Basinger vs. Baldwin Part Two: No matter how you spin it, divorce and custody battles tend to get nasty
By Nordette Adams on April 22, 2007
BlogHer Original Post
For the first part of this blog post, which covers the insulting phone call, click this link.
Best interest of the child?
You know, "best interest of the child" sounds good, but do people going through custody battles always practice it? A better question about this would be was Alec Baldwin practicing best interest of the child when he started his rant against his daughter and her mother? Furthermore, now that the rant's public, how will publicity make Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger's daughter, Ireland, feel? Can the people in her life keep her from all contact with outside media?
I consider Baldwin's words on the tape. He said he didn't give a damn about his daughter's age, and based on what he told her on the phone, I think he doesn't give a damn about her feelings either. It seems his primary piss-off point is that he's been humiliated by the daughter not being at the phone to talk to him for prearranged times, and according to what he said her avoidance is habitual. He is his main concern based on his own words on the tape; he's interested in teaching his daughter a lesson as it relates to how he feels and he should be treated.
If you hear the tape, you'll wonder why there's a custody battle at all. Why does he want custody if he feels about his daughter the way he says he feels on the the voicemail? I ask this but I know that divorce makes people crazy.
Then there's spin patrol as presented by a Baldwin representative:
Alec will do what the mother is pathologically incapable of doing ... keeping his mouth shut and obeying the court order. (Source)
I suppose Baldwin's people believe that the average person will think his ex-wife, if she did indeed leak the tape, should have more control than he had when he verbally abused his daughter and left the message on tape. Wait! Should we only practice self-control when we're under a court order? Is a court order stronger than conscience?
When I went through my divorce a friend, a male who is an assistant prosecutor in New Jersey who had nothing to do with my case, told me to stop trying to find logic in what my ex did. The friend had also been through divorce, and he said that for the more angry spouse it's not about what makes sense; it's about making the other spouse suffer even if such actions also hurt the children. Sometimes the spouse with the most anger starts to see the children as objects, not people but pawns in a power struggle.
Ain't it awful?
I wanted to tell you how awful Alec Baldwin is to say such things to his daughter, and then ask what's up with fathers blaming their bad behavior toward their children on the mothers of those children? But I couldn't venture into that territory without either doing research about fathers who do this or sharing more details of my own experience with divorce. I also couldn't talk about "fathers who do this" because I know mothers have been guilty of horrible behavior during custody battles and divorces as well.
What I can tell you is that when it gets to the kinds of stunts going on between Baldwin and Basinger, the battle really is not about the child. It's about former lovers hurting each other. It's about power and control. Based on that voicemail message, I say with no reservations that Alec Baldwin was not thinking rationally when he left that message and he was funneling anger to a child that he feels for his ex-wife.
I don't know what Baldwin's specific issues are with Basinger or what her issues are with him, and I don't want to know, but Baldwin's been busy explaining
himself. I feel sorry for him in the sense that people confuse actors' roles with the actors themselves. Baldwin has often played the pompous ass or the bad guy; so, I'm sure some people will automatically believe he's 100 percent bad guy in this case.
"Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child."
"I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.)"
"I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case." (Baldwin's explanation)
Those friends of his are being highly generous. All parents lose their tempers sometimes but not all lose their tempers to the extent he lost his temper on that voicemail.
Personally, I find Baldwin's explanations disturbing. They sound a tad too familiar to me as the lies we tell ourselves. I know also of other people who've been through domestic violence and through divorce and they'll tell you, people who have control issues talk just like Baldwin did on that tape and even more like he did when explaining himself.
I also know, having gone through divorce, that explanations like his don't play well in court. Courts don't accept women ranting about their ex-husbands to their children with the explanation that they're frustrated about not having lights and food after the ex didn't pay child support. Why should the courts accept Baldwin's explanation of parental alienation for abusive language?
If it's proven that his ex-wife sent leaked the tape, then she'll get slapped by the courts about that. Nevertheless, unless their case is under a judge biased in his favor, Baldwin scores no points for blaming his ex and his child's behavior for his outburst.
Like I said, I don't buy Alec Baldwin's explanations/excuses. But who gives a damn what I believe about Alec Baldwin? He's not my former husband, and I'm not the judge in this case who must decide the best interest of Ireland Baldwin. Thank goodness for that!
In my next post I'll talk about encouraging children of divorce to honor parents even when parents don't act with honor, and other hair-raising acts.
Tune in tomorrow, er, later.
Photo credit: Salon's article "The woman who turned America against divorce" by Joan Walsh
You'll find Nordette Adams' personal blog at this link.
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