Teen Mom 2: Dealing with Dating Abuse

If you watched last night’s episode of Teen Mom 2, you witnessed a scene that involved dating abuse between one of the couples. It happened during an argument, when one of them grabbed the other by head.

The couple, Kailyn and Javi, have recently moved in with each other and are still adjusting to the stress that comes with it. In this particular argument, Kailyn was upset with Javi for not taking the couple’s two large dogs outside while she had friends over.

After yelling at Javi to take the dogs outside, she went into their bedroom, yelled some more and then grabbed or shoved Javi’s head. Contrary to what her friend says later on, ‘at least you didn’t punch him in the face,’ what Kailyn did is abuse and there are not different levels, only right or wrong.

After the incident, it seemed Kailyn was distraught about what happened and swore she would work to change.


Can Someone Change?

Possibly, but it’s not quick and it’s not easy.

By the end of the episode, Kailyn had begun to reach the first step needed to change, which is admitting her behavior was wrong.

It’s a Choice.

It’s common to make excuses for abusive behavior such as stress or alcohol. Know that abuse is always a choice and that outside factors do not make someone abusive.

At the beginning of the fight scene, Kailyn said the extra dog had been stressing her out.  The dogs then become the source of the argument. After she grabbed Javi, she said she was just so frustrated she couldn’t control herself. But she’d made the choice to engage in abusive behavior while she was walking up the stairs and she announced she was going up there to (and this is putting it nicely) mess him up.

Learn to Communicate.

In healthy relationships it’s important to communicate things that are stressing you out so they don’t keep building up inside and come out in an unhealthy way.

Take a second to breathe if you find yourself getting really angry. Step back from the situation and try to calm down before approaching your partner.

Listen to what the other person is saying. If you’re upset you want to be heard, but it’s just as important to respect what your partner has to say if the two of you are going to come to a compromise.

Kailyn and Javi’s argument escalated quickly with no real communication.

Get Help.

If she wants to make it work with Javi, Kailyn will have to work hard and focus not just on anger management classes but also an abusive relationship program to get to the root of her problems.

This usually cannot be done alone and requires professional help. If you or someone you know needs help, you can always chat with one of our advocates for resources in your area.

You Can Only Change Yourself.

Toward the end of the episode, Javi said he wanted to do something nice for Kailyn because of the tough times they’d been having.

It’s common for someone getting abused to take it upon him or herself to make the situation better. Unfortunately the only person we can change is ourselves. Sometimes, even if you love someone, it is best for everyone to step away from the relationship while the other person works to get help. If you do decide to distance yourself for a while, your partner needs to respect that. Every relationship is different and we’re here to help you find out what’s best for yours — even if it’s not the same as what Javi chose to do.

Have They Changed?

Thinking boxing classes might solve her problems is a potential red flag that Kailyn’s still not taking full responsibility for her decisions.

We’ll be watching as the season unfolds to see if she’s truly ready to change.

If you’re wondering if someone in your life has changed, take our quiz. It’ll help you see if there are any red flags you might be overlooking and if they’re committed to change.

Tell Us What You Think!

What did you think when you saw the argument?

Will Kailyn work to get help?

Do you think someone can change?

Let us know below!

Stay Tuned for the Next Post:

Looking the other way: Why didn’t Kailyn’s friend say anything during the fight?


College: the Balancing Act

Photo courtesy of swanksalotSometimes, a student’s life closely resembles a master juggler on top of a tight wire, with an iPhone in one hand, texting and uploading pictures to Facebook. Throw in a relationship and the whole thing topples over and breaks into a million pieces. Stress can act like a slow-spreading cancer in a relationship: slowly affecting every aspect until the entire relationship is infected. Yes, you knew what you were getting into, but you may not be totally prepared to handle it. Here are some of our ideas:

    • Be supportive. Here at, we deal with people in stressful situations all the time. When you are talking to your stressed out partner, use a calm voice and let them know you empathize with what they’re going through. When you partner rails against his or her horrible Chemistry 301 TA, saying things like “That must be frustrating for you” and “Wow, this is tough” are going to make them feel like you’re really listening and their feelings are valid. Don’t offer solutions or advice right away- chances are they have already considered your ideas and just need a sounding board about their stressful situation. Watch this to see how Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy learns this.


    • Forgive each other. Stress makes people do crazy things. If your partner forgets about your dinner plans or snaps at you in the car, cut them a little slack. Putting more pressure on them to perform in the relationship can make things worse. Letting them know later on, when they are in good spirits, that their misstep hurt your feelings if you need to talk about it will definitely produce a better conversation on both ends.


    • Organize, organize, organize. Plan for time together. Even if it’s a 15-minute study break, you will be glad you did it. Schedule studying and other activities around time with your partner; it’s easy for a partner to feel neglected if they have to keep waiting around until you finish your other priorities.


    • Do something non-school related together. Blow off some steam by taking a yoga class, joining a biking team or playing on a softball team together. It is possible for stress to make your relationship too intense, so have some fun every once in a while. Having something to talk about besides studying and school can help too.


    • Don’t spend all your time together. You will hear a lot of advice that will urge you to study together so you can at least pencil in some time together. Resist the urge. Why would you want to spend four hours with your partner when they are busy doing something else when you can spend an hour together and really connect?


    • Talk it out. Communicating what your exam schedule is going to be like or when you have had a terrible day is going to help your partner be patient and forgive you if you seem out of sorts. It feels terrible to not understand why your partner is in a foul mood and just have have to conclude you did something. There is no way your partner can understand your stressful situation if you aren’t telling them.

Remember, though, what is stress-related and what is not. If your partner starts calling you names, threatening you or hurting you physically, this is not the stress, this is your partner. There are certain things that are forgivable and there are certain things that aren’t. We hear a lot on the helpline that abusers are just stressed out and once the stress goes away, the abuse will stop. How do you handle stress and your relationship? What tips do you have for mastering the juggling act of a relationship during a busy time?

*Photo courtesy of swanksalot


Five Misconceptions About Dating Abuse

You’ve seen it on Teen Mom, watched a few Lifetime movies, you’re an expert, right? Well, here at loveisrespect, as much as we are glad the subject of dating abuse is out there, sometimes these shows aren’t giving the full story. We want you to have the full story.

Here are five common misconceptions about dating abuse:

Read more


Did You Know?

Hi, Rachel and Nicole here. During our training, we debunked a lot of myths about domestic violence. Most of the facts really scared us for the callers and chatters experiencing domestic violence firsthand, but some were more surprising than others. Here are a few things we didn’t know before training. Did you know these facts?

  • Age isn’t just a number. Studies suggest that between 3.5 and 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually. While it is obviously traumatic for any child to witness domestic violence, children exposed during the first few years of development are likely to demonstrate higher levels of emotional and psychological distress than older children. This surprised us because it seems like younger children would not yet understand what is going on, but they are at a more impressionable state in life and a violent environment is incredibly harmful for their development.
  • Teens are more at risk than adults. A 2006 Liz Claiborne Foundation study found that teenagers have a higher risk of domestic violence than adults, though there are less available resources. Teens have often never been educated about healthy relationships and are coerced into abusive situations without knowledge of red flags or how to get help. We agreed that teens should be made aware of dating abuse prevention and healthy relationship promotion to help them recognize an unhealthy relationship before it becomes abusive.
  • The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the abused partner tries to leave. This was not what we expected either, but it does make sense. Think about it- if you’re an abuser who has been controlling your partner for the past six months, and then your partner leaves. The abuser is willing to do anything to get that control back. We watched this video that really brought home this point. It takes, on average, seven attempts to leave before a partner leaves their abuser for good and this is part of the reason why.
  • Pregnant women are twice as likely to be abused by their partner. There was silence in our training room after this statistic was read. The reason may be that an abuser knows the pregnant woman can’t leave as easily or he or she might need an outlet for the stress of having a baby on the way.
  • Less than 25 percent of teens say that they have discussed dating violence with their parents. Dating abuse is way more prevalent than we had thought, and parents obviously don’t know this either. Many times, one of our advocates is the first person a teen has spoken to if they’re in an unhealthy relationship. We’re always here, but parents can help us by talking with their teens about healthy relationships.

Now that we have finished training, we are practically certified in domestic violence and dating abuse awareness. Is there anything you would like to know?

If you or a friend may be in an unhealthy relationship, there is an advocate waiting to answer your call or chat.


The Great Divide: When Family, Friends and Significant Others Fight

Have you ever brought a significant other to meet your friends and family? Were you nervous? Did you eagerly quiz your friends/family later to ask how they liked your date, or try to casually gauge your boyfriend/girlfriend’s response to your loved ones?

In a perfect world, everyone who likes you would — by default — also like each other. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When we’re caught in the middle, it can feel like we are forced to answer one question:

When it comes to the “others” in our lives, who is more significant? 

This was exactly the question we watched Jennifer in “16 and Pregnant” struggle with last week. She was caught between her parents and her abusive boyfriend, Josh. Both sides openly told Jennifer that they wanted her to disconnect with the other. Just as it was hard to see Jennifer so isolated, it was also hard to watch her parents (who clearly understood Josh’s aggression) struggle with the situation.

Here are tips for both those in the relationship and those nervously watching from outside it:

If you are in the relationship:

  • Understand that your friends/family have your best interests at heart. They love you and want to protect you. They want you to be treated wonderfully — if they’re upset, its not directed at you. They want you to be happy.
  • If they are angry, their anger isn’t at you, it’s for you. They’re angry on your behalf — they want you to have it better than you do, so try to remain calm and don’t get upset with them.
  • A certain chain of reactions can happen around an abusive relationship. You talk about your relationship with your family/friends, they get upset and tell your boyfriend/girlfriend who in turn gets upset with you. You -> Family -> Boyfriend/Girlfriend-> You. This isn’t fun for anyone and can be harmful to you, especially if you’re in an abusive relationship.

**So we recommend this- if your friends/family always respond by talking to your sig. other, just don’t talk to your family about your relationship. Keep that relationship strong with your family/friends by avoiding that area of conflict (you will need your family for support) BUT BY ALL MEANS talk to someone else. Maybe someone who is impartial and doesn’t even know your boyfriend/girlfriend. That includes us at loveisrespect, maybe a school counselor or a teacher.

If you are a friend or family member watching from outside:

  • Try not to badmouth or threaten the abusive person. It may push your loved one closer to them.
  • Don’t try to pressure them into ending their relationship before they are ready. They are likely already feeling pressure from their boyfriend/girlfriend to make decisions they don’t want to make. Ultimatums don’t work.
  • Offer your support to the person even if they aren’t ready to end the relationship. Often, isolation is a huge part of an abusive and controlling relationship. Work to keep the lines of communication open. Your friend needs to know they always have you to turn to when they need help.

What do you think? Have you been caught in this situation as either the person in the relationship, or watching from outside it? How did you respond?