#HurtBae Is Devastating but Let’s Call It What It Is…

The #HurtBae video from The Scene has been blowing up all over the internet and for good reason. The video shows the devastating conversation between two exes (Kourtney and Leonard) as they discuss the infidelity that led to the end of their relationship.

What it also shows is a woman who has been emotionally abused.

No, I’m not being dramatic.

There has been a lot of focus on “gaslighting” recently. For those that don’t know, gaslighting is an abusive tactic by which one person makes another question their own version of reality. It’s when you’re mad at your significant other (for a legitimate reason), and instead of acknowledging it and genuinely apologizing, they act as if they’re the one with a reason to be mad. All of the sudden you’re apologizing, asking for their forgiveness, and wondering how you got there—hoping that they’re not going to end it.

That’s what Leonard is doing in this video and that’s what it sounded like he was doing throughout their relationship.

Look, I could almost forgive Leonard’s stone-faced demeanor—men, after all, are taught to keep their feelings bottled up—but it’s the cold delivery that is chilling. And, it’s why people are connecting to it. We’ve all been Kourtney. We’ve all sat there, crying to someone who could never do the same, as they turned their wrong doing on us.

Who among us didn’t feel a sinking feeling in our guts when he asked her why she didn’t leave him—as if it was her fault she he hurt her—and she said she was stupid. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought that her “I was stupid” sounded a whole lot like “because I was in love with you,” right?

When he asks her why she forgave him… When he “apologizes” for hurting her, following it up with a condescending well-wish about “watching her grow”… He gives her just enough, then takes it away. Any time her face lights up, he asks her something that he knows will make it worse.

The hardest part of it all is that she seems to want him back. And I don’t mean that to be disparaging, becuase I think that’s what everyone watching connects to most of all. It’s almost impossible to see how much more you deserve when you’re in something bad because all you can think about is how much you want to hold on to that person at all costs.


So, yes, #HurtBae is a particularly devastating, but ultimately probably short-lived meme. That doesn’t mean we can’t take something important away from it—and call it what it is: a textbook example of an emotionally abusive relationship and an illustration of just how much damage an experience like that can do.


That said, I’ll leave you with this: