What it is. Someone can be abusive with words (insulting you), actions (hitting you), or with emotions (manipulation).
Where you see it. Most abusive behavior in a teen relationship is learned at home. A teenage boy who sees his father hit his mother is more likely to hit his own girlfriend. A teen girl who is emotionally manipulated at home is more likely to accept that behavior in a boyfriend.
Why people accept manipulation and abuse. An abusive relationship is very dramatic, and for some young people, they like the excitement and the attention they get because their relationship is always center-stage. An abusive relationship is an emotional roller coaster: you will have very low lows, but the next day you can try to make up and you share a very high high. That emotional adventure can be addictive.
Each of these components are tucked into Eminem and Rihanna’s song disturbing song “Love the Way You Lie.”
The emotional adventure:
Here we go again. It’s so insane. Cause when it’s going good. It’s going great…
…But when it’s bad. It’s awful. I feel so ashamed. I snap.
Verbal and physical abuse:
Now you’re in each other’s face. Spewing venom and these words when you spit ‘em. You push. Pull each other’s hair. Scratch, claw, bit ‘em. Throw ‘em down.
About being emotionally abused:
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn.
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry.
But that’s alright Because I love the way you lie.
Why manipulation and abuse is the counterfeit of love.
What is love? There are many ways that the Bible talks about love, but this one is pretty clear from John 15:13:
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
And that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. For me. For you. So why would you be in a relationship with someone that wouldn’t die for you? You deserve to be with someone whose top priorities are to cherish your dignity and get you to heaven. You deserve someone who cares for soul.
Let me finish with a line from the song called “Sigh No More” by the band Mumford and Sons:
“Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free.”
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, get help. Talk to a school councilor, teacher, parent, or your parish priest. You were never meant to make it on your own.