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I knew it all along. 0.61949317738791 61.9% [ 1589 ]
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You're wrong, and I will post my rebuttal. 0.11423001949318 11.4% [ 293 ]
But it's True Love! 0.1130604288499 11.3% [ 290 ]
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Aldorel's avatar

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Second post is summary of points, common arguments, and other fun stuff for the busy.

New stuff Bold. Last edit: 5/8

~

When it comes to media influences, we are most concerned with what our heroes do. After all, they are supposed to be the most admirable of people. A villain’s actions are assumed to be questionable, but the hero is, well, essentially noble. Why is it, then, that no one seems to be concerned that Edward Cullen, hero of the bestselling books Twilight and New Moon, is an abusive boyfriend? His actions repeatedly demonstrate a dangerous mentality of dependency and control.

The first thing any girl hears in a dating violence discussion is that jealousy is not love. Yet Edward is critically jealous of Jacob Black, one of Bella’s family friends. Edward pushes Jacob aside from the end of Twilight where, when Jacob asks Bella if she’d like another dance, Edward answers “I’ll take it from here.” Perhaps Bella would prefer to dance with Edward – but it’s her decision to tell Jacob that, not Edward’s. The situation only escalates as Jacob becomes closer to Bella. In a confrontation at the end of New Moon, Bella is genuinely afraid for Jacob’s life. Fans of the series might say “Oh, but Jacob is a werewolf – they’re historical enemies.” Would this excuse an English beau from threatening an Irish friend?

Moreover, in Eclipse, Edward is intent on keeping Bella from associating with Jacob at all. When she says in the first chapter that she’s planning on visiting Jacob without Edward if necessary, he says simply “I’ll stop you.” That is to say, he is willing to use physical force rather than let his girlfriend see one of her closest friends. And it does come to force – to removing a vital part from Bella’s truck and bribing Alice to keep Bella under house arrest when he isn’t around.

A general dislike of Jacob would be understood. But taking steps to prevent your partner from spending time with someone that you dislike is abuse, plain and simple. And his surprising calm after Bella kisses Jacob seems more indicative to me of a cycle of abuse and reconciliation than any real resolution.

Jealousy is a control tactic. As such, it is often paired with isolation – a technique most familiar in cult dynamics. As soon as Edward and Bella begin dating, Edward criticizes her friends as ‘shallow.’ Bella soon stops going anywhere with other friends. Not having formed strong bonds before Edward appears on the scene, Bella never bothers to form them at all. The isolation is so complete that when Edward leaves in the beginning of New Moon, Bella spends three months in a depressed state before rediscovering her other friends. Yes, it’s understandable to want to spend time with your boyfriend. But when you have quite literally no life outside of them – when their absence leaves you so utterly lost – that is unhealthy. And it is wrong of Edward to encourage it. As already demonstrated with Jacob Black, Bella is capable of forming strong friendships when Edward isn't monopolizing her time.

Moreover, a part of this isolation is fully and unarguably intentional. When Edward leaves Bella, he flat-out forbids Alice, Bella’s best friend at the time, from seeing her. His motivation? To ensure a “clean break.” But it is Bella’s right to decide when and how she wants to forget about their relationship. Presuming to dictate her healing process for her is the height of control – it is assuming that you have the right to a person’s thoughts.

Abandonment is yet another control tactic. It is emotionally jarring, disruptive, and, if timed properly, can convince the target that their life is less worthwhile without the abuser. I have been the subject of this treatment myself – and, if it were not for my close friends, it would have worked. Thanks to isolation, Bella has no such friends. When Edward resurfaces, she immediately clings to him more desperately than before. He has become her only lifeline.

Of course, Edward resurfaces in that he attempts suicide. I don’t care what Romeo and Juliet says: suicide is not romantic. Apart from being mentally unstable, this is characteristic of abusive boyfriends. Many abused women remain with their boyfriends because they believe that they still love each other. They often feel responsible for their boyfriend, who tells them “I can’t live without you.” For obvious reasons, Bella doesn’t want to be responsible for Edward’s death. But because of this fear for his life, she stays in a self-destructive relationship.

Perhaps Edward didn’t realize that Bella was alive when he tried to kill himself. But that just proves that he was unstable enough to go through with it – he had made the threat long before he made the attempt. Bella did not laugh off the threat – it shocked and horrified her. If Edward hurt himself, she felt it would be “because of her.” And that puts a burden of responsibility on her that no person can or should be made to bear.

This sense of responsibility for his welfare also extends to lying to her father. Encouraged deception is a red flag for an abusive relationship. Yes, you can argue that Bella shouldn’t tell her father about Edward’s vampirism for the same reason that she wouldn’t tell anyone if he had AIDS: respect for privacy. But it is expected that she would tell her father when she is with her boyfriend. Lying is unnecessary. You can argue that Edward does not encourage her to lie, instead asking her to tell someone where she is. But this statement is consistently followed with ’So I know that if I kill you, I’ll get in trouble for it.’ (“To give me some small incentive to bring you back,” p 214) Predictably, it has the opposite effect: Bella, out of her sense of responsibility for her boyfriend, keeps their dates secret. Thus serving Edward’s ends. Many teenagers will lie to their parents about their dates without a second thought. But this doesn’t make it right. In fact, it only shows that Edward can’t plead ignorance regarding how Bella would react to his statement. Any mind reader will know what she’d do.

Time and time again in Twilight, Edward frightens Bella. Fear is emotional abuse. It can also be used to assert control. Fans might say that Edward is constantly telling Bella how much he wants to kill her and giving unnecessary displays of strength in order to convince her not to stay with him. Why, then, doesn’t he take the lead and stay away from Bella? Why didn’t he stay in Alaska? Why didn’t he simply switch Biology classes? Because he’s “selfish.” If he is unable to stay away from her, he has no right to scare her. Calmly explaining the danger – once, as accurately as possible, without hyperbole – will suffice. And then a boy who really cared would help her take necessary precautions for her safety. For example, telling Charlie when they would be together. Or, having Carlisle chaperon. Or by having a double date with Alice and Jasper, or by sticking in public places, or any of dozens of other measures, since Edward clearly doesn’t believe that feeding often is precaution enough. But that would prevent Bella from swooning over his “devotion.”

For that matter, why is he under the impression that seeing the dents his shoulders left in a car is insufficient to remind her that he is, in fact, stronger than your average human?

Finally, Edward refuses to allow Bella to make her own decisions. She insists she does not want to go to the prom – he brings her there without telling her. She insists she doesn’t want a birthday party – he gives her a surprise party. She does not want to leave Charlie while James is loose – he throws her in the back seat and tells his brother to hold her down. When she resists, he either works around her back or manipulates her decision, kissing her until she forgets her argument. Real boyfriends respect their girlfriend’s right to a decision. Abusive boyfriends must make all the decisions – using force if necessary. It doesn’t matter whether he thinks he’s acting in her best interests or not. Free will is non-exchangeable. And it should be.

The circumstances of their engagement is a perfect example of his inability to let her make her own decisions. He agrees, at the end of New Moon, that he will change her into a vampire if and only if she marries him first. Marriage is not a bargaining tool. Vampirism and marriage are both commitments – but they are separate commitments, and should be discussed separately. The fact that he never intended for her to make that bargain, that he used it as a delay, is not an excuse. Rather, it is further evidence of a need to manipulate the relationship according to his wants and needs.

Likewise, when Bella decides that she does not want to apply to Dartmouth, he ignores her and forges her signature on the paperwork. Going to a college outside of the Ivy League will not place Bella’s life or even her general contentment in danger. Yet he resolves that it is his decision to make, not hers.

A parallel incident can be found when he forges a note to Charlie in her handwriting on the day he leaves her in the middle of the woods. Yes, it turned out to be a good thing that Charlie knew that she was out there when she went missing, but no, that doesn't excuse forging a note when it would have been just as easy to write the note as himself: "Hey, Chief Swan, it's Edward. Bella and I are going for a walk in the woods. Be back soon."

For those fans who insist on some definite physical, non-negotiable sign of abuse, recall how Edward enters her house after leaving her in New Moon and hides every one of her personal possessions associated with himself. Destroying someone’s stuff is never OK and always an abusive act. Even – especially! – when he’s trying to control her healing process. Add the fact that Edward is prone to watching Bella while she sleeps – repeatedly, without her knowledge – and you have one very unhealthy relationship.

Yet in Eclipse, we seem to have a point of some resolution. As Eclipse moves on, Edward makes the radical decision to let Bella take some control of her own life and her own friendships. As it draws to a close, he even comes to realize that it was wrong of him to think he knew what was best for her. Awareness, I have always thought, is the most crucial step in dealing with an unhealthy relationship. Does this mean that Edward and Bella have finally worked their problems out?

