Forever playing the victim

For the Week of April 16, 2018
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Forever playing the victim
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J.T. finally showed the monster that lurked beneath. Was his control and manipulation over Victoria even more destructive than that of her lifelong puppet master, Victor? Will the knowledge that Jack is not a blood Abbott stop him from following in his father's footsteps as leader of Jabot? It's a strange twist of fate in Two Scoops.

As Victoria had to learn the hard way, an abuser is nothing more than a bully who blames all his problems on someone else. Even though a predator seeks out the perfect person to victimize, the predator is actually the one who forever plays the victim. Poor pitiful me. Everyone is against me. Whine, whine, whine.

That has been J.T. ever since he returned to Genoa City. Mac took my children away from me. Mac tried to turn everyone against me at the reunion. If Victoria doesn't marry me, she doesn't love me. Victoria should only want me in her life. J.T. has been pathetic. Sadly, Victoria had to go through a long, painful road to finally see him for what he really was, though -- a [fill in the naughty word of your choice] who wanted to control every aspect of her life.

Unfortunately, when J.T. first returned to her life, Victoria's self-confidence was at its lowest point. Her lack of confidence undermined her, which left her looking like a loser and helped turn her into J.T.'s victim. Almost anyone who looked could see by the expression on her face that she was not happy with J.T., especially when he was at his most controlling. I give her credit for getting counseling, but the first thing Victoria should have done, pronto, was to boot J.T.'s patootie out the door. It was her house, so why was he calling all the shots?

J.T. decided he wanted them to be married, so they were going to get hitched, no matter what she said. And they didn't need no stinkin' counselor. His love for her would get them through it all. His sickeningly sweet words might make a truly strong, independent woman puke before she tossed him out on his keister. But not Victoria, whose self-esteem had dropped so low, she refused, at first, to see J.T. for the control freak he was.

Sharon gave Victoria great advice, but Victoria refused to believe that she was focusing her entire life around a man. But that's exactly what was happening. J.T. was with her almost every single second of the day -- at work, at home, at the hospital. Victoria should have been feeling smothered. But when J.T. suggested they go to Hawaii, Victoria practically ran up the stairs to pack their clothes. She practically threw herself into a bottomless pit with no hope of rescue.

Predators like J.T. often isolate their victims from the ones they love as a way to keep them insecure. That was probably the same strategy he used with Mac, since they had lived overseas for so long. J.T. knew that without her family's support, Victoria would be at his beck and call so that she would be more open to bow at his feet and to jump at his every word and command.

J.T. did not love Victoria. He had already proven that by trying to kill her father. J.T. never gave one thought or concern to how his fiancée would feel if her beloved daddy died. J.T. only wanted to control Victoria, and he did a darn good job of it. He most certainly had her jumping through hoops for him -- all the way to Hawaii.

Sure, Victoria was probably used to being controlled, thanks to her father; however, his type of manipulation was never as destructive as J.T.'s. Victor wanted his daughter to be the female version of him (and she did her very best to mirror him), while J.T. only wished to wipe away any kind of identity Victoria had. Even though Victor would never try to erase the person that Victoria was deep down, he was partially the reason that J.T. was able to swoop in and victimize her. Pitting Victoria against Ashley at Newman Enterprises helped lead to her downfall after her own business had failed. But, really, Victoria was at fault there too.

Victoria kept proving that she was incapable of handling a little friendly business rivalry, so if she thought the competition was too hot, she was one cook that needed to get out of the kitchen. I would joke that maybe J.T. did Victoria a favor by getting her out of Genoa City, but being helpless and in danger at another one's hands is not funny. Okay, J.T. had to leave town in a hurry, since Victor was healing and would be able to identify his assailant, but he did not have to take Victoria with him. It was just another power move against her father. J.T. seemed more invested in beating Victor than in having a healthy relationship with Victoria. Seriously, J.T. did not do this to a helpless woman with no family ties. He would have been much better off than trying to tackle the Newmans.

Not surprisingly, Victoria's dream vacation in Hawaii turned out not to be such a fun thing when J.T. stripped everyone of their cell phones (except himself, of course) and made sure that Victoria was completely isolated from her family. Hawaii could have been a deserted island, as far as she was concerned. J.T. then tried to convince her that they should never return to Genoa City, only he left out the part about him being on the run. J.T. claimed he wanted to spare Victoria from continuing to be Victor's punching bag; however, she seemed to be more in danger of that from J.T. Victoria then shocked me and raised her "broken spirit" by declaring the engagement was off after she learned J.T. had been the one who had leaked Victor's memo about her demotion. Oh, yeah, J.T. loved Victoria so much that he was willing to ruin her career and forever tarnish her reputation. Ahhh...ain't love grand?

Hurray for Victoria for finally standing up to J.T.! She even wondered if he would try to hold her hostage, but J.T. only said if Victoria dared to walk out on him, he would not be there upon her return. Hey, don't let the door hit you on the way out. I guess he thought his hold on her was so strong, she would just cower back into his arms. Yet his so-called ultimatum seemed almost anticlimactic. You almost expected that the growing threat of abuse from J.T. would lead to a final showdown either between J.T. and Victoria or J.T. and Victor (if he could recover in time). But Victor's shaking finger had yet to nail his ex-son-in-law as the culprit who had tried to kill him -- at least not to where Nikki could understand his meaning. It seemed to have just finished out so flat. But J.T. wasn't quite done yet.

At least Victoria had her girls' night out party to comfort her. Considering that the theme was all about women making their own choices, Victoria finally made some good ones upon her return from Hawaii. First, she tried to shield her kids, especially Reed, from the truth about J.T. It's always a mistake to name-call an ex in front of young, innocent children and to put them in the middle of an unhappy relationship. And it would be even worse for Victoria to constantly put a son's father down and to use Reed as a weapon against J.T. I just hope that Reed will give Victoria a chance to explain and that Victoria will find the right words to let him know that she and his father just weren't the right match and that Reed was not at fault in any way.

Next, Victoria and Ashley called a truce, and Victoria admitted that J.T. had been the one to leak the news about her demotion to humiliate and manipulate her. In that moment, the two women showed they could become worthy adversaries at the office. Victor would be so proud. Then Victoria warmed up to the idea of a party with some girlfriends and refused to let J.T. crash it. And she made it perfectly clear it was over between them. Good for her! Finally, Victoria decided to spill the beans about J.T.'s abuse so it could no longer rule her. That alone enabled her to take charge and to get her life back.

Ironically, it was J.T.'s abuse that started Victoria back into being the strong and independent woman that we all used to know. We have missed that Victoria Newman.

But J.T. went from bad to worse when he returned to plead with Victoria to leave town with him to start a new life. Just as he couldn't accept what he had done to Mac, J.T. refused to see what was staring him in the face, which was that Victoria refused to let him bully her anymore. Victoria was willing to physically fight her ex to stop him from ever controlling her again. When she realized J.T. was the one who had left her father to die at the bottom of the stairs and who had tried to kill him in the hospital, it was like a light came on to illuminate her path to freedom.

I don't know how free Nikki will be after she clobbered J.T. in the head with a fireplace poker, though. Wow, what a strange twist of fate! Looks who's the victim now. But, hey, didn't he have it coming? Really, who didn't cheer when she did that? I know I did. J.T. was so hateful, it was hard to even look him in the face through a TV screen. Great job of acting, Thad Luckinbill!

I applaud Y&R for presenting another great and topical storyline after Dina's Alzheimer's story, but the truth is that there are many victims of abusers in the real world who aren't as lucky as Victoria. There are some with no family for support, which makes them vulnerable and even more susceptible to this type of predator. Some suffer many more injuries and walk around in embarrassment with black eyes and bruised faces. Some end up in the hospital, and some even end up in the morgue. While it's brave of Y&R to tackle such a somber and terrifying topic, they really only touched on the tip of the iceberg. But soaps seem to be evolving to tackle tough subjects of reality now, and kudos to them for doing so.

Didn't Victor look more like a meek little kitten in his hospital bed rather than the snarling, howling, ferocious beast he normally is? Looks can be deceiving, though, and it won't take too long for Victor to show his fangs again and dig his claws back into the corporate world. And if the dark-haired beauty, Helen Wallace, Jabot's chief chemist, told the truth, Victor was turning out to be quite the tomcat too. Apparently, Nikki wasn't the only one playing around in their open marriage.

