With the death of his estranged wife Elizabeth yesterday, the nation was once again reminded that John Edwards is a steaming chunk of rancid turdmeat. I mean, it's one thing to cheat on your wifeit's quite another to fuck around and father a child while that wife is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. And it takes the word "weaselly" to new heights when you only cop to it with the whining caveat that your wife's cancer was "in remission" while you were dipping your wick elsewhere.
However, dealing with a critically ill person can be both overwhelming and terrifying, and, unfortunatelywhile I'm not excusing Edwards' vile behavior by any stretchstepping out on an sick partner isn't as unheard of as you might hope. Rob Dobrenski, a New York City-based psychotherapist and author of the upcoming book, Crazy: Notes on and off the Couch, says, "If the illness is life-threatening or permanently altering, the cheating could actually be a way of distancing the person from the one who is ill. It's self-protective. It may not be the most adaptive behavior, but it happens nonetheless."
So his infidelity and subsequent lies could've been an emotionally stunted reaction to the fear of losing someone he loved. Then againand this seems more likelyEdwards could just be a narcissistictool who wanted a taste of strange. (And judging by interviews with Rielle Hunter, he certainly got that in spades!)
But what of Elizabeth? In life, she was a lawyer, author, an anti-poverty activist, a savvy political adviser, an advocate for healthcare reform and by all accounts, a loving mom. Yet in sickness and in death, her legacy is that of the scorned wife. Which isn't really fair. Your defining moment in life shouldn't be determined by someone else's asshattery, no matter how famous he might be.