What does Selena’s new album tell us about abusive relationships

On January 10th, Selena Gomez released her new album ‘Rare’ surprising her audience with soft but powerful vocals mixing pop and R&B-ish sounds. Since then, the 27 year old singer’s third solo album has had a great reception from critics and general listeners, debuting as the No. 1 album at the Billboard 200. 

Aligned with its huge success, ‘Rare’ also brought an important subject to discussion: abusive relationships. Her troubled on and off relationship with Justin Bieber is well-known, but it took some deep emotional lyrics in this album to get fans debating whether there was emotional abuse involved. In a recent interview to NPR, Selena addressed the matter saying “I do feel like I was a victim to certain abuse” and that she had to “find a way to understand it as an adult”.

On the other hand, Bieber’s fans were defending him, claiming that he was not abusive, while Gomez’s fans hit back saying Selena is the only person who could say if it was abusive or not. One way or another, Selena’s most recent album made people reflect about abusive relationships and we took note of everything her lyrics taught us. Check it out:

  1. 1. They are always good and sweet at first

    In abusive relationships, the abuser isn’t physically or mentally aggressive at first, he or she is usually sweet and treats you perfectly until they start showing a different behavior.  On the first single Selena dropped ‘Lose you to love me’, she sings “you promised the world and I feel for it” which makes us understand that her relationship started good and she fell in love with a guy who promised good things to her. She also refers to this in ‘Look at her now’, saying “Shiny ‘til it wasn’t” and ‘feels good ‘til it doesn’t”. 

  2. 2. They make you believe it’s your fault

    The abuser usually manipulates you to believe that the arguments and fights are your fault. In ‘Lose you to love me’, Selena sings “Then you tore me down and now it’s showing (…) Made me think I deserved it” claiming that her abuser persuaded her to believe that she deserved all the struggle she had been through. 

  3. 3. It’s a weight you’ll only know you’re carrying once you get rid off it 

    In Rare’s 12nd track ‘Cut you off’, Selena says she has been carrying extra weight for 1460 days (which is the time she spent in her relationship with Justin Bieber, we must say). This is, of course, a metaphor for all the problems, fights and possible betrayals she had to go through. Also, in the same song, she says “How could I confuse that shit for love?”, making us believe that she didn’t realize what was going on with her until she wasn’t in that relationship anymore. 

  4. 4. Therapy can always help

    Mental health is also an important issue mentioned by Selena in this album. Whether it is about her past relationships or her mental illness, she has spoken about how important therapy is to help you get through difficult situations in life. In her lyrics, this is reflected in ‘Cut you off’ when she says that her last relationship was “emotionally messing with her health” and then in ‘Let me get me’ in “I’m in dance floor therapy” making a reference to that important part of her life. 

  5. 5. You can recover and come out stronger than before

    Being in an abusive relationship can be extremely dangerous for your mental and physical health, leaving several marks. However, it is possible to recover and feel even stronger than before. Selena says she is living proof of that in her song ‘Look at her now’, singing “of course she was sad but now she’s glad she dodged a bullet”, meaning she is good now and happy she got out of that relationship. This entire song is a tribute to herself and how great she is doing now, making us all believe that with the right help, we can recover from an abusive situation. Always remember: you are not alone!