WE ALL have a hidden history, but, as Oscar Pistorius discovered
recently, it does not take long for the hidden to be revealed - in
fact, just a matter of hours.
Mr Pistorius, sometimes referred to as "Blade Runner", is the
world-famous Paralympian sprinter, and was, until recently, a
sporting icon. He lived on a high-security estate, and was a keen
keeper of guns and baseball bats. In view of the 15,000 murders a
year in South Africa, this was not so strange.
But now Mr Pistorius has been arrested, accused of killing his
girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Her father says: "There is no hatred
in our hearts." His father says that there is "zero doubt" that it
was a tragic accident.
Reaction was instant. Former girlfriends, their mothers, and the
police quickly queued up to describe a different man from the icon:
a violent figure, who could be overwhelmed by rage. Big companies
scuttled to leave his sinking brand. We all think that we are
great, until our hidden histories go on the rampage.
Sigmund Freud defined his work as controlling the biological
urges of sex and aggression. But, by mistake, he stumbled on
something much more healing for the human - two people talking.
Above all else, a therapist is a witness to our story, to the
effects on our behaviour of our hidden history. Here is safe space,
where denied feelings are allowed to flow through our bodies; and
insightful space that helps us to notice these emotions, and
thereby to regulate them, and parent them better; for, yes, we are
our only parent now.
Our hidden history is much better seen; but how hard this is for
the famous. Consider their predicament: most are one-trick ponies
who have used their trick to maximum effect. After they have
reached a level of fame, and however damaged they are inside, they
begin to believe their own publicity, and a sense of entitlement
comes to the fore.
When they reach such a state, instead of acknowledging their
hidden history, they will want only to hide it. To stay famous,
they must become the strangest thing: people against their own
truth. The Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne lied about a speeding
offence. Why? He was famous enough to see the prize of party
leadership before him. Once that dream took hold, the truth and
effects of his hidden history became something to avoid.
Pistorius's mother, who died when he was 15, wrote: "The real
loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last. The
real loser is the person who sits on the side. The person who
doesn't even to try to compete." True, although another category of
loser is those who run away from themselves and their hidden
history. And some run very hard and very fast.