'Red Table Talk' Reminds Us That Self-Love Is The Cure To Domestic Abuse

Jada Pinkett Smith

Last week, domestic violence was a hot topic among celebs like singer Justine Skye on The Breakfast Club, Robin Givens on Wendy, and Jada Pinkett-Smith and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones on the latest episode of Red Table Talk. Domestic violence, both physical and emotional, is an experience that few will be able to fully empathize with until they find themselves in similar situations. In the episode, after her mother gave her own account of abuse, Jada admitted:

"I can only imagine what it is like to love somebody fiercely and then have them punch you and have them hit you. I haven't experienced it but, just me.. I can feel you."

Victims of such abuse are often written off as irresponsible, weak, or stupid. Justine, Robin, and Adrienne 's experiences prove that domestic violence takes place in the lives of women who are smart, beautiful, full of potential, and often have a support system begging them to get themselves out of harm's way.

Being on the receiving end of domestic abuse is often a pattern passed down from mother to daughter. Most of the perpetrators of such abuse are not complete monsters, they are sometimes charming with redeemable qualities and have a painful origin story full of violence and abuse themselves. Adrienne offered her response to the age-old question asked to victims of domestic violence: Why did you/do you stay?

"I think women stay because they think that they're in love. That's what it was for me. I thought that it was love. But I also think that women are afraid, and for whatever reason, they feel like they can't make it on their own without the person, not having any place to go. It's scary, and you just don't think that you can do better."

Not until you find yourself crying for the man you love to stop hitting you or to let go of you will you fully understand that most women stay because they believe that his violence is an illness that their love and sacrifice can heal. Often, these violent outbursts are tolerated with the pretense that things will go back to happier times if only the victim can manage not to make the abuser angry again, having women take the responsibility of an issue that was a lifetime in the making. Even in this day and age, possessiveness, jealousy, and controlling behaviors are still being regarded as ways that a man shows his love and devotion. Adrienne explained:

"I was young, but I don't know where I got the concept in my head that to hit you was a sign of love, so if he is hitting you, that means he loves you because if he didn't love you he wouldn't bother. So that means he loves you."

The longer that women stay in these volatile situations, their self-value diminishes, then the abuse is normalized. In those times, though the decision to leave is solely the victim's to make, the support of their loved ones count the most. These types of relationships are very isolating and the more victims think that they have nowhere else to turn, the less likely they are to escape.

Recently, singer Justine Skye recounted her experience of an abusive relationship with an unnamed entertainer, and the challenges that she faced in leaving:

"There is a difference between really loving someone and caring about them and just being controlling, and I wasn't able to tell the difference. Or I just didn't want to believe it and it got out of hand because I just didn't want to believe this person that claimed that he loved me so much could hurt me...seeing the reaction from a lot of people in my life that I thought that was my friends, because of who it was, they decided to just turn the blind eye and it just really opened my eyes."

Being in a relationship with a person that you love who also causes you harm can be one of the most confusing and shame-inducing situations in your life, but with the right support, it does not have to be.

Your abuser is not some lunatic who grabbed you off the street and started to attack you, he is often your lover, your husband or the father of your children with some very great qualities. With that being said, your life is worth much more than how well you can hide your scars and pretend that all is okay, and each time you take him back, you are putting your life in danger.


You have everything that you need inside of you to survive and thrive in this life because you are whole as an individual. It is not your job to risk your life in order to mend his brokenness, let him heal that on his own.

You will find success stories few and far between of women who were able to change the dynamic of their abusive relationships. There are resources out there for you to help you make the changes necessary in your life, whenever you have decided that you have had enough. Choose to love yourself more than you love him.

If you need to reach out to someone, contact The National Domestic Abuse Hotline 24/7 here. Watch the full Red Table Talk episode below:

Featured via Giphy

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image: Getty Images

The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
Angela Yee Announces New Show Amid The Breakfast Club Departure

On August 10, Angela Yee announced that she is officially leaving Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club after 12 years. The radio show host initially tweeted about her departure last night which sent social media into a tailspin. “The breakfast club as you know it is officially over,” she tweeted.

Keep reading...Show less
Honey & Spice Author Bolu Babalola’s Hopeful Romance
Some may see romantic comedies and dramas as a guilty pleasure. But author Bolu Babalola indulges in the genre with no apology.
Keep reading...Show less
Saweetie Recalls Tough Conversation She Had With Her Parents About Her Childhood: ‘Lots Of Apologies’

Saweetie’s style and relatable personality have made her one of the most popular female rappers out right now. While she has used her social media to help cultivate her brand, she also gives her fans a glimpse at fun moments with her family and friends. From getting glammed up with her mom, who is a former model, to attending NBA games with her father, who female fans have been pining over, Saweetie seems to keep her family around often. However, she recently revealed that wasn’t always the case.

Keep reading...Show less
The Nail Trends To Try Before Hot Girl Summer Is Over

Are you 'Little Miss Never Knows What Design to Get'? It’s okay if you are because this is a safe space. We know that coming up with your next nail design can be as complicated as the Instagram algorithm these days. For me, getting my nails done and conjuring up a design has been a form of self-care and expression. With folks like Marsai Martin creating press-on nails that more than get the job done, the burden isn’t as heavy and there are some nail techs out here redefining what nail design means.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

"I felt like I was not enough. And my mental health is important. So when I started feeling that way, I knew that it was time to shift."

Latest Posts