Red Table Talk: Season 1/ Episode 15 “Domestic Abuse: When Love Turns Violent” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Red Table Talk Season 1 Episode 15 Domestic Abuse When Love Turns Violent - Title Card
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Adrienne and her hairstylist lay their burdens down and give us their stories so you can see and understand the signs, signals, and warnings before it is too late.


Network
Facebook Watch
Air Date 11/19/2018
Introduced This Episode
Herself Crystal
Herself Selena

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Let’s Talk About Abuse In The Family: Jada, Adrienne, Willow

It has been a little over 8 years since Robsol Pinkett, Jr., Jada’s father, Adrienne’s ex, died and it should be noted, despite what is noted, relationships were healed by the time of his death. However, when Jada was younger, Rob was a mean and violent drunk. He never laid a hand on Jada, and assumingly not on her brother either, but Adrienne? She notes there is a scar on her back from when he pushed her over a banister and there was a time she had to run for her life.

What made things worse though is her mom, who was a social worker, warned her about Rob and yet she didn’t take that warning into account. But Adrienne wasn’t alone. Her sister Karen too dealt with abuse and it isn’t because of that stereotypical crazy house environment so you are just carrying on a generational tradition. As noted earlier in the season, Adrienne came from a rather well off family. At least by many people’s standards. So that wasn’t an issue.

Lest we forget, she was a bit shy and insecure growing up and it isn’t said that Rob took advantage of that, but the thought is presented that her love for him was passionate enough for her to make excuses. Because, that whole banister thing, that isn’t spoken of as the final straw. It came much later down the line. But Adrienne isn’t alone. Jada may not have been physically abused but she saw the signs and got out of the situation. Because Jada, perhaps taking note of what her mom went through, she knows to stay ready, something she had passed onto Willow who doesn’t even have a red flag situation to bring up.

Commentary

One of the things you have to appreciate about how Rob is talked about is that both Jada and Adrienne aren’t trying to demonize the man. Yes, he isn’t alive to defend himself, which is noted. So, for both of them, there is a missing piece of the puzzle. But, in light of that, Adrienne and Jada make sure to make it known they aren’t trying to dog the man. Hence why Adrienne tries to paint a complete picture and Jada notes, alongside Willow, once he became sober, he was a nice man.

But another thing which is important from this, and later on with the Crystal and Selena story, is noting it only takes one generation passing something along, and the next not putting an end to it, to create a cycle. Adrienne didn’t grow up with abuse, but it came to her door and she welcomed it in. Jada could have decided to let that be part of her life but rather than enable whoever that man was, taking note of her mother, she prepped for the worse and hoped for the best. How? Well, when she saw the warning signs she came prepared and when Spike Lee called about Girl 6, which she isn’t even in so that was confusing, she was OUT!

Jada recounting an ex who was abusive but never laid a hand on her.
Jada: And, I mean, I was like “Oh, my God. I’m in trouble.”

Though, once more, they make it clear that, unfortunately, both men suffered from alcohol abuse and immaturity – insecurity as well. Which, yes, sounds like an excuse, but you have to appreciate the narrative isn’t ended with the guy being terrible and that’s it. Did Jada speak to the man again? Not really. She saw him when they happened to be at the same resort, when she was with Will, and it seemed cordial, and that’s it. A lesson learned, no need to drag, for she learned who he was and since he isn’t in jail and must have been doing okay, seemingly he grew as a person.

It’s Not Always Physical: Jada, Adrienne, Willow

While physical abuse is what gets the headlines and leaves scars, there is a reminder that domestic abuse isn’t just physical. As Adrienne notes, you can’t have love without some sense of trust and freedom. Jada adds on that as much as a person may then someone being controlling or stifling is a show of affection, them caring, it’s not. Though Willow perhaps puts it best in the form of saying, “Sometimes being wanted is different from being loved.”

For a guy following you home, being insecure about the idea of you cheating, that isn’t him caring about you. It also wouldn’t be if a woman was doing. Unfortunately, that is a sign of immaturity. The kind which can be taken as a red flag, and something which may mean getting away from, or you can communicate and try to work it out. Unfortunately, when it comes to this kind of abuse, sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut answer. At least, until it becomes something which interferes with, not just the relationship, but your life and sanity.

Commentary

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#redtabletalk

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As shown in the TV show You, there is this twisted idea of what love is and how you show it. Something which, unfortunately, affects both men, women, and those who just identify as human. Trying to learn what is appropriate is a stumbling block and because of all the euphoria feeling loved, getting attention, and feeling wanted bring, naturally, threats to that are met with irrational behavior. The kind that, if checked, maybe can be handled and not get in the way of the future. However, if not, they sometimes turn violent.

