July 16, 2010

Why Is Mel Gibson So Angry?

robyn gibson.jpg
should've stuck to the plan

Time Magazine:

"I've witnessed thousand of arguments at this point and in my opinion this is not typical," says Sharon Rivkin, psychotherapist who specializes in arguments and affairs and is author of last year's Breaking the Argument Cycle. "I think he's got some very serious psychological problems. I think he's dangerous at this point. This goes beyond just a bad relationship. Even if he's been drinking, that's too much... I'll bet every penny I've ever made that he was abusive in all his previous relationships."

Paypal button is on the right, as long as it's under 14 grand it's not reportable.

She couldn't be more wrong, every single word is exactly wrong.

First, this isn't extreme, it's not even uncommon, these rants happen all the time in relationships everywhere.  And the men who yell like this are rarely bipolar, panicking, or even drinkers (and if he was drinking, getting sober isn't going to change this.)

Just like Olga, the women aren't screaming back, they are mostly mute (which drives the men bananas) or sporadically say something infuriating.  These exact same arguments happen all the time.  (This isn't to justify them or lessen their severity.)  And I doubt very much that he's dangerous, though he is quite intimidating and scary. 

I should write more about this later, but five things that jump out at me:

1. Coiled spring. 

Whatever it is he's arguing about is just the switch to bring up every other sleight he's ever experienced, many that don't have anything to do with her (e.g. ex-wife.)  It's not that he's been looking for an excuse to yell about those things, but he sees them as logically connected to his arguments now.  She thinks, "what does that have to do with anything?" and he thinks, "see, just like this thing!"  He's angry at her, but he's really angry at this "pattern of things that are always being done to me."

NB: the one constant in all of your failed endeavors is you.

2.  The threat that is a gift. 

She accuses him of something (being crazy, being mean) to which he responds, "oh, you think this is crazy/mean?  You don't know what mean is!"   I could hurt you, but I'm not, because I'm a good, anyone else this angry would hurt you.  Usually, that move is reserved for people you "love," or are jealous of.  His expectation is that she will realize how good he is because he's not hurting her, because he is so wrapped up with her, that she will come around: "oh my God, you're right, how could I have been so stupid?  I'll make it up to you, let's get someone to videotape us having sex!"

3. Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex.  He's not yelling at an ugly chick.  You might think that he'd be happy to have her, and one missed blowjob isn't a big deal (apparently she fell asleep before he got to bed.)  But that anger isn't about missing the blowjob.  It's that she missed a blowjob, but for sure she never missed an opportunity to blow her past boyfriends.  She liked giving them blowjobs.  She was way more wild, sexual, open with the other guys.  Why not him? 

Man: Don't show you love me by marrying me, of course people would want to marry me, show me you love me by being a slut for me, the way you were for the other guys!  In other words, prove it! 

Woman: That doesn't make sense!  And I'm way more sexual with you than I've ever been with any other man! 

Man: Didn't you one time have sex in a car?!  Ah ha!

Woman: What?

Man: And remember that time you had a one night stand with a guy at the beach, right there in the open?  See?!

Woman:  But didn't you have one night stands in your life...?

Man:  Not with you!  You never had a one night stand with me!  You gave that to someone else!  You didn't think I was sexy enough to have a one night stand with!

Woman: ?!??

Man: !!!!

If you've never had that fight, you'll think it impossible.  If you have had that fight, exhale; it happens all the time.

4.  Violence up to the line, and a peek over

Pulling a gun and punching her in the mouth are abuse, but he's not beating her to a pulp.    (Not justifying it, please follow along.)  The violence is explosive and terrifying-- and then restrained.  He sounds out of control, he wants to convey the impression he's out of control, but he's not actually uncontrolled. Though sometimes it gets out of control. He wants to hit her, but the point is to show it.  He doesn't want to get in trouble for it.  He is aware of rule outside himself and fears them.  He doesn't want to be known as a guy who hits women.

What would provoke a man like this to actually commit extreme violence?  Shame, with backup support.  She has to do something to him that destroys the image of him in the eyes of others (gee, like, say, leaking phone tapes) and he has to find enough people willing to do a Chris Rock: "I'm not saying he should have killed her-- but I understand."  As long as the violence has less shame than the thing that originally shamed him, it becomes a possibility.

5.  Envy

I lost my money, I lost my career, I lost my family... you have big breasts, you're hot, people desire you, you don't desire me, you have all these friend and I have no friends-- but you know, your friends aren't really your friends, only I'm your friend and you don't even desire me--

It would have been much better if your presence around me proved to me and everyone else that I'm awesome.  But you're getting older, and so am I, we don't look as good-- and besides, every time they see you they realize you're only with me because I'm Mel Gibson, so everyone envies you but no one envies me, they think I settled for a Russian whore.  And the irony of it is... you're not actually a whore so I don't even get that!

Practical solution:

You split up.  I know that seems obvious, but even though this kind of a fight is about other baggage, it implies the relationship itself is an outgrowth of that other baggage (e.g. he picked her because to show the world he could still get models) and thus doomed to failure.  You don't love each other, you want to love each other.

I'll point out that it is also typical that once these fights start happening, you'll probably stick together for another decade or so.