Skip to Content

It’s been nearly one year since Joy-Anna Duggar married Austin Forsyth, but fans are just now getting a glimpse at the couple’s relationship dynamic thanks to the most recent season of Counting On.

And many viewers don’t like what they’re seeing.

Joy and Austin Forsyth
Photo via TLC

As In Touch Weekly points out, fans on Reddit’s Duggar-related message boards believe that Austin has demonstrated signs of abusive and controlling behavior in his interactions with Joy.

"I think Austin is a creep. I really think he is at the very least emotionally abusive," writes one viewer.

"He seems super controlling and Joy just looks to him for answers to everything.

"She is so used to obeying her parents without question, and being so young and brainwashed makes her so vulnerable to domestic abuse."

The same fan goes on to accuse Austin of taking advantage of Joy’s indecisive nature.

Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth on Counting On
Photo via TLC

"She was so indecisive with wedding details and seems like a really naive little girl. Austin just gives off dark vibes to me on the YouTube clips — thoughts?"

Another fan agreed with the assessment, pointing out that the Duggar women are especially vulnerable to abuse due to the fact that they’re taught from a young age to be fully subservient to the men in their lives.

"He’s 100% in the right place to be at least emotionally abusive since Joy does not have a mind of her own and always looks to him whenever they are asked a question.

"Plus she’s only 20 and a lot less knowledgeable (and she acts it too) than he is."

Another adds, "I can see him being abusive to his Gideon and the rest of his future kids for sure because of the Pearl tips."

Joy-Anna, Austin and Gideon
Photo via TLC

The last comment refers to the controversial child-rearing methods espoused by Debi and Michael Pearl.

The Pearls advocate "blanket training" and other disciplinary techniques that involve using objects to strike children as young as 6 months old.

Austin’s family recently hosted a seminar by the Pearls, and Joy and Austin are on record as supporting their controversial views.

However, some fans think this is simply a case in which Austin is being condemned as a result of his personality, not his actions.

Duggar children are taught to keep smiles on their faces at all times, and thus, when someone with a slightly less giddy demeanor arrives on the scene, they might seem disgruntled by contrast.

Joy-Anna, Austin Forsyth
Photo via Instagram

"I think he’s a very serious and cold person, which can give off the wrong impression initially," remarks one Reddit user.

"I personally don’t believe he would ever hit Joy (although he does believe in the Pearl training method, which is a type of physical abuse), but I definitely can see him belittling/talking down to her if he gets annoyed or she does something he doesn’t like."

Another echoed that sentiment, suggesting that Austin may simply not be as comfortable on camera as his in-laws:

"No I don’t, I think he’s just very guarded as he hasn’t been around the cameras for anywhere near as long as the Duggars so isn’t comfortable and hasn’t let his guard down yet," the user wrote.

Yes, Austin certainly behaves very differently than the Duggars – but the jury’s still out on whether that’s a breath of fresh air or cause for concern.

Watch Counting On online to decide for yourself.