|Rihanna and Oprah Winfrey on |
Oprah Winfrey's Next Chapter
Oprah first set up who Rihanna is, the audiences' understanding of her career and to some degree her identity. Then it went into her domestic violence issues with Chris Brown and for me, that's when it got really wacky. Not wacky bad but wacky in the sense that I missed the old Oprah Winfrey Show format that included audience and therapist participation because some of Rihanna's thinking, truly expressive, needed to be funneled through a psychological lens. She talked about her concern for Brown directly after their explosive fight, her lack of self-empathy and then more tellingly (I had it listed out mentally) her issues with her father. She talked about her father being abusive towards her mother, her witnessing it and more twistedly---thinking he was still a great father.
Let me say this: Good men don't abuse their partners, especially in front of children. Children who see their parents abused, grow up to be abusers or abused unless they do some intervention level psychological work on that heavy contradiction. Love doesn't abuse.
But aside from a healthy perspective on family dynamics, we have to consider who listens to Rihanna---younger, some educated, some not, male and female, all sexualities---who may've come from abusive households themselves.
Point one: Rihanna needs some intensive therapy that can't occur in TV Land.
Point two: Brown needs the same. Really fast.
Point three: People are attracted to what they grew up with. You seek the love (or lack) or twisted love you witnessed/experienced as a child. (Next time you're dating someone ask them HOW their parental figures were in relationship to each other and listen to the dysfunction. Why? That's who you're on a date with.)
Point four: Oprah was unusually passive, letting it be more of a casual conversation than a directive, snatch someone by their coattails episode. I think she too was listening to a young woman who is still in the emotional snare of Brown/her father, this was probably the best way to handle it.
You can't talk sense into someone until they're ready to understand that they will have to change some of the things they think are "normal" to them.
Point five: All media coverage translates to fame/celebrity/money. I'm waiting for the Rihanna book, the domestic violence shelters, the profiteering for herself or somehow making this "work" for her. But I think that I'm getting ahead of her. I think she can't do this yet because she's still "in it". To be around the social workers, non-profits, psychologists would be a level of "help" and when people are "in it" the last thing they want to do---especially when you heap the power of celebrity/power on her abilities to avoid anything she doesn't want to deal with.
There's a sense of fragility when she talks, willingness to be harshly treated, pointedly by men, a whole lot of Caribbean female iron upper lip as your man does you dead wrong and induced sexualization by her career. Thereby in her adult formative years forming her into something that I think has a recipe for tragedy. She talks about love and emotional pangs being "accidentally" around him at party after the beating. But she's able to be both hones and yet still confused by this because she hasn't gotten the psychological help to not only deal with but change those feelings. People who go through abuse and do the work, find out one, WHY they were there and even more frighteningly, two, WHAT they do that attracts abusers/sets them up for abuse, literally changing their minds.
Rihanna has answered WHY she was there. Her past, her parents, her father. But what she hasn't done is the real work of WHAT she does to choose such men, why she's attracted to men who will abuse and what she does once she has those men to trigger the abuse. There's a fabulous center in Atlanta that has both parties in a relationship come for treatment because we often lambaste the abuser not taking into account that the first hit can be a surprise but the second one, is a dark wish fulfilled. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying one likes the violence but when you've grown up seeing/being a part of it, you believe that is what loving reality feels like.
A trained therapist helps someone learn the above and until she does that kind of work, whether it's emotional, financial, emotional or physical, Rihanna will be beat again.
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