I miss the comfort in being sad. – Kurt Cobain, Nirvana
The lyric quoted above is from the Nirvana song, “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle” from their In Utero album. I happened to hear the song on the radio today (I’ve heard it many times before) and the lyric struck me like lightning.
Is it possible that familiarity is more of a motivator for us than feeling better? Could it be that the grief and heartache our breakups have caused us has stirred up feelings in us that resonate far more than the unfamiliar peace and calm? Are we more comfortable feeling the grief because it is already familiar to us? It may seem odd, even a bit masochistic, but do we find pain to be pleasurable on some level?
I truly believe that normal-minded human beings seek out pleasure and avoid pain, but what happens when the boundaries of those two emotions becomes blurred, or smeared together? I believe that this concept is a nearly dead-on explanation for why we are so mixed up after a relationship with a Borderline disordered individual.
The dynamics of a relationship with a Borderline are defined by blurred and distorted boundaries, emotions, and expectations. Our Borderline partner’s behavior trains us, overtime, to be hypersensitive to their emotional state. In time, our emotional state becomes completely dependent upon theirs.
When they feel bad, we feel bad. When they feel joy, we feel joy. The constant bombardment of these two contrary emotions leaves us shell-shocked. This never-ending flux between joy and pain begins to soften the boundaries of these usually sharply-defined emotional states. The cycle continues ad nauseam, until even when in pain, we are anticipating the onset of pleasure. We know the pleasure will come again as the Borderline pulls us back in. We will feel the rush and excitement of being wholeheartedly loved and adored by the one whom we have placed in such high regard.
Is this the reason we are left in tatters when the cycle finally ends? Is our pain something so familiar to us that we have difficulty letting it go to embrace the yet unknown peace in life?
I believe the pain we felt was there throughout the vast majority of our relationships with our Borderline disordered partners. It was always there, just below the conscience surface of the joy we were feeling, waiting to rