What Jessica Jones Can Teach Us About Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships are a very real and very horrible problem in our society….Here is what Marvel’s Jessica Jones does to shine a light on this fact.

 

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So I’ve recently watched the TV show Jessica Jones and as I made my way through the show, I started to notice something about the antagonist of the show (played by actor David Tennant) I’ve seen signs on how the antagonist of the show, Kilgrave, though he has super powers, is actually an abuser.

 

Here is what I’ve noticed: In terms of abuse it seems her abusers approach was that of emotional abuse.

What is emotional abuse? It involves a regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, and constant criticism, as well as more subtle tactics like intimidation, shaming and manipulation. Emotional abuse is used to control and subjugate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven’t dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves.

Yes, he has mind controlling powers but the way we have seen them being used, especially on this one character (and the side effects it all had on Jessica Jones) we have seen how he uses it to abuse and control people.

 

  • He is controlling in the sense of always needing to know where she is going, what she is going to be doing, taking her phone and making sure (by making threats he goes through with) she is back within certain time frames.

 

  • Her abuser also plays the victim. (common trait in most abusers) That the actual victim of the abuser is making them do things or something else made them do it. Like things are his victims fault. an example was a conversation in Episode 7 that Jones has with her abuser. (its a little later in the post) There was a time where he would make Jessica Jones hurt herself then make himself save her, pretending to protect her and be the hero or he would make statements such as: “You never appreciate anything I do for you.” making himself the victim and turning it around on Jones herself. Making her think he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

 

  • After her leaving him and getting out of his control, Kilgrave is dead set on finding her and has developed stalker like behaviors (which he probably had before to some extent). Taking photos of her, having others take photos of her and follow her (etc.) Which leads into my last point. Abusers isolate the victim of the abuse. In the scene I’m gonna share in a moment you see this play out in terms of the fact that her abuser is trying to isolate her from everyone she knows. (In this case, killing people close to her doesn’t stop this guy but this is a TV show and a super villain we are talking about in this sense.) In return he is telling her things, professing feelings for her and in result trying to make sure she is isolated and only hearing his words and his opinions.

*spoilers following as I am going to discuss the conversation in this specific scene*

Kilgrave: “I will admit to keeping eyes on you. Spies are easy to come by for me.”

Jones: “Do whatever you are going to do to me, but let them go.” (There is a hostage scene taking place here as Kilgrave is using his powers to hold a whole room of people hostage)

Kilgrave: “Well I have to protect myself so…”

Jones: “Then control me, not them.”

Kilgrave: “I have absolutely no intention of controlling you. I want you to act on your own accord.”

She (Jones) asks: “Act how? Suicide? Is that why you’ve been torturing me?”

Kilgrave, her abuser, then states: “*chuckles* Oh my God, Jessica, I knew you were insecure. That’s just sad. I’m not torturing you. Why would I? I love you.

 

The scene continues and Jones calls her abuser out on his actions calling them a ‘demented declaration of love.’ and how he ruined her life in this act. She couldn’t be any closer to the truth.

Her abuser then says he was trying to make her see “That I’m the only one who matches you… Who challenges you… Who’ll do anything for you.” – In any other case this might almost sound romantic because who doesn’t want to be with someone who will do anything for you or challenges you for the better? But as you can see its not romantic. Not in this sense. Not when he is stalking her, killing her friends and family (he killed a young man who claimed to love Jessica), and becoming obsessive….Trying to get her back.

He then becomes angry (he’s very short fused.) when someones cell phone rings and it interrupts his professing ‘eternal love’

 

 

 

Now sure, no one has superpowers either so this whole abusive situation might be over-dramatized for the show but I feel Marvel was clever in this sense. They took a mind controlling super villain and used him and his abilities to shine a light on abuse. What that looks like and how it might appear to the victim as well. You don’t have to have powers to control or harm someone. If you did this wouldn’t be a real problem, would it? But despite the fact that this character has powers it doesn’t change the fact that he is an abuser and I think Marvel did a really good job in conveying that and not portraying an antagonists actions as okay or somewhat acceptable as most media might convey things.

