Can you heal from abuse? What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day. And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough. Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation. But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist. Yours doesn’t have to. To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.
Welcome back to Breaking Through Our Silence. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a social media surge related to the Free Britney and the FreeBritney movement. To be honest, I had no idea what that meant, as I’d never heard of it before. So, I did a little bit of digging, and was distraught at my findings. Britney Spears, Pop Princess and icon is a prisoner of her own life. And on July 22nd, 2020, her case is being brought up and reexamined in front of a new judge. I’ve compiled a little bit of background information, but ultimately, I want you to make your own, informed decision about it. I can speak confidently when I say that I believe that this is absolutely domestic violence.
The music industry is toxic and has a tendency to be extremely restrictive with its entertainers. You could see that with Kesha, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Jojo, and thousands of other people who were out of control of their lives. With younger people, like Miley and Justin, it manifests in rebellious behavior. Think about a time when you were out of control, and you acted out in a way that gave you some semblance of control back. I can think of a ton for myself. Now, think about having no control over your life, and being surrounded by managers, paparazzi, and people who restrict the food you eat, the things you’re allowed to do and say, the way your time is spent, basically every avenue of your free will. Well, that’s what led to Britney Spears infamous meltdown and the shaved head fiasco of 2007. That meltdown led to a court mandated conservatorship, where her father and lawyer have complete control over Britney’s life. Her finances, her access to her children, where she goes, what she eats. Her entire free will, and every major decision in her life. At the snap of a finger, they can decide she’s unwell, and involuntarily put her in a home. Which, I’ll tell you about, because they’ve done that.
If you think about it, that lack of control can be considered abusive, right? What is an abusive relationship? It’s a pattern of behavior that manipulates and coerces someone into doing things they don’t want to do, or disallows them to do the things that they want to do. Whether it be with violence, words, psychologically, finances and spirituality. There are a ton of ways to control somebody. In the case of the entertainment industry, there are signed contracts that takes away all the rights to free will. But in conservatorships like Britney’s, she doesn’t have any choices. There is not another situation in this country where that is ever the case.
Spears’ former photographer Andrew Gallery recently went public with a letter that he claims was written by the singer in third-person, in which she reportedly opened up about the infamous 2007-08 period, and expressed dissatisfaction over her conservatorship, saying that she “has no rights.”
According to NYT, her father earn a $130,000 salary for his job of being her conservator, and he was also awarded 1.5 percent of the gross revenues from her performances and merchandise sales connected to her Las Vegas residency Piece of Me, despite his daughter being the one to put in all work on stage.
This sounds eerily similar to financial abuse, doesn’t it? On one hand, I understand that someone who isn’t cognitively able to manage their finances would need assistance in doing so. But those people typically aren’t on stage every night, with a Las Vega residency, or generally aren’t touring the world in the entertainment industry. But a person who is functional, but has no control of their finances, and no access to their finances, that is downright abuse. No?
Financial abuse is when the abuser has full control over the household finances. They could be the funds the abuser works for or the survivor brings in. But ultimately, the survivor has no access to the funds. That is a key word, ACCESS to the funds. Somebody overseeing and managing her money would still grant her access. She receives an allowance of the money that she brings in, and it can only be spent on approved items. Doesn’t that sound restrictive to you? That is textbook financial abuse.
The terms of Spears’ conservatorship changed in September of 2019 when Jamie requested to step down as her conservator “due to personal health reasons,” People reported, following an alarming alleged physical altercation with Britney’s oldest son, who is 13. It was rumored that he was going to be forced to step down because of this physical altercation — physical abuse.
Spears herself has rarely spoken of the conservatorship publicly, aside from her 2008 documentary Britney: For the Record, in which she didn’t specifically mention the conservatorship but seemed to be frustrated with her new situation. “I think it’s too in control,” she said. “If I wasn’t under the restraints I’m under, I’d feel so liberated. Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re going to get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending.”
This all came to light on April 16, 2019, when hosts of podcast Britney’s Gram, and Spears super-fans Tess Barker and Barbara Gray received an anonymous voicemail from a man claiming to be a paralegal who worked for one of Spears’ lawyers. Barker and Grey said they validated his profession and believed him to be a credible source, but did not disclose his identity. The man claimed that fans’ worst fears had come true, insinuating that Jamie was forcing his daughter to take unnecessary medications and claiming that Jamie pulled the plug on Domination when Spears refused to take her prescribed medication. The claims have not been publicly verified by Spears or another source.
According to this same source, a January incident where she reportedly drove to In-N-Out without permission led Jamie to involuntarily check her into a facility in mid-January, not April as was previously reported. Neither Spears nor her camp have commented on the allegations, and it is not publicly confirmed whether Britney is even prescribed medication. Although her now-former manager Larry Rudolph did tell TMZ that Domination was cancelled in part because her “meds stopped working.” But for fans who were concerned for her well-being, this was enough to start an entire Free Britney movement.
Mentally challenged people are an extremely vulnerable population to being abused and assaulted. The stigma painted against mental health, and people that suffer from challenges within mental health are more likely to be doubted, and their concerns ignored or undervalued because of the “state of their mental health.” So, to paint Britney as mentally unstable as a means to controlling her makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? If they can convince people that her meltdown was due to mental illness, and not acting out of a lack of control of her life, they can have MORE control over her. It’s honestly classic abuser thinking. Don’t you think?
I urge you to think about this. Under what criteria would someone be refused complete control of their lives. Prison? No, they still have the autonomy to make decisions. They decide what they can and can’t eat. They decide how to spend money. They have the autonomy to make time-related decisions. And they are in control of their bodies. The military? No. They have access to psychiatric and psychological resources. They have control over their money. They can ask to transfer, see their families, and negotiate their contracts. They can also leave. People in assisted living situations have rights. They have freedoms. They have choices. She doesn’t have any of those things. And she is forced to perform, be used as a cash-cow, that we now know her father was benefitting from financially. She has no rights. She has no choices. She has no freedom. She isn’t able to see her kids without her father present, and as I’ve mentioned, he has had physical altercations with them in the past.
One more thing I want to discuss because this has been a point of refutal for a lot of people. She has publicly stated on social media platforms and in interviews that she has a very close relationship with her family, and is very happy. There are several reasons that somebody in an abusive relationship would say that. First and foremost, her social media is hawked by the people who control her. She is only allowed to say the things that they tell her to say. She has in the past been penalized for saying and doing things without permission. So that fear of retaliation and danger is very common in abusive situations. If you’ve ever experienced an abusive relationship think about a time where you said something or did something to appease your abuser in order to prevent an explosion or altercation, and to keep yourself safe. It’s very, very common for people to defend their abusers and justify the actions because of love, fear, or trauma bonding, which is a mix of both.
Trauma bonding is a cycle of physical or emotional abuse that creates a strong attachment between an abused person and their abuser, which is then reinforced by periods of love and affection and then periods of devaluation and emotional abuse. Our brains become addicted to the intense cycle of highs and lows.
When you’re in a healthy relationship, natural amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter, are released in your brain, so you can feel consistently happy. When you’re in an abusive relationship, the amount of dopamine that’s released during the highs is so intense that you crave it during the lows.
Nothing about this environment is healthy, safe, or reasonable. And July 22nd, 2020, I hope the new judge has the foresight to see that this is a binding abusive situation that they had legally forced her into.
Britney Spears has not had that luxury of free will since 1999, but legally since 2008, post meltdown. It’s time to Free Britney.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!
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