Responding to Sandra Bullock

Responding to Sandra Bullock

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to respond to the storm of responses to last week’s newsletter about Sandra Bullock, and add some points.

First a quick update:

“Why gay artists are still hiding”
Read the transcript of the interview I gave to the Colombian magazine “Semana” about artists who still hide their sexual orientation.

Now, let’s talk about the storm of responses to last week’s newsletter about Sandra Bullock.

In that letter, I discussed the scandal of Jesse James who cheated on and betrayed his wife Sandra Bullock multiple times.

I made three key points and suggestions:

  1. For women: beware of falling in love with a man’s potential and do not waste your time trying to change him – because men resist change and usually only decide to change when it is too late
  2. For men and women: ensure when entering into a relationship that your morals, core values and principals are in alignment; that also applies to business relationships
  3. For men: Responsibility for one’s actions is not equal to a cry of addiction or victimhood i.e. Jesse James is not being a real man when he attempts to escape accountability and consequences by using a false excuse of “I am a sex addict” instead of admitting the real reasons he engaged in this behavior of deceit, betrayal and infidelity (lack of morals & values, lack of self-discipline & self-control, selfishness, narcissism, instant gratification.)

The response to last week’s newsletter was enormous.

Sandy wrote:

“Dear Patrick.  That is such a profound statement, I too have experienced it myself.”

Sensei Heath wrote:

“Awesome article on Sandra Bullock.  Great insight Patrick.”

Kim wrote:

“Wow, thanks Patrick for a very insightful reality check. I am guilty of marrying potential twice. Of course both marriages ended with enormous amounts of pain and anguish, followed by lengthy periods of soul searching.

“BUT, in my (and Sandra’s) defense, those types of “bad boys” that are soo appealing initially, welcome and encourage change. They tell (and show) us nurturing and emotionally open women all the right things to solidify the relationship. I feel manipulated by both of my ex’s. It took several years to see their “true colors”. 

“Any future relationships I may have will be approached very differently. Live and learn.”

Of course, not everyone agreed with my newsletter and points, and some people even got angry and made it personal:

Denise wrote:

“My, my, my….aren’t we the blanket assessor. I’m sorry…. I missed it…However, before you continue to give the “slapping of the hand” reprimand with a little dash of “you girls should now know better” …consider this: It is a consistently more overt character trait in men than women to: 1. control, 2. deceive, and 3. enjoy getting away with something. Even your best military leaders ‘get off” on creative the plan of deception to capture the enemy…Jesse James clearly represented himself as “a reasonable partner” when in fact he was not anything of what he presented to her (or many others) from the beginning… I guess without the ‘ultimate background check’ (which maybe a woman of her means and accomplishment should have considered doing) it obviously never occurred to her that she was potentially a mother needing to distinguish a ‘man from a boy’ and that she was nurturing an underdeveloped being…

…but she certainly does not deserve to be imaged as someone who deserves this ‘life lesson’ as you dare to call it. I have read only a few or your articles in the past, and it is clear that you exhibit a definite ‘man assertion’ problem. Maybe you need to consider getting a level of counseling for yourself. Are you Patrick, really the person, writer, editor etc. that you portray yourself to be on paper? Or are you someone else and we stupid women can’t see it right now because we so needingly want to nurture and develop a man who is really a boy?”
(You can read my entire response to Denise on my blog). My newsletter was not written to offer Sandra Bullock a life lesson, but rather for the rest of us to learn lessons from her experiences. Jesse James is not innocent and what he did is obviously horrible and disgusting; he lied and deceived Sandra Bullock with various words, actions and false images and she so deeply believed in him, but that is my very point. You need to take into account his past and see if he has really changed and determine his core values before entering into a marriage.

With regards to military men and wars, it is true that older men lead young boys into war. It has often been argued that if women were rulers, we would have fewer wars. The only challenge to that contention is that former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a powerful leader who also led and won wars. And she ruled with an iron-fist.

I am not sure what Denise referred to when she wrote that “you exhibit a definite ‘man assertion’ problem.” The intention of my Newsletter is to empower women – so I am helping women to assert themselves and to be careful not to be betrayed. I hold men accountable for their actions (myself included): read my Newsletter “Angry nagging men”.

Alli wrote:

“Well-written and straightforward timeless advice!  

…I guess what it boils down to is a question of exercising good judgment when choosing a mate.  

It happens…Many people get overpowered by hot looks, image, wealth and status that they find the real innards of what makes a person a good match such as personality, values, temperament, treatment of their mate, loyalty, etc., to be the “MINOR, BORING” stuff that they will change once the relationship turns into marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the most part, what you see is what you get. I guess that’s the thing with falling in love; it can blind you to serious defects in and incompatibilities with the other person. The question is, do you love the person because you love the person or do you love the person because they love you out of all people, which makes you feel validated, special, and important. 