 

Tragedies and Trauma|| How To Convey Emotion As An Aftermath of Trauma

Hello Readers!

So, I wrote this post a while ago on another blog of mine ‘Pen Pals of Peculiar Personalities‘ and I really like the post and wanted to share it with you all over here on this blog today! So here you lovely people go! (Yeah, I blog on another writing website also 😉 I do a few different things than on here)

So, today I want to kind of talk about writing tragedies (or tragic things that have happened with your character) and how to effectively convey emotions that might come along with it or in the aftermath of it all.

So, in a handful of my novels I have had characters who come from broken homes, abusive relationships or they had become a rape victim and such things like that. Now when I say those things, you might cringe and probably wonder what a seventeen year old is doing writing stories like that…(Now you understand why I kept ‘Holding on To Grace’ (my novel about a girl who becomes pregnant from rape) under wraps for these last couple years because I was rather young when I started it.)

While writing these different scenarios I have learned one thing and that is that it’s not so much what you do to the character but how they react that will make it all believable. I mean, obviously what happens to the character (whether in the novel or never actually shown) needs to be realistic but what comes after that is the realistic reaction to what happened. Sometimes it is obvious what the effects of that said ‘traumatic’ or ‘tragic’ event might cause either emotionally or physically but some things are harder to depict. This is where either, going with your gut and going with the reaction you think fits/works or sometimes asking either a friend or other writers input is helpful too.

Another way I will try to figure out how one would react in a certain case of trauma would be to take a look at this. This list gives the most common examples of reaction to trauma. (Because everyone treats and reacts to it differently meaning your characters will too.)

 

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Sometimes you may find, by looking at this list that your character suffers from some of these side effects. (instead of just one) and (I am no professional who knows how the human brain works and reacts to trauma or tragic experiences) that is usually normal when it comes to this. Or one thing accompanies another just depending on the situation.

 

Let me just give you a couple examples from my different novels and WIP’s (works in progress)

#1: Claire Tyler

Situation: Parents were murdered in front of her when she was eight. (yes, she is halfway to becoming batman in case you were wondering) Since then she has been in and out of foster homes and has suffered bullying many times either from school or from the other foster kids in the homes.

Effects That Has On Her: Depression, Insomnia/Flashbacks and Nightmares, Little or no memories, Loss of sense of Hope for future and Self harm.

 

#2: Tarryn McPherson

Situation: Parents died when she was 6 years old. (Was separated from her older brother as they were taken to different homes) Has never really fit in with any families. Was sexually assaulted when she was twelve and a couple years later was adopted by a nice family but the situation soon became both a emotional and physical abusive one.

Effects That Has On Her: Irritability, Eating Disorder (wants to look ‘perfect’ to hide that she is falling apart on the inside), Depression, Emotionally overwhelmed, and Worthlessness.

 
#3 Billie Crane

Situation: Was living in an abusive home for eleven years and was raped by her friend which then caused her to flee, in terror of her father’s wrath being taken out on her (even more so than before) or her baby.

Effects That Has On Her: Emotionally Overwhelmed, Nightmares/Flashbacks, Shame and Worthlessness and Loss of Interest.

 

As you can see from my examples here, most often times it’s never just one thing that plagues a person because maybe, for example, the Insomnia is due to nightmares or flashbacks. (or pick a different set of reactions) Most often times (depending on the severity or said experience) one is linked to another and really its a long chain your character will have to break one link at a time to be free from it. Though with some things there may always be that fear that that feeling could come back one day or maybe that one thing they feel will never leave fully and will always be lurking. That all really depends on the story itself and how your character is overall. Because, remember not one character acts the same even if put in the same situation.
Hope this helped you all my lovely readers! (I feel so terrible writing these posts but yet sadly, torturing our characters to build them up stronger, and maybe even better, than before must be done 😦 ) Oh! and also, this list of sorts really help me figure out a characters personality but another post that I have also found helpful was that written by my friend Carissa on her blog! That post is how to make insecurity maps for ones characters and let me tell you that technique works wonderfully! Click HERE to check that out too!

 

Until Next Time!

Adriana Gabrielle