Curse of Strictly could, this time, be a blessing
IDON’T watch Strictly Come Dancing — I’m more a Dancing with the Stars kinda girl. But even I am aware of the ‘Curse of Strictly’ — the allegedly high proportion of celebrities who go on the show and end up in some kind of tryst with their dance partners — which can lead to the ruination of relationships and reputations. I’m presuming the shared intensity of the experience, the physical closeness and the massive amount of time they spend together creates a particular, if transient, bond.
And this series has already had it’s victims/villains as comedian, contestant Seann Walsh was photographed during the week snogging his dance partner Katya Jones, whose husband also works on the show. So what? you might think, and I agree. The ever-changing love lives of celebrities I’ve never heard of isn’t that interesting. However, the response from Seann’s girlfriend, actor Rebecca Humphries, I believe is more thought provoking.
It’s fair to say, I think, that it must have been humiliating for her to see photos of her boyfriend kissing someone else on her birthday while she sat at home. And she hit back on Twitter; saying his apology to the media was incredibly good considering he hadn’t bothered to apologise to her, and describing how he told her he was going for one innocent drink with Katya which Rebecca was clearly unhappy about. She said: “We spoke and I told him, not for the first time, that his actions over the past three weeks had led me to believe something inappropriate was going on. He aggressively, and repeatedly, called me a psycho/nuts/mental as he has done countless times throughout our relationship when I’ve questioned his inappropriate, hurtful behaviour.”
And I think lots of women and indeed men will recognise this behaviour from their own relationships. This is called gaslighting — which means to manipulate someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. Rebecca was clearly correct in her suspicions that something was going on between Sean and his dance partner. The photos from only hours later show that. But his response rather than to admit it and say “I’m sorry, it’s over between us” or even to plain lie and say “No, it’s just work” was to double down and accuse her instead of being “a psycho”, “nuts”, “mental”. He not only lied about his cheating behaviour, he twisted it round into being all in her head so she was now the problem, not him. This is classic emotional abuse, which is sadly quite common. It’s actually your partner making a lie out of everything you know to be true. And it makes you doubt yourself and your own ability to judge. It makes you ask yourself if you can actually trust your own interpretation of a situation even though you know in your heart you’re right about it. And it’s an attempt to replace your correct read of their mistreatment of you — with the lie that they’re spinning — that you’re mentally unstable. You’re in the right but they are twisting it so it looks like you’re in the wrong and, worse, you’re a mess.
When it happens enough the person on the receiving end does start to
‘Being manipulated in this way shouldn’t happen in a healthy relationship’
question their own judgment; starts to wonder if they are misreading the situation; is their partner right and are they are unstable? And so they stop questioning their partner and start questioning themselves.
Rebecca Humphries went on to say: “Believe in yourself and your instincts. It’s more than lying. It’s controlling.” And she’s right. Lying would be saying “I’m working late”. Admitting you’re going for a drink but insisting it’s innocent and she’s a psycho to think otherwise is saying I have nothing to hide here; I’m above reproach and you are a sad cow. It’s one of the ways that controlling and emotionally abusive partners little by little erode their victim’s confidence and even their actual memories of events.
This abuse is all too common and it’s corrosive. Being manipulated in this way is something that shouldn’t happen in a healthy relationship. If it’s happening in yours you need to ask yourself why you are tolerating it? We should all believe in our instincts and our own judgment. If it feels like you’re being mistreated you probably are. It looks to me like the Curse of Strictly may have done Rebecca Humphries a great favour.
@ciarakellydoc Ciara presents ‘Lunchtime Live’ on Newstalk, weekdays from 12-2
Comedian Seann Walsh was snapped kissing his ‘Strictly’ dance partner Katya Jones (both above)