Charlie Sheen is a very good actor. He is fascinating to watch, and he’s hooked all of us. He rants, he raves, his behavior is outrageous. And, we’re all his captive audience. In fact, the worst punishment we could ever give Charlie Sheen would be to ignore him.
I’m not sure what the big fuss is about. Charlie Sheen’s life is far from exemplary. He is not a scholar, a leader, nor is he even a respectful man. He has five children, four of whom are young, and for photo ops they appear playing ball with him. Kids need real fathers-with real interaction. They do not need to be props in a reality show which is their life- a reality show that they didn’t choose to be on.
There is a quality of schadenfreude to all of this. There is a certain amount of pleasure that we as an audience feel as we watch a character decompose. Unfortunately, there are many real lives as stake here. Not just his family but the cast, crew, and working community who were employed by CBS to run a highly successful show. True, he has expressed guilt about jeopardizing so many family incomes, but in typical Sheen fashion he expressed more ‘guilt’ about being the evil one, when he assures us that it is everyone else but him. Spoken like a true narcissist Charlie!
In my years as a practicing therapist, I have seen many variations of the tragedy that is Charlie Sheen. However, my patients most often don’t get the public platform that Charlie Sheen commands. It’s hard work to eliminate drugs and destructive behavior. And it’s hard work to learn how to be empathic when it doesn’t come naturally. But it is possible. It just takes someone of character with values, commitment and support to want to make that change. In most cases the ‘Aha!’ moment comes when they realize how painful it is to inflict their problems on young children. Charlie, on the other hand, seems to have no such awareness, and from all accounts he will continue to dance by himself, or with his two ‘roommates,’ in a Sheen-imposed vacuum. Charlie Sheens narcissism is out of control!
I read today that his friend Sean Penn has reached out to Charlie and invited him to help in his work, rebuilding homes in Haiti. What a breath of fresh air that would be for Mr. Sheen, because the only way to control rampant narcissism is to think and do for others.
Take a risk Charlie, put your money to good use. Help others, before we all turn off our televisions.