Recently I was asked to recommend five books on any subject of my choosing. I chose Personality. The list was for a new website, Shepherd.com, that aims to rival Goodreads for book lovers. Two books not on the list are Interpersonal Diagnosis and Treatment of Personality Disorders and Crazy Love: Dealing With your Partner’s Problem Personality.
So this is an addendum to that. Because it’s important to understand, “What the hell is going on?” Furthermore, “How could this happen?” In other words, why do two people who seemingly have it all wind up in court publicly humiliating themselves?
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
are two rich and famous American actors, divorced. Now they’re fighting in “civil” court, streaming live on YouTube and elsewhere. It’s embarrassing for everyone. However, there will be winners and losers. Predictable ones. Reputations and fortunes will made. The couple used to fight in private, then in the media, and now in court (non-violently). It’s a spectacle and hard to turn away from once you’ve tuned in. That’s just human nature.
How could something so beautiful go so wrong?
Is the question that won’t be settled in the courtroom. The matter at hand is Depp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, for fifty million dollars because, he says, she ruined his career. My guess is the jury will decide against Depp and dismiss the charge. Also known as “not guilty”. Yes, she was abusive, crazy even. But so was he. Heard didn’t ruined his career. Johnny did that all by himself. If not her, someone like her. Some other beautiful, sexy, seriously troubled super star. Because Johnny wasn’t going to just fade away into retirement, settle down in the country with a nice, kind, ordinary woman. That wasn’t in the cards or his nature (personality).
Birds of a feather
flock together is the old saw. And it’s true. Another way to say that is “like attracts like”. The story is an old one and it’s called attraction and attachment. It has a meaning and a purpose which I won’t go into here.
Unfortunately (for some) our culture and society doesn’t reward family cohesion, pair bonding, community, and interpersonal love the way it should. Instead, sociocultural structure rewards entertainment and spectacle. We “love” drama, violence, chaos, and destruction. Followed by justice and redemption. In other words heroes, villains, and victims. We love a good story full of romance and adventure and rescue. Pirates of the Caribbean and Captain Jack! Forever!
In Real Life
things don’t go that way. In real life in America today, hurt people hurt people. Or turn that hurt inwards and hurt themselves. Where does the hurt come from? From not being nurtured and cared for in the formative years (0 – 22).
Some people are lucky – like Depp and Heard; and are born with beauty and an adaptive nature that allows them to thrive. (With some luck tossed in, no doubt.) However, without good guidance (coach, mentor, counselor, etc.) That hurt will eventually turn to anger and rage. This cycle is generational without intervention.
some good can come of this? Like this: The jury delivers a “not guilty”. But the judge judges things a little differently and sentences the plaintiff and defendant to residential treatment and therapy. Something akin to the Betty Ford Clinic. Elon Musk picks up the tab. Both Depp and Heard receive great therapy and go on to write great memoirs! The memoirs become best sellers and the folks take heed. The destructive cycle of childhood neglect and abuse is diminished.
Johnny and Amber reconcile, move to country, ‘give up the booze and the one night stands’ and live happily ever after.