Tag Archives: Sammi Giancola

Isolated by Stockholm Syndrome?: More Thoughts on Sammi of “Jersey Shore”

1 Sep

Sammi on one side ... Deena, Jenni "J-Woww", and Nicole "Snooki" on the other (courtesy of WeAllScheme.com)

Yesterday’s post was my first about “Jersey Shore” Sammi Giancola’s abusive relationship with her co-star and boyfriend Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. I’ve decided to write a mini-series on Sammi for 2 reasons: 1) I’m addicted to “Jersey Shore”, and 2) I’m interested in talking about all types of abuse, though rape will remain the focus of this blog.

Please click away now if you can’t stand “Jersey Shore” … I won’t hold it against you!

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Defending her man (courtesy of MTV.com)

Back to the Start

Sammi’s claim-to-fame for being on “Jersey Shore”, apart from being half of the most miserable reality TV couple in America, is her epic fight with Jenni “J-Woww” Farley. If you’ve been watching the show, you remember the beef. At the end of season 1, feeling punked by Sammi’s flirtation with other guys as revealed on the reunion show, Ronnie went on a vindictive trip. Season 2 in Miami began with Ronnie partying hard at nightclubs, hooking up with ladies at random, coming home to sleep with Sammi, and the rest of their housemates feeling suffocated by guilt for keeping Ronnie’s secret. Back then, Sammi was like the teased kid at school who doesn’t realize she’s been tagged with a “kick me” sign on her back. She suspected that Ronnie was cheating, but asking never got her any direct answers, and everyone was treating her awkwardly.

“Who Wrote tha Note?”

The guys in the house weren’t going to do it, so Jenni and Nicole took it upon themselves to tell Sammi about what Ronnie had been up to behind her back and put her out of her misery. They wrote an ‘anonymous’ letter detailing all of Ronnie’s dirt and left it out for Sammi to find, but Sammi hated them when she found out. In season 2, Sammi and Jenni faced off. In season 3, Sammi and Jenni faced off again. Sammi briefly left the Jersey Shore after being terrorized by Ronnie and nobody seemed to care that she was gone. Everyone in the house had such a low opinion of her that by the reunion show, the only person who was really still talking to Sammi was season 3’s new addition Deena.

Yesterday I said that I think one of the biggest problems viewers have with Sammi is that she comes across as a complete idiot. Sammi has done some bone-headed things for sure, but is it all really because she’s an airhead, or could it be something more?

Out of control (courtesy of Nj.com)

Stockholm Syndrome

according to Wikipedia.org, is a psychology term used to describe “a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.” It was originally coined to describe kidnapping situations, but has been found in victims of situations like domestic abuse, prisoners of war, cult members, incest, and controlling relationships. A person experiencing Stockholm Syndrome tends to show the following symptoms (found at CounsellingResource.com):

  • Positive feelings by the victim toward the abuser/controller
  • Negative feelings by the victim toward family, friends, or authorities trying to rescue/support them or win their release
  • Support of the abuser’s reasons and behaviors
  • Positive feelings by the abuser toward the victim
  • Supportive behaviors by the victim, at times helping the abuser
  • Inability to engage in behaviors that may assist in their release or detachment

Does this sound anything like Sammi?

  • She displayed positive feelings toward Ronnie, even after he cheated on her in season 2 just to get back at her.
  • She displayed negative feelings toward Jenni and Nicole when she found out that they wrote the anonymous letter. She was in 2 fist fights with Jenni over the same issue, and didn’t attempt to make up with the girls until the near end of season 3. She’s also been hateful toward Mike, who once sat her down in season 2 and tried to tell her about Ronnie’s cheating face to face – she uses Mike constantly as an excuse for relationship turmoil with Ronnie, even in season 4.
  • While Sammi may never have come out and said, “I agree with the way Ronnie treats me”, she doesn’t confront him about his painful actions. She will scream and cry, but seems afraid of telling Ronnie things like, “You were dead wrong to trash my side of the room”, “I don’t deserve to be cheated on” (which he just admitted to continuing in this week’s episode), or “You don’t have any right to put your hands on me or scream in my face”. One of the more sickening displays was at the end of season 3 (see the photo below) where everyone in the house tried to shame Sammi for having an old male friend appear at a nightclub to see her so soon after breaking up with Ronnie. She never got upset with Ronnie for being attacked, but put her frustration on her friend and Mike, who exposed her business.
  • It’s clear that Ronnie has positive feelings towards Sammi. It’s not love, but he says in confessionals that he loves her. Sammi’s the only girl Ronnie has had eyes for on the show – unless you count all the girls he made out with at random.
  • Sammi has shown her support of Ronnie’s behavior by fighting with Jenni over his cheating, as well as ganging up on Deena in the first episode of season 3. They also seem to share hate for Mike, who is Ronnie’s worst enemy. And then there are all the screaming matches Sammi has entertained from Ronnie.
  • Sammi definitely seems unable to detach from Ronnie. She’s rarely seen out on her own or with other housemates (although she’s improved a lot in season 4), and doesn’t seem to have or want any interests apart from Ronnie. Even at nightclubs where everyone seems to be having a good time, Sammi is the one that can be found with a drink in hand, watching what Ronnie is doing even while she tries to make herself have fun without him.