Unfortunately, I don’t think that this is the case. First of all, there is the fact that this "realization" is handed down as a proclamation from Edward, a statement of how he intends to act. True to the pattern of their relationship, Bella has nothing to do with this statement, and merely accepts it passively, without trying to discuss with Edward how they can have a more balanced relationship. Lack of communication implies a lack of any real development in the relationship. Translation: Meyer is trying to appease the critics by slipping in this speech of Edward's. And then Edward goes ahead and invites Jacob to the wedding even after Bella specifically said that she didn't want to invite him. Was it a good idea to have Jacob there, a gesture of reconciliation? Maybe. But maybe it was twisting the knife, and it's Bella's right to make that call.

And there remains one crucial element of domination in this relationship that has not been addressed – possessiveness. Talking of marriage, Edward says, “I want the world to know that you’re mine and no one else’s.” This is not normal, and it is not healthy! Even married couples have a life outside of each other. That sentiment, “You’re mine,” might seem a mark of devotion, but it is a denial of Bella’s full humanity. That mentality remains whether the couple is aware of it or not. And it will resurface eventually.

That, I think, is more dangerous than any poison could be. The fact that such a deadly emotion could hide under the mask of love. The most frightening part of the story of Edward and Bella is not that he hurts her, is not that she loves him regardless, it is that when in the height of Edward’s controlling madness Jacob asks if he could possibly be an abusive boyfriend… Bella does not even consider the thought.

The difference between love and obsession is not an idea to be ignored.
Aldorel's avatar

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Summary of Points


arrow Edward is jealous of Jacob, to the tune of actively preventing her from having a relationship with him. Abuse red flag number one.
arrow Edward isolates Bella from her friends, then abandons her. At that time, he tells her "you aren't good enough," in blatant disregard for how this is going to hurt her.
arrow In abandoning her, he forbids her best friend - Alice - from seeing her.
arrow "I couldn't live without you." : Edward attempts suicide over Bella, telling her beforehand that he's planning on doing so. Control tactic.
arrow Edward encourages Bella to lie to her father about seeing him, and furthermore sneaks around Charlie's back in order to see Bella after curfew and before Charlie knew about the relationship.
arrow Edward frightens Bella unnecessarily with his vampirism but does not take steps to ensure her safety.
arrow Edward does not allow Bella to make her own decisions or to disagree with him.
arrow In the beginning of New Moon, Edward hides, takes, or destroys all her possessions that are associated with him.
arrow Edward takes Bella's belongings that are associated with him in an effort to control her healing process. But Bella is in charge of how she deals with the loss.
arrow Edward watches Bella while she sleeps. Even before Bella is aware that he is doing so. A violation of privacy.

Common Arguments


arrow Edward didn't mean to hurt her.
But he did hurt her. We can't rationalize abuse, even if it is not consciously intentional.
(Detailed Edward Cullen Psychoanalysis)
arrow Edward is jealous of Jacob because he's a dangerous werewolf - remember Emily.
And remember that unnamed 'singer' girl that Emmet killed. Jacob is dangerous. Edward is also dangerous. Double standards are not cool.
arrow Edward doesn't encourage her to lie to Charlie - he asks her to tell Charlie that they're seeing each other.
He asks he to tell Charlie so he'll have "some small incentive" not to kill her - that is, so he'll get in trouble if he hurts her. Since Bella has shown a strong disregard for her own safety, this isn't a compelling argument. Further, his actions in sneaking around Charlie's back both before and after curfew was instated demonstrate a real disregard for any sense of openness between Bella and her father.
arrow Edward scares Bella to make her understand the danger.
No matter what the reason, it isn't right to try and frighten your girlfriend. She knows he's dangerous and can decide to take that risk for herself.
arrow Edward tries to act in Bella's own interests.
Which he attempts by taking away Bella's independence and free will. Not a good deal.
arrow Edward's attempted suicide proves he loves her - it's not a control tactic.
Killing yourself over someone does not prove you love them, it proves that you need mental help.
arrow Edward committed suicide because he thought Bella was dead. It can't have been an attempt to control her.
But he told her that he was going to commit suicide beforeheand - and that makes it a suicide threat, which is characteristic of abusers. Some of them are unstable enough to go through with it. Plus, even if his suicide is contingent on her death rather than her absence, it's still imposing on her decisions by making her re-evaluate the daily risks that she's willing to take.
arrow Edward is a vampire. You can't apply human psychology to him.
Why not? He was born human and has lived in human society for the past hundred years. Yes, as a vampire he's going to have a different perspective on some things, but the psychology is essentially the same.
arrow Edward is only human. He makes mistakes.
And, like a human, is responsible for his actions. Making mistakes is understandable - repeating them heedless to others is abuse.
arrow Why do you care so much anyway?
Because it's indicitive of a pattern in society to idealize unhealthy and abusive relationships.
arrow You suck.
This is a vampire book. I thought sucking was a good thing.

