Lunacy On The Record

I know I am certainly not the only one who has heard, or has an opinion, about the recent release of Mel Gibson’s rant against his baby mama. But this is an issue I have some (unfortunate) experience with, so I’m going to weigh in on some of the ignorant and annoying comments I’ve heard on the radio and television.

Obviously, I don’t live with Mel Gibson or his girlfriend. I don’t know EXACTLY or with 100% assurance that I’ve figured out their problems, but I have a very strong hunch about what the bulk of the issue is, and why his girlfriend Oksana sounded so calm when dealing with him on the recording she sold to the press. It’s all about experience.

I heard the recording of Mel and his outraged screaming at Oksana as I was on my way to drop the City Boy off at work this week. Fox Sports was on XM radio, and the City Boy and I debated our views on the spectacle. It annoyed me that the radio personalities laughed and scoffed the way they did. Instantly finding humor in a situation that is so abusive and dangerous. Had Mel been cracking a whip or snapping a belt at the woman, would they have laughed at that? Why is it that we, as a society, don’t merit emotional or verbal abuse as severe as the kind that leaves physical bruises?

I was in a 10-year relationship with someone who suffered from mental illness, and when I heard Mel and his hysterics I was instantly transported to the innumerable times when I was sitting face to face with a person who was so enraged nothing coming out of their mouth made sense, but the one thing certain was my need to remain calm. Often times, I felt as if my life depended upon keeping a clear head. The one thing a situation like that does NOT need is two maniacs running purely on emotions.

The Fox Sports personalities made comments this week along the lines of, “Well, we don’t know what buttons Oksana was just pushing to PUT Mel in that frame of mind …” To which I say, Really? Here’s what I know. When dealing with people with so much internal, pent-up anger and rage issues it really could be anything and it doesn’t matter WHAT she did to him. A person should have more control over themselves. Once, I saw my ex-husband fly into a complete rage due to a mis-communication of terminology used in a Seinfeld episode. It was incredibly jarring how an innocent conversation could erupt into the spewing of vile comments from him. Suddenly, I was ugly and stupid, could do nothing right. You cannot reason with someone in this state of mind. My only recourse was to be the calm one and wait for the fire in his face to fade. Then, excuse myself once it was safe to do so, or ignore the incident completely.

The first few times this occurred, I was hurt. I was shocked at the sudden change of atmosphere, and maybe I cried – I can’t remember. After that, I hardened to it. When I felt the air change and his expression resemble something maniacal I braced myself. While he was busy screaming or slamming his fists into a table, trying to break me down I stood firm, but remained fairly quiet. Sometimes I would completely shut out what it was he was saying (because it was all a bunch of crap anyway) and just think to myself how sick he really was. “This is a sick and pathetic person. And here he sits thinking he’s superior to me? How is that? He can’t even control himself over a ridiculous disagreement about what to have for dinner.”

I won’t get into my entire lifestyle while living with this man. The whole purpose of this post isn’t even to air my own dirty laundry, although – Oops! I just want to say SOMETHING in response to the people who have never really dealt with a personality like this. Assuming that the lunacy I heard in Mel Gibson’s voice was indeed the same as what I witnessed time and time again with my ex, I can assure you that his girlfriend recorded the tirade for two possible reasons: 1.) so she can replay it for him later. My ex would often later down-play his tantrum as if he was just blowing off steam, or maybe raised his voice a little too much. I often wished I had a tape recorder nearby so he could HEAR how crazy he got, once he cooled off. 2.) For proof in a custody fight. One mistake Oksana made that I was smart enough to avoid was having a child with Mel. He’s a powerful man, and even if he wasn’t, she will need proof of his behavior, of the way he handles conflict, of the environment he creates for his child in any upcoming legal battles for custody of the child. 4.) For evidence in the event she ends up dead in the near future.

And lastly, some of the radio personalities scoffed at how calm and controlled she remained during the recorded tirade. To which I say, “Hello People! When you are in a cage with a raging bear, your best bet is to remain calm if you expect to get out alive, am I right?” People who put those they love in these outrageous situations are doing it for several reasons, but the main reason is to exert control. They want to see their target fall to pieces. They want to SEE that they have won, and that THEY are superior, THEY are in charge. Somehow, I instinctively knew this in my own past relationship, and told myself that if I was going to put up with the behavior I sure as hell wasn’t going to crumble to it. And later he would even TELL me that he just wants to get a reaction out of me. Plus, I was no idiot. Just because he had delusions of me being some sort of monster of a person doesn’t mean that it was true, or that I had to listen to it. Remaining calm is what shifts the power balance in the situation. By staying emotionally stable and rational, you ultimately end this specific battle with dignity – regardless of what the idiot across the table is spewing your way.

Wow, what a rant. I really was surprised at my own reaction to listening to the conversation last week. It was like an audio time machine, and I was instantly back in that house, with that person, in that moment when I thought “well, he’s either going to wear himself out, or he’s going to get violent.” No way to live, let me tell you. And now that I’m married to the antithesis of that man from my past, I see how devastating it is for anyone to tolerate abuse like that. It isn’t funny (as the gossip columnists and TMZ-types will lead you to believe), the threats, the disrespect, the hateful words, the uncontrolled anger – it’s devastating to a person’s psyche, and it should be taken more seriously than just, “Well that Mel Gibson sure has a mouth on him!”, or “Look what happens when Mel drinks too much!”.  Okay, I’m finished with this topic entirely.  I’m just sayin’ …

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