I remember seeing an old clip on TV about Sandra Bullock saying something to the effect that Jesse James was the only guy who can handle her or something like that. That made me think that she must not really think too much of herself. Wow, it made me go back in my mind to Patrick Wanis 101: You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you think you deserve.”

The interview to which Alli refers is with Barbara Walters where Sandra Bullock speaking about Jesse James says:

“He can put up with me. I mean look at me…”

Barbara later asks Sandra:

“When you won the Golden Globe, you thanked your husband and said ‘I never knew what it was like to have someone have my back.’

No one protected you like Jesse? “ 

Sandra replies: ‘Not in a partnership like that. But I am partially to blame for that. I never allowed myself to be cared for or protected that way – in a relationship.’  

“How does he protect you?” asks Barbara.

Sandra pauses, looks up and then responds:

‘Not once asking me to be anything other than what I am.’

Was Sandra confusing indifference for acceptance or was Jesse James implying he wanted to let Sandra be herself and he wanted Sandra to let him be who he is i.e. not changing his moral and values?

Jennifer wrote:
“This was a very profound and interesting blog post. I think a large number of women suffer from this problem, more than we’d like to admit. The question I have for you now is how can a woman recognize when she is making the error of falling in love with the potential of a man and not the man as he is?

I find myself in a similar kind of predicament. I’m crazy about this boy who’s extremely kind, caring and compassionate person but at times, he’s very passive about his life, gives up easily, won’t strive for more or better from life. I find myself wishing these aspects would “change” in him. Should I be expecting that? Or should I just be more patient and realize that these are things that everyone goes through and they will get better at some point in the future? Am I, by thinking like this, setting myself up to be like Sandra Bullock at some point in the future? I really hope you can give me some advice to clear the cobwebs from my head. After reading your blog post, I find myself feeling very stressed out about this.”
(You can read my entire response to Jennifer on my blog.) Jennifer is describing what I believe to be the common and classic mistake women make: falling in love with a man’s potential and his primary good and attractive qualities while ignoring the bad which could later turn out to be the wedge that splits apart the relationship (and hoping meanwhile that he will change.)

For example, Jennifer says that he is young and he gives up easily and is passive, then one must ask “why? What has happened in his life? Has he always been this way? Why would one expect that he can change or that he does want to change?”

In Jennifer’s case, if he gives up easily and does not fight for what he wants, then he will also be that way in a relationship! In other words, he probably won’t fight for her or the relationship when the real challenges surface.

Second, would it surprise you if Jennifer were to find herself having to be his driver and pusher – motivating him to pursue his goals. Would she want to do that all of her life – in a relationship? He perhaps may never grow out of it.

The advice to Jennifer applies to all of us: A perfect partner does not exist but seek out the person that possesses and demonstrates the key qualities, values and principals you want. For Jennifer that implies finding someone that is “extremely kind, caring and compassionate person but” also someone who is active and assertive about life and strives for more and better from life!
In conclusion, I admit that in last week’s newsletter, I may not have clearly expressed my compassion for Sandra Bullock for what she has suffered as result of believing in and trusting Jesse James. I do wonder though, why do we the public express so much more sympathy towards Sandra than we do towards Tiger Wood’s wife Elin – who has two young children? We show more sympathy towards Sandra Bullock because we feel we know her via her films and we feel that she is a sweetheart, humble and the girl-next- door whereas we do not know Elin and Elin was a model and while Sandra worked so hard for her success, Elin seems to have gotten everything easily. But both women were wronged and betrayed; both women were humiliated in public, and both deserve compassion.

If you have been betrayed, deceived or cheated on, consider using my audio book and program: Getting over it combo package.

If you would like to comment on this newsletter, click here. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

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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8 replies
  1. Avatar
    Eduard says:

    Something left out in all this is how Jesse James makes a living. Let’s face it Jesse’s a adrenaline junky…. something I felt was a little over looked in all of this. He enjoys putting his life on the line, being more like a stuntman touting a no fear flag about death and or injury regardless of how much fortune or fame he has. What does that tell us about the events that transpired? Was what he did just more of this risk taking behavior? Did this in Jesse’s character make Sandra Bullock feel secure while at the same time putting the relationship in jeapordy?
    This is not to take away from what has been stated by Patrick and others here,
    but rather to add a bit more dimension to what’s already been said.