Just for Fun...
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Aldorel
Rowin009
Aldorel
Rowin009
If your trying to date someone who would rather eat you then yes species does matter. You're going to have problems if your dating something that isn't the same species as you. Its like being in love with a lion or falling in love if a ham sandwhich its not going to work.

If the ham sandwich is self aware, it shouldn't be a problem. I can respect its feelings and eat turkey. But it would be wrong of me to stick it in the microwave or tell it to wear mascara.

Edwards behavior though not proper shouldn’t be considered abuse, and part of the reason for that is his species. Yes Aldorel you may be able to respect the sandwich but your relationship would be anything but normal and shouldn’t be judged like everyone else’s without taking into consideration a few things.

Yes, but you would agree that making the sandwich wear mascara would be abusive? Or even to wear mustard, which I assume is a part of normal life for ham sandwiches.


After 90 pages of fun, we've been awarded a gold star from General Snicker-Doodle!

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Very well said! How can some people think Edward is the perfect boyfriend with all that against him?
Aldorel's avatar

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Because he says he loves her. Doesn't that prove everything?
Oh, yes, how could I forget? Really, it's not as if he's lying. That would just be preposterous!
Blue Logic's avatar

Witty Lunatic

I must say first off that I am not a fan of the books, but I have read them.
But this.... I completely missed.
surprised
Bravo Aldorel.
I don't think I've ever read a more interesting view of Edward and Bella's relationship.
Excellent, excellent, excellent! And I hope the fans don't lynch you biggrin
You could probably be a lawyer...
(Not to say that she couldn't- it was quite well presented, but) The case pretty much makes itself. He is clearly an awful boyfriend, and anyone who actually thought about it would see that. Except that, ohwait! it's "Twu Wuv" stare
wow.. Ilove the books and i always thought it was great and Edward was super but now...
wow..
IT IS SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
eek
Aldorel's avatar

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It's disturbing, isn't it? And he does seem super, at first...

MaikoHisaHoshi
You could probably be a lawyer...

Is that a complement? wink
I do enjoy pulling things together and making a case out of them. But I don't think I'd stand up in a courtroom. I'm easily overwhelmed.
First off, any sort of continuing relationship at all, with a dead, blood-sucking creature who easily kill you and lusts for your blood denotes mental unstabiliy. You don't need to be a genius to figure that out. So, in that light, most, if not all vampire books denote mentally unstable relationships.

However, Bella was isolated before she met Edward, and part of his continuing fascination is that "he doesn't belong either" to the town. So he provides a sense of security to her.

And I'm not an expert on teenage relationships...but don't teens usually fail to inform their parents of many details of their life? Especially relating to boy/girlfriends? And Bella isn't that close to her father to begin with; she doesn't feel comfortable confiding in him, nor does he encourage her to.
Now I actually WANT to read the books just so I can read about this stuff. mad D
I haven't read New Moon, just Twilight, but based on just the first book, I don't really agree with you.
If jealousy is not love, than what is it? It makes sense that if you are in love or in a relationship with someone that you want them to be faithful to you. It could be lust, but not in this case, because Edward never tries to use Bella for sex.
I don't think he is abusive, he never tries to hurt her, and if he really wanted her to remain depedant on him for all eternity, he would have let her become a vampire when he had the chance, but he kept her from becoming a vampire in order to save her from the painful transformation and a life as a vampire.
Seeing as Bella is obsessed with Edward, if he had wanted to hurt her or suck her blood, she probably would have willing let him, yet he never hurts her. He does make decisions for her sometimes, but these are decisions over life and death situations, so if he does not respect her decisions but saves her life in doing so, it is not a bad thing.
It is slightly creepy that he watches her as she sleeps, but as I already stated, their relationship is not really a lust-filled one.
If there are faults in the Edward-Bella relationship, they are in Bella and not Edward. She is dangerously and unrealistically obseessed with him. Edward plays the role of a protective boyfriend, not necessarily a bad thing for girls to want. But it is more dangerous to want to be like Bella who isn't independant at all. all the "control tactics" that you list might work sometimes, but anyone who is emotionally stable should be able to resist them, and I honestly don't think Edward was using them purposely. He never used violence against her, so he should not have had the upper hand in their relationship at all, saying that women are unable to fight against emotional control mechanisms is kinda sexist isn't it? So if there is any flaw it is that Bella is too obsessed to resist Edward.
But then again this is just fantasy, anyone reading this book should be level-headed enough to know that if vampires are unrealistic, so is Edward and Bella's relationship.
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Thank you for the well thought out arguments. heart

Gethyn
First off, any sort of continuing relationship at all, with a dead, blood-sucking creature who easily kill you and lusts for your blood denotes mental unstabiliy. You don't need to be a genius to figure that out. So, in that light, most, if not all vampire books denote mentally unstable relationships.

