Singer Selena Gomez has shone a light on emotional abuse during an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) over the weekend. Speaking about her former relationship with Justin Bieber, Gomez shared that she feels she was a victim of emotional abuse at the time.
Talking about her single Lose You To Love Me, which is rumoured to be about Bieber, Gomez revealed that the song has a different meaning now to when she first wrote it. “I felt I didn’t get respectful closure and I had accepted that. But I know I needed some way to just say a few things that I wish I had said...And I’m not being disrespectful, I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse.”
Asked by the interviewer if she meant emotional abuse, she said "yes", adding, "As much as I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life talking about this, I am really proud that I can say I feel the strongest I've ever felt and I've found a way to just walk through it with as much grace as possible. "
NPR reported they had reached out to Justin Bieber's team regarding Gomez's comments but did not hear back.
Gomez is not alone in sharing she feels she has been emotionally abused. In Australia, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced emotional abuse by a partner from the age of 15.
Emotional abuse is defined as intimidation, isolation and manipulation with the intent to cause fear. Examples of emotional abuse include cutting the victim off from their family and friends, constant insults, monitoring the victim’s location, lying, exerting control over finances and threats of physical harm.
Emotional abuse is defined as intimidation, isolation and manipulation with the intent to cause fear.
Unlike physical abuse, the characteristics of emotional abuse can often go unnoticed because perpetrators often manipulate victims and those close to them in order to conceal the evidence. However those who experience emotional abuse are also at greater risk of violence within the relationship.
One of the most insidious forms of emotional abuse is gaslighting. Gaslighting refers to the kind of manipulation in which the perpetrators makes their victims doubt their own reality and sanity. Victims of this form of emotional abuse are made to feel unhinged, paranoid and ashamed.
Gaslighting refers to the kind of manipulation in which the perpetrators makes their victims doubt their own reality and sanity.
Gomez pointed out in her interview the importance of learning as a way to find strength and escape from a victim mentality. Many other victims agree. Katelin Farnsworth suffered emotional abuse as a teenager and says, “We need to talk about emotional abuse, the different ways it can manifest and present itself, and we need to listen when people share their experiences.”
Na’ama Carlin also believes that having honest conversations about gaslighting and other forms of abuse, will help victims to heal. She says, “Being public allows others to know they aren’t alone. Cultivating awareness of this sinister form of manipulation is the first step in letting victims know they are seen and believed.”
Having honest conversations about gaslighting and other forms of abuse, will help victims to heal.
Hearing candid conversations about the reality of living through and healing from emotional abuse is likely to help victims to understand it and - in the words of Selena Gomez - “walk through it with as much grace as possible.”
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V