I Watched Oprah Yesterday

I do that from time to time. It’s a guilty pleasure and now you know my secret. Blackmail me if you wish.
In yesterday’s episode, Oprah had Mackenzie Phillip on talking about her drug addiction and her incestuous relationship with her father. When this news broke in the Internet yesterday, I read many obvious comments: shock, disgust, why doesn’t she keep this to herself, she is doing it for money and attention. Perhaps I am alone, but all I could feel was deep sadness for Mackenzie. It seemed clear why she spent so many years struggling with a drug addiction. How does one get over such a thing? How does one deal at all? I cannot even begin to fathom.
I have to say I think she should tell her story. Whatever means she has utilized to deal so far has not worked. There is something about keeping secrets of this kind that takes on a life of its own never allowing you to deal with the initial problem. A lot of energy is spent hoping no one knows, or brushing it under the carpet…or simply trying to forget. I find that when I spend a lot of time worrying about something I did and feeling guilty about it, it often helps a great deal to talk to someone (in this case, a therapist would be a good start) and bring perspective to the situation (me:I can’t believe I made them white flour sandwiches! They are doomed to lives of bad nutrition now! friend:blinks). While guilt can be helpful in determining a right course of action, left unchecked, it can be the cause of equally egregious behavior if left unchecked.
I suppose I should state the obvious thoughts about her father. She makes a point of naming this “consensual incest”, but it started when she was very young and continued until she was much older. Her father crossed a line when she was vulnerable. I am not saying she is not responsible for her actions, but simply that I can’t imagine how sound she was in her situation to see things clearly. Her father=disgusting. I will refrain from making the obvious Baby Boomer observation. God help me, I know when my children are adults, despite my best efforts, they will have complaints about my parenting abilities, because I am human. But I cannot imagine knowingly using my child like this. Maybe I should pity him too. Maybe he did not understand the ramifications and the selfishness of his actions. Only God knows.
Mostly what struck me is what Mackenzie Phillips said about forgiveness. I do not have a quote, so I will paraphrase. She said she learned that forgiveness is not something you give to the person that offended you as much as it is giving yourself some peace. If I may take it a small further and say it is making peace with God as well, which is why Jesus tells us we must forgive. I wish her he best.