Johnny Depp is a talented actor mostly known for his role as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Now he is embroiled in a court case with Amber Heard. A lot of sparks, collisions, and explosions are displayed in an open courtroom for the whole world to see. I feel a deep sadness for both parties.
How can it happen to beautiful people?
When they fell in love, they set up a beautiful life together. Where did this destruction of themselves and each other start?
The Depp/Heard case serves to highlight domestic abuse.
For me, as I witness the display as it is unfolding, I become aware that nobody wins when abuse takes the upper hand in any relationship. Neither can win and be free from the pain that is current. The origin of the brokenness in each of them started way before either of them were born. Both come from parents who, through their own broken home experiences lashed out in trauma and pain to their children.
By judging domestic abuse towards parents failing their children does not serve the complexities of the issues that cause the brokenness that leads to the abuse is not addressed. Both Johnny and Amber are children who suffered at the hands of their parents who were themselves not coping well with life situations.
Each suffered trauma in early childhood.
Each has survived and created their own successful lives.
Each found themselves in a system of coping mechanisms that supported their survival into adulthood. The success did not heal the early childhood traumas. Even with all the accolades achieved in their careers, the demons of the past took control and destroyed the love between two beautiful individuals. This is a sad reality that many of us are faced with. The aftermath of surviving a broken childhood comes with many difficult consequences.
How do you keep your pain from surfacing and taking control?
Do the coping mechanisms that we used when we were children suffice in adulthood?
Are all future relationships doomed because we had abusive parents or a difficult childhood?
The child’s perception and learned coping mechanism to survive painful experiences in early childhood moulds a person for the rest of their lives. Yes, children are resilient. There’s a perception that children are naturally happy. Even in difficult conditions they smile and make other people smile. Children learn to show off a sense of perceived wholeness to the world around them. The inner child keeps trying to create a world of wholeness going forward in life.
Some children rebel, kick and scream and say I’m not happy. Who cares to listen?
Who takes this child seriously? Can parents with their own brokenness recognize the brokenness in their children? Can parents acknowledge the child’s brokenness without acknowledging their own pain and frustrations?
It is all a matter of survival. Getting through the moment and hoping that after this moment a better moment comes forward and so we step into and create to where we can experience some good moments in life which include falling in love and becoming a parent. Doing it differently to appear to than our parents did for us.
That is the cycle. Brokenness creates brokenness. And that’s really what we see in this courtroom drama display.
How we survive our early childhood struggles also determines how we survive struggles in our most intimate of spaces. Some of us want to fight it out. In the Depp/Heard case, we clearly hear that Amber wants to resolve the difficulties by talking it out of fighting through the pain. This is how she wants to resolve problems. This is her childhood experience. Johnny has a different coping mechanism. He runs away from the danger and does not like the fighting. Both are left frustrated when it comes to resolving difficult situations in a relationship. Amber gets frustrated by Johnny not confronting difficult issues and Johnny gets frustrated by not being able to get away far enough from difficult issues.
Each is only doing the best they know-how.
Coping mechanisms are hidden in the use, and as we hear abuse of self-medication with substances trying to get away from the pain physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Two people who love each other deeply are now hurting each other deeply. This is what happens when pain carries forward pain in the family system.
How could it be different if we start a path of healing early childhood traumas? With unresolved childhood trauma, we put ourselves on the path of self-destruction and hurting others. Finding a wholeness creates a way of wholeness forward for our children. It is never too late to heal and bring the shattered inner childhood into a cohesion that drives wholeness.