Surviving Van Halen

March 15, 2011

That’s the title of an article in Rolling Stone written by Sammy Hagar (ex-frontman for Van Halen). In it, he chronicles his relationship with Eddie Van Halen. Hagar’s “burn book” is a study in disordered behavior. It depicts Van Halen as a mad man, an out-of-control alchie with abusive tendencies. Oh no! Does that make Sammy an ableist?! Or does the watchful eye of TigerRage turn away from failed bromances? Fortunately for Sammy, Eddie is not a woman. So Sammy is free to slam Eddie without the fear of being labeled a misogynist. Bro on Bro hate is actually encouraged by some fauxminists.

Sammy does not have a degree in psychology. But Doubters should not diminish the value of backstage insight and intimate knowledge. Nor dismiss his opinion based on the premise that he might be jilted and bitter from having been forced out of the band. Yes, his storytelling is probably biased. But the antics of Eddie Van Halen are legendary. And the behavior of alcoholics/disordered people are well-documented.

For anyone who has had to deal with that kind of abuse, Sammy’s story will ring true. And where there’s alcohol abuse, there’s probably a personality disorder riding shotgun.

With all the controversy here at Savory Dish, it was nice to read someone else’s experience with a crazy person.  As I read it, I could sympathize with Sammy. I could understand why he felt the need to tell his story. It’s not about revenge, it’s about acknowledging a bad experience. It’s about holding people accountable for their piss poor behavior. When you have to deal with someone who is that fucked up, you have to write it down for your own sanity.

Disordered people are very good at hiding their disorder for the most part. Eddie Van Halen is one of the most gifted guitarists in rock history. It’s not unusual for disordered people to excel in their chosen field. It is both a gift and a curse. It gives them focus in an otherwise chaotic world. If it weren’t for his very public conflicts, you wouldn’t have guessed his life was troubled. But when you live and work with these people, it’s a different story. You see the darkside that no one else sees. If Sammy Hagar had not written about Van Halen’s darkside, I’m sure someone else would have.

Unfortunately, our culture glamorizes and celebrates people who “burn the candle at both ends”. But this rock n roll lifestyle epitomizes borderline behavior. The rise to fame is always followed by the crash of excess. People are surprised when people like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis pass away suddenly. They are shocked to hear stories of depression and misery. But it’s not like the signs weren’t there. People just chose to ignore them. They were blinded by their talent.

People who have never experienced this kind of dysfunctional relationship don’t understand. And people who grew up in abusive environments don’t see what the big deal is. Haters have tried to diminish the significance of a relationship that only lasted 8 months , but  8 months with this kind of person is enough to throw you into a tailspin. Months with a borderline are like dog years. The candle that burns twice as bright, burns twice as fast.

Borderline relationships are intense. They pull you in, only to spit you out. It’s like being hit by a hurricane. It’s a hit and run. You would be surprised how much damage can be done in such a short time. Much of its traumatic effect comes from how abruptly it ends. It ends with the borderline gushing about how much they love you and then weeks later walking away as if nothing ever happened. These people are that messed up. Make no mistake, this is emotional abuse. Involuntary… maybe, but abuse nonetheless.

Borderline lovers move much faster than most. They have to. They have to seal the deal before their partner catches on. My ex wanted to move in with me after 6 months. Got married to someone else after 3 months. This is not normal or healthy behavior. This is not a person in love, this is a person covering up insecurities. This is a relationship that moves at warp speed and feels like a black hole. 8 months is all you need to feel the negative effects of an abusive co-dependent relationship.

If someone can be traumatized after 8 months, you can only imagine what it’s like to spend your whole life with people like this. The truth is I have spent my whole life dealing with disordered people (borderlines and bipolars). Sadly, I have a history with troubled women. This blog has forced me to re-trace my missteps. After a lifetime of dealing with other people’s bullshit, I’ve decided enough is enough. It was time to make my experiences public. Starting with my last dysfunctional relationship and including my most recent encounter with the TigerBeat Society for the Emotionally Damaged.

You would think the angry protesters here would understand the cathartic value of writing traumatic experiences down. I’ve visited their blogs and there is no shortage of dirt and angst. But I guess it’s ok if you’re writing about someone else. I guess the content here hits a little too close to home.

The fact is people write about fucked up relationships all the time. Even her holiness Shady O’Doyle writes about her abusive father and exes. Be suspicious of anyone who is trying to suppress such information. These are people who are hiding skeletons in their closet. They want you to think there is something unethical about it. There isn’t. They don’t like it because the truth hurts. They’re not angry because I talk about my ex. They’re angry because I talk about their condition. For them, such talk is too personal if not painful.

There’s nothing unethical about telling the truth. Even if it is unpleasant.  Especially if it’s unpleasant. The mob wants you to believe that I’m creating more stigma for disordered women. But the stigma for disordered behavior is there for a reason. That’s why they call it disordered behavior, and not happy fun-time.

Why is it Haters are more tolerant when women talk about their BPD partners? It’s ok when Shady talks about her BPD father. It’s ok when Flaky talks about her “batshit crazy” boyfriend. But if I talk about my borderline ex, I must be flogged in public. They have made it into a gender issue because they want to discredit and demonize me… because they are compensating for a serious inferiority-complex. But this is not a gender issue. It’s a mental health issue. My Ex just happens to be a woman. Get over it. If you want equality, find another blog to read.

Talking about BPD and abusive BPs is as imperative as talking about AIDS or Breast Cancer. There are lessons to be learned, teachable moments if you will. If you don’t want people to write bad things about you, better make sure you treat people well. What goes around comes around. Treat others as you would have them treat you. These are cliches that bear repeating.

2 Responses to “Surviving Van Halen”

  1. savorydish said

    “Nice piece . But how could you miss the 5150 fastball right over the plate.. 5150.. It’s not just a van halen album


    Thank you Barry Buss,
    You are of course referring to 5150 being the police code for picking up a crazy person. No, I didn’t miss it. Hagar talks about it in the article. It makes me think that Eddie’s craziness is partly manufactured to sell more albums. It’s the Ozzy Osbourne Effect. That’s why I don’t buy the defense that crazy people can’t help being crazy. The self-awareness is there. Society just gives them a free hall pass to do whatever they want. We reward bad behavior.

  2. bloghead81 said

    Thanks for reminding my of the 5150-reference. I took it as self-awareness/tongue-in-cheek as I chuckled & squirmed through Sammy’s article.

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