Jack thought that landing in prison for a crime he didn't commit was bad. Jack always prided himself that he was the son of John Abbott and tried, whenever possible, to follow in his father's footsteps, even if he wasn't always successful at it. He truly revered his dad and tried to emulate John so that he could try to be a better man. The huge revelation that Jack is not John's biological son would thoroughly crush him and strip Jack of his very identity. After all, who is Jack Abbott if he is not John Abbott's son? That question would haunt Jack and have his mind reeling in confusion. Could Jack still think of himself as John's son if he no longer had the blood ties to bind him to the Abbott name?

For Ashley, it was a different story. She had known for years that she was not an Abbott by blood, but since the outside world was unaware, she was able to adjust to the fact that she was still John's daughter and the apple of his eye. To John, Ashley was his daughter, so that was the only thing that mattered to her. But for Jack, he had John placed up on a pedestal so high, it was almost teetering. Jack admired and respected his father. Jack wanted to be the leader of Jabot, as John had been, and desired to prove to his father, even after John's death, that he was worthy of running the family business. That was one of Jack's top priorities and could even have been his main one. Even when his romantic relationships failed, Jack always had Jabot.

What I don't understand is, if Jack is not John's biological son, why wasn't this questioned or checked on way back when Ashley's paternity was first an issue? This seems completely out of the blue. It's always been no secret that Dina cheated on John constantly. According to Jill, Dina liked her country club eye candy, only her eyes weren't the only parts feasting on the guys. So, you would think Jack would have personally verified he was John's son upon learning of Ashley's parental history.

This just seems all too convenient, since Jack drew up an amendment at Jabot that only a blood Abbott could run the family company. So, now he's no longer a blood Abbott? Well, the well's starting to run dry on the siblings who can still claim that honor. Shoot, the next thing you know, the Abbotts will become as scarce as the Quartermaines always seem to be on General Hospital.

I don't mind some tweaking with a soap's history, as long as it makes sense and won't mess up too much of the character's future. If a dramatic change is done only for shock value and will ruin the family dynamic in the long run, it's just not worth it. What fueled the whole Abbott/Newman feud between Jack and Victor for so many years is that the conflict was between an Abbott and a Newman. Victor could constantly rub into Jack's face that he was never as honest and loyal as his father and couldn't amount to a hill of beans compared to John. Victor truly enjoyed pointing out that John was a much more successful businessman than Jack could ever be. So, why mess with a good thing?

Hopefully, this whole baby daddy twist will turn out to be another plot concocted by the Mustache with help from his new diabolical cohort, Kyle Abbott. It would be a little ironic, wouldn't it, if Kyle lost the very thing he sought because of his colluding with the enemy, Victor? Kyle had himself firmly planted in Jack's chair at Jabot, and he was digging those roots in deep. But you know Victor was very well aware of Jack's blood Abbott amendment, since he knows and sees all. The hospital lab, where paternity tests are done, seems to have a revolving door, so could Victor have arranged to have the results changed if a test was ever done for Jack? Come on, Victor has minions everywhere. Okay, Victor was in the hospital at the time Ashley and Abby submitted the test, but he could have arranged for it beforehand, right?

What's scary is if Jack learns he is not an Abbot, would he still try to be a good guy if he believed he no longer had to be his father's son? He couldn't even walk away from an injured Victor, who was possibly dying at the bottom of the stairs, because his conscience wouldn't let him. Would the devil on Jack's one shoulder finally start winning out over the angel on the other one if he believed he no longer had John to look up to? It might make him a better adversary against Victor, since Jack has lost all their previous battles. Hey, Jack may even be able to best Victor and come out as champion one time. But still, it just wouldn't be worth it for future stories.

What I don't get is why Dina kept thinking Jack was John if her son was actually the biological offspring of the supposed love of her life? And then she believed Kyle was that same beloved country club guy from the Stardust Inn. Weird. But at least we finally learned about the huge plot between Kyle and Victor, which was for them to join forces and take controlling interest of Jabot. Gosh, Victor tried to do that ages ago, all on his own, so did he really need Kyle for that?

