The Donst-Hammermeier storyline is one that interests me because of how realistic it is. It’s a fairly accurate depiction of an abusive relationship. How well they both play their roles is a credit to both men’s dedication and talent.
Abusive relationships are nothing new in wrestling, for example, there was Ted DiBiase and Virgil back in the late 80’s. Donst-Hammermeier started during their time in the BDK and as that group ended, they began a mentor-protégé relationship. It was clear that Jakob looked up to (and still does) Tim and wanted to learn everything he can from him. Jakob wants to impress him. He wants Tim’s his approval and will do anything to earn it.
The relationship was okay until Donst lost to Hallowicked at C-Rex. Tim lost his hair, but more importantly, he lost his identity. Donst’s claim that he is “The Man” and best YLC Champ ever was destroyed. He was left feeling like nothing, powerless. That’s when the real abuse toward Jakob started. One reason why abusers hurt others is to overcoming feelings of powerlessness. The abuser is trying to feel like he is in control. By putting down Jakob, Tim can say he’s better than someone else and feel powerful again.
Not only does Tim take Jakob’s power and sense of self, he gives it up by wanting the approval and validation of his mentor so badly. By letting Donst hit, insult, or do something degrading to him (like cut his hair,) he gives Tim more power and control. Those two things are a drug for an abuser and the more he gets, the more he’s going to want. That’s how the cycle of abuse works – it’s an addiction.
Jakob plays his part as well as Donst does. He acts like he believes everything Tim is saying to him. He acts like he believes that he deserves everything Tim does to him. He acts like he’s powerless and pathetic. The belief that you are as worthless as your abuser says and acts like you are is what keeps the additive abuse cycle going and escalating. It sucks your energy and power. It keeps you from fighting back and breaking the cycle by leaving.
One thing I am really interested in seeing this Season is what Jakob’s breaking point is. Usually, the abused comes to a point where they say “no more” and stops believing the abuser’s lies. After that moment, the abuser’s control is broken. Breaking the abuser’s control stops the cycle and gives the abused the power to leave. What will be that one event that makes him start to doubt Donst? Jakob’s taken a lot from Tim at this point, so it’s going to have to be huge.
Chikara did a brilliant job of highlighting how powerless Donst is at the end of Under the Hood. After Kingston takes out Donst, Jakob basically prostrates himself in front of Kingston. When faced with a defenseless man, King walks away. Because he’s powerful and secure in who he is, Eddie doesn’ t need or want to attack someone who’s not going fight back. Kingston doesn’t need to partake in the cycle of abuse, like Tim does.