Teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson's character Edward has succeeded in capturing the fancy of women across the globe. But before you get swept off your feet by the ageless vampire, FYI suggests you think with your head and not your heart. Read on to find out why
Can a vampire be a knight in shining armour as well? While Twihards are likely to scream yes, a closer examination of the characters might in fact reveal a template for abusive relationships.
"Edward and Bella's relationship leans towards dependency, primarily on Bella's part as she permits him to dominate her," says clinical psychologist Varkha Chulani.
She adds that people who are emotionally abused allow people to abuse them because of their own feelings of inadequacy.
"This need for love and the belief that without love they are incomplete gives the abuser power," elaborates Varkha.
"One of the most common mistakes that young couples make is to hide their relationship from family and loved ones," she says.
Varkha elaborates that it is important to gauge how a partner behaves in different situations.
"How he/she interacts with authority figures, elders, siblings and people belonging to the lower rung of the economic strata is important. It is also important to see how they handle the pressures of day-to-day living," says Varkha.
"Young lovers generally get their ideas about love from books, media and movies, and these notions are often far from reality."
Generally, women like Bella who are emotionally dependent invite abuse. They are caught up in a circle of bad relationships, because they have low self-esteem, and this generally goes back to their childhood days. The only way to break away from the pattern of abusive relationships is to seek help from a trained specialist, who can help determine where your insecurities and low self-esteem stem from.
Twilight is a teenage romantic novel by author Stephenie Meyer. It traces the life of Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, while her mother, Renee, travels with her new husband. Her life changes when she falls in love with Edward Cullen, a 108-year-old vampire.
Stand up for yourself: Abusers bank on their victims' silence. Let him/ her know that you will no longer tolerate being disrespected.
Give them an ultimatum: If the abuser does not take you seriously, give them a deadline, failing which you will end the relationship.
Speak up: Open up about your relationship with a trusted family member, friend or professional counsellor so that the abuse no longer feels like your cross to bear.
Make a plan: Share a sign or code word with someone you trust to signal when you need help.
Seek professional help: Contact your local battered women's shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. Call a domestic violence hotline periodically to assess your options and get a supportive understanding ear.
Here's a list of some of the guidelines issued by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US that indicate being in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, along with instances and quotes from the book that could substantiate the premise that Edward is abusive towards Bella:
Embarrass you with put-downs?
"Are you referring to the fact that you can't walk across a flat, stable surface without finding something to trip over?"
Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
Edward is known to stalk Bella and even watch her sleep.
Control what you do, whom you see or talk to or where you go?
I wasn't about to send you off alone. With your luck, not even the black box would survive.
Stops you from seeing your friends or family members?
In Breaking Dawn, when Bella is expecting a child, and when she is in the process of becoming a vampire, Edward forbids her from meeting her father or confiding in anyone.
Make all the decisions?
"You aren't exactly the best judge of what is or isn't dangerous."
Prevent you from working or attending school?
When the tracker James is in pursuit of Bella, Edward forces her to flee from home and bribes Alice to monitor her, which entails virtually imprisoning her in his absence.
Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
Edward disables Bella's truck to keep her from meeting Jacob.
Threaten to commit suicide?
"Well, I wasn't going to live without you... I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi... Anyway, you don't irritate the Volturi. Not unless you want to die or whatever it is we do."
Fan-Speak: That's the way love goes?
Edward stops Bella from meeting her best friend Jacob not because he wants to dictate terms, but because he wants to protect her from potential danger. He is not an abuser. He genuinely cares for Bella's safety and sometimes even though it may come across as being forceful he has her best interests at heart.
Aanchal Sood, PR executive
Edward is totally not an abusive person, especially towards Bella! He loves her and every decision he makes for her is driven by that basic emotion. Bella has been persuading Edward to turn her into a vampire and he will delay the decision as long as possible because it's her soul that will be lost in the bargain! Wish, we had more such heroic characters in our workplaces or colleges!