Last night’s episode of Teen Mom 2 was the second week in a row we witnessed dating abuse among one of the couples. This week, Jenelle and Gary’s fight escalated to the point of landing them both in jail.
Anytime someone punches, hits or strangles their partner, it’s abuse. Both Gary and Jenelle chose to engage in physical abuse in the fight. There is never a reason that an argument needs to escalate to physical violence.
Let’s look at what warning signs we can pick out from Jenelle’s re-cap of the night. Keep in mind each person is responsible for his or her own actions — neither person caused the other to act a certain way.
“The only thing wrong with our relationship is Gary has a worse anger problem than me.”
If you find yourself saying something similar to this, ask yourself if your partner has anger problems with everyone or just with you? If it seems like the anger is only focused toward you, it could be that they are trying to gain power and control in the relationship — a sign of an abusive relationship.
“I said I didn’t want to have sex with him because we were going to sleep. He got mad, walked out and when I locked the door behind him, he kicked it in.”
No one should make you feel like you have to do anything sexually that you don’t want to do and using physical threats such as kicking the door in is abuse. Asking is fine, but when Gary got mad and pressured Jenelle, it became a form of sexual abuse. You always have a right to say no for any reason to any person.
“Everything spun out of control.”
All relationships have their ups and downs. The difference between healthy and unhealthy is how you handle those ups and downs. When things escalate to a point where neither person is making good choices, it’s time to stop and let both people calm down. When emotions are that high, the chance of talking it out in a healthy manner is slim.
Take a walk, go into a different room or call someone to get you out of the situation. You can always contact one of our advocates to help come up with a plan of action until everyone calms down.
“I jumped on top the bed and punched him once in the back.”
Any type of physical violence is a choice and abuse. Physical abuse from one partner does not make it ok for the other partner to retaliate.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and feels like violence is the only way to be heard, call us to discuss safer alternatives.
“I didn’t go with him but I wanted him to come home so I was blowing up his phone. When he got home, I checked his phone.”
Healthy relationships are built on trust not jealousy. Reading someone’s texts without their permission or demanding they constantly check in are signs of an unhealthy relationship. Feeling the urge to snoop on your significant other? Text a close friend instead and remember that jealousy isn’t a sign of love. Often jealousy is about your own feelings more than it is about your partner’s behavior.
“He broke my phone and when I started crying, he wrapped the blanket around my neck telling me to stop crying.”
Breaking your possessions, strangling and punching are all acts of physical abuse. It not only affects people in the relationship, but those who care about them as well. Gary and Jenelle have a history of fighting, unhealthy and abusive behaviors that unfortunately ended in pretty serious harm and legal consequences. It's hard to hear about someone we love suffering physical violence and we heard the concern from Jenelle's friend and mom when hearing what happened.
What did you think when Jenelle told the story? Was it difficult to watch?
What about the children? Jenelle's son wasn't there to witness this fight, but the two have expressed themselves in dangerous and unhealthy ways for some time. Growing up around dating violence can have a huge impact, both physically and mentally, on children. They may grow up thinking dating violence is ok or mirror the behaviors they've seen. It's important to let them know violence is never ok, it's never their fault and to get help. Not sure what to do? Creating a safety plan for you and your children can help ensure the well-being of everyone. Our advocates are here to help.
We saw Jenelle’s mom help her leave the situation. Stay tuned for the next post where we look at how Janelle chose to end the relationship and ways to do it safely.
Did you see last night’s episode? What warning signs have you seen in Gary and Jenelle’s relationship?
Is there any way for them to have a healthy relationship?
Tell us below.