February 1st, 2012 21:55 EST
Demi's Demise: "I Can't Take it Any Moore"
For a while, Demi Moore looked like the poster child for the older woman/younger man romance, a successfully blended family, and the beautiful older woman.
Now it`s all coming crashing down.
In the wake of public revelations of her much younger husband`s affairs, and evidenced by the 911 call leading to her recent hospitalization, Demi has had a breakdown. Desperate, her condition says, "I can`t take it any Moore."
What`s eating Demi (who, by the way hasn`t been eating since she`s scary skinny):
Demi`s reps say blame her condition on exhaustion. While an obvious PR ploy, Demi`s likely exhausted but her problems go much deeper. Exhaustion is just one symptom of depression. And when things get so bad to warrant a 911 call and emergency hospitalization, I worry about the risk of suicide.
Thankfully Demi got emergency professional care, but I worry about her future. Since her life circumstances won`t change (she`s headed for divorce), her lifestyle and psychological state have to change. Supposedly Demi is in "spiritual counseling;" likely Kaballah as she (and Madonna) are reportedly followers. The emphasis of that practice on female strength may help, but long-term psychological counseling is definitely in order. Demi should have kept the role as feminist Gloria Steinem in the upcoming p[o]rn biopic, Lovelace; it would have helped her rebuild her feminine power. Demi has many reasons to feel clinically depressed. She`s been betrayed by her husband`s infidelities. She`s been publicly humiliated. Her fairy tale love-affair has come to an ugly end. Her film career is far from her Rat Pack reign and "Ghost" glory days, once the highest paid female Hollywood actor. She likely feels old, evidenced by her obsessive efforts to be thin, and probably triggered by her three daughters growing up.
Every mother feels old when her daughters become young women, but for fading Hollywood actresses, the reality hits hard. For example, Demi`s daughter Rumer, at 23, is an aspiring actress herself, mindful of her mother`s lost glory days. Not only has Demi been abandoned by her man, but deep down the encroaching empty nest may also lead to a feeling of abandonment and aging.
The wound is deeper given that wild s[e]x didn`t help. Rumors are flying that Demi and Ashton took others to their bed. Relationships teeter when the man wants to act out one of man`s favorite fantasies: a threesome (or more). His female partner may give in; rarely it suits her fancy too, more often than not, she may give in to keep her man. If Demi and Ashton had that kind of "open marriage" and Ashton still went behind her back, the betrayal feels even worse.
Wasting away to a thin rail like Demi, signaling the eating disorder anor[e]xia, a sure sign of feeling out of control.
With the end of her marriage coming to a head, Demi could be suffering from love shock, a condition like being wounded in war, getting injured and your life explodes. That presages post-traumatic love disorder.
Demi`s demise is depressing not only for her, but for all women. It`s a sad sign that "you`ve NOT come a long way baby" - a reverse of the claim of the Women`s Liberation movement that women have come a long way to NOT feel dependent on a man. Yet many women are still desperate for the man`s attention, affection and admiration to validate themselves. When the relationship ends, the woman more often is the one who suffers more than the man (though men don`t suffer too!), made worse by her desolation imagining that he is happily moving on with his life (like Ashton seems to have done) while she is hysterical, bemoaning her fate.
Part of women`s post-break up suffering can be blamed on the brain. The brain of a woman in love secretes more bonding chemicals, making withdrawal from the attachment that much more difficult.
Also, from a psychological point of view, women are more likely to blame themselves while men more commonly rationalize and get on with their life.
For years, I and other therapists, have been giving women advice about how not to fall apart when a relationship fails and how to define yourself other than by being loved by a man. But women of all ages still do that - not just Demi`s half-century age group; but younger women too.
Beware Blake Lively, reportedly putting up a fuss about her love Ryan Gosling still in contact with his ex, Scarlett Johannson. Get smart, Blake; no amount of your moaning or complaining is going to stop him, and may even drive him further into her arms.
Don`t wrap your life up in your man. It may have been sweet that Demi tweeted @mrskutcher, but it also raised a few eyebrows: why didn`t she use her own name?
