National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Teen Mom Features The Hotline

A recent episode of Teen Mom showed a family experiencing domestic violence. Teen parents Catelynn and Tyler have a unique situation. Catelynn’s mom April and Tyler’s dad Butch got married after Catelynn and Tyler started dating in middle school. Butch has been physically and emotionally abusive to April prior to this incident.

In the episode, April called Tyler to alert him to an incident that involved Butch assaulting her after suspecting that she was talking  to another man. Butch was arrested, and April told Tyler that she was unsure of their future together. Tyler and Catelynn were immediately concerned and rushed over to April to find out what happened.

Photo from mtv.com, Tyler at Catelynn from a previous episode

As the episode progressed, it became clear that the evening was incredibly violent, leaving April with bruises and pain. Butch had violated a “no contact” order in coming over to April’s home.

Despite the horrible details of the assault, April didn’t place all of the blame on Butch. She was quick to mention that Butch wasn’t himself because of drugs and alcohol. She told Tyler, “I really can’t say that I’m gonna leave him or anything like that because I really don’t know. He wasn’t there, dude, it wasn’t your dad.”

She also maintained hope that he will change, saying, “I honestly think if he’ll do his time, the drinking and the drugging is going to stop.”

Sadly, at The Hotline, we know that experiences like April’s are all too common. It’s not unusual for abusive partners to be extremely jealous, and accuse their partners of cheating, even when that is so far from the truth. We know that children and teens are dealing with the aftermath of abuse every day in their homes, just like Tyler and Catelynn.

April had a hard time deciding what to do in her relationship. An issue that complicated April’s decision-making process is Butch’s substance abuse. Again, this is an issue that is all too common in abusive relationships, and it makes it challenging to understand why someone becomes violent.

A common misconception is that using alcohol and drugs can make someone ‘lose control’ and hurt those around them. Even if Butch was able to get clean and sober, it’s likely that he would still be controlling and abusive. Alcohol and drug use can make abusive situations worse, but it doesn’t cause a non-abusive, non-controlling person to become violent.

Just as April said, it’s very likely that when Butch attacked her, he looked like a different person than the person she fell in love with. But, despite his drug use, Butch was still responsible for how he hurt April. Naturally, April wants to see Butch get the help that he needs so that she can be in a healthy, safe relationship with him, but he would need to accept responsibility for his substance abuse and his controlling and abusive behavior and be committed to getting help for both in order to change. Getting help for substance abuse and domestic violence would require a lot of personal accountability and determination.

When an abusive partner is using drugs or alcohol, there is an increased risk of severe physical violence. It’s really important to be aware of how the substance use affects their behavior. Do they become more aggressive or violent when they’re using or when they’re in withdrawal? This can help survivors know the risks of a situation and take steps to become safer in the moment.

If you have some concerns about similar issues happening in your relationship, you can always call The Hotline to talk. An advocate at The Hotline can help you think about what’s going on in your relationship, what the risks are to your safety and your children’s safety, and what you can do to stay safe.

7 replies
  1. Sylvia says:

    I was a victim of Domestic Violence for about a year. Was scared to leave since I did not know how badly it would get if I were to leave. When I finally got a way it was like a cloud was lifted. Still to this day I can not talk about many things that happened and only a few people really know. I have been away for five years and now I am married to a wonderful man. Although I am married to him I still sometimes have nightmares of things that happened! Domestic Violence is a hard thing to deal with.

    • HotlineAdmin_SS says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      Domestic Violence can be a very difficult thing to deal with. Healing can take time and what you are experiencing is normal. If you ever want to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support you are welcome to. The Hotline is available 24/7, so even if it’s in the middle of the night you can always call and talk to someone.

      I am glad to read that you are now married to a wonderful man!

      Thanks for posting in our blog community,
      HotlineAdvocate_SS

  2. deb says:

    Both of these comments give me hope. As much as I try to envision myself in a happy and healthy relationship in the future, it’s difficult. Putting all barriers in place such as changing my phone number while he was in jail to only have him pay online to get it, which I did not know you could do. The insanity continues until I guess he will someday get tired of the chase. That is my hope because I have moved on realizing that this time was different. There were two choices…get out then deal with the pain or stay in pain and live an empty life with the potential that he could potentially end my life. I am not out of the woods as the trial is in 2 months however for now I have peace and no longer wish for the fairy tale with this man. That story has ended. So thank you for giving me hope for the future.

  3. Ingrid says:

    I was in an abusive relationship 10 years ago with an alcoholic. I did and still blame the alcohol for what he did to me. I just hate the fact that I still make excuses for him even after all this time. Since the abuse was more emotional, mental, and sexual I also tend to think it wasn’t “real” abuse but I have finally come to terms with the fact that it WAS abuse. Moving forward was a slower process than I thought it would be. However , I was able to make steps and I did marry a wonderful man two years ago. I just wanted to tell everyone there is a future beyond the abuse and to have hope.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Ingrid,

      Thank you for sharing your survivor story with our blog community. You are right that alcoholism is not the reason for abuse; it can definitely make matters worse, but there are many alcoholics out there who would never hurt their partners. Domestic violence is a spectrum that includes verbal, emotional, controlling, and physical abuse.

      It sounds like your healing process needed to occur in its own time. I am very happy to hear that you are married (to a wonderful man) and in a healthier environment. I know our readers really appreciate hearing an encouraging and honest voice, so thank you again for telling your story on our blog.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

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