Steven Universe – The Effects of a Toxic Relationship

Lapis and Jasper’s relationship is a relationship that I’ve been drawn to for many different reasons. I, in no way, am idealizing the toxic pair. I just simply think that their dynamic is worth exploring and that we can learn a thing or two about toxic relationships through Lapis and Jasper. Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the turbulent history of the union of these two, troubled characters.

Mission on Earth

Lapis’ return to Homeworld didn’t turn out the way she expected. She was sent to accompany Jasper and Peridot on their mission to Earth because she had “valuable information”. 

During their time together, we can see Jasper mistreating and manhandling Lapis. When she refused to give anything away for the sake of Steven, Jasper held her captive on the Gem Warship. The power imbalance in their dynamic was clear and the hostility from Jasper towards Lapis was also obvious. Throughout this whole ordeal, Lapis is seen to be passively receiving the short end of the stick. After all, there wasn’t much she could do. Jasper was her superior and on top of that, she was an exceptionally powerful gem. It definitely wasn’t a great start for the two.

Malachite

However, once the Gem Warship crashes and Jasper realizes that she’s outnumbered by the Crystal Gems, she drags Lapis to fuse with her. Lapis agrees and they turn into Malachite. Unbeknownst to Jasper, Lapis has something up her sleeve. Water chains incapacitated Malachite and dragged the fusion underneath the ocean, trapping both Lapis and Jasper for an indefinite period of time. Before sinking to the bottom of the ocean, Lapis can be heard saying the following lines: 

“I’m done being everyone’s prisoner. Now you’re my prisoner! And I’m never letting you go! / Let’s stay on this miserable planet… together!”

As Malachite, the two often fought for control and dominance of the fusion. Jasper fought to be in control so that she can escape from this ocean prison and exploit the power of the fusion.  Lapis fought to be in control so that she can keep Jasper trapped and take out all of her anger on her. I think it’s fairly obvious that it was a very toxic situation. both had very twisted motivations to do what they did when they were together as a fusion. We can see the experience took a toll on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the two gems.

Maintaining abusive relationships can be exhausting for many different reasons. The constant fight for control in the relationship could be one, but it’s not the only reason. It could be exhausting because you had to give up so much to suit the needs of an uncompromising partner. It could be exhausting because you have to walk on eggshells when communicating with your partner. It could be exhausting because you’re the only one putting in the effort to keep the relationship alive. Or maybe, it’s not just you, but your partner feeling the same way.

Post-Fusion

Abusive relationships don’t always have a clear abuser-victim dynamic. I’m not saying relationships with that kind of dynamic doesn’t exist, I’m just saying there are also other relationships out there where both partners are the abuser and the abused. That’s definitely the case with Lapis and Jasper. Both are affected by the actions of the other. While we don’t get to see much of Jasper reflecting on the fusion, Lapis’ thoughts on their union are much more clear to us. She recognizes that she’s been horrible to Jasper and that their fusion was unhealthy. On that note though, she also acknowledges that she still misses Jasper. It might be hard to grasp at first. Why would she miss someone who she knows is really bad for her?

The unfortunate reality is that this sentiment is shared by many people. Just because you left a toxic relationship doesn’t mean you aren’t affected by it anymore. Some things still linger. Even if you know they aren’t good for you, there are times where you start missing aspects of the relationship. Even toxic relationships have positive memories tied to them (though few and far between). You’re not only leaving the toxic elements of the relationship, but you’re also leaving behind some things that you might’ve liked about it too. Reminders of why you even entered the relationship in the first place might come up at the most random of times. 

We see Jasper holding onto what she perceives as the positive aspects of the fusion. She missed having the kind of power that Malachite had. Her primary motivation for becoming Malachite again was that power. In regards to Lapis, she misses the feeling of having an outlet to take out her anger. She didn’t JUST leave the traumatizing and emotionally taxing fusion, she also left the one thing that allowed her to channel her anger. As for Jasper, their separation cost her the power that she once had when she was with Lapis.

I, and many others, have been in a toxic relationship before. From experience, it’s not easy trying to tune out the feeling of missing your former partner. I was in an on-and-off relationship that lasted for three years. It was a very unhealthy relationship and trying to repair that relationship took a toll on my mental health. It wasn’t easy to walk away from him. I’d miss all the times he’d give me all the affection and attention that I craved from him, ignoring all the times that he’d hurt, manipulate, and gaslight me. I’m glad I’ve eventually decided to walk away from the relationship. Lapis also manages to break free from the toxic fusion too. When Jasper came to her and pleaded for another shot, she refused it because she knew she didn’t want to go through that ever again.

Takeaway

I think we all need to learn how to walk away from people who aren’t good for us. I know, it’s a lot easier said than done, but please seek out a friend or someone you trust. Ask them for a reality check before making the decision to re-enter a relationship. It’s important that we all break the cycle of abuse and move on. Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy and you’ll be hurt and there are times where you might even question if you’ve made the right decision. But in the long run, you’ll find yourself happier and more fulfilled than you once were. Lapis deserved better, Jasper deserved better, you deserve better.

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