THE BLOG
05/15/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

If Rielle Hunter is Not the "Other Woman" then Who Is?

Rielle Hunter who had an affair with one time presidential candidate John Edward's, "opened up" to GQ magazine. In one photo we see her posing seductively, among a massive pile of stuffed animals, in an oversized man's shirt and nothing else. In another Rielle is clinging to "love child" Quinn, while at the same moment talking about how she wanted to protect her from some of the negative glare that might come her way. A mistress of mixed messages if ever there were one.

"Hunter,regrets the charade that pegged Edwards aide Andrew Young as the father of her baby," says GQ "claiming that she went along with the scheme for her daughter's sake."

"I felt that if he dropped out [of the race] and blamed her, for coming into the world, that that would be something I didn't know if she could get over," she told GQ. "I didn't want her held -- or her to feel -- responsible."

So why pose with her daughter for GQ you might be asking yourself? Does this look like a mother's attempt to shield her innocent child from the glare of publicity? Go figure? Well, on second thought, don't bother, it's obvious.

Hunter said "she welcomed her first pregnancy," reports GQ, "at 43, calling her daughter "a love child" who was "conceived in love."

When asked about Edward's view of her pregnancy Hunter's reply was, "on some level, he was hoping I would get an abortion,....he wasn't happy about the timing. Which is understandable. He was married and running for president."

What ever happened to the good old days when we didn't learn about all of this? I guess forewarned is forearmed. Maybe seeing the lives of people go up in flames will prove some sort of modern morality tale that will help future generations? I hope so.

When asked about Elizabeth being diagnosed with cancer Hunter continued in a similar vein,

"Oh, my God, I have such compassion for her. I really do. I mean, especially when you have terminal cancer. ... I watched my father die of cancer." While in the same breath saying, "but it's also sad to me, her unwillingness to take responsibility for her part in the marriage. And her unwillingness to face the truth ... she really believes that it's everyone else's fault."

Truth really is stranger than fiction. You couldn't write this stuff if you tried.

Rielle Hunter's twisting of psychological concepts to shroud her own culpability is just one more disturbing aspect of this whole situation. Twisting the meaning of words like "compassion", "taking responsibility", "abuse" and "dysfunctional" to, in fact, evade her own responsibility in the dissolution of a marriage and the wounding of several lives, leaves one feeling a little ill.

"According to Hunter, the Edwards' marriage appeared happy on the outside but was, in fact, "dysfunctional and toxic and awful."

Are we meant to think that her affair with Edwards was functional and non toxic?

She continues on with GQ's Lisa DePaulo. "

"The appearance of having that charmed life was built on a lie. The lie of the story line they both created together."

Hmmmm. Speaking of lies?

Hunter next shares something that could sound sensible and even intelligent were it not so self serving. "The break in the marriage happens before the infidelity."

But here's where the truth gets warped beyond recognition. "And that break happened, you know, two and a half decades before I got there. So the home was wrecked already. I was not the Home Wrecker."

Air tight! Denial and rewrite complete!

As a therapist I have heard versions of this line over and over again, "the marriage was already over." But I want to speak up on this one. A marriage isn't over till two people openly decide that it is over. Most long term marriages, truth be told, pass through periods that may well feel close to over. Good marriages may have dysfunctional parts to them, it's inevitable. That's what therapists help couples with, looking at the parts of their relationships that aren't functioning well and helping them to function better.

Hunter goes on to claim that "Edwards suffered "abuse" in his marriage to Elizabeth, saying: "Most of [John's] mistakes or errors in judgment were because of his fear of the wrath of Elizabeth. ... And you know, the wrath of Elizabeth is a mighty wrath."

On this one I would like to say that actions speak MUCH louder than words. Edward's wrath towards his wife, perhaps even towards himself, was "acted out" by his creating a liaison with Rielle Hunter that his wife and children will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

While everyone in John Edward's life has had to deal with dashed dreams of just about every kind, Hunter again draws psychology and even a kind of faux spirituality spin the facts. Not only does Hunter classify Elizabeth as the bad woman, exonerating herself and relinquishing responsibility in the break up of a marriage, she goes even a step further, casting herself as a sort of angel of mercy.

"Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace," she tells GQ "In reality, he's fallen to grace. He is integrated. He is living a life of truth. He has grown in awareness and humility. He had all these things within him, but they weren't the guiding, leading principles of his life. Now they are."

Using words like "integrated" to explain an act that was driven, in fact, by a fairly disintegrated part of John Edward's "self" and implying that he is, through this, "living his truth" really tears at moral integrity in a way that hurts. Suffering does often lead one to grow and become more aware, humble and truthful. But for Hunter to use these time honored concepts to wrap her own sickening conduct, both in her affair with John Edwards and her use of it for her own "public advancement", sends a message that should be seen for what it is. Dysfunctional.

One of the most difficult and truly dysfunctional issues to treat is denial. But denial is not only ignoring the pink elephant in the middle of the living room. A more insidious form of denial, is the rewriting of reality to suit one's own self serving agenda. This can be terribly hard, particularly on developing children whose sense of self and moral values are still forming. They not only do not learn to "live in the truth" they learn to accommodate themselves to "living in" someone else's self serving version of it. This requires a rewrite of their own reality to suit the needs of another. There is a certain flavor, if you will, to this particular form of denial and that flavor is all over this interview. For those who can see right through it and perceive the self serving motives underneath, it proves to be no more than a couple of uncomfortable moments. But for those who are vulnerable, hurting or young it can have more serious and lasting impact.