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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Please Don't Leave Me

He's Just Not That Into You--It's not a new movie, and a lot of people said they were Just Not Into It.

But the topic had me at hello.

The cast is stunning, for one.  I watch chick flicks for many reasons (they're sedating, primarily), but a pleasant looking cast is at the top of the list. You can't talk about deep subjects all the time and not have a really shallow side somewhere deep down inside.

FD didn't bother with it for 30 seconds. He went to bed. But he was tired, is the truth.

Gigi Haim, (Ginnifer Goodwin, above, bottom right below) desperately seeks a boyfriend. It's the desperate part we don't like.  A woman (or a man, this movie could easily have been about a desperate man) should strive for a little more pride, more independence. Hanging on for dear life when someone is pushing you away, stalking restaurants and bars to catch the prey unannounced, feels like high school.  I know it's hard not to do it, and that for many of us, it's hard to have the kind of self-control necessary to go it alone.  But we've got to try.  That said, we can work on this for years in therapy, and we do.

Gigi anxiously waits for telephone calls, checks voicemail a hundred times a day, even when her first dates don't go well, which is always. What she wants, what she needs, is beyond her social intelligence. The social IQ should tell her that a little mystery, a little challenge, is attractive in relationships. And if the attraction isn't mutual, let it go.  But we're made up of much more than social intelligence.  Our emotional lives tend to rule.

She's rejected often, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. And Gigi's obsessive thinking, her compulsive man-chasing, doesn't hurt anyone. She's obsessed, but she would not be diagnosed with OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She doesn't want to be alone, and although we might suggest she feels empty, she doesn't have Borderline Personality Disorder, either.  That's the one we think of when we associate fears of abandonment with mental illness.

She's just not getting it, can't read the signs when it's so obvious that it's never going to happen. Men read the neediness in her face instantly. They politely suggest, “Call me," a nice way of saying, "I’m not interested enough to call you, so I won't be calling you, but knock yourself out."

The film is full of examples of these types of metacommunications, communications about communications. It is worth seeing for that alone. But remember, the epiphanies of a chick flick aren't usually rocket science.

Gigi's social disconnect, her persistence in knocking when the doors are all closed, is a remez (rhymes with them-pez, Hebrew for hint, but hint just doesn't quite say it as well) to the drive that makes some people successful in this world. They know what they want and get it, don't take no for an answer.

When it comes to relationships and love, unfortunately, that kind of persistence and drive doesn't usually pay off. Forcing ourselves upon others only makes us less attractive, less likable. Gigi's manhunt turns out to be the exception to the rule. It's romantic comedy, after all.

Contrast this to Pink, and her violent music video, Please Don't Leave Me. I can't even link to it for you, it's so violent. Pink bloodies her boyfriend, beats him senseless so that he can't get out of the apartment. She's a sociopath, clearly, a violent, antisocial individual. I mean, rock star.  Not that rock stars are violent.

When I first heard the song, the lyrics isolated from the video screamed Borderline Personality Disorder. So I checked out the video at YouTube to see if it would work as a teaching tool for high school kids learning about abandonment anxiety. (They teach kids about that, right, in your high schools?)

Here are the lyrics:

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Da da da, da da

I don't know if I can yell any louder
How many time I've kicked you outta here?
Or said something insulting?
Da da da, da da

I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of really anything
I can cut you into pieces
But my heart is broken
Da da da, da da

Please don't leave me
Please don't leave me
I always say how I don't need you
But it's always gonna come right back to this
Please, don't leave me

How did I become so obnoxious?
What is it with you that makes me act like this?
I've never been this nasty
Da da da, da da

Can't you tell that this is all just a contest?
The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest
But baby I don't mean it
I mean it, I promise
Da da da, da da

Please don't leave me
Oh please don't leave me
I always say how I don't need you
But it's always gonna come right back to this
Please, don't leave me

I forgot to say out loud how beautiful you really are to me
I cannot be without, you're my perfect little punching bag
And I need you, I'm sorry
Da da da, da da

You say I don't need you
But it's always gonna come right back
It's gonna come right back to this
Please, don't leave me

Please don't leave me, oh no no no.

What's interesting to me is that both women, Gigi and Pink, are desperately in need of a relationship, both concentrate all of their energy to keep a relationship, even go to extreme measures. But they are such different women.

Engaging Gigi in therapy would be a snap. Teaching her rubberband theory, exploring her insecurities about being alone, she'd grow leaps and bounds in a single visit. Well, not a single visit, but a few for sure.  It's hard to let go, and managing neediness in relationships can take a lot of therapy, it's true.  Yet Gigi's not that dysfunctional. She hurts only herself.

Whereas someone like Pink would be self-mutilating in my office and throwing rocks at home.  I'd call in a team to work with her.

The differences in the two women, both so needy, underscores the importance of not diagnosing based upon a single symptom, not even an extreme symptom, although the no sleep thing in Bi-polar Disorder, and the hallucinations or delusions in Schizophrenia are fairly robust indicators of disease.  But even then, there are things to rule out before making a diagnosis. Like speed, acid, other physical disease, brain tumors. Things.

