Dr. Phil aired an interview with an 18 year old girl who gives dating advice to others using Youtube. Seems she is very popular with younger girls. Deadly serious (deadly is the appropriate word here) she stated that a girl should be grateful if her boyfriend beats her. Why? Because he was taking his time to teach her how to behave better as his girlfriend. It means he loves her. Furthermore, she said he was investing his time and money in her so she should be grateful. In a later Youtube video she claims she broke up with the guy because he didn’t beat her hard enough so she didn’t think he loved her.
Yes, she really said the above. Worse yet, the first video received over 5 million views.
With all the information out there on teen dating violence, it’s shocking to hear this. I’m sure that you are just as angry and horrified as I am at this girl’s misinformed, outrageous comments. There are so many wrong ideas included in her statements that I don’t even know where to begin talking about them. Let me try. She believes:
- He only hits her because he loves her. Someone who loves you would never deliberately inflict pain on you.
- His time is more important than hers. In her opinion, her time or pain wasn’t important enough to consider. She’s accepted a step down position in the relationship. In healthy relationships each person has equal value.
- He is entitled to make the rules for their relations. In healthy relationships each partner is as concerned for the other’s happiness and well being as they are for their own.
- Her assigned job is to be who he wants her to be. In healthy relationships partners are free to be themselves and are encouraged to pursue their passion in life.
- His opinions are more important than hers. In healthy relationships each partner’s opinion is respected even if it differs from the other’s opinion.
- He has a right to hit her if she displeases him. In healthy relationships partners never inflect pain, humiliate, call each other derogatory names or intentionally hurt the other in any way.
- He is entitled to have everything the way he wants it. In healthy relationships, disagreements are negotiated. One person does not always have to kowtow to the other.
- She should feel lucky and grateful that he chose her as his girlfriend when he could have had anyone he wanted. In a healthy relationship each partner thinks they are the luckiest one and treats the other with care.
Dr. Phil, in his straight forward style, challenged her thinking, asking how she felt telling very young girls (who seem to be her biggest fans) something that could cause them serious harm? By this time I was on the edge of my sofa cheering Dr. Phil on. The girl steadfastly clung to her beliefs. She insisted that these guys love their girlfriends because by beating the girls, the guys risk going to jail. Dr. Phil outed her on the fact that she took a few thousand dollars from the guy to not prosecute him for battery. It was no surprise when she walked off the show. (You can see excerpts and a transcript from this show at drphil.com. Air date January 28, 2015.)
Was she just looking for fame? Most likely. However, the information she was willing to share is dangerous to our impressionable kids.
To fight this sick thinking, we have to continue to get the word out to our teens, girls and boys. Relationships are based on mutual trust, respect and kindness. Someone who loves you wants you to pursue your passion and be all that you can be. They will be your greatest cheerleader as you are theirs. Jealousy, hitting and name calling have no part in a healthy relationship.
Each person is responsible to create a life using his or her own gifts and talents. When they choose to be together, their lives overlap creating a space where they nurture and build a solid relationship based on shared values, honesty, trust, love and respect. One partner’s life should never absorb and dissolve the other’s life. No one needs a partner to complete them. They are already whole.
It’s never too soon to start talking to your kids about dating violence and healthy relationships. Teach them the components of a healthy relationship so they have a measuring stick when they begin dating.
February is Teen Dating Awareness Month.