Monica Lewinsky got real about coping with headlines that trigger traumatic memories, and we're rooting for her
The former president faced criticism after he said during a wide-ranging interview with NBC’s Today show earlier this month that he never apologized directly to Lewinsky after the scandal that led to his impeachment 20 years ago — and that he did not believe a private apology was necessary since he’d made one publicly.
Now, in her first interview since Clinton’s comments, Lewinsky, 44, tells InStyle that, “Despite the amount of trauma work I’ve done for the past 20 years, there’s still a pattern that gets tapped into or triggered” by unexpected news headlines.
The anti-bullying activist, speaker and writer continued, “I’m really lucky that I have tools I can use. When that doesn’t work, I’ll resort to calling someone or using one of the healing modalities called EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique.”
“And worst case scenario: There’s always Xanax,” she added with a laugh, before noting, “As long as you’re not somebody who has issues around those types of things, I think that can be a really effective tool too.”
Lewinsky also told InStyle that she feels empowered these days when she hears from people who have connected with her writing or speeches: “It’s kind of corny, but I have this personal belief that when people say something kind to me now, it erases something negative that was said about me in the past.”
Lewinsky has spoken before about being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the international public-shaming she experienced after her sexual relationship with Clinton was made public in 1998.
In February, she wrote a Vanity Fair essay reflecting on how the #MeToo movement has changed her view of the situation, saying she’s only just beginning to “consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.”
“Until recently (thank you, Harvey Weinstein), historians hadn’t really had the perspective to fully process and acknowledge that year of shame and spectacle,” she wrote in Vanity Fair, adding that even though what occurred between herself and Clinton wasn’t sexual assault, “we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power.”
On Today, Clinton was asked if he would have handled the situation differently in light of the #MeToo movement and recent criticism that he should have resigned rather than fight his 1998 impeachment.
“I felt terrible then, and I came to grips with it,” the former president first responded.
Asked by interviewer Craig Melvin if he ever directly apologized to Lewinsky, Clinton inscrutably replied, “No, yes” before going on the offensive.
“And nobody believes that I got out of that for free,” Clinton said. “I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this. And I bet you don’t even know them. This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me.”