Ashley Judd commented in an interview about dealing with her challenging early life:
“I try to remind myself that if I engage in perfectionism, I am abusing myself.”
[Photo from facebook.com/AshleyJuddOfficial.]
That perspective became especially poignant after the release of her memoir, in which she reveals being sexually abused.
She writes, “I am happy to say that each of us has embarked on a personal process of healing, and my family is healthier than it has ever been.
“We have come far. In our individual and collective recoveries, we have learned that mental illness and addiction are family diseases, spanning and affecting generations.
“There are robust strains of each on both sides of my family — manifested in just about everything from depression, suicide, alcoholism, and compulsive gambling to incest and suspected murder — and these conditions have shaped my parents’ stories (even if some of the events did not happen directly to them) as well as my sister’s and my own.
“Fortunately, along with the dysfunction is a legacy of love, resiliency, creativity, and faith in a family whose roots I can trace back at least eight generations in the mountains of Kentucky and about 350 years in America.”
From Ashley Judd details ‘bitter and sweet’ in memoir – an excerpt from her book:
Compensating for chaos
Ashley Judd revealed in an earlier magazine interview [Glamour, August 2006] that she participated in a 47-day treatment program to overcome lifelong emotional problems including depression, isolation and co-dependent relationships.
“I needed help. I was in so much pain.”
With a “chaotic” and “dysfunctional” childhood, Judd says she compensated by becoming a “hyper-vigilant child” who was faultless in every way.
She attended 13 schools in 12 years and alternately lived with her mother, Grammy-winning country singer/songwriter Naomi Judd; her father, Michael Ciminella; and her grandparents.
“Supposedly, my sister (Wynonna, also a Grammy winner) was the ‘messed-up’ one, and I was the ‘perfect’ one.”
During a family visit to Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas, where Wynonna, 42, was being treated for food addiction, the De-Lovely and Come Early Morning actress was approached by counselors about treatment after emotional problems became apparent.
“They said, ‘No one ever does an intervention on people like you. You look too good. You’re too smart and together. But you (and Wynonna) come from the same family, so you come from the same wound.’ No one had validated my pain before,” Judd says.
Letting go of perfectionism
Judd learned that she was using sleep to deal with uncomfortable feelings and that her habit of wiping down plastic surfaces on planes and hotels was all about control.
“Now I try to remind myself that if I engage in perfectionism, I am abusing myself.”
The effects of her treatment are profound, she says, and has improved her friendships and her marriage to race car driver Dario Franchitti.
“I was unhappy, and now I’m happy. Now, even when I’m having a rough day, it’s better than my best day before treatment.”
[Quotes from USA Today usatoday.com article by Karen Thomas, 7/4/2006]