Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Communication

I’ve been watching some of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard court situation.  It’s interesting to listen to some of the recordings being provided, which they have both apparently provided.   As I listen to these recordings, my impression is Amber shifts her statements and fails to stay on topic. She adjusts what she is saying as they argue to avoid accountability.  As I listen to it, it seems she fails to take ownership of her own actions, often blaming her behavior on other people or things.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Ineffective Communication

During their more sober recorded conversations, I see Johnny as trying to reason with her and come to some conclusions or resolve the argument.  This is a common mistake many people make when arguing with someone who is being unreasonable.  I often tell my clients not to argue with  a drunk.  I mean this both literally and figuratively.  Once you realize you’re interacting with someone who only wants the argument itself, or is not responding to logical attempts to reason out the disagreement, it’s time to just put up healthy boundaries.  You generally won’t get anywhere by trying to explain why you’re leaving the interaction. That will often only lead to more arguing as they manipulate you into “staying” in the discussion.

Dealing with Personality Disorders

People with certain personality disorders (in fact, perhaps all personality disorders) tend toward emotional manipulation.  Sometimes this is to keep you from leaving and sometimes it’s to avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions.

In the recorded interactions between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, there were times when Johnny was explaining why he wanted to go to separate corners.  Explaining didn’t work,  Amber tried to manipulate him into staying rather than agree to separate places to cool off.  

When trying to reason with someone who isn’t reasonable, respect your boundaries and quickly but firmly leave the situation.  Sometimes we have to teach people how to respect us by respecting ourselves first. We often talk too much or talk past the point when it’s useful. I often tell my clients, whether in marriage counseling or individual counseling about the importance of healthy boundaries. Boundaries refer to not letting yourself be abused, mistreated, or allowing someone to manipulate you into giving up your values or getting out of character.

Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He provides counseling for couples, teenagers, and adults.  He can help with anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, relationship problems, and more.  For more information, please visit the website at