3 lessons from Mel Gibson

3 lessons from Mel Gibson

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like reveal three critical lessons that can be learned from Mel Gibson’s meltdown.

First a quick update:

“Mel Gibson’s rant”
Listen to the radio interview I gave to Russ Morley of news talk 850 WFTL for insights and analysis:

To listen to my full interview visit Radio-Interviews.

Lindsay Lohan’s real issues”
Read my comments to Gil Kaufman of MTV news.

Now, let’s talk about what can be learned from Mel Gibson’s meltdown.

The media has been rife with playbacks of an audio recording of a phone call between Mel Gibson and his girlfriend Oksana Gregorieva – mother of their 8-month old child and mother to James Bond star Timothy Dalton’s 12-year-old child. The recording contains Mel Gibson speaking astonishing profanity, making racist remarks, misogynistic comments and a death threat against Oksana. It’s also been alleged that Mel Gibson had hit her in the face earlier this year resulting in broken teeth. Oksana refers to that alleged assault and Gibson does not seem to refute it on the tape.

Let me begin by clearly stating that there is no justification whatsoever for hitting a woman or making a death threat against a woman. Of course, the police in certain situations will disagree with the comment about hitting a woman, as evidenced in recent cases in the past thirty days: a policeman in Seattle punched a young woman in the face during a scuffle; El Reno police Tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed because the old woman “took a more aggressive posture in her bed” and; an 87-year-old woman died after being shocked with a Taser by a sheriff’s deputy – she was waving around a pellet gun and not an actual firearm.

The first point here is that the Mel Gibson incident has again raised the issue of domestic violence. In the phone call, Oksana, who is apparently in Mel Gibson’s home during the call says she is scared for her life and the life of her child but she fails to report the prior assault incident to the police; nor does she report the death threat, nor does she leave his house immediately and seek safety somewhere else, such as in a woman’s shelter.

Lesson one: Anytime, anyone makes a death threat to you, you must A. report it to the police immediately (filing a report and statement even if you choose not to press charges) and B. seek immediate physical safety for you and your children.

Mel Gibson has in many ways played out in real life, the character he has often played on the big screen – an angry, emotionally unstable man, ready to explode at any moment, prone to outbursts, full of rage, plagued by deep emotional pain, walking with a death wish, and ready to die for his beliefs and to defeat the enemy.

But Mel Gibson’s script in real life has also included a long standing problem with alcohol; Gibson’s father moved the family from NY to Australia when Mel was 12 and by age 13, Mel Gibson was drinking alcohol. In 2006, Mel Gibson was drunk when he was stopped by police and when he began to make anti-semitic remarks.

Mel Gibson has also expressed other forms of racism, bigotry and prejudice – with homophobic remarks in the 1990s and racist comments in the latest phone call with Oksana. Mel Gibson was most likely raised with bigotry and prejudice – his father Hutton Gibson minimizes the Holocaust arguing that 6 million Jews could not have died in World War II because Germany did not have enough gas to kill so many people.

Mel Gibson has said that he is Manic Depressive which can lead to violent behavior and fits of rage and anger as well as alcohol or substance abuse. When combining all of these factors along with his overall psychological profile, then it is critical that he is careful with whom he forms a relationship. He remained married for 28 years to Robyn Moore and raised seven children and two grandchildren – without any words or reports from the family of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. But partnering with Oksana could have been the trigger point for Gibson. Again, I am not in any way blaming her nor making her responsible for his behavior. The point here is that two people can be very unhealthy for each other; two people can bring out the worst in each other.

It would appear that there was volatility in their relationship; it was reported in People magazine that a friend claimed that Gibson earlier this year sought therapy because “He realized how unhealthy the relationship was and recognized that they were in a bad place and he was getting his buttons pushed… [He] wanted to figure out how to extricate himself from this unhealthy relationship peacefully and calmly. Which is what he did.”

Lesson two: If you are in an unhealthy relationship (business, social or romantic); if it brings you or both of you down; if it is obviously destructive; then get out immediately. Again, a relationship can bring out the best in each person or the worst; if it brings out the worst, then waste no time breaking away.

