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The Borderline Dynamic
Grace Re-Visits an Ex-Partner
Grace is a in recovery for addictive, dependent relationships. This is a transcription of a conversation we had, it is written more or less as spoken in order to show her struggle. In her dialogue, Grace's inner conflict is tangible The tide-clash between being drawn back to the role of being child-like, in the relational bargain of feeling cared for and loved in return for being less mature than she really is.
In short, she is struggling against her internal pull into the borderline quadrants, as well as the external invitation from her ex-partner, Ray.
"I just felt completely split down the middle. Because one part of me is still in the past and desperately wants to go back into that dependent state, and the other part,.... but I can't do it anymore, like I cant go back to being a kid anymore. And that was what we had, he was very much a surrogate dad. And it just doesnt work anymore, this other part of me's moved on, - real turmoil, and the reason I was so anxious is because it creates friction, two parts, and its so tempting, like a big cake and then you eat it and its actually poisonous and it does you absolutely no good. It’s like an alcoholic isn’t it?
This is what happened with my mum! When I felt that my mum was very much taking on the overbearing mother I felt as if I had to adapt myself, you know, I kind of had to get into that little girl, I’ve got to please her because otherwise…… I’m going to be alone. So, I’ve got to go into that, it’s the only way this relationship can exist, is if I change and be, say, that child, and that’s what I had to do with Ray. He likes me with my feet on the dash board, cutesy, in a Gracy world, like rag dolly Anna or something. I really was his little kitten.
You know, and I think that’s how I’ve been quite addictive, this is how I got attention, partly from being cute, and the little fantasist, in dreamland. And I wanted to curl up on his lap, and he was offering it, and all the things I used to do. He did all the stuff for me that my dad never did.
My dad could never deal with emotions. Ray did everything, he believed in me. I really do think he has given me the fathering I didn’t get. I cant go back now, I don’t need it now. Although part of me really wants it, it doesn’t work, it gets toxic ….., its always that feeling of sort of……….. I can only do it with my hands,……..mm…. that, that feeling of something not being right.
And that’s partly why now the whole sex thing feels squirmy, he was like a surrogate dad and that’s the way I relate to him,…… and that’s what I miss about him, that unconditional love and
the way he made me feel everything’s going to be alright. That’s not going to do me any good now, I don’t need it,…. doesn’t stop me wanting it.
Its ……(here we go!)…... theres part of me that’s attracted and part of me that’s connecting, and theres another part of me that feels repulsed, but it does feel like I feel like I’m split in two."
Grace seemed to be caught, in an on-going anxious struggle. She demonstrated with her hands. It is often hard to really express the dynamic of the disorders of the self, because it is in many ways 'implicit', something greater than, or beyond words. Yet we try.
At this point I thought to show her this diagram of what she was expressing. See http://www.amazon.com/Therapists-Guide-Personality-Disorders-Masterson/dp/1932462090/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323561085&sr=1-1#reader_1932462090
'A maternal object that offers approval for regressive and clinging behaviour'
....... to be continued, thanks for your patience