Thank you to all who commented on my first blog on Michael Jackson. There is so much rich material in your replies that I’d like to do one more round.
Shannonine’s astute observation was that, as much as I wished that MJ could have been saved from his self-destruction, neither myself nor anyone else “would have been able to change or lead MJ on a better path unless he sincerely wanted that.” How true this is … thank you!
As much as we might like to — and as hard as we might try, we cannot really rescue anybody else. Shannonine also tells her story of trying to help her boyfriend get counseling to save himself, but she failed, even though she feels he is her ‘soulmate.’ I can identify with this heart-wrenching tale, as I’m sure many of us who have loved people who are actually unavailable – if only for their own mysterious emotional reasons (it’s so hard for us to let go when we can’t understand what we are dealing with).
As much as you love someone, sometimes you cannot bridge the distance that other person insists on maintaining. It is as if people have a need to repeat old patterns over and over until they can finally see (maybe in the next lifetime ) what they are doing, so that they can make a different choice.
My desire to have been able to influence MJ may have been inspired by compassion — as well as admiration for his beautiful message as an artist — but it was totally a fantasy – because Shannonine is right. There is nothing any individual can do to help someone who is so caught in addiction or depression, unless they ‘bottom out’ and ask for help (before they commit suicide). As Shirley said on June 29, “ I agree with Angel and Linda … it is not possible to change people, only to hope that they will improve.”
My desire to help others is based on the experience of empathy. I know that we are all much more alike than we are different. In spite of the great lengths people go to in order to feel (and act) “special” – tatooing themselves all over, going into debt to imitate the rich and famous, trying to act like celebrities (on myface, etc), dancing with the stars in our head, projecting our narcissistic fantasies onto professional entertainers like MJ – in spite of all this, none of us is all that “special” (except perhaps Barack Obama :-). Babies are special … that’s it, nobody else! Come to think of it, MJ kind of stayed a baby all his life … the way he talked, pretending he was Peter Pan with the children. He embodied infantile “specialness” for all of us, and all of our inner children who maybe were not allowed to ever feel very special. (And he sure could sing and dance!)
How can you save someone from a fate such as his? Unfortunately, you just can’t. When a child did not receive the special love he was entitled to, well … that is hard damage to repair. It would require lots of counseling at the very least, which is the last thing someone with a narcissistic personality disorder is willing to even consider.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to accept the self-destruction of loved ones. And it’s so hard to walk away. (I just read a great book on this subject entitled “Narcissistic Lovers” … wow. More on that later.) But we can take some refuge in a faith that we live in an ultimately loving universe, where cosmic justice ultimately reigns and everything balances out in the end. Considering how much good Michael Jackson’s artistic spirit did in the world, I’m not worried about him any more!