Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, has brought to light numerous issues – domestic violence, childhood abuse, addiction, and personality disorders. Our attention is riveted on Depp as the lurid details of their toxic relationship are laid bare. We are appalled, grossed, dismayed, sad, amused, enthralled, and entertained – like watching a black comedy unfold.
Hearing Johnny air out his dirty laundry has been cathartic to many of us.
One is relieved in many ways to know that immense wealth and success do not immunize anyone from stupidity or embarrassment. We are all human when it comes to dealing with pain and suffering – we trip, we stumble, and fall flat on our faces in our struggle to cope. However, we needn’t get stuck in the shame about our past. Like Jesus Christ, Johnny has taken our collective shame upon himself. We can brush ourselves, pick up the pieces and move on.
One fact though, it has become clear that Depp was not really the bad guy – the wife-beater.
Sure he does have his addiction issues but as the trial unfolds, Amber Heard, his ex-wife seems like the bigger villain – crazy, manipulative, conniving, deceitful. Her earlier image of the wronged wife has all but vanished. In fact, she too comes across as having some serious mental issues.
After all, which sane person poops on the bed in retaliation. That Depp says, was the final straw that broke their marriage.
Amber Heard’s About-Turn
It must have been a huge shock to realize that this beautiful creature he had been so smitten with was actually a completely different person – a nasty piece of work. After all who secretly records private moments with one’s spouse. Particularly, when the recordings were to explicitly show him in a bad light – often provoking him to lose his cool and get violent.
Her devious intent seems so apparent when she does not allow him to walk away and insists he continues discussing some inane matter despite the highly volatile situation.
Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Relationship Timeline
Depp met Heard on the set of ‘The Rum Diary’ in 2009 and in late 2011 they officially announced they were dating. After 4 years of dating, on February 4, 2015, Depp and Heard married in a private ceremony.
Instead of days of wine and roses, daily life became a daily battleground fueled by unbridled usage of drugs and alcohol. Within a few months, they were literally at each other’s throats.
In October 2015 when visiting Depp in Australia during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Heard despite knowing, illegally brought their two dogs, Boo and Pistol, on a private jet into the country Thus breaking Australia’s tough biosecurity laws.
On May 23, 2016, three days after Depp’s mother died, Heard filed for divorce, Four days later, she obtained a temporary restraining order against the Hollywood star. She alleged that Depp was physically abusive and violent, particularly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
All his previous partners have refuted this claim of violence. Johnny was never ever violent with them even when high.
Accusations of Abuse and Divorce
In 2017, the divorce was finalized, with Heard receiving a $7 million settlement. However, despite the non-disparagement clause inserted into the settlement that prevented either party from saying anything negative about the high-profile relationship and break-up, Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018 about her experience with domestic abuse. Even though she did not name Depp, it was unequivocally clear who the abuser was.
I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.
Soon after the article was published, Depp was dropped from his role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This Depp and his team attributed to the false accusations published in the article.
Depp has claimed that these false allegations caused immense damage to his career and resulted in great financial losses.
Was Depp A Perpetrator of Domestic Violence or Was He A Victim
Heard made a total of 14 allegations of Depp’s violence between 2013 and 2016, which Johnny strongly denies.
Despite the recordings, one will never know the real facts behind partner domestic violence. Each one has its own story, how the other one is to blame. With no constant witnesses present it is very difficult to get to the actual truth. In most cases of domestic violence, usually, the only witnesses are the innocent children. Thankfully, in this case, there were none.
However, as the trial progresses, and the exposé of the salacious details of their tumultuous relationship comes out, support for Johnny Depp has only gone up. Amber Heard is no longer seen as a helpless victim of domestic violence. Rather, he is gaining sympathy for having had to put up with this personality-disordered manipulator.
As someone who has seen both genders of abusers, everyone is capable of extreme violence when triggered. Only recently did I manage to get away from a narcissistic female friend whose violent instability I was witness to. They can destroy you, particularly if are closely associated with them. I watched her rage and hit, her little innocent daughters while slowly destroying the husband. Finally, he left, leaving behind the daughters.
Abusers, both male and female are shameless, they know how to skillfully manipulate the narrative – my father was an expert liar and blame-shifter.
Was It Mutual Abuse?
As humiliating as this trial is for Johnny Depp, his case so well demonstrates how a woman can be abusive – both mentally and physically. Judging from the comments on the numerous Youtube videos on this trial, the female perpetuator-male victim dynamic is more common than previously thought to be.
I think this case will be quite important in changing society’s perception that men are perpetrators and women are victims of domestic violence. And hopefully, in the future, this will stop the police/prosecutors/public from making snap judgments about any case.
Furthermore, there are times when the person experiencing abuse may respond in an abusive way due to the need for safety, control, or even out of fear. Those responses become reflexive as the relationship progresses. This is what’s called reactive abuse.
The only option is for one person to move away. However, from the recordings, it is clear that Amber would not let Johnny move away.
Why Did Depp Tolerate Heard – Childhood Abuse and Repetition Compulsion
Johnny Depp’s salacious court battle brings up the pertinent question. WHY did he tolerate Amber Heard’s crap for so long?
