Abusive Personalities

I’m amazed at the number of reality television programs that continue to make it to air time based on nothing more than the premise that we all want to see what goes on in the lives of people not quite as ordinary as ourselves.

We’re allowed into the homes and even bedrooms of “celebrities” from pop stars to hairdressers as the cameras follow them throughout their daily (and nighttime) activities. Some shows let us watch as seemingly intelligent people do battle for the top spot in business, fashion, music, or modeling. Other shows give us an inside look at show business moms and the out-of-control camp kids. So far, most are extremely poor role models.

As we’re given more than a glimpse into their private and public lives, I wonder why the fascination with watching someone treat others with such utter rudeness and disrespect as some of these people do each and every show. Does it sell more advertising when the mean and nasty contestant makes it to the finals?

One of the most abusive personalities of past seasons is a hairdresser who acts as though the world revolves around him and hair. Or is it hair and him? From crying on cue to his repeated “Make no mistake about it,” the man controls his employees, his employers, and his business partners.

It’s his way or no way regardless of who is footing the bill as he lets his celebrity customers know that he and his hair techniques are the star and they are merely the prop. Instead of telling this guy to get lost, people line up to pay huge dollars for his services. What is there about his abusive and controlling personality that keeps me from changing the channel? Do I hope he’ll finally meet someone who will knock him off his pedestal?

What is there about an abusive or controlling spouse that keeps us from walking away? Do we hope there’s a real, caring person somewhere beneath the mean exterior? Do we live for the momentary bursts of charm and cling to them when the going gets rough? Do the apologies that come long after the damage has been done give us hope for the future?

We’ve all known, and some of us have lived with, and/or worked for, abusive and controlling personalities. Why glorify that type of behavior? It sets a very poor example for our kids who may draw the conclusion that the only way to get ahead or earn the big dollars is to mistreat everyone who gets in their way. It’s not.

It is difficult enough dealing with the effects of an abusive spouse or growing up in an abusive home environment and it becomes even more difficult as verbal and emotional abuse is given celebrity status. I know we’ve progressed far beyond the “Ozzie and Harriett” family scenario but is Bobby Brown really the best role model for “Father of the Year”?