It’s Stressful being Captain Jack Sparrow

I got a call on Saturday  from LBC Radio asking my opinion on the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard situation from an anger management point of view. I was not aware of the story that was breaking at that point but was still able to sum up what was happening….probably.   With 5 minutes research it became clear that there was an apparent anger problem and that Johnny Depp is going to pay for it one way or another.

In this brief blog I thought I would just cover the basics of what we appear to know and what may be going on. I say “may” because my views are based on what is reported in the media and I was not there so I will be clear, I am speculating.

Dong this allows me to draw parallels and use this to help others understand what may be some of the signs and issues that are going on here.

Physical Aggression versus Aggression

There are now a myriad of reports about the apparent physical abuse that Amber has experienced from a rageful Johnny. Of course she has called time on the relationship and if all this is true she could have done this a lot earlier and saved herself a lot of trouble.   Physical aggression is completely unacceptable and, interestingly, the way I type that it is as if verbal and attitudinal aggression is acceptable in a relationship. Let’s be clear, it is not. Aggression is not helpful and whether it is meant at the time or they are remorseful afterwards it only has one purpose when expressed and that is to intimidate and bully.   The media have expressed that Amber is scared of Johnny. That is no surprise.

Lesson number one for aggressive angry people of all sexes… scare people and that is not acceptable.

It has already been mentioned that Johnny would seem to have a track record of this. In her desire to show her love and stay in the relationship in a mature way Amber Heard has inadvertently conspired with angry Johnny and helped him build up the false impression that as long as he apologises afterwards it’s ok to behave like that. In other words after the first occurrence she should have either left or made it clear that any repeat at all will not be tolerated.

Boundary Pushing

The fact that we can behave badly and get away with it will often lead some of us into believing that there are other boundaries that can be pushed. A great example of this would be importing two dogs into another country completely contrary to the regulations and laws of that country but believing those rules do not belong to us.   That was not just Johnny which indicates that Amber’s behaviour is not always perfect either….but who’s is?   Boundary pushing often leads to conflict and is a sign of a lack of respect for others.

The Ego

With boundary pushing often comes ego issues. These are related to our self esteem. This is the side of us that gets angry when we are not respected, listened too, liked or…..loved. I can’t read their minds or know what is going on there but the profession they are in is well known for feeding the ego until it is done and then throwing you away. Little wonder that actors have delicate egos ( to generalise). These ego needs we have can trigger us into anger. After All….you may get angry if you don’t feel respected, listened to, or loved and the acting profession exaggerates this.


Finally, there is no doubt that being Johnny Depp is stressful. Each film is expected to be as successful as the last, cameras are everywhere and anything less than good happens the press are all over it.   I talk about stress because stress is the most powerful single force contributing towards unhealthy expressions of anger.   I am not saying this from a sympathetic point of view. If Johnny chooses this career it’s his choice and the stress goes with it but it is a big factor.

Managing conflict – You can walk away

The conflict is now being played out in public with more and more releases of photos and apparent evidence of Johnny Depp’s past aggression. The one thing he is doing right here is to not get involved. It simply makes it worse.   That is the same in the conflicts in our lives. It is better to walk away, calm down and seek calm resolution than to get carried away by the win-lose atmosphere and exacerbate the situation.

There is hope   The biggest message I want to get out there about anyone in a similar position to Johnny i.e. acting out ….you can change.

All but the tiniest percentage point of cases are within help. All you have to do is have the will to change. Sometime it’s really not very easy at all but with a little support, some self understanding and a few different choices, you can change.

That’s it. Rant over.

Good luck to Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and to anyone else who is out of control with their anger……the power is yours.


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