I got my answer after listening to his protracted description of his childhood – repetition compulsion. Mommy dearest had limbically programmed Johnny to tolerate abuse and accept it as love. Freud defined repetition compulsion – as the desire to return to an earlier state of things.
In his deposition, Depp recounts how utterly cruel his mother was not just physically but also emotionally. She hit them, threw things at them, and also mocked their physical defects – in Johnny’s case she called him cock-eyed due to his problems with one of his eyes. And yet, he has claimed he loved his mother very much.
Our early relationship with our mother/father becomes the map of what love looks like. When our experiences of love in our childhoods were crazy-making, unpredictable, and violent, abuse feels normal, and it feels like home.
Once mommy was not around due to age and illness, he subconsciously needed a replacement. Amber Heard fit the bill perfectly.
According to Freud, repeating and re-enactment of our childhood trauma helps us uncover and work through our repressed past.
Working Through Dysfunctional Patterns
I know my one serious relationship had so many similarities to my dysfunctional family – particularly the domineering and coercive behavior just like my father. The aftermath of this relationship was excruciating but it did bring to the surface so many repressed memories. I am still working my way through the quagmire of my toxic childhood.
Rationally, it makes no sense why this super-successful rich dude literally put up with this crap. Why was he trying to placate, instead of just walking away? The truth is no matter how rich/successful/older we are, basically we are emotional beings controlled by our childhood wiring. We crave the familiar even though it may be highly destructive.
However, Johnny Depp says his mother’s death was his wake-up call, which made him realize his marriage to Amber Heard had to end.
For me, it was the birth of my son. I just didn’t want him to grow up in an adverse environment.
As with Heard what part of her childhood was she re-enacting?
Amber Heard’s Personality Disorder
Dr. Shannon Curry, a psychologist hired by Johnny Depp testified that Amber Heard has two personality disorders – borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder (HPD). And this comorbidity of disorders is not uncommon.
BPD impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others causing self-image issues, problems managing emotions, and behavior, and a possible pattern of unstable relationships. A histrionic personality disorder is associated with ‘drama and shallowness,’ and a need to be the center of attention.
Both these fall into the Cluster B personality disorders that are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior. Also included in the group are antisocial personality disorder(ASPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Origin Of Personality Disorders
Though Dr. Curry states that these disorders could be genetic. Often it is our childhood environmental factors that precipitate the development of these latent tendencies into full-blown disorders.
According to psychologist David Hosier, childhood trauma could lead to the development of borderline personality disorder. Their brain gets wired differently, they fear abandonment they can be extremely volatile for them. Though you do feel sorry for them, you really cannot put yourself in their firing line. They will hurt you badly.
Moreover, they are very hard to treat because often the person lacks self-awareness and lives in denial of their issues. They will always blame others for their problems.
Having both BPD and HPD means a double dose of emotional dysregulation and dysfunction.
Amber Heard once compared Johnny Depp to her violent dad. She has shared that her father was abusive to her mother and he also beat up Heard and her siblings.
Personally, growing up with a violent father really messes with you in terms of the development of a stable sense of self.
It sure was a marriage made in hell. All the unresolved childhood trauma triggered mutual abuse. Add to that an unchecked indulgence of drugs and alcohol and you have two mad-hatters trying to take each other out.
Depp’s and Heard’s alcohol and drug use have been focal points of the trial. Heard has alleged that Depp would get aggressive during his drug-and alcohol-fueled rages. Depp has counter accused Amber of typically drinking two bottles of wine a night and regularly ingesting MDMA and magic mushrooms during their relationship.
During the trial, Johnny Depp testified he’s used drugs and alcohol for self-medication during his difficult childhood, seeking to numb his emotional pain.
He began by taking his mother’s ‘nerve pills’ at the age of 11, was smoking at age 12, and by the age of 14 had used every kind of drug there were.
It is common knowledge that childhood trauma is an underlying cause of addictive behaviors. In the face of over-whelming stressors with no adult figure to help one self-soothe one tries to find alternatives – alcohol and drugs are usually easily available and provide quick relief. Over time, this becomes habitual and one quickly becomes addicted.
Cathartic Relief – Lessons One Has Learnt
By sharing his private life, Depp has done us all a favor. He has removed the shame from being abused, whether it was by your parent, siblings, or partner.
If a multi-millionaire movie star can be abused and struggle with the aftermath it’s really okay for us normal folks to struggle too. I know I carried the shame of being abused deep within my psyche for a long-time. However, listening to Depp’s vulnerabilities being exposed has eased my inner hatred of being so flawed.
We are all human we hurt and we suffer. Nonetheless, the most prudent lesson we learn is to try to heal your childhood traumas before you get into a romantic relationship. Or else, you will end up re-enacting your childhood drama with different players.
And lastly and most importantly, be vigilant of the red flags a person displays. Don’t let a distorted, messed-up person take control of your head and life. If you do make the mistake of choosing toxic people do not be stuck. leave sooner than later, before something horrible happens.
Changing Tide – Favoring JohnnyDepp
As the case develops and testimonies take the internet by storm, the publicized court hearing has shifted perception with regard to domestic violence. There is an online petition to have Heard removed from Aquaman 2.
Next week, Heard is to take the stand against ex-husband Johnny Depp, we have to wait and watch what bombshells she reveals as she lays bare HER side of the toxic relationship