Oksana has been criticized as setting up Mel Gibson with the audio recording – without his knowledge or consent – trying to reveal him to the world as a bad person, to get him to admit he hit her; she speaks monotone most of the time in the recording, showing no emotion whatsoever; Gibson appears as the jilted, rejected lover – isolated, alone and self-pitying and Oksana appears as the cold, calculating partner who simply tells him he needs medication. Gibson’s reps claims she released the tape now, almost five months after it was recorded because she had been trying to extort money from him but failed.

The same point can be made about Jake and Vienna of the Bachelor TV show who were obviously not suited to each other. Both said horrible things to each other on TV and Jake responded with resentment and a controlling, condescending demeanor while Vienna clearly showed her vulnerability as she broke down emotionally; Oksana showed no vulnerability or hurt.

The final lesson relates to the major disadvantages of today’s technology and to human curiosity. With the power of technology and the internet we now have developed extraordinarily dangerous and destructive transparency. Do we need to know how bad these people can be? Do we need to see every side to them? If we were to look into everyone’s lives, we might choose never to watch them again on TV, never to attend the screening of their movie, nor ever listen to their music again. If we were to know and hear who they really are would we lose our ability to enjoy and appreciate their artistic contribution?

Michael Jackson – one of the greatest musical artists of all time – was accused of pedophilia

Chris Brown – famous singer – assaulted his girlfriend Rihanna

Liza Minelli – Academy Award winning actress – married and divorced four times – struggled with various addictions and was sued by her last husband David Gest for beating him up

Jackson Pollock – one of the most influential twentieth century artists – he was an alcoholic who died in a drunk driving accident at 44 years old

Stephen King – bestselling horror author – claims openly that he was in a perpetual drunken haze at the time that he does not even remember writing CUJO

Thomas Kinkade, the “painter of light” – one of the most-collected artists in America, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving; his company filed for bankruptcy and it was given a fine by a court of $1 million for its business practices

Richard Burton – famous actor – married five times, was a heavy drinker, was involved in an incident that left his older brother disabled for the rest of his life; He also said that perhaps all actors are latent homosexuals, and “we cover it up with drink”

Sigmund Freud – neurologist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry – gave cocaine to his friend Fleischl-Marxow who developed an acute case of “cocaine psychosis” and died a few years later

Cecil B DeMille – one of the greatest film directors of all time – Steven Spielberg attributes Cecil as his inspiration to direct movies; Cecil was married but had serial mistresses even though he is best known for his Biblical epics “Samson and Delilah”, “The Sign of the Cross” and his magnum opus “The Ten Commandments.”

When we look deeper into the personal lives of celebrities, entertainers and those we mistakenly idolize and when we seek out all of the sordid details, we warp and erode our image of them, with little benefit for us. Perhaps it is best to focus on their artistic contribution and not get heavily involved in their personal lives.

Lesson three is remembering to separate the art from the artist:

If you have listened to that audio recording, will you ever be able to enjoy Mel Gibson again in “What women want” or “Braveheart”?

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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2 replies
  1. Avatar
    Paul says:

    Patrick you made a great point about separating the art from the artist. I’m guilty of this. Technology gives us access to celebrities like never before. We place them on a pedestal as if they are supposed to be examples of model citizens. This was an excellent reminder that they are people just like the rest of us. Only the entire world watches their successes and failures.

  2. Avatar
    Cher says:

    I remember when I was a teenager taking dance lessons and I made the comment that I love watching Mikhail Baryishnikov dance. My dance teacher said that he is just a womanizer and a piece of crap. I thought to myself that I don’t care nor do I want to know, I just love to watch him dance. Take entertainment for what it is and leave it at that. Expecting people to live up to your expectations is only inviting frustration. And so is idolizing someone. If someone isn’t living a life of honor, there is no need to be inspired by them. Manage your own life and do it well, and maybe someone will be inspired by you. It’s so simple.

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