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"Breakin' Dishes"

Oprah did not say much when she advised Rihanna not to go back to Chris Brown because the advise is as pragmatic as it is self-evident. It is true that one helps oneself by showing courage and not returning to an abusive partner, but doing do is half the battle. It is quite possible, if not highly probable that if Rihanna, to her own credit, leaves Chris Brown, she will end up in a new relationship with one who has not abused her yet. If Rihanna does not learn how to pick the right partner, leaving Chris Brown is only delaying the inevitable.

Society’s solution, Oprah’s included, is centered around the premise that no person ought to be abused, but if unfortunately such thing happens, the victims should never feel stuck or be without options. It is commendable and honorable to provide all sorts of options and safe havens to people who have been victims of such violence.

If our message to Rihanna is “leave Chris and you’ll be happy,” then our message is merely to comfort our distant selves and not to benefit or bring happiness to Rihanna. We, as society, are selfish in telling her to leave her abuser without giving her the necessary tools embedded in self-worth to not find herself in the same situation down the road. To her credit, Oprah talked about self-worth. And it is true that no self-respecting human being would entertain the thought of re-kindling intimacy with the one who has given them a black eye.

If Rihanna decides to end her relationship with Chris Brown with the singular understanding that he is abusive, then she would believe that to be the solution. Leaving Chris Brown simply gives Rihanna another chance to find the same kind of companion while her state of mind is stuck on abuse and with behaviors learned from the abusive relationship.

To end the cycle of abuse, Rihanna needs to have a different and profound understanding what healthy relationship is. This would not only get rid of Chris Brown, but all future Chris Browns, thus solving the problem of being in abusive relationships. Until then, she will endlessly go through one Chris Brown after another.

About the author

Dr. Tseday is a clinical psychologist and one of the country's leading experts in marriage, relationships, and self development. She advocates a unique and at times controversial approach to the dynamics of marriage and personal development, the necessary element for a successful relationship. Read more »

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