But, as with previous episodes, the big to do here is communication. Not just verbal but non-verbal too. A look in the eye, a line you know means trouble, don’t ignore it. While baggage often makes new relationships hard, you got to appreciate how they protect you from repeating some of the BS you went through as well. Just be aware what of that baggage keeps you safe and what of that baggage isolates you.

When Enough Is Enough: Jada, Adrienne, Crystal, Selena

One of the things that seemingly Jada and her team are trying to do more is make it so, even if she is from around the way, it’s not just her voice being put out there. Not just her family who are long separated from issues like this. Hence welcoming Crystal and Selena to the table. Crystal is from Baltimore and is Adrienne’s hair stylist and was in an abusive, off and on, for about 5 years. Something that her daughter, not with the dude, wasn’t as shielded from as Jada was from her dad’s abuse.

Now, the importance of Crystal’s story comes in a few ways. The first being how control is a factor in abusive relationships. The man had nudes leaking when she left and emotionally manipulated her into thinking no one else would love her. Following that, you have the importance of being held accountable. Her daughter bringing up how her mom might feel if she was in the situation was a trigger. Though the biggest one was her daughter calling her out for posting a picture of her, Crystal, with a Black eye and her daughter saying to take it down because you know you going to get back with that man.

When your child reads you like that, it hurts. It should hurt. Yet, this isn’t one of your friends or family members who hear things after the fact. Selena is 14 and is in her mom’s life full-time. The lies don’t work on her since she saw the immediate aftermath. She was in her room crying, feeling helpless. Yet, still sticking by because that is her momma.

Leading to the last bit which is so important: Community. While her daughter may have been there to push her to leave the man alone, her mother, and clients, sometimes those in your inner circle aren’t enough. Hence why support groups exist. But for Crystal, it seems the online community she found gave her the strength to never go back and keep it pushing. For with that picture posted for the world to see, she exposed him and exposed herself. Making it where there truly was no going back.

Commentary

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Love isn’t abuse in no way form or fashion. This is real. This picture doesn’t show you the actual pain I have been through. As the days went on the bruise got worse. The pain was unexplainable. My heart was in pain. What really hurt me the most was the expression on my child’s face when she saw me as I tried to hide from her and my mom. I would never want anyone men or women to go through this. I didn’t deserve this. Hiding behind makeup and expensive shades just so that I can smile out in public. All from a man that said he loved me. Domestic violence is real along with mental abuse and should never be silenced. #loveisnotpain#Loveisnotabuse#domesticviolence#violence#abuse#thisismytruth

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I’m of the belief it is of the utmost importance that the show isn’t just bringing in major Hollywood celebrities or Jada’s family using their own celebrity during these conversations. For while insightful, and definitely having brain tingling opinions, there is a need to mix things up. A half hour might not be long but at the rate this show is going, it’s hard to not slowly feel like a routine is forming. The kind which doesn’t lessen the value of the show and its conversations but definitely gives you this vibe it is just flying through topics.

Mind you, I wouldn’t say this episode felt as rushed as the last one since the personal stories slowed things down a bit. It’s just, as much as you recognize there are a million and one things that could be said, it feels like this show may honestly need to expand past 26 some odd minutes in the future. Though, let’s be real, part of what it making things fly so far is because most of the conversation is a two-way thing. Not to take digs at Willow but while she does have things to say, it seems that, increasingly, either the topics don’t relate to things she feels strongly about or just doesn’t have experience in.

Leading to, and maybe this is a good thing, rather than say something just to do so, she remains quiet. I mean, let’s take note of that rather awkward segment she had with Selena. It seems when Willow is taken out of her comfort zone, things are less fluid. Which, one could argue, might just be her adjusting but part of me feels this undertaking is becoming more than she bargained for as the episodes go on.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

I don’t think that’s an excuse. I think that’s you giving a complete picture.
— Jada

I think emotional violence is really prevalent because most of us—once we get into relationships, we’re trying to learn how to love and most of us are very insecure about it and our defense mechanisms tend to be a bit violent and harsh.
— Jada

The gift of love encompasses freedom.
— Adrienne

Sometimes being wanted is different from being loved.
— Willow

Highlights

  1. Crystal and Adrienne giving their stories.
  2. The conversation around misconstruing what is considered romantic.
  3. Pushing that abuse isn’t always a long established generational issue, nor it begins with coming from a bad family.

On The Fence

  1. Willow’s one on one with Selena.


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