What are we really listening to when we hear Mel Gibson’s unrelentless verbal buckshots at his former flame Oksana Grigorieva? Drunken frustration at its heights, racist and anti-Semitism, or something more? Ms. Celie Whoopi Goldberg, who has come to the defense of womanizer Jesse James, black face joker Ted Danson, and mad ass Mel is trying to persuade women that maybe we are all wrong to be disgusted by the crude language and remarks of Mel Gibson, and we have misunderstood him by what we’ve heard in the media.” He’s not racist,” Whoopi insists, but one thing he is for sure is an intimidating misogynist that was/is verbally abusive to his girlfriend.
Context and intent are measuring tools to help determine whether an argument or discussion is getting out of hand. When mean words are tossed like rice at a wedding with the intent to shame and dismiss, you may be dealing with your own Lethal Weapon. Mocking of your feelings and sarcastic put downs are classic signs that this exchange is more than just a rant and actually an expression of abuse. A fight is not fair when your self-esteem is more beat down than unemployment legislation. Emotional cruelty is not a right of passage in normal relationships and should not be condoned or tolerated. Hiding the impact of these confrontations from friends and family increases the shame that verbally abused people endure. The abuse is successful when the victim feels totally alone and isolated because of the constant eruptions of anger they experience in these relationships. The emotional collateral damage is immense and so is keeping the peace between you and air for a temper. Add that to putting on a peaceful face for the world, and there leaves no peace inside left for you. Personal disrespect is not a precursor to getting a point across. Criticism and humiliation are not normal, and neither is getting the third degree about socializing with friends or wardrobe choices. The toll is heavy being subjected (or your children) to talk that makes Hell’s Kitchen seem like The Martha Stewart Show.
The hardest thing to peg about verbal abusers is that they are often difficult to peg. Lots are charming and successful people who most wouldn’t suspect of such cruel potty mouthery. This can make coming to terms with the abuse even worse because it’s hard to call a nice person an abuser. Miss Celie’s Mister. in The Color Purple, comes to mind, a complete tool that everybody hates. This isn’t always the case as verbal Tasmanian devils come in all personality types. Remember there was a time when people looked at O.J. Simpson as the epitome of good guyness, so just because someone may have good qualities doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of taking situations too far.
Hot headed douchebags don’t think about the implications of their actions, so why protect them? The responsibility of the victim is to stop being the victim and get out of the out of hand situation. A relationship can keep many secrets but this kind of controlling and depressing behavior shouldn’t be hid behind closed doors. Nobody wants to be alone, but love doesn’t call names Orbitz Gum couldn’t clean up, intimidate like a pack of pitt bulls, hurt self-esteem like a punch from Laila, or make you question if you are safe in your own home. Covering the verbal spewers ass (this means you Whoopi Goldberg) only reassures the abuser that they are doing nothing wrong, and this kind of domestic terrorism authority is justified, and their victim is being too sensitive. Anyone that advises you to stay with a Hitler of emotions is just as confused or messed up as they are and are undoubtedly compensating for personal inadequacies. Trust your instinct and bail out, threats can become vendettas. Maybe the threat hanging over Osana’s head about being buried in a rose garden didn’t seem too unbelivable from a guy who verbally lashed her out the same way he lashed out Jesus Christ.