Home › Forums › Once Upon a Time › Season Six › 6×09 “Changelings” › The Rumbelle Dilemma › Reply To: The Rumbelle Dilemma
To answer the question of whether or not Rumple is abusive, I think it depends on what a person means by abuse since there is more than one definition. Abuse can mean the improper use of something (such as alcohol or drugs), or abuse can mean cruel and violent treatment of someone.
I completely think Rumple abuses magic as a substance since he’s addicted to it; he is totally hooked on the stuff, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. As a result, his actions are driven by his addiction, which Belle sees. Belle said his true love is magic. He is actually dependant upon it, and as such, he puts power above everyone, including Belle. However, from Belle’s perspective, that just isn’t good enough. As she said, she just wanted to be chosen. She wanted to be put first before magic, which Rumple has never done for her.
The time he actually managed to overcome his nasty habit of self-preservation was when he saved his family from Peter Pan. Rumple did so knowing he’d die, so he knew he wouldn’t really have to live without the power after his final sacrifice. After he got resurrected, we Rumple chose Bae over dagger when he surrendered it to Zelena to try and save Neal after he resurrected his father. From Rumple’s perspective, his sacrifice was in vain because he still lost his beloved boy in season three. I think Rumple really doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to give up power for family since he did so and still lost his firstborn son. From Rumple’s perspective, it’s probably pointless to stop abusing magic, especially if it means he cannot protect his family.
So, is Rumple abusive to his family? In the way that an addict is abusive, yes. Does Rumple intentionally go out of his way to inflict emotional harm on his family? No, I don’t think he ever meant to harm them, but he has. It’s the direct result of choosing power over them. Every time he hides his addiction to magic from Belle (for fear she’ll disapprove, which she does), it blows up in his face. So he has dropped the charade and decided to come out in the open about his love of power. Is his behavior abusive though? Yes, since he has caused emotional harm towards Belle and Baelfire and even physical harm and death to others. He has intentionally harmed others malice or revenge (see Milha, Hook, Robin) or to meet his own ends (see Regina, Cora, Emma, Snow, etc…)
Is Belle abusive? Well, she doesn’t abuse magic, so her actions aren’t the result of an addiction the way they are for Rumple. Does she still mistreat Rumple emotionally? Well, I don’t think she ever meant to inflict harm emotionally or otherwise towards Rumple. All she has ever wanted to do was help free him from his curse, but he hasn’t wanted her to do so. Belle has the heart of a hero and cannot stand for injustice or to see Rumple mistreat others (e.g. his plan to use an innocent baby to lure the dark fairy). Belle simply doesn’t condone his evil and sinister deeds born of addiction to the darkest of magic. So, she does call him names like “beast” which might be seen as cruel to Rumple and his supporters, but is she really wrong? He does act like a monster when he indulges his addiction to dark magic and gives into his darkest impulses to harm and kill.
She has seen the good in Rumple, but she also sees the darkness. He has laid it all out in the open and indulged in dark magic. If he is going to kill people and plot to harm others, Belle setting boundaries and limiting or cutting off access to her and their child is called being responsible. To do otherwise would be to enable Rumple’s addiction to the darkest of all magic or even to be an accomplice to his evil deeds.
Belle is right to say he could still change, to say there is still a chance he could have his son in his life if only Rumple would kick the habit of dark magic. That isn’t emotional blackmail or abuse. That’s the truth. I don’t think Belle is wrong to want to protect the son from the father’s addiction to dark magic. After all, a mother who lets a father abuse illegal drugs in front of the child isn’t acting in the interests of the child. A responsible parent would try and shield the innocent child from the corrupting influence of the addicted parent.
"That’s how you know you’ve really got a home. When you leave it, there’s this feeling that you can’t shake. You just miss it." Neal Cassidy