The mystery of Michael Jackson’s death is not really a mystery at all. What killed Jackson is a broken heart – one that was wounded a long time ago.
From early childhood, Jackson was emotionally and physically abused by his father, suffering relentless and grueling music rehearsals, beatings, and verbal abuse. His childhood abuse continued to affect him all throughout his adult life. In one episode (which was later confirmed by Marlon Jackson) his father, Joseph, held Michael upside down by one leg and “pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks.” Joseph would often slam his sons into walls.
An especially traumatic event happened one night while Jackson was asleep. His father climbed through the bedroom window into his room screaming and donning a fright mask in order to teach Michael not to leave the window open at night. Not surprisingly, Jackson had nightmares for years afterwards about being kidnapped from his bedroom.
When we are born, we are whole human beings filled with tremendous potential. We have the ability to express all parts of ourselves and we have a healthy and intact self-esteem. Growing up, we adapt to the peculiarities of our families by adopting a “default operating system” – patterns of thought and behavior we take with us into adulthood. If we grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive family, our innate wholeness and self-esteem become eroded.
Our core beliefs and habitual behaviors are like viruses, infecting our lives, our relationships, and our sense of well-being. The core beliefs that Jackson internalized in response to his life conditioning and childhood abuse—“People will hurt me and can’t be trusted”, “I’m ugly”, and “If I meet others’ needs and expectations I’ll be loved” – were at the root of his living a life filled with tremendous self-loathing, pain, and isolation.
That Jackson’s childhood experiences continued to affect him throughout his adult life is evident in many ways. He underwent plastic surgery to the point of physical disfigurement. At the root of his tremendous empathy for others’ suffering was the well of his own emotional pain and suffering. In a relentless pursuit for the idyllic childhood he himself never had, he built a 2,500 acre paradise called Neverland.
He forewent close adult relationships and surrounded himself with animals and children, with whom he could have a sense of power and feel safe. His history of engaging with unsavory people who used him and his money was a replication of the injurious behavior of his father’s betrayal over and over again. He tried in vain to fill his inner voids through acquiring material possessions that cost him a fortune, and he said that it was only when he was performing that he was truly happy – his only means of feeling loved and accepted by others.
When the bottom of his career began to fall out due to rumors and allegations of child molestation followed by expensive legal trials and settlements, Jackson’s downward spiral began to dramatically accelerate. He continued to spend excessive amounts of money, but he could no longer generate the unprecedented success and record sales of the past.
Instead of getting the help he badly needed, he reacted to his disintegrating life and career by marrying someone who could restore his damaged image and esteem (Lisa Marie Presley), divorcing her and marrying another woman who gave him full custody of their two children, and eventually having a third child by an anonymous donor. He withdrew from public life with his children, and apparently lived the rest of his years as a very lonely and unhappy man.
Michael Jackson went from being a beloved superstar with the world in the palm of his hands, to being branded by many people as a weirdo, child molester, and kook. Instead of judging the person he was or obsessing on the sensationalist circumstances surrounding his death, it is my hope that people will use his tragic death to better understand the power our life conditioning has on who we become as adults. While heart failure may be what ultimately led to Jackson’s demise, it was a broken heart that really killed him.
About the author:
Bestselling author, psychotherapist, and renowned life coach is the author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. She is the host of the weekly Life Keys radio show on www.hayhouseradio.com, a popular radio and TV talk-show guest, and a sought-after keynote speaker in the U.S. and Europe. In 2001 she founded the coaching and consulting firm Lauren Mackler & Associates. Visit Lauren’s website at www.laurenmackler.com.
It will look like this: The Truth Behind Michael Jackson’s Death