Inside the mind of Charlie Sheen
uesday, actor Charlie Sheen revealed he is HIV positive and that he had unprotected sex with two people after being diagnosed. He insists all his sexual partners were told of his HIV status, but this is being disputed by more than one individual.
This is, perhaps, the most stark evidence that the “Tiger Blood” Sheen used to boast ran through his veins, protecting him from the scourges of cocaine and any number of indiscretions was just what it always seemed: A dangerous myth of invulnerability, likely fueled by deep feelings of inferiority.
I am not Sheen’s psychiatrist and have never treated him, but it has been obvious for years that his narcissism, drug use and sexual escapades were what they always are—psychological defenses against deep, unresolved and very negative feelings.
The man who claimed to have Tiger Blood has a deadly, transmissible virus in his blood. It is terrible example of the fact that when one runs from unresolved emotional pain, there is nowhere to run, other than into trouble. The truth always wins. Courage isn’t about denying one’s vulnerability, but showing strength, despite it.
It would be bad enough if Sheen were the only one who might suffer from fleeing his vulnerabilities and attempting to bury them under grams of cocaine, scores of women, fame or piles of money. But he admits to knowingly exposing more than one person to HIV (whether he told those people, or not). It may or may not turn out to be the case that he exposed others to HIV, as well. And he told so many of our children, via his rants on television, that cocaine wasn’t really dangerous -- if they were tough enough -- and had Tiger Blood like him.
Let’s hope no one turns this guy into a poster boy for courage in the face of adversity.
To say that Charlie Sheen is a person of low character would be to underestimate the case, in my opinion. People of character do not allow others to be exposed to deadly viruses, when they can help it. People of character do not endanger children. And people of character don’t run scared and pay $10 million dollars, as Sheen has asserted he has done, to bury the truth about their health status.
Now, we’ll see just how low a character Sheen possesses. Because people are already claiming they were exposed to HIV by him, without their knowledge. And the veracity of their claims will likely be assessed in courts of law. Then we will know more about the toll of Charlie Sheen’s psychological escapism, even if we never know the whole of it.
For me, it was enough that my kids had to hear him rant about cocaine being OK. For me, I held him in contempt from that moment on. And I said so.
Now, I hope Sheen heals. I hope he is remade by God, even in this dark chapter of his life story, at this late hour. But people can keep running from the truth their whole lives, too. And until I hear Sheen apologize for his reprehensible behavior, I will have to assume he might just be one of them.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.