Even if that wasn't the agreement between the two, Victor wasn't saying too much about it. He couldn't after his minor stroke, so Kyle pretty much had free rein over the company, and he could do it all in Victor's name. But maybe Victor had thought ahead to sabotage any paternity test for Jack, so he could oust Kyle later? Hey, I'm trying to come up with something -- anything -- to keep Jack as a biological Abbott.

Whether Victor had something to do with Jack's paternity test results or not, J.T. may have made Victor miss out on all the fun, since Victor wouldn't be able to appreciate Jack's disgrace from his hospital bed. J.T. has proven that not only is he not a great investigator, but he's not good at snuffing people out, either. He tried twice, both times unsuccessfully, to kill Victor off, but it just didn't take. Okay, maybe he wasn't trying to kill Victor at the ranch, but he sure did nothing to help when he saw Victor lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. But thanks to J.T., Victor had a small stroke and was unable to speak to identify his assailant. J.T. was really getting on my last nerve.

But what is going on with Phyllis as far as Nick is concerned? It's almost like Sharon and Phyllis are battling for the same man again, only Phyllis already has a guy. It sure seemed like Phyllis was using any excuse to hold that guy at arm's length, including inviting Nick as "a fifth wheel" to play video games with Billy and her. I just hope the games stay innocent and that threesomes aren't her sport of choice.

Seriously, though, Phyllis appears to enjoy being with two guys at the same time. When she was with Jack, the danger of being caught with Billy fueled the flames of their passionate love-making. Could she be trying the same thing with Nick? Phyllis always seems to put Nick first whenever he and Billy are in the same room. Phyllis may just be getting a little bored and looking for an extra kick of excitement in another forbidden "boiling, scalding, burning hot" sexual tryst.

Could things be heating up for a triangle with Nick, Sharon, and Phyllis -- with Billy observing from the sidelines? If Sharon's amazing dress was any indication, she wasn't going down without a fight when it came to Nick's love. And she used the very best weapon to get his attention -- a date with another man. As women have known throughout the years, this strategy really works. If a lady wants to find out if a man has any interest in her at all, she should go out on a date with some other hunk. If the man gets jealous, she has her answer, and I would say that Sharon got the reply she wanted loud and clear. Really, it was so sweet of Nick to wait up for her. So sweet.

Why, oh why, would Nick ever go to Phyllis for advice about Sharon? Did he really believe he would get a completely unbiased opinion from one ex-wife about another, especially since they have been at odds since Cassie's death? Of course, Phyllis put Sharon in the worst possible light to leave Nick wondering about Sharon's intentions, even with her most innocent words and behavior. Sure, Sharon was cooing over Christian and trying to calm the lad, but almost anyone else in the same position would have done the same thing.

Billy had better be very cautious about what his lady's heart truly desired if Phyllis preferred playing video games with Nick to having a sexual romp in the bedroom with Billy. Even Sharon questioned if Nick's moving in with her had triggered Phyllis' feelings for Nick again. The thrill may be gone for Phyllis and Billy. Be warned, Billy.

Oh, my gosh, will someone please point out to me how Hilary has changed? She keeps insisting she has, but I have yet to see it. Hilary is still as manipulative and selfish as she ever was. After she completely sabotaged Devon's relationship with Simone, Hilary then tried to make Simone come off as the "possessive" one. The way Hilary kept talking negatively about Devon's date after she had managed to chase her off, it was as if Devon was some idiot who would just sit and believe every lying word out of her mouth.

I would have applauded when Devon announced that their deal was off, only Hilary was probably pregnant already. And a baby won't change her, either, since Hilary would need to sincerely want to change. (And do it not just for Devon, which was always just another way for her to manipulate him, but for everyone -- including herself.)

Other notable (or humorous) items that happened during the week

I absolutely loved that gorgeous dress Sharon wore for her first date. She definitely used the right ammunition to hit her target. Bull's-eye!

Hey, Lauren, there is a such thing as harassment in the workplace, too, and I think threatening an employee's job to get her to vote your way would be a perfect instance of that. Shame, shame, shame.

Until next time, please stay tuned.

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