Too Many Viral Articles On Odyssey's Platform Trivialize Unhealthy Or Abusive Relationships, And It Needs To End

Too Many Viral Articles On Odyssey's Platform Trivialize Unhealthy Or Abusive Relationships, And It Needs To End

The viral reach of behaviors depicting toxic relationships is harmful to those who read about them.

93
views

As someone who regularly creates for and reads content from Odyssey, I've come across a concerning type of content.

The type of content I speak of involves unhealthy dating behaviors masked as normal occurrences in relationships, and I find it concerning how often I see this type of content.

Before I dive in, I want to give a disclaimer on my evaluations of these articles.

I went through 25 hours of training through a nonprofit, domestic violence organization here in my county. It was a comprehensive, multi-week process involving a variety of intersectional training surrounding the systemic factors and consequences of intimate partner violence.

I also went through 5 hours of training on dating violence that is sponsored by a university-funded grant and has a curriculum created by the domestic abuse organization I volunteer my time to.

So while I am by no means the be-all end-all expert, my training and experience co-facilitating workshops mean I feel confident in my competency to speak on dating violence.

So when I come across content that sets of red flags in my mind, my background as an advocate makes me want to speak up.

One component of dating violence is emotional abuse, which is exemplified in the many unhealthy articles I read on this platform on what feels like a weekly basis. A few I've recently come across include the following.

"My Boyfriend Has Another Girlfriend, But I Stay With Him Anyway"

"You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Wear The Wedding Dress"

"Just Because I Check My Boyfriend's Location Every Hour Doesn't Make Me A Psycho Girlfriend"

Articles of this nature occasionally use grabbing headlines for the sake of readership, but then articulate other ideas within the body of the article. In the first article, the other "girlfriend" in question is actually the best friend of a girl's boyfriend, and it is said in the article that they joke about the relationship feeling as if three people exist in it.

The second and third examples, however, remain true to their headlines.

The themes present in these three examples as well as many others I come across include jealousy and isolation, which are both unhealthy (and sometimes abusive) factors in a relationship. While these are not the only unhealthy behaviors I see in articles, they are by far the most common ones.

Within the first article, the content seems quite harmless from a broad analysis. However, there exist a variety of problems describing the girlfriend's behavior toward her boyfriend and his best girlfriend.

Jealous behavior is one of them.

It is described how the girlfriend "throws a fit" or "turns off the computer" when her boyfriend talks with his best female friend for an extended amount of time, and then asks the rhetorical question "who wouldn't?" as an attempt to rationalize her actions.

These actions of hers, however, are not healthy.

These actions are evident of jealous behavior with a lack of communication to articulate and healthily express those feelings of jealousy. Jealousy is a natural human emotion, after all. However, what defines unhealthy versus healthy jealousy is how jealousy is expressed, and in this instance, jealousy is unhealthily expressed.

The attempt to rationalize the jealous behavior by an attempt to confer an agreement of "who wouldn't?" with readers is exceptionally problematic.

Rationalizing unhealthy or abusive behavior is often a way for someone to fix feelings of cognitive dissonance they might have over their behavior.

Rationalizing negative behavior in a public manner conveys to readers that it's okay to do so, which normalizes unhealthy behaviors.

The behaviors in the second article articulate very jealous and possessive dynamics that illustrate the author's sense of insecurity and jealousy over the idea that her fiance had a previous, high school relationship.

The continuous use of "I get" statements to describe aspects of the intimate relationship unique to the author illustrates a pervasive sense of jealousy the author has over the prior girlfriend from the repeated comparison of what she "gets" compared to the old girlfriend.

No relationship should have a partner who views a relationship in transactional ways to try and determine if they've received more in the relationship than the last partner.

The repeated use of "I hate that" language in this article also fosters an unhealthy, unnecessary resentment toward the prior girlfriend, including an accusation from the author that any previous displays of affection from the old girlfriend were only for the sake of popularity and not love.

The teardown of this past ex is not only angry, but it is also destructive. Tearing down another woman and unnecessarily pitting yourself against someone else conveys to female readers that they must "compete" with other women for male attention, which fosters unnecessary expressions of jealousy and abrasiveness between women.

And that's the last thing we as women need. We should be uplifting each other and accepting others, not attempt to sabotage other women in a jealous rage.

Attempting to isolate a significant other from other women over insecure feelings about yourself is both jealous and possessive, and one person does not have the right to separate a partner from or degrade other people in their life.

The third article in my example further illustrates jealous, isolating and possessive behavior. Consistently checking up on a parter's whereabouts as a mode of evaluating their loyalty, trust or to a degree their well-being is not healthy.

The author's invalidation of her boyfriend's concerns regarding her checkup up on him is unhealthy. Even if there exists the claim that the author doesn't care about who her boyfriend is seeing, the lack of consideration for each partner's communication style and comfort is problematic.

