As a clinician, I’ve been watching the endless coverage of Michael Jackson’s death from a different viewpoint. I’ve trained in sexual addiction issues and kept thinking, “here is more than likely, a sexual predator, who is being praised as a fabulous human being”. Then, I realized, my empathy had been replaced by cynicism.
No matter how famous, how talented, how rich, everyone on the planet has core issues that drive our emotions and behavior. It made me think of what an effect our family of origin issues have on all our lives and if there is severe untreated trauma, how difficult life can be.
When you look back at what we know of Michael’s life, he was emotionally and physically abused as a child, appeared to have been emotionally arrested at the age of 8 or 9, may or may not have been a sexual predator, and more than likely, died of an overdose. Add the media spotlight, the fame, and the pressure and I believe he lived a truly torturous life.
Instead of receiving substantial treatment for trauma, chemical dependence and who know what else, he was “enabled” by professionals who were seduced by power, money and fame. I found his death to be profoundly sad, not because we lost the “King of Pop”, but because he was a person who suffered and died, caught up in the web of addiction. In the end, he is just another person, lost to this devastating disease.