Yes, but it is possible to have a relationship with a dead, blood-sucking creature who easily kill you and lusts for your blood without becoming totally dependent upon the dead, blood-sucking creature who easily kill you and lusts for your blood.

Gethyn
However, Bella was isolated before she met Edward, and part of his continuing fascination is that "he doesn't belong either" to the town. So he provides a sense of security to her.

But he keeps her isolated. This is bad.

Gethyn
And I'm not an expert on teenage relationships...but don't teens usually fail to inform their parents of many details of their life? Especially relating to boy/girlfriends? And Bella isn't that close to her father to begin with; she doesn't feel comfortable confiding in him, nor does he encourage her to.

Leaving out the specifics is fine. Directly lying to her father to cover her tracks is wrong. Charlie is trying to be more aware about her life - he just doesn't know how.

arichan99
If jealousy is not love, than what is it? It makes sense that if you are in love or in a relationship with someone that you want them to be faithful to you. It could be lust, but not in this case, because Edward never tries to use Bella for sex.

It's control. Jealousy is wanting to be the only person in someone's life. Love is acting in a person's best intrests. Keeping Bella from Jacob Black is not in her best intrests.

arichan99
I don't think he is abusive, he never tries to hurt her, and if he really wanted her to remain depedant on him for all eternity, he would have let her become a vampire when he had the chance, but he kept her from becoming a vampire in order to save her from the painful transformation and a life as a vampire.

Except that if she were a vampire, she wouldn't need him to save her from all the trouble she gets into. She'd be able to take care of herself.

arichan99
Seeing as Bella is obsessed with Edward, if he had wanted to hurt her or suck her blood, she probably would have willing let him, yet he never hurts her. He does make decisions for her sometimes, but these are decisions over life and death situations, so if he does not respect her decisions but saves her life in doing so, it is not a bad thing.

If James was charging and Edward threw her into the car, yes, he would be justified. But she was not in immediate danger from James when Edward threw her into the back seat of that car. She would not have died if Edward had taken a monent to see if she had a plan (which she did) that would allow her to be safe without putting Charlie in danger. He assumes that it is his job to make these decisions for her. If Emmet and Alice hadn't convinced him to slow down and listen, Charlie could have died and Bella wouldn't have been any safer.

arichan99
It is slightly creepy that he watches her as she sleeps, but as I already stated, their relationship is not really a lust-filled one.

Even if he's not lusting (and you can lust without acting on it) it's still creepy and completely off-base.

arichan99
If there are faults in the Edward-Bella relationship, they are in Bella and not Edward. She is dangerously and unrealistically obseessed with him. Edward plays the role of a protective boyfriend, not necessarily a bad thing for girls to want. But it is more dangerous to want to be like Bella who isn't independant at all. all the "control tactics" that you list might work sometimes, but anyone who is emotionally stable should be able to resist them, and I honestly don't think Edward was using them purposely. He never used violence against her, so he should not have had the upper hand in their relationship at all, saying that women are unable to fight against emotional control mechanisms is kinda sexist isn't it? So if there is any flaw it is that Bella is too obsessed to resist Edward.

And this obsession is described as "true love." He feeds on it, even if he's not actually draining her blood. He treats her like a pet, with no identity apart fom himself.

You cannot blame the victim. I know emotionally stable people who fall victim to the same tactics. Environment is a huge influence, and in certain situations anyone can be taken advantage of. Bella was in a situation where she was vulnerable - moving to a new town, didn't know anyone, a little depressed. Women are able to fight against emotional control. But it makes a world of a difference when they are aware of it.

Actually, guys can be victims of abuse as well, and they might even have a harder time of it because society is less sympathetic to an abused boyfriend than an abused girlfriend. But it's Edward who's being abusive here, so that's what I'm dealing with.

arichan99
But then again this is just fantasy, anyone reading this book should be level-headed enough to know that if vampires are unrealistic, so is Edward and Bella's relationship.

Yes, it is unrealistic. But the unhealthy and unrealisistic parts of their relationship aren't dependent on his vampirism. They are in his actions in basic situations - a male friend, disagreements about prom, issues with father - that are common among dating couples. Darth Vader isn't very 'realistic.' That doesn't mean it's OK when he kills people.

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