In general, people should be free to live their independent lives and go places that their life requires them to go. If a relationship has so little trust or communication in it that one partner attempts to elicit a sense power over the other via stalking their whereabouts, they need to re-evaluate the relationship.

The couples in these articles and many others like them may feel happy and satisfied in their relationships. If they do, that's personal to them.

However, I think it's critical to point out how many of these relationships showcase unhealthy behavior, and that they could often qualify as emotional abuse and potentially cause trauma in the relationships they occur in.

The influence that articles of this nature have in depicting categorically unhealthy behaviors as "normal" can have lasting impacts on readers.

Odyssey is a freelance platform, and I think it's critical to retain the openness and diversity of thought on this platform. However, given the readership of Odyssey as a whole and ability to influence readers, the excessive attention given to toxic ideas about relationships could potentially have negative consequences.

Unhealthy, toxic behaviors present in relationships should not be openly publicized. In the current socio-political climate we live in, the last thing our society needs is to foster a sense of interpersonal apathy between women or normalize unhealthy behaviors within our relationships.

Because what happens if we do?

People suffer. There's a risk of unhealthy and abusive relationships forming, which could have both physical or mental repercussions for those involved.

Further, creating a divide between women due to possessive or jealous feelings about partners risks women putting each other down in a time when women need to support each other the most.

Vouching for unhealthy and abusive behaviors is destructive. And as someone who works to foster positive interpersonal communication and end dating violence on a daily basis, I will not be silent over content that counters the issues I fight against every day.

Popular Right Now

5 Games To Play In School That They Never Block

You used to play these games in school, and so did everyone you know.
54147
views

Even though some games were blocked on the school's internet, these games were not (for most people) and we used it to our full advantage. Also, one of the pictures on this article will take you to the actual game itself, it is up to you to find it. Good Luck!

1. Poptropica

This game was always so fun but 99% of the time I would only play on spy island.

2. QWOP

This is the source of misbehavior in schools because this game was so aggravating.

3. playretrogames

This entire website was never blocked so it was constantly being played on the computer.

4. CoolMath

Again, an entire gaming website that was never blocked and had what was honestly some really fun casual games.

5. The Impossible Quiz

THIS NEEDS TO DIE

If you are kids are in school and looking for some fun during the day, these websites are almost never blocked by the school's wifi. (Just don't get caught). I hope you enjoyed this article and if you did please feel free to follow myself and the Anderson Universtiy page and I will see you all next time, bye!

Cover Image Credit: Rico Tec Solution

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Apps To Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

To help you focus on making the most of the year.

128
views

It's getting to that point in the year where people are starting to lose steam when it comes to their New Year's Resolutions. If you're like me, you make some pretty big goals, but then fall short on how to achieve them. We are all so connected to our phones, that sometimes the best way to keep track of our goals, is to use our phones. Here's a list of 5 apps that will help keep you on track for your New Year's resolutions.

1. Goodreads.

If one of your resolutions was to read more, then this is the app for you. Goodreads lets you set a reading goal for the year and track your progress. You can make reading lists and track your progress page by page. It also allows you to review books and read other people's reviews.

2. TV Time.

If one of your resolutions was to catch up on all of those shows that people talk about that you've never seen, then try TV Time. Much like Goodreads, it allows you to select what shows you want to watch, log shows you have watched, and track your progress episode by episode. It also lets you look at reviews and interact with other users.

3. Letterboxd.

Letterboxd (@letterboxd) | Twitter

twitter.com

If TV shows aren't your thing, but you vowed to watch more movies, then Letterboxd is more your speed. Browse movies by genre, popularity, release date, and many more. Select the movies you have watched and pick which ones are on your watchlist. You can make lists of movies and browse others altogether and you can also rate and review every movie.

4. Flora.

Flora - Stay Focused Together

flora.appfinca.com

If you have made either a resolution to use your phone less or to focus more, try downloading Flora. Flora lets you set a timer 25 minutes up to almost 2 hours. Once you set a timer, a seed is planted on your phone and if you click any buttons, the plant will die. However, if you succeed and don't use your phone within the time you set, a tree will grow and will be added to your digital garden. If you need a little more incentive, you can bet real money that you won't lose. If you do lose, you pay the money and a real tree is planted in a rural community. When signing up with Facebook, you can also see how many trees your friends have planted.

5. One List.

App Of The Day: One List

applenapps.com

One of the New Year's resolutions people have is to be more productive. If you're like me, you're most productive when you have a list of the things you have to do. One List is the most simple to do list app I have found. You simply pull down on the screen to add something to the list. You can set a priority for each task and then they are automatically sorted from highest to lowest priority. Then you simply swipe to check a task off the list.

So, unless one of your resolutions was to reduce how much you use your phone or stop using your phone altogether, some of these apps are bound to help you achieve one of your resolutions.

Related Content

Facebook Comments