Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard is a lesson for all of us to understand our own toxic behavior. The actor is suing his ex-wife for defamation based on a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post about domestic violence, though she didn’t name it. Their relationship is being scrutinized in the most public and painful way. But could identifying situations that don’t serve us be a lesson to all of us?
Last week, the court heard that Heard suffered from “histrionic personality disorder.” Depp has admitted to being addicted to alcohol and weed. The trial is ongoing, and while there’s more evidence and testimony to come, the struggles, codependency, and toxic behavior that marred their relationship should serve as a warning to all of us about what we’re cleaning out of our own lives have to. Whether it’s an over-dependence on alcohol or comfort food, a harmful job, or a harmful friendship.
We all pick up quirks and coping mechanisms on life’s convoluted journey. From overdoing it to get love and affection from a parent, to drinking or using drugs to cope with grief, we all have a rock in our shoe.
Beatings are now recognized as child abuse, not good discipline. Luckily, most kids today see the wooden spoon as a tool for stirring carrot cake, rather than a tool of punishment. But for older people, the lingering effects of emotional abuse, contempt, and criticism can lead to unhealthy behaviors.
If you could talk to yourself as a five year old, how would you calm her down? What unhealthy behaviors do you still engage in to calm down that little boy or girl?
After all, if you run long enough with a stone in your running shoes, your skin will eventually harden and your muscles will contort to compensate for the discomfort. It becomes imperceptible. You get used to walking on the side of your foot. It’s only when you take out the pebble that you can appreciate the damage it did and how much you countered it.
Everyone had to make the best of a bad situation during the pandemic. We were forced to find a way to live with the hand that was given to us. Even now, making changes is not easy. How can you leave a job when the mortgage has to be paid?
Economics also plays a role when it comes to romantic relationships where one person is dependent on another’s wages. But the first step is to acknowledge what isn’t right, even if it’s not possible to move beyond that toxicity right away.
Depp and Heard’s marriage existed beyond financial or pandemic constraints. Despite their fame, fortune, and accolades, this movie star marriage was a miserable one. They were not forced to isolate together. They lived in a cage of their own codependent creation.
Cataloging our individual weaknesses will only get us so far. Because we all have people in our lives who could hurt us on some level. A friend who only texts when he wants a favor or a drinking buddy. A neighbor who shows no interest in you but talks at length about his own problems. Maybe we are the poisonous ones? As I write this, I feel compelled to reach out to a few people I haven’t been best friends with lately.
But at least I don’t have to go to court for it. Since the birth of the adversarial justice system, high-profile trials have had a long-lasting impact, transforming society and how we interact with one another, such as the impact of the OJ Simpson trial on race relations in the mid-1990s.
A century earlier, the disastrous Oscar Wilde libel case brought the spotlight to homosexuality in the moralistic Victorian era. The Marquess of Queensberry, father of Wilde’s lover and defendant in the defamation case, produced witnesses and dirty linen which confirmed Wilde’s homosexuality and led to his criminal case.
And as the world watches Johnny and Amber air their own dirty laundry, a jury will decide who’s right and who’s wrong. We can survey our own lives and relationships without such dramatic fanfare.
By removing this stone from a shoe, we can make room for something better. A more responsive buddy, a manager who doesn’t take on more work when you’re stressed. Holding onto the hope of a barefoot walk on the beach.
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https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/toxic-battle-between-johnny-depp-and-amber-heard-can-be-a-wake-up-call-for-our-own-trials-41603909.html The toxic fight between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard may be a wake-up call to our own trials