Can Working with an Abusive Ex Be Empowering?

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In our society, there seems to be an unwritten rule that when a breakup occurs, it’s in your best interest not to be friends or associate with your ex. This notion is stressed even more when the breakup is a result of abuse.

It’s easy to understand why you wouldn’t want to be around the person who abused you, so when news hit that Denise Richards was “excited” to be part of Charlie Sheen’s new show, Anger Management, an inevitable question mark formed and cemented itself in our brains.

Although Richards claims that Sheen never hit her or abused her physically, the mental abuse from his “temper” and “sharp tongue” combined with his violent threats were enough for her to file for divorce. So why would she want, let alone be excited, to work with him? Denise is not the only female celebrity making news by working with an abusive ex.

Rihanna, who was physically beaten by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown three years ago, has collaborated with him on two singles this year and claims to still be on good terms with him.

Are these women completely mental? It’s easy to think that, but what if there’s another possibility?

In a way, it’s extremely empowering to look at someone who has wronged you and show them that you’ve moved on, that you’ve overcome the setback, and that you just don’t give a crap anymore. Maybe working with Charlie is Denise’s way of saying, “You can’t bring me down any longer.”

The struggle between feeling like you’re letting your ex off the hook by acting like everything is okay and feeling like you’re showing him you’re the bigger person must be tough. But perhaps these women are on to something. Maybe being able to look the person who hurt you in the eye and still stand tall is the protective bandage that inevitably helps heal. Maybe facing a painful past straight on is the best way to overcome it. Maybe Denise and Rihanna aren’t acting like everything is okay, maybe they are okay.

What do you think? Is working side-by-side the person who abused you a cathartic form of empowerment? Or is it simply a way to get jerked back into a tumultuous past with someone who’s hurt you? 


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