LAST EDITED ON 11-04-09 AT 07:22 PM (EST)
I never said that relationships have to be perfect to not be abusive. People get angry and impatient with each other all the time and it's not abuse. However, Canaan crossed a line with me and with others who found this scene painful to watch.
Actually, I didn't define emotional abuse below because it is very hard to define, I think. If you google it, you see a variety of definitions and most include things like belittling, blaming, name-calling, withholding help, support, or love, and infliction of psychological or emotional suffering, humiliation, intimidation or powerlessness.
I did say that I thought emotional abuse can occur just once and didn't have to be ongoing. By that, I don't mean your spouse calling you stupid or intimadating you one time; I mean one lengthy, substaintial incident like what happened between Canaan and Mika where he did just about everything included in the definition.
In addition, there was a real lack of respect for her or her feelings. As ridiculous as she looked and was acting, her fear was very, very real. It sounds like some of the commenters here also didn't respect that fact, but tv does depersonalize situations. Canaan was there in person and involved with Mika intimately. He had to have been aware that her fear was real and yet he showed no respect for her feelings. He treated them only as an impediment to what he wanted. I agree that loving people who are having a disagreement can sometimes go too far, but there has to be underlying respect for each other and I didn't see that at all in Canaan's behavior.
Second, it was sustained. It wasn't a momentary outburst, which again is something we all do from time to time. He kept tormenting her for, as I said below, what looked to me for at least 30 minutes. That's conservative. It may have been longer.
Third, it was willful. He had the opportunity to try a different tactic, to self-correct, to apologize, to support instead of tear down, but he didn't. And that is my point about the irony of him forgiving her. From what I saw, he committed a wrong as well, and one that was much more serious and willful than Mika's fear-based idiocy. Yet, he seems too arrogant to understand that is really much worse than what she did.
It was an ugly scene. It was abuse and there is no doubt about it in my mind. Forgiveness is great, but it was completely the wrong person giving the forgiveness here. I just read their bios and learned that they are not married, so maybe Mika will learn from watching or has already figured out the she can do better than Canaan. For her sake, I hope so. Everyone should feel respected by their spouse.
ETA: There is no doubt in my mind that it was abuse but only so far as I can be sure of anything on reality tv. I do recognize that we didn't see the whole scene and it may have been better than what we saw. It may also have been worse.