You may have heard of Shia LaBeouf’s recent altercation with girlfriend Mia Goth. Video footage surfaced depicting the two yelling at each other outside a taxicab in Germany.
It’s not pretty, but fights happen, and they’re usually the couple’s own business, not ours.
But an argument stops being a private matter when it crosses that one line, as it did here when LaBeouf threatened Goth with physical violence.
“I don’t wanna touch you. I don’t wanna be aggressive.”
Some have taken to comments sections to argue that LaBeouf didn’t assault Goth, that he restrained himself, and that criticism of him is unfounded.
But the fact that it even came to the point of verbal threats is not a good sign, and LaBeouf himself seems to recognize this: later in the video he admits that:
“If I’d stayed there, I would have killed her.”
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We don’t know the details of the fight. We don’t know who started it, or who was at fault. None of those specifics change the fact that threatening behavior is beyond the spectrum of a healthy relationship. Sometimes it begins with verbal threats, and escalates. Other times the verbal abuse is no less traumatic.
In the video, LaBeouf can be heard claiming that “this” (whatever Goth did to incite his anger)
“is the s—t that makes a person abusive.”
That’s a troubling line of thinking, and one held by many among us: that abuse is somehow warranted or provoked, that good men and women are driven to it by bad behavior.
But what statements like “you’re making me do this to you” or “I only get angry when you…” actually suggest is an inability to take ownership of one’s actions, one’s darkest impulses. And without ownership, there’s no hope for change.
pls pls pls if I could reach out to just 1 person about this I'd be happy, its easy to be unaware of emotional abuse! pic.twitter.com/9ufnrfaS7l— sam (@KINGKUNE_) July 16, 2015
Other denizens of the Internet have attempted to normalize LaBeouf's behavior, claiming that every one of us have been in his situation before, and said similar things.
Just wow Shia LaBeouf caught on video saying some things everyone has said at least once: http://t.co/Kv4yET2UHc— Glory (@ooGloryoo) July 27, 2015
If this is true, then it's not something that we should be proud of, normalize, or dismiss.
We hope that LaBeouf gets the help he so clearly needs, and that Goth can find the strength to move on.
If you or anyone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, as abuser or abused, check out the National Domestic Violence hotline, or its equivalent in your country of residence.
Read more: Children Carry Invisible Scars From Psychological Abuse