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What You Should Know Before Blaming Ariana Grande for Mac Miller's Death

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Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Juliette Virzi, The Mighty’s associate mental health editor, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway.

On Friday, TMZ broke the news that rapper Mac Miller died of an apparent overdose at age 26. Unfortunately, many people immediately blamed his ex-girlfriend, singer Ariana Grande, posting accusations on her Instagram and to Twitter. Grande has since disabled her Instagram comments.

This isn’t the first time Grande has gotten heat because of Mac Miller. In May, Twitter user Elijah Flint tweeted about how “heartbreaking” it was that Ariana Grande broke up with rapper Mac Miller after he had written a 10-song album called “The Divine Feminine.”

Grande, who parted ways with Miller in May, responded to Flint’s comment, sharing that her relationship with Miller was a “toxic” one.

“I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be,” she wrote. “I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years… but shaming/blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem.”

Miller, who released his last album “Swimming” a month ago, has struggled with substance abuse for years.

Here are three things we need to keep in mind before blaming Ariana Grande for Mac Miller’s death:

1. Yes, Ariana Grande is a celebrity — but she’s still human.

It’s easy to forget celebrities are real people because of their larger-than-life presence, but please remember that Ariana Grande is a human being deserving of compassion and respect. She was in a relationship with Miller for over two years and just heard news of his death. Have compassion and be gentle with her, just as you would if someone you knew personally just learned about the death of an ex.

2. A romantic partner cannot “love” someone out of their struggles with addiction.

Much like suicide, when it comes to death by overdose, people tend to point the finger at loved ones who didn’t “save” the person from themselves. And as much as support and help from loved ones are vital for recovery, ultimately you cannot save another person, they have to save themselves.

3. Having boundaries with someone struggling with addiction does not mean you love them less.

Relationships with folks struggling with addiction can sometimes become toxic, and it’s important to take a step back if a relationship is more than you can handle. Taking care of yourself does not mean you love your partner any less. You must put your oxygen mask on before you can help someone with theirs.

Image via Creative Commons/Brook-Ward

Originally published: September 7, 2018
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