Now that Teen Mom 2 fans have seen David Eason's verbal abuse at Jenelle Evans, it's even harder to understand why they're together.
He cost her her job. He brutally murdered her dog.
She's separated from her kids because the court (very correctly) feels that a house occupied by a violent maniac isn't a healthy environment for children.
Why in the world is Jenelle choosing a hateful oaf over her own children? What kind of mother would do that?
But some feel that Jenelle may be just another of David's victims -- and doesn't feel free to "choose" anything.
Has he really brainwashed her to the point where she can't even protect her own kids?
The arguments are, we have to say, pretty compelling.
How should we feel about Jenelle Evans?
Right now, she appears to be choosing a violent maniac over her own children. Friends and fans alike are horrified by her unthinkable, misplaced loyalty.
David Eason is bad news
Like so many of the men from Jenelle's past, David has a criminal history -- in fact, he spent time behind bars for allegedly violating a protective order against a woman who accused him of abuse.
A few weeks ago, things got worse
David Eason accused Jenelle's small dog, Nugget, of being a "danger" to his daughter after Nugget nipped at her. He took Nugget outside, brutally attacked, and then shot the poor dog. The horror of that has kept some of us awake at night.
At first, Jenelle's response was appropriate
She kept him at a distance, she is reportedly the one who dialed 911 to report what he had done.
She even wrote a mournful post
Jenelle was heartbroken, as anyone who isn't a complete monster like David would be, by the abrupt and grisly murder of her dog. Fans hoped that the one silver lining of this nightmare would be that Jenelle would leave David and keep her children, her remaining animals, and herself safe from him.
But then, she changed her tune
Suddenly, Jenelle was back with David. Columbus County's sheriff was upfront about identifying David as being "the most dangerous man in three counties," but admitted that his hands were tied unless Jenelle would cooperate.
There was a small bit of good news
At first, it was just Jace and Kaiser who got to escape David's reign of terror on The Land. Then, later in May, CPS was able to remove the rest of the children from a household that had proven to be violent and dangerous.
But Jenelle didn't budge
Instead of banishing the oafish, gun-toting, dog-killing, bigoted ogre who has been mooching off of her reality career for years, Jenelle appeared to choose to side with her husband.
Yes, she wants her kids back, BUT ...
She wants her chidlren back AND to remain married to David, which seems to indicate that she not only doesn't care about what he might do to her, but is happy to put her kids in harm's way in order to stick with David.
Is she just a bad mom?
Obviously, this question had come up for good reason many times before David had ever darkened her doorstep. But until David came along, she'd always seemed to at least care to some degree about the lives and safety of her kids. Now, it looks to fans like the kids are just an afterthought beside David.
Maybe it's more complicated than that
As a concerned reader has argued, Jenelle may not be "choosing" much of anything these days.
Is Jenelle just another of David's victims?
We've seen video evidence of David being emotionally and verbally abusive towards Jenelle. While we know that he is capable of much worse,
This kind of abuse takes time to work
It's not just using violence to instill fear and obedience, it's wearing someone down, making them blame themselves. Abusers use words and behavior to control their victims, making them emotionally dependent upon them.
Some of the signs are there
The lengths to which she goes to aggressively defend David against the indefensible, whether it's his bigoted statements or alleged violence against her children? That is a classic sign of someone under the thumb of a manipulative abuser.
She goes to bat for him again and again
Remember last year, when Jenelle called 911 and told them that he'd slammed her to the ground and maybe injured her collarbone? The audio from that call barely had time to make the rounds before Jenelle was assuring everyone that it was just a huge misunderstanding, and that it was really all HER fault.
It would explain a lot, actually
Usually, a mother who actively chooses other priorities over her children is taking actions that she sees as being in her best interest. A parent might do anything from neglect to murder to give themselves more free time, or to pursue a new job opportunity. But none of Jenelle's terrible choices lately have helped her
David has been toxic for her in every way
Jenelle almost lost her job over David's bigoted, violent rants last year. And MTV was deeply frustrated by having to film AROUND the increasingly deranged-looking man as Jenelle's reality career continued. Now, she's lost her job and her kids and, oh by the way, her dog, all for a man who has been caught on film treating her like garbage.
And David may be using a secret weapon on her
One of the biggest weapons in any abuser's arsenal is an apology. Everyone is taught, growing up, that accepting apologies and offering forgiveness is not only polite, but morally the right thing to do.
Abusers do this all of the time
Every time that David does something terrible, he can offer her a heartfelt apology, maybe even some tears, and of course the promise to be better. As a concerned reader pointed out when discussing Jenelle, "trauma bonding is worse than drugs" when it comes to keeping victims hooked on manipulators.
There's something else to consider
David Eason has made it incredibly clear that he's both thoroughly armed and capable of unthinkable violence against those he has showered with affection. Is Jenelle afraid that trying to leave him will be signing a death warrant -- for herself AND for her kids?
So maybe she's just another victim
Leaving David, even if she can do so without jeopardizing her safety, and even if she can guarantee that he won't so much as see ANY of the kids again, wouldn't be simple.
Emotional abuse can form its own sort of dependency
Which means that Jenelle would effectively have to "detox" from David.
What would a new, free Jenelle even be like?
It's hard to imagine. Just as we're sure that Jenelle has a hard time imagining what a non-toxic, non-abusive relationship is like. Does she even realize that most couples do not resemble her experiences? Or does she think that couples on TV shows are just a polite lie that society tells itself? It would be amazing to see Jenelle in a healthy situation, maybe for the first time in her life.
But ... let's not get ahead of ourselves
There are some strongly compelling arguments that Jenelle is just another of David's victims, but that doesn't mean that she's entirely off the hook.
She is an adult woman
More importantly, she is a mother. She is obligated to protect her children, and in that regard she has been failing for a long time.
She did not CHOOSE to be abused, of course
No one chooses that. She did not in any way ask to become a victim of David Eason.
Maybe this isn't an either/or situation
David isn't the only bad parent in the house, though he is certainly the worst.
Maybe she's a bad mom AND a victim
All abuse survivors and current victims of abuse have our greatest sympathies for the horrors that they endure, but that doesn't mean that Jenelle hasn't made, of her own volition, some bad choice for her children. We hope that she can find it within herself to step away from this horror show before David's next brutal act.
Maybe there's hope
There is a slim chance that this family court situation could be Jenelle's opportunity to have a moment of clarity and realize that she needs to escape. Even better if he somehow ends up back behind bars and she can "detox." That wouldn't fix everything, but it would be a start
Even without that, there's a way out
Multiple resources exist online to help people get out of harrowing situations like Jenelle's. One can access the National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/ or call at 1-800-799-7233.