Defending herself (courtesy of MTV.com)

Mind control

Not every victim of an abusive relationship has Stockholm Syndrome. From CounsellingResource.com, there are 4 conditions that are usually present in a situation where Stockholm Syndrome is likely to develop:

  • The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
  • The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
  • Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
  • The perceived inability to escape the situation

and the list seems like it’s all there for Sammi and Ronnie. In season 1, Ronnie showed hints of his terrifying nature when he got into a bar fight over Sammi and knocked a guy out cold with one punch. He went to jail. Who wouldn’t be afraid of being on the receiving end of that rage someday? Sammi was attracted to Ronnie’s “juicehead” looks and won over by his normally sweet gestures and apparent adoration of her – so she probably already had a great image of him in her mind when Ronnie’s angry side came out, and would have found it difficult to exchange that for the real Ronnie. By isolating herself from making friendships in season 1 and sticking between Ronnie and Mike, Sammi lost perspective of anything other than Ronnie, and didn’t feel the negative effect of that until he dropped her before season 2. Now that Sammi’s a part of the “Jersey Shore” mill, she’s stuck in living quarters with Ronnie until the show is cancelled or runs its course. Where’s there for her to escape to? The housemates who were turned off by Sammi’s behavior in seasons 2 and 3? Home? Maybe after Italy.

The Lure of Abuse: Why Sammi Giancola of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” is Heading for Destruction

31 Aug

” ‘Jersey Shore’ ? Why would anyone talk about that show on a blog about surviving rape?”

Okay, I admit – I’m addicted to MTV’s reality breakout hit show “Jersey Shore”. I know it’s not the most intelligent programming to be a fan of, but my excuse is I’m still kind of young, single, and just like watching the scene of an accident from the comfort of your car as traffic control police urge you to drive past the damage, with “Jersey Shore” it’s hard to look away. :-p

From an entirely different angle, I’m dedicating myself to speaking out against abuse of any kind. Rape is the focus of my blog because I feel that the topic of rape doesn’t get the amount of attention it needs to be taken as seriously as other crimes that are just as terrible. But I think that any conversation about physical, sexual, emotional, spousal, domestic, elderly, child, or verbal abuse is worthwhile on this blog, too.

Please click away now if you can’t stand “Jersey Shore” … I won’t hold it against you!

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"Jersey Shore" Sammi Giancola and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro (courtesy of DeviantTattooGirls.blogspot.com)

Messing With A Good Thing

Season 4 began with the infamous house couple Ronnie and Sammi broken up, freshly single, and heading from the Jersey Shore to party in Florence, Italy. And really, they should have stayed that way. Ronnie seemed to want to drop Sammi for good, and Sammi was making a lot of commentary about working on herself and just wanting to have a good time. Their relationship was simply too volatile to work. They alienated a lot of fans in season 3 with all of their bullsh – I mean, arguing. I kind of like Sammi (even with her ‘smelling doo-doo’ facial expression and grating voice and being way too into herself and her looks) and wanted to see her better off this season.

But they got back together in episode 3 while viewers around the world screamed a collective “NOOOOOOO!!!”

A preview for episode 4 showed what looked like another classic “Rammi” blowout. The episode aired last week and confirmed that we’re probably in for another season of intervention-worthy fighting. Drunk Sammi spilled out her fears of Ronnie cheating again, causing a brawl between Ron and Mike ‘The Situation’ when she named Mike as the one who informed her about Ron’s desire to hook up with 5 girls in one night. Episode 5 airs in my neighborhood tomorrow, and although I don’t know what happens to Mike yet (looks like the guy may have flat-lined thanks to Ronnie), I’m pretty sure of one thing: Sammi has to get the hell out of this relationship before Ronnie kills her.

More drama (courtesy of BSideBlog.com)

HelpGuide.org has a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re worried that you might be in an abusive relationship., and Sammi and Ronnie’s relationship answers positively to most of them, including:

Does your partner (Ronnie):

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy your belongings?

Do you (Sammi):

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

What’s changed since they got back together? Nothing. But what is kind of stunning and at the same time sad is, Sammi came into season 4 looking dead serious about moving on from the hell that was “Rammi” Season 3. Unlike her previous appearances, Sammi stayed out of bed – all day! – and interacted with the rest of the cast in the house, and stayed away from Ron. It was obvious that it was hard for her and she admitted to missing his company (who would find it easy to live with their ex just after a break-up?), but Sammi never initiated any contact with Ron … unless she was drunk. She told the cameras that she knew how destructive their relationship was for the both of them, but in the heat of a packed nightclub with a few cocktails tossed back to blur her vision and her judgment, watching the only guy she had feelings for – however dangerous – getting close to other girls had to make her terribly alone. Being lonely is probably why Sammi decided to take Ronnie back just one more time, even though she had to basically pretend that everything that had ever gone wrong in their relationship was her fault, and ignore the fact that Ronnie once broke her reading glasses just to hurt her.

“He beats her but she stays, so she must love it.”

Sammi’s case is also an example of how hard it is to motivate yourself to get out of an abusive situation. When you live with someone that’s abusing you, you’re in contact with that person constantly. That’s a huge amount of opportunity to get inside your head, twist your thinking, and have you depending on your abuser for sanity. It’s easy to grow to feel like, if you can somehow convince your abuser of not wanting to harm you anymore, you’ll be justified in thinking you’re worth anything better. After all, your abuser is someone who is supposed to love you by the sheer nature of your relationship to him or her – because he or she is your parent, your relative, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or your spouse. If he or she can’t see anything in you that’s worth loving and protecting, why should anyone else be able to? Right?

No.

Sammi will never read this blog, but I really believe she’s a combination of low self-worth and bad friends and family, who doesn’t deserve all the hate she gets for being an idiot. Run, Sammi, run! After all, this wasn’t too long ago:

Season 3 in a nutshell (courtesy of Crushable.com)