Let's just say you had an exciting, seductive, thrilling lover who mysteriously and secretively disappeared, leaving you with hundreds of unanswered questions. Eight months later, he's back. Do you give him an hour of your time? You do if he is a TV show, and if that TV show is Lost. Fans already know the deal: the ABC program is an exercise in exquisite torture, the primetime equivalent of an emotionally abusive relationship. What makes it abusive? Let us count the ways:
- According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner (in this case, the show), tries to isolate you from family or friends. When you watch Lost, the world divides into two groups; those who also watch and those who don't. Even my own mother will be denied and ignored if she dares to call while I'm watching tonight. And heaven forbid if she asks, "What's the show about?"
- The wellness site Third Age asks, Do you feel as if your partner keeps you dangling on a string? Does he or she seem to have all of the emotional control? Does this make your own life feel out of control? Yes, yes and yes! Lost leaves you dangling, controls emotions, makes you fall in love with foxy foxes, no-goodniks and heart-melters, muddles their backstories, confuses whether they are good or bad and then snatches them away from you just when you thought you could count on seeing them shirtless once a week.
- Dr. Phil himself says a relationship might be abusive if your partner is making you afraid by using looks, gestures or actions. The black smoke is terrifying! So is Henry Gale/Ben Linus! So is the fact that people manifest things from their past — Kate's horse, Jack's dad? Another mark of the emotional abuser is if the person makes light of the abuse and doesn't take your concerns about it seriously. You think they listened when I begged, "Please don't kill Mr. Eko!"? No!
- You're being abused if your partner does not want you to work. Lost wants me to spend all day cross-referencing conspiracy theories, watching secret videos that may or may not hold insight and reading Hurley's blog. I just know it.
- Lastly, emotionally abusive partners are known for punishing by withholding affection. It's been eight months! As Emily Nussbaum says in New York Magazine today: "Basically, we're kind of like John Locke: Befriend us under false pretenses, steal our kidney, smash us through a window, toss us in a mass grave! You're still our daddy, and we'll follow you anywhere."