Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hurt People Hurt People. The Mel Gibson Debacle.

Mel Gibson's Ex-Wife Defends Him in Court

Radar Report/Argument Audio Tape

I heard this particular voicemail the other day, along with most of the world. The usual thoughts ran through my mind: how awful that someone had a private moment revealed to the public, how awful that something that started out as love became something unidentifiable, how heinous he sounds, how cold she sounds, curiosity about what the real story behind the moment without context is. I've often thought that nothing in the world would be as horrible as being famous and perpetually having your privacy violated. Instances such as these just enhance that belief.

This particular situation really struck a nerve with me, though. It was like being transported back in time. For some time I was in a relationship where such tirades were de rigueur. It was horrible, but it never occurred to me to leave because I was a)young and kind of stupid; b)totally in love; c)had very little self-esteem and felt like it was warranted and d) recognized that the place it came from was a well of deep, deep hurt and pain. It was never a physically violent relationship. I don't excuse the verbal assaults or say they are justified, but I do get them. When I listen to Gibson lashing out at his lover, what I am hearing is a man in emotional agony. There's obviously a lot of projection going on with my observations, but this sounds like a man that gave up a thirty year marriage for something he thought he wanted and was warned against, just to discover that all of the warnings were true. He sounds lost and alone and a shadow of who he believed himself, and more importantly what he though other people believed him to be. And now it's public. At least when I was tirelessly berated it was in private. Having to deal with personal agonies along with judgments from a world that has no idea who you really are would be just about unbearable.

People have made a lot of snide comments about Gibson's ex-wife's statements along the lines of "say anything to keep your alimony." I don't think so, though. I think she was simply a woman who knew and loved her husband for thirty years. When you really know a person, really understand them, you can't help but empathize with them. It's not always healthy, and it probably keeps a lot of relationships together for far longer than they ought to go on. You can hate an action and still very much love the person. Damaged individuals lash out. I think it's a better response to consider where hurtful things come from them and try to understand than to simply dismiss. Cries for help come in all sorts of shapes, and it makes me sad for everyone involved here that they've been aired so publicly.

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