Now that you’ve been sentenced, you may well be angry and sad, and
unwilling to seek or take advice, but if you are to make the most of your
future, which could still be positive and useful, now is the time to pause,
take stock, and chart new directions.
You’ve become very accustomed to paying a lot of money for advice,
whether or not it was good for you, or mainly good for the folks charging you. This is free!
Read: Oscar – the long-awaited verdict
Emotions: there’s been much too much talk about these, and rather
a lot of emotional incontinence. Express
them in private. I think it was unfair when your emotional displays in court
were dismissed as entirely mere playacting. I think they were exaggerated,
though, probably with some unfortunate encouragement by those who should know better.
And once one gets into that frame of mind, it’s hard to regain of one’s control
and dignity. Emotions are not as all-important as some may have suggested. It’s
being able to intellectually understand emotions and learn from them that’s
much more valuable than just repeatedly expressing them. Your outbursts gained
you very little sympathy and often had exactly the opposite effect.
Invest in a trained and experienced therapist, someone recognised
by major academic centres, with wide knowledge of trauma, grief, and the recognised
processes of psychotherapy – someone with proper clinical qualifications and
experience working with other clinical psychologists.
You need someone who will
be far less indulgent and will fruitfully challenge you, rather than holding your
hand, someone who will help you to grow into a more competent adult, rather than
coddling you back into immature behaviour. Someone who will help you to learn
how to take genuine personal responsibility for your choices and actions rather
than blaming other people, chance or fate.
Read: Oscar's alarming array of ‘experts’
You need someone who won’t just make convenient diagnoses, but who
will recognise your real problems, who won’t make unsupportable and impossible diagnoses
of your mental state when less than a year old, but will concentrate both on
helping you deal with current challenges, and perhaps more importantly, help
you to improve your skills at identifying and dealing with problems that may
arise in the future. Someone who will recognise your impressive strengths and
capacity for coping, and not get stuck on your vulnerability.
Plan wisely while in prison, so that you may be able to change
your lifestyle when you rejoin society. Reconsider your friends; you don’t need people around you who might encourage
you to slide back into bad habits. Part of your problems may have arisen from
poor impulse-control, so be cautious about using alcohol, which makes it harder
to remain in control, or to control one’s temper or fear.
Stay away from nightclubs – they’re of no
benefit to anyone, other than perhaps the owner. Gradually make new friends, people who aren’t
looking to benefit from your celebrity status, but who actually like you, and
will want to share in wholesome activities, making it easier for you to stay
out of trouble.
You can’t demand that other people always be fair towards you;
none of us can do that. So anticipate that some people will be unfriendly or
unpleasant. Don’t react and don’t let it affect you. There will always be people
who will try to provoke you and tempt you to further damage the reputation you
want to rebuild, or to get you back in trouble again. Don’t allow them to do
that. If you’re released early on
probation/supervision, it’ll be especially tempting for some to try to lure you
back into jail. Don’t allow that to
Read: Is Oscar really a ‘broken man’?
Within your religious faith, find wise counsel who can assist you
to learn more about such vital qualities as humility, responsibility, compassion
and, yes, real remorse, which may turn out to be different from what you were
feeling this last year, and more
constructive for you.
Don’t be angry about the fact that people weren’t that impressed
with your earlier charity events. They understood how this was required by
sponsors and benefitted your career. If you want to do real charitable work, do
so humbly, as a worker, and not as a celebrity.
Don’t focus too much on who you once were, and look instead at who
you can still become, an improved version, a new Oscar, without all the fanfare
and applause. Now that the trial is over, try to return to your previous attitude
towards your handicap, seeing it as a challenge you were previously able to
rise above, without claiming special favours or exemptions. Become a normal person.
Prof. Michael A. Simpson
Oscar has never shown any real remorse
Ex-girlfriend slams Oscar as violent maniac
Who’s on trial, Oscar or SA's prisons?
Image: Pair of hand holding a letter from Shutterstock
Professor MA Simpson is Health24's CyberShrink. A South African psychiatrist, he qualified in medicine and in psychiatry in Britain. He has been a senior academic, researcher, and Professor in several countries. Read more of his columns.