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Vai na Fé: Understand Theo and Rafa’s abusive and complex relationship

Theo (Emilio Dantas) is the master of abusive relationships in “Vai na Fé”, destroying the lives of several women throughout the year, by psychologically and physically abusing them. However, the villain has a huge range of tricks and manages to bring his Machiavellian side even to his son, Rafael (Caio Manhente), who also suffers from his father’s attitudes and manipulations.

In disturbing scenes, we see Theo entering Rafael’s mind and making his son, who has diagnosed psychological problems, drown his problems in drinking and ignore the need to take the necessary medicine.


Initially, she defined an abusive relationship: “In general terms, an abusive relationship is characterized by a pattern of behavior in which one person exercises control, power and dominance over another, resulting in a harmful environment for the victim. This form of relationship can occur in various contexts, such as intimate relationships, family, friendships or the work environment”.

“Abuses in an abusive relationship can take many different forms, including physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse. The abuser seeks to control all aspects of the victim’s life, such as their actions, decisions, relationships and finances. They use manipulative tactics to undermine the victim’s self-esteem and confidence, through humiliation, constant criticism, insults, threats, emotional blackmail and mind games,” he added.

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Going deeper into the parent-child relationship, she detailed how abuse can occur on the part of the father: “It ranges from negligence, in which the basic needs of the child may not be met, such as food, hygiene, affection, support, education , health, among other aspects that are extremely important for their physiological, cognitive and emotional development. In addition, there may be physical abuse, such as slapping, spanking and spanking, as well as emotional violence, in which the child is exposed to humiliating situations or bullying”.



As seen in the telenovela, Theo has several ways of abusing and he knows it, mainly because he is aware of having more power within his relationship with Rafael.

“In the abusive relationship between a parent and a child, various strategies are used to cause suffering and control over the child. Emotional manipulation is one of these, where the parent resorts to manipulative tactics to cause emotional pain, such as threatening to abandon the child, blaming the child for family problems, or making derogatory comments about the child’s appearance, abilities, or intelligence. In addition, the abusive parent may employ social isolation as a way to exercise control. He tries to keep his son away from friends, family and social activities, restricting his contacts and limiting his freedom. In this way, he seeks to have greater control over the child. Humiliation and depreciation are also frequent in this type of abusive relationship. The father constantly humiliates and degrades the child, using offensive words, lowering his self-esteem and making him feel inadequate and worthless. (bullying)
Unfortunately, physical abuse also occurs in this context. The father resorts to physical violence, such as spanking, tapas, beatings and any form of aggression that causes pain and physical damage to the child”, says Nathalia.

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“Intentional neglect is another form of abuse present in this relationship. The father deliberately neglects the child’s basic needs, depriving him of food, medical care, proper hygiene, and a safe and healthy environment. In some cases, financial exploitation occurs, in which the parent abuses the child’s financial resources, controlling or diverting the money, causing deprivation and denying adequate opportunities, ”he says.


Nathalia made it clear that there is no reason for a father to commit these types of abuse with a family member: “Although each situation is unique and complex, it is important to emphasize that there is no valid or legitimate justification for a father to commit abuse against his child. Abusive behavior is the result of emotional distortions, psychological problems, addictions or dysfunctions in family dynamics. However, this does not justify the abuse itself. Some factors that may contribute to a parent’s abusive behavior include a history of childhood abuse, untreated mental health issues, stress, financial difficulties, harmful substance use, lack of appropriate parenting skills, social isolation, or distorted beliefs about power and control”.



Unlike an abusive relationship, we cannot break up with our father, so Nathalia reflected on the ways that a victim can use to end this type of relationship, focusing mainly on the legal rights of each one.

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“Leaving an abusive relationship with a father is a complex challenge, as the family bond is lasting and affective. However, it is crucial to look for ways to protect your emotional well-being and safety. In the case of older children, teenagers who already have a greater understanding, independence, familiarizing themselves with their legal rights and child protection laws is a great tool. This may involve reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities or seeking guidance from child protection organisations. Build a support network of trusted people who can offer emotional support, guidance, and practical help. Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being by seeking therapy or counseling to deal with the impacts of abuse. Practice self-care and engage in activities that bring joy and well-being. Educate yourself about healthy relationships, positive parenting, and coping techniques to develop assertiveness skills, emotional self-advocacy, and building healthy boundaries. If you feel your safety is threatened, take precautions and seek help immediately. Contact the police, emergency services or domestic violence hotlines in your country. Always remembering that every situation is unique, and finding the best strategy for getting out of an abusive relationship with a parent can take time, planning, and support. Seek professional help and adequate resources to ensure your safety and well-being,” he explains.

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“In the case of young children, they are totally dependent on this abusive caregiver, so the importance of the attentive look of the other caregivers of this child is highlighted here, whether it be the partner, the school, the daycare center, a neighbor, this child is vulnerable and they need to have their rights respected”, he details.

“It is extremely important that the family seeks help and support when there is abusive behavior within the family environment. By seeking out competent professionals in the field of parenting, the family can work to correct these abusive attitudes and create a healthy and loving environment for all members. Bearing in mind that every child has the right to a healthy childhood, if he or she is going through
know of someone in this situation, use dial 100 and report it”, he concludes.


Vai na Fé: Understand Theo and Rafa’s abusive and complex relationship

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