It`s going to be hard for her to disentangle her life from his. Besides the tweet moniker, they have a foundation together. I was there when they were the featured couple at the United Nations when they described their DNA Foundation (the Demi & Ashton Foundation) on November 4, 2010 at the formal launch of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
All women can also deservedly feel depressed that while the May-December (older man-younger woman) romances thrive, the reverse age gap romances are more often doomed. This, despite that one report claims that almost one-third of women between ages 40 and 69 are dating younger men (defined as 10 or more years younger). I remember having a woman on my call-in advice radio show in the 80s who wrote a very encouraging book about loving a younger man, proffering high statistics on success, but the reality of today is proving her wrong. JLo, at 42 years old, beware your new 24-year old backup dancer boytoy. Casper is Smart to hook on to your fame and fortune, but you may be the one left smarting.
Let`s also keep an eye on what happens to the reported romance of Ellen Barkin, 58, with her young lover, Sam Levinson, the producer of her current film, Another Happy Day, and interestingly, the son of Barry Levinson who produced her hit movie Diner when she was in her late 20s.
Demi reportedly has a history of drug use. There are suggestions of use of adderall (a drug commonly abused to get thin), salvia (a hallucinogenic herb), and inhaling nitrous oxide (which, as a dentist daughter, I know dentists commonly used for their patients undergoing procedures 50 years ago) from whip cream dispensers ("laughing gas" called whip-its, that I also know was commonly used in drug fueled rock n roll parties n the 1970s). Such drug use can explain Demi`s symptoms described in the 911 call. Salvia and whip-its cause disorientation and hallucinations. Side effects of adderall include vomiting and uncontrolled muscle movement. The energy drink Redbull can cause caffeine jitters. Smoking K2 Spice, a synthetic cannabis, which some reports said could be the explanation for the 911 report that Demi was "smoking something similar to incense" can also cause hyperventilation, panic and raciness.
Severe shakes are chemically induced and also the body`s way of releasing intense uncontrollable emotions.
Demi`s marital problems were likely building for a while. Ashton likely had already shut off his heart, since he was so able to romp in Brazil while shootig a commercial when his wife was suffering a breakdown. You could say Demi got "Punk`d" by Ashton.
I worry for all young women who looked up to Demi as a role model. Her demise is a warning to all women, and especially young women, to buckle up and build their self-esteem.
My worry extends to Demi`s daughters (especially Tallulah at the vulnerable age of 17, who was living with Demi). They are undoubtedly disappointed in the two failed marriages of their mother, and discouraged about men. How could they not be distressed: their biological father marries a much-younger wife, and their stepfather - young enough to be their big brother - who held promise for being a stable father-figure instead turns out to be a delayed adolescent. It can`t give them hope for their own future relationships, or trust in men.
I further worry about those seven-year itches signaling the end of s[e]x and relationships, for Demi and Ashton, JLo and Marc Anthony, and Heidi and Seal.
And I fret for the mid-life crisis of women, that seems to be happening for Demi and Heather Locklear (also seeming to have a breakdown at 50), when so much effort has been put into promoting that women at 50 are still youthful, confident and vital.
Here`s my advice in how not to break apart after a break-up (check out my "Complete Idiots Guide to a Healthy Relationship" with more tips):
Believe in yourself. If a man repeatedly cheats on you and drags you down, dump him and reaffirm that you deserve better.
Feel empowered. Make it your choice that it`s over.
Purge your anger. Getting mad is the flip side of sinking into sadness. Put him on an imaginary trial and convict him.
Comfort yourself from your woes, rather than escaping into alcohol, drugs or even food. Possible alternatives: throw yourself into productive work, hang out with friends who love you. Know you`re not the only one (Demi can seek solace with Heidi Klum, in her recently made public disappointment with Seal). Proof that no amount of beauty - much less youth - can save you from fading love.
Recognize and resolve any gender biases about men and women in relationships. This includes any belief that women suffer more than men, or that men dominate and control women (and fantasies about turning the tables like Demi`s character in Disclosure where the female boss s[e]xually hara[s]ses a male employee).
Develop your inner strength and personal power. Demi can draw upon the toughness of her character in "GI Jane" or the personal power she displayed in the film "A Few Good Men" instead of the insecurities of a str[i]pper as in her role in "Str[i]p[t]ease." Demi has a doll collection; perhaps some of those can also provide inspiration.
Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons