Get Help Now - Call 24/7 888-401-1241 100% Confidential
Who Answers?

Many of us have encountered TAR (Toxic Abusive Relationships), and have had the misfortune of staying in that relationship way past its expiration date.  Worse yet, some of us are still in one. You know who you are. You also know – like we do – that you deserve better.

Face it – all of us who have committed to relationships are dedicated and work hard to keep it alive. Often, it’s more of an issue with staying together regardless of the character of one partner. No one wants the marriage/partnership to fail, especially since our families and friends have been along for the ride since it started. Making it work for the sake of love makes sense – until it doesn’t. It’s also really hard to leave. 

Friends and family are often quick to criticize – even if it’s well-meaning, it can feel like you’re the only one in your corner weathering that storm. As we’ve spoken about before, finding good songs that speak to our loneliness and pain can make a huge positive difference in your emotional well-being.

“Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihana depicts TAR spotlessly. 

In their controversial video, love and violence intertwine seamlessly. One moment, a couple sleeps lovingly in each other’s arms. In the next, they’re violently fighting, tossing bed sheets. The roller coaster ride continues with them kissing passionately, pressed up against the same wall the man has just punched with his fist. All the while, Rihanna croons the chorus which includes the line, “That’s all right because I like the way it hurts.” 

But is it all right?

This video is raising a very important issue – dating violence among young people. While it’s difficult to watch, it reveals a pattern typical of abusive relationships. The video stars actors Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox as a couple involved in a relationship that starts passionately and lovingly but quickly devolves into a violent affair.

This video is especially poignant because of Eminem’s and Rihanna’s personal histories of violence and abuse. Eminem has a long history of writing and singing about violence in relationships. He has also revealed – at great personal cost – the toxicity that destroyed his marriage. Rihanna’s contribution as a featured artist on the song and in the video also made the pain of her relationship with Chris Brown something with which we can all identify.

That history is what will make people look at the video, and see the song and the clip as warning sign.

During the four minutes of “Love the Way You Lie,” Rihanna alternately sneers in the frame and seems to physically diminish before finally crumbling to the ground in front of the burning house that serves as her backdrop throughout. The images may be melodramatic but symbolically, they are accurate. Someone who is victimized in a relationship does become smaller and does lose their power and their strength.

“Love the Way You Lie” follows the relationship between Eminem and his wife, Kim. It’s the story of them getting to know each other, their tumultuous relationship, and ultimately shows how their relationship broke down. Eminem is essentially saying in the song is that he should have walked away a little quicker than he did and not let it get as messy as it did.

The song speaks about many aspects of TAR – lying, deception, love bombing, deflection, hovering, and physical/emotional abuse. Those who have been in TAR can relate to the video and the song can be quite triggering, but at the same time freeing, helping survivors understand that they are not the only ones who suffered. 

We would like to note that Rhianna is currently in a committed relationship and has two children; she is dedicated to being a mother and raising her kids. Eminem has focused on his recovery and has been clean for a long time, committing to rebuilding his relationship with his daughter. He also legally adopted his sister-in-law’s daughter, his ex-wife’s child from another relationship, and he raised his younger half-brother.  

It is reassuring to know that these two artists have emerged from TAR and managed to find a way to come out of the fog and into the light and focus on their recoveries and children.

This is why we have created TAR Network – a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to supporting victims of narcissistic abuse. We encourage those who have had their fair share of experience with TAR to join our weekly TAR Live Meetings on every Monday at 7:00 PM ET and learn how to protect yourself from TAR and overcome the trauma bond and heal from CPTSD. Learn new coping skills to protect yourself and respond healthily.


TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

1 Comment

  1. I like your angle on exploring these topics through music. Music is such a great friend to lean on…there’s a song for everything a person has experienced or will experience. I never thought much about the lyrics to this song, but it’s nostalgic for other reasons. I look forward to reading more of these analysis.

Write A Comment


Who Answers?

Calls to the general helpline will be answered by a paid advertiser of one of our treatment partners.