Scroll down your twitter timeline and it won’t take long until you see some kind of “psycho bird/boyfriend” tweet with 1000+ retweets and hundreds of laughing faces. When did this crap become normal? Controlling your partner, expecting them to be at your beck and call 24/7 and not care about anybody else is delusional. These kinds of attitudes are contributing to abusive and controlling relationships being normalised and excused. Too many people think that it takes violence for a relationship to become toxic but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Emotional abuse can be JUST as bad, if not worse at times.
The hardest part of it is that often people that are emotionally abusive are completely unaware of the damage they are doing, so it can be difficult to actually admit to yourself if you’re guilty with these kinds of behaviours and I think that might be where this kind of humour is rising from. By turning it into a joke, the reality of the situation is turned into a ‘laugh’ and if other people are laughing with you then it can’t be that bad, right? Not only does it make the perpetrator feel better about what they’ve done, but the victim may also feel like they must be overreacting if other people are laughing about it and this discourages them from actually turning round and standing up for themselves. Their self esteem is being diminished and they are being isolated from friends and family and then to top it off, the world thinks it’s all a big joke too.
I think this issue is particularly difficult for men, whom 53% are too scared to leave an abusive relationship due to embarrassment. The culture of men being told to “man up” and the expectations of men not being as emotionally effected by things as woman is still very prevalent in this society, and I cannot understand why. If a woman tells her friends she isn’t allowed out to the pub at the weekend, it’s very likely that at least one of her friends would be concerned and question this. Whereas for men, the whole thing has kind of become a joke. “Yer misses no lettin ye oot the night? hahaha yer whipped mate.” For some reason, women can get away with being controlling without anybody questioning them about it a lot easier than men can and it’s evident in statistics. Men are 3 times less likely to seek help in a dysfunctional relationship than women are.
However, although men may have a heavier burden when it comes to these attitudes, it is a widespread issue that effects both genders. Although it seems to have improved in recent years, there are still many men that feel as though women are their property and can tell them what to wear and question every man who even speaks to her. I think everybody can think of at least one occasion where they’ve witnessed a man lose the rag at someone for talking to there partner. I don’t think it’s too outlandish to believe that sometimes opposite genders can have a conversation without the intention revolving around sex. In fact, I think it’s more outlandish to assume that every single male to ever speak to a female is doing so purely to pursue sex. Again though, this is not limited to men. There are some pretty jealous females out there with the exact same attitude. I think we’ve all seen a girl lose the rag over another girl too.
So, instead of laughing when your mate tells you he can’t come for a pint, why don’t you actually ask him/her if they are alright? There needs to be an attitude shift here so this awful patter can stop being normalised and the first step is by standing up and questioning it. If everybody continues to think it’s all a big joke then it’s only going to become more and more accepted and more people will believe that it’s okay to treat your partner this way. It’s time to stop seeing your partner as your property, and start treating them as a person you care about, a person you want to be happy, a person you want to have a great life filled with lots of friends. Start thinking about your partners needs instead of your own. And next time you see one of these stupid tweets, think twice before you laugh.