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Eduard,

      i definitely agree that Jesse James most likely enjoys the adrenaline rush. And sometimes, so-called mental health professionals confuse the compulsive desire for an adrenaline rush with an addiction. Yes, too many men today are claming sex addiction (which is not recognized by the medical profession nor psychiatry) when in fact what these men are actually experiencing is either narcissism, lak of self-control, discipline and loyalty, or self-sabotage or a complusive need for risk-taking behavior and adrenaline rushes which has a different root cause.

      I mentioned in an interview I gave to Grazia magazine that I also feel that Jesse James did love Sandra Bullock but he also didn’t feel that he deserved her – he was sabotaging his relationship and returning to the people he felt more comfortable with – his tribe.

      All the best and thank you for your insights and input Eduard.


  2. Avatar
    Zoe says:

    I must have missed an article. I am sure the outpouring of sympathy toward Sandra is helped because we “know” her, but to imply no one cares about Elin Woods is shortsighted. Also i think models would take exception to the comment that she didnt “work” for what she has. Although looking like a model is a fast ticket to a rich husband, it doesnt keep you there.Thanks for your other insightful articles. i find myself getting into a relationship where i really like the person but now i can articulate what is wrong. I think i like him because he likes me, rather than liking some of the things he is, which is increasingly becoming clear that he is controlling and rigid.

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Zoe,

      yes, the article from last week is “Lessons from Sandra Bullock”; click here to read it:

      I do have models as clients so I am aware of what they experience in their profession and the work involved. My point is that Elin who was a nany and a model had not worked anywhere as hard as Sandra Bullock who has made her own money from her businesses and from her acting career. Most of Elin’s money and luxuries in life come from the success and work of Tiger Woods.

      Well done for recognizing something that we all are prone to giving into – liking ans welcoming someone because they like or love us rather than because we genuinely like them.

      All the best,


  3. Avatar
    Pema says:

    Dear Patrick,

    Thank you for your latest article about Sandra Bullock. Your articles help give me the perspective of objectivity, and inspire me to be the empowered woman that I am meant to be. Your professionalism and integrity shines through in your writing.

    I can totally identify with Sanda Bullock, as I too had come into a level of personal power and achivement, then to find out my husband of 5 years was having (telephone & internet) romance with 2 women that were in invovled in our joint business for several months. He was sloppy like Jesse James was and really didn’t think it threw how this would affect our business, our income, or our reputations after divorcing with regards to our business contacts. He had been married before and had a similar pattern of infidelity to his previous wife before me. Thankfully, I realized that his insecurites and reasons for his infidelity didn’t have anything to do with me, yet like Sandra, I had some trust issues of my own to finally face and deal with. I had tried to marry a potential, an illusion of what I wanted him to be or what I thought he was; and I trust that I own the wisdom now & before my next serious relationship.


    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Pema,

      thank you for your kind words and compliments.

      I am sincerely grateful that my work and writing have inspired you to be the empowered woman that you are meant to be. Congratulations Pema!

      I also humbly congratulate you for realizing that your husband’s stuff and issues are his stuff and for dealing with your issues to set you free: “that his insecurites and reasons for his infidelity didn’t have anything to do with me, yet like Sandra, I had some trust issues of my own to finally face and deal with.”

      All the best,

  4. Avatar
    Cher says:

    This was a well-written, useful, and insightful newsletter for ALL of us. In Patricks defense, I believe he would only write well thought out, helpful, caring… Newsletters. Therefore, his words should be taken with a proper attitute. In my opinion, relationships aren’t about working hard on it but working smart. Both of you need to have your attitutes in check. Both of you need to be grown ups in the heart and in the head…boys and girls cannot form a relationship PERIOD! Get out of the mentality that the grass is greener. When you find the right person, that thought doesn’t exist. Total acceptance is a must. Neither one of you should expect a fantasy…real life is better because IT IS real. You like and love the person or you like what you love and you love what you like. As soon as you discover that your man is a boy or your woman is a girl, you have every right to walk. It’s not mandatory to live in discomfort and pain hoping it will change. Love is a good thing and should never hurt.

  5. Avatar
    James says:


    Over the last 20 plus years, through Highschool, the military and many personal and professional relationships, I’ve run across a number of men who have been guilty of the very thing Jesse James is guilty of.

    Many of these men were friends or family and I’ve discussed with them in length why they allowed themselves to be so easily persuaded to betray their wives/girlfriends. Without fail, I’ve found each of these men “perceived” something missing in their relationships. And like I’ve always said, “perception is reality.”

    For some of these men, it was something simple. For others, something quite different. All of these men thought they could find what they were missing in another relationship. They never found it. And you are right, they usually realized their mistakes and truly wanted to change after it was too late.

    Great article, and I love the feedback.



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