in to whatever the other person wants. Sammi lost that sense of security in her own house, which explains her reaction to the mess and why she considers leaving the house later in the episode.
Ronnie was not the only who was abusive in the relationship. Sammi’s jealousy caused her to force Ronnie from speaking to JWOWW. When this rule was broken, she responded with further abuse and punched Ronnie. In a healthy relationship, each person has the right to speak to and be friends with whomever they choose. A lack of trust (or jealousy) can quickly accelerate abusive behaviors so one person can get their way at the sacrifice of what’s fair to the other person. This is why Sammi set up the rule, and acting like that is never acceptable.
When one form of abuse is recognized in a relationship, there are generally more abusive things going on. With Sammi and Ronnie, each person also used name calling, belittling (like “you don’t deserve me”), and threats in an abusive way. If you think that more abuse is going on or are uncertain about whether abuse is happening in a relationship, a great thing to check out is the Power and Control Wheel on our website. The wheel does a great job of illustrating how abusive behaviors interact with one another and what sort of behaviors can be abusive.
Does looking at the power and control wheel remind you of other abuse that happened in Sammi and Ronnie’s relationship? Do you have questions about whether something in their relationship is considered abuse? Ask away! We want to make sure you understand abuse and what makes a healthy relationship, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are ever uncertain about anything.