Iyanla Vanzant spoke to about the episode, where she thinks DMX went wrong, and what we can all learn from him.

E: What made you choose DMX?

IYANLA VANZANT: His ex-wife [Tashera Simmons] wrote in and asked if we would be able to support him. And then he agreed that he needed some support and would do the show. The biggest difficulty was just his capacity to be vulnerable and to speak honestly about what was going on with him.

E: Where do you think DMX went wrong?

VANZANT: I don’t think that he went wrong. All of us have ways in which we mask and cover our pain. This is a man who is in a tremendous amount of pain. Some of us eat; some of us shop or eat chocolate. What he is doing is a less socially acceptable way to mask and cover his pain because he doesn’t have the skills and the tools to deal with it otherwise. So I don’t think he went wrong, it’s just a defense mechanism.

E: Where do you think that pain came from?

VANZANT: It came from his upbringing and the breakdown in the relationship with his father. It came from a breakdown in the relationship with his mom, who was struggling and trying to raise him. She ended up putting him in a juvenile detention center because he was acting out and she didn’t have the capacity or the tools to deal with him. What he made up about that is that she was abandoning him when the truth is that she as doing the best that she could.

E: There’s a part of us that may want to be voyeuristic when watching this episode because we’re watching yet another celebrity breakdown. At the same time it feels like there’s something we can learn here.

VANZANT: All of us can learn something from this. We can learn how to have hard conversations; how to not let people die when we see them engaged in bad behaviors. We can learn how to have compassion for someone when they’re being a total butthead because compassion is what will help open their heart. We can learn how to create powerful, strong boundaries, and not allow people to cross those boundaries.

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