Why You Don't Really Want To Be Like Harley Quinn and The Joker
With all that was right and wrong with the recently released Suicide Squad, it's got me thinking about why other people like the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker. Almost immediately after I watched it, I started seeing friends and family post the familiar memes.
I can understand why guys might want their own Harley Quinn. That sort of god-worshipping loyalty would be a heady fantasy. A sexy toy that they can toss aside when they're done, and pick back up anytime they're bored or feeling needy. Ladies, though...everything they see in the J man is everything they should avoid...should run from. I have compiled a list of reasons you shouldn't romanticize the Harley and Joker duo.
The relationship is abusive. It's not a BDSM give and take...it is straight up abuse. Harley is suppressed, domineered, and constantly physically assaulted.
The Joker is more interested in Batman. He puts his nemesis before all else, including Harley Quinn. Any time his mind is on "the bat", her advances and attempts to console him are slapped aside--quite literally, most times. And the more he ignores her, the harder she tries to get the attention she craves....after all, we want most what we cannot have.
He knows she's crazy about him, and uses that to his every advantage. Abusers know how to push buttons...not just the ones that get you all riled up, but also the ones that flip on delusions of romance, love, and adoration.
He also controls her with guilt. This is a very common tool that abusers use to exploit their victims. If someone feels like everything that goes wrong is their fault, they will tend do whatever they can to make up for it and they will feel powerless and hopeless.
Even when she does something right, it's wrong.
Despite her seeming strength, Harley's mental and emotional state is wholly dependant on The Joker. Harley knows their relationship is toxic, but all it takes is the slightest acknowledgement or display of affection from The Joker to completely obliterate any thoughts of ending the relationship. This sort of covert emotional manipulation is why she stays with him, despite his abuses.
She is just as disposable as any of his henchmen, she just happens to be his favourite toy in the toybox. He keeps her around because she feeds his ego.
Harley believes the only person who can love her is someone as messed up as her, but The Joker is incapable of love.
When she's away from him for any length of time, she regains her sense of self and regains perspective. But because they do have such a toxic relationship, it doesn't take much effort for The Joker to regain control over Harley. So it goes with addiction. Complacency with what's familiar (no matter how bad it is) can be as anchoring as fear.
So, ask yourself...is that really what you want in a relationship?
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First of all...yes, when you state that leaving someone is cowardice, on a card and in a thread that is specifically about abusive toxic relationships, you are indeed shaming and stigmatizing any person who reads this and either has left a toxic relationship or is considering doing so. And you are perpetuating the shame and stigma that is already a heavy weight on victims of domestic abuse. You saying "just because I said..." doesn't diminish the impact of your statement. Love is unconditional, I agree. Everything else was on the track of just relationships...a stance I agree with. In a normal relationship, people are together because they love each other and want to be together. In a normal relationship, it's worth it to endure the ups and downs along the way. In a normal relationship, things happen, people die, the living mourn and go on living. Sometimes, people can't handle their hand and decide to end it themselves (my mention of suicide was not a comment on autonomy, but I'll get to what I meant since its meaning was too obscure for you). In a normal relationship, you can choose unconditional commitment and make it work. The whole reason your commentary makes me livid is that I work with survivors of abuse and toxic relationships, and this is exactly the type of mindset that works against them in society. And this mindset is absolutely poisonous to their ability to overcomes the shame and stigma even within themselves. In a toxic relationship, people are together because they are dependent on one another. Love in the abuser has either never existed, or has long since turned into a narcissistic need to control and manipulate. The partner may still feel like they love the abuser, but this is the mind's way of protecting them, or attempting to protect them from harm. There is a cycle of isolation (early in the relationship, sometimes later too if friendships develop; so the victims are forced to only think about the abuser and to cut them off from their support network), affection/detachment/affection/detachment (so the victims' self-worth becomes dependent on the abuser; another early relationship part of the cycle that may or may not reoccur and is an earmark of the narcissistic abuser), calm and attentiveness (that lulls victims into a false sense of security), building tension (making victims insecure and defensive; walking on eggshells), the incident (the explosion of all of that built up tension), and reconciliation leading to calm again. This repeating cycle causes the victim to actually live in a constant state of fight-flight-or-freeze, keeping them constantly on edge. Dependency on the abuser means that they constantly question everything they do...not in a healthy self-examination way, but in a self-depreciating and neurotic way. Toxic relationship doesn't just mean "bad relationship, it means "dangerous relationship". The longer a toxic relationship lasts, the higher the chances it will end tragically (death, with which you ironically speak of with such apathy). The incident part of the cycle has a tendency to escalate over time, and the abuser may become so violent that they kill the victim, if the cycle didn't become so unbearable that the victim killed themselves first. The point I was making that you so insensitively brushed aside is that more and more people are realizing that there is support to help them leave toxic relationships before that happens. Leaving is better than unnecessary death. (You say they can arm themselves, protect themselves...you know nothing, Jon Snow. You cannot meet violence with violence, without further escalation.) Again, I want to point out that toxic relationships are LOVELESS. There is only an illusion of love. Like with Harley Quinn, if the victim of a toxic relationship leaves or takes a break for any length of time, they start to regain their sense of self-worth and recognize that a) the relationship was dangerous and b) that they don't love the abuser, they were dependent on them. But, as I said in the card, the cycle of abuse works much like an addiction, and a survivor of an abusive relationship can easily relapse. That is why the support network is so vital, after leaving an abusive relationship. And why it is important to not add to the stigma of leaving. If you choose to stay in such a relationship, that's your choice. But don't add to the systemic shaming that paralyzes victims of abuse.
a year ago·Reply
@nicocoup he really is a fascinating character
a year ago·Reply
i agree. i feel some people might say they want that because it's popular right now. others might because some people all they know is that, pain and thinking that being with one person in a crazy relationship is better than separation is crazy to me. coming from a person that was in a crazy relationship once, is better to leave.. the person just for you is out there while you wait for the other person to change. also people saying that that type of relationshup relationship is better than separation might not know that there are actually people in healthy relationships and not changing from one to the other.
a year ago·Reply
Did my comment get deleted? Because it did take time typing it.
a year ago·Reply
I'm glad you brought this up. it's so pathetic and sad to me seeing guys and girls saying they wish they had relationships like that. and it isn't always the girls who act like Harley. same as it isn't always the males that act like Joker. I recently helped my guy friend cope with breaking up with his ex girlfriend who was horrible to him. but he stayed because he thought he could change her. it's depressing...
a year ago·Reply
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