Former Hilary Clinton Chief Aide Huma Abedin and I don’t share much in the way of political beliefs. In fact, that may be understating the case. But Abedin, whose memoir Both/And: A Life in Many Words will soon be released, did something smart and courageous that merits her being the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week: She turned down the advice of many friends who told her to leave former Congressman Anthony Weiner immediately after his sexting scandal and tried to stay with him and keep her family together. In 2013, in fact, shortly after the scandal broke, she said, “”I have forgiven him. I believe in him … I made the decision. That was a decision I made for me, for our son, and for my family.”
Sadly, there were more revelations to come, and Abedin and Weiner eventually divorced in 2017. Still, she never publicly condemned her husband.
Now, Abedin is sharing the pain of her very complicated married life, which significantly impacted her political life and that of others she advised. And she’s not hiding the tough stuff.
“We were just two severely broken, traumatized people,” Amedin recently told a CBS interviewer. “I couldn’t see that he was completely disintegrating. And we just went into our corners.”
She also admits having contemplated suicide. For this alone—for not pretending that she was a rock and disclosing she is exquisitely human and vulnerable—she is heroic.
In her memoir she writes about a call she made to former Congressman Weiner. “‘Anthony,’ I said, wanting to shake him through the phone, ‘if she loses this election, it will be because of you and me.’ That night I wrote one line in my notebook. ‘I do not know how I am going to survive this. Help me, God.’”
I’m very happy that Hilary Clinton lost that election, but that obviously isn’t the point of this blog. The point is that when anyone—Democrat or Republican—shares the stark realities of her private and public life with millions (I hope) of readers, as Abedin is, she relieves many of those readers of thinking that their own foibles and traumas are unique or unspeakable. She ushers insight and empathy onto the national stage—things we sorely need at this time.
I don’t like Huma Abedin’s politics. But I like what she is doing in the world right now, and I understand how hard it is to do it.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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