A guest post by Emma Haylett
Anthony Weiner has gone from respected leader to pitied family man to joke in what seems like an endless chain, most recently landing on the side of joke. In May of 2011, Weiner first sent an inappropriate photograph of himself via his Twitter account to a woman he had developed a relationship with. Admitting to such exchanges with six women over three years, Weiner was all apologies and congressional resignations. Huma Abedin, his new wife and former aide to Hillary Clinton, stood beside him through it all. In December of 2011, she gave birth to their first child, a son.
In July of 2013, allegations that Anthony Weiner had been behaving inappropriately surfaced again upon his announcement that he’d be campaigning for mayor. This time, accusations came by way of an anonymous 23 year old woman who spoke with The Dirty and soon—thanks to Buzzfeed’s outing and admitted slut shaming of the young woman—she was identified as Sydney Leathers.
But that isn’t the point, not really. While her identity could have been protected (and rightfully so—she is single and lawfully and morally allowed to do as she pleases in romantic relationships) Weiner is again in the public eye, being ridiculed for his poor choices. Which makes one wonder—what is it that compels him, despite his familiarity with consequences, to behave in such a way?
His name has certainly not aided him, though it would be ridiculous to assume his behaviour is a result of only that. Weiner is a man compelled—that much is clear. Why else would a politician ascending the ladder he’s for so long coveted jump ship for a pretty girl, or series of girls, real or trapped in the internet? Weiner is an addict.
Like those with chemical addictions, Weiner is compulsive and prone to self-harming behaviour. He is sensation-seeking, nonconforming, and socially alienated. The level of stress he experiences, even before the sexual allegations, is high. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol (though perhaps he’s dabbled in those too) his addiction manifests itself in his relationship and career damaging sexual behaviour. And perhaps he deserves the same level of empathy we’d offer to another kind of addict.
What Weiner needs is not public ridicule and bathroom stall jokes—it is treatment for an addiction that is undoubtedly more complicated than we think, likely accompanied by depression and anxiety. He needs kindness and accountability and a break from the public eye, because what he’s done is also pretty ordinary, which is not to say that it is right. We care about his actions because he’s been asked to publically deny or take responsibility for his actions and we’ve placed (or had placed) him in a position of power and trust.
But if he were your brother or best friend, you’d likely feel betrayed and disappointed. You’d offer kind words to his family, who is undoubtedly hurting. And ultimately—you’d probably tell Anthony Weiner that you’re here to support his recovery.
This is a guest blog post by Emma Haylett grew up in a rural town she couldn’t wait to get out of. She now helps coordinate non 12 step recovery programs for addicts and families of addicts.
“The views and opinions expressed. are by the author and not necessarily shared by The NeedyHelper”