I looked already. Nothing's on tonight.

therapydoc

13 comments:

Jack said...

Hi Doc,

Wanted to say howdy and that I always enjoy these posts. I find them interesting. Hope life is good.

lynette said...

wow, what a dichotomy you present and pull together.

i'm thinking that both those examples involve insecure young women. which is a shame, that young women should be so insecure.

from my perspective, right now i am feeling like one pathetic 48 year old woman going through a divorce who will never fall in love again. add to that the damage of a marriage for almost 18 years to a narcissistic bully of a man. talk about needy.

almost makes me want back in -- "please don't leave me" -- even though i know my years-long depression is lifting and emotionally i am doing better.

women of a "particular age" are invisible in our society. truly. young women get romantic comedies, plural. older women get one with Meryl Streep in a five year period.

rats. i need some hobbies.

Anonymous said...

last year -i think it was john meyer who sang a similar song and the video featured a girl beating the crab out of him and running him and other over with a car.

lynette said...

Anonymous, Green Day did a song called Pulling Teeth about a relationship that was girl-on-guy abuse back in 1994 or so (my guess). It was probably a bit tongue-in-cheek, but my 14 yo son and I talk about it.

"Pulling Teeth"
Green Day

I'm all busted up
Broken bones and nasty cuts
Accidents will happen
But this time I can't get up
She comes to check on me
Making sure I'm on my knees
After all she's the one
Who put me in this state

Is she ultra-violent?
Is she disturbed?
I better tell her that I love her
Before she does it all over again
Oh god, she's killing me!!!

For now I'll lie around
hell, that's all I can really do
She takes good care of me
Just keep saying my love is true

Is she ultra-violent?
Is she disturbed?
I better tell her that I love her
Before she does it all over again
Oh god, she's killing me!!!

Looking out my window for
Someone that's passing by
No one knows I'm locked in here
All I do is cry

For now I'll lie around
hell, that's all I can really do
She takes good care of me
Just keep saying my love is true

former co-coach said...

have you seen "You Again"? There are, in my mind, a couple very fascinating psychological storylines in it.

therapydoc said...

Thanks Lynette, and former co-coach. I'll check them both out. Fact is, I've never had a case where the female beat up the male. I've heard about women beating on women in gangs, and I know it's got to be true, and surely women emotionally and verbally abuse their spouses. But I thought Pink was just entertaining us. Tell me she was just entertaining us. Because that's entertaining these days, blood and violence, right?

lynette said...

i am sure Pink was tongue in cheek too.... i also think, according to statistics, the number of men who are victims of domestic abuse is significant, but certainly nowhere near the 1-in-3 thing for women. it is just that men/boys will rarely admit it -- so shameful for males, don't you think?

my husband was verbally and emotionally abusive (still is -- just doesn't live with us any more). out of my two kids, my son (not my daughter), was on the receiving end of constant extreme negativity and criticism. he is also always on the alert for "sexism" -- against boys. so we talk about how boys/men can be abused too. he is doing much better now that his dad does not live with us (he does not even spend a night with his dad) and with therapy. but the fear of being treated badly again by someone? it's relevant.

blood and violence are not entertainers here. Pink may have just been making a rather sick point.

Bill C. said...

Hi, just came across your blog. I love the social nature of it, keep up the good work, it's very interesting. Oh, and gotta love those romantic comedies.

A Girl said...

I don't think Pink is just being entertaining, reading some of her other texts, the theme is pretty consistent:

Go away
Give me a chance to miss you
Say goodbye
It'll make me want to kiss you
I love you so
Much more when you're not here
Watchin all the bad shows
Drinking all of my beer

I remember reading an interview with her mother, where she said she'd no idea that Pink felt this bad, until she heard her first album.

I like Pink. Throwing rocks or not, she seems self-aware.

therapydoc said...

Thanks. All I know is that song won't leave me, and she's got to be enjoying her fame. And she can always call me. The public figures I've come to know at work are no diff than you and me. Except maybe richer.

porcini66 said...

Caught up on reading many posts tonight, TD. Holidays, FIL dying, anniversary of my own dad's death - it all kinda had been keepin' me jumpin'. But...here you are and your words make me stand down a notch or two. Thanks, as always, for writing.

Anonymous said...

I happpened upon your blog. When Pink's song was in it's prime I had to listen to it on the radio every morning when I worked out at the fitness center. Until yes, sadly, I knew the lyrics. It took about 2 seconds to diagnose the song as a Borderline Personality Disorder Patient's mantra. How validating to know someone else noticed too. Did you watch the recent film "Something Borrowed" with the same actress from "not that into you"? Some great psychological fodder there. I silently screamed through the whole movie. It was brutal.

therapydoc said...

No, there's a movie? I've seen women reading it on airplanes, always thought, now that looks like a good one. Thanks, I'll watch it (or read it). And yes, it is so painful feeling that desperation, no matter how a person labels it. I almost wish we didn't have the label, BDP, could go back to treating the personality and the pain. Therapists pick it up really quickly. Wish you well.