On a recent episode of “Teen Mom” you witnessed what initially appeared to be just another loud argument between Amber and Gary escalate into something very serious. Amber got physical with Gary many times while Leah was in close proximity.
Just a few weeks ago, we met up with Amber and Gary backstage at the taping of the “Teen Mom Reunion Special.” They had just screened the footage of the fight and were both feeling quite emotional. In the video below, watch them discuss their abusive relationship, plus read what our domestic violence expert concluded after we showed her the clip.
Commentary by Katie Ray-Jones, Executive Director of The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Amber and Gary are involved in an abusive relationship. In a series of episodes, Amber has demonstrated a pattern of abusive behavior toward Gary that includes the use of intimidation, as well as physical and emotional abuse.
In this particular video clip, Amber acknowledges that she is abusive and that she “can’t help” herself. When Gary begins to speak about how he would like Amber to treat him, she interrupts him, rolls her eyes and tells him that he is the reason she cannot confide to him. She constantly interrupts him during the interview and dismisses his feelings. In abusive relationships, it is common for the abusive person to blame the victim for the abuser’s actions. Gary tries to communicate that he wants to be treated with respect–and that is what he deserves. However, Gary appears to withdraw during the interview by keeping his eyes on the floor and limiting his role in the interview.
Amber states that she cares about Gary. It is important to note that in an abusive relationship, the relationship is not abusive all the time. There are moments when the couple may believe they are “getting along.” This gives the victim hope that the relationship is going to get better. However, in most abusive relationships, this is not the case.
As we’ve watched the season of “Teen Mom” unfold, we’ve consistently seen Amber using power and control to tear Gary down. But we continue to believe that Amber, as well as any abusive partner, would greatly benefit from professional help to address her abusive behavior. It will be important for Amber to take responsibility for her actions and commit to wanting to change. Additionally, Gary deserves to be in a healthy relationship in which he is treated with dignity and respect. It is difficult to imagine that Gary will be able to have that type of relationship with Amber unless she seeks out additional help.
+ For more information on the signs of an abusive relationship, or to chat online with a peer advocate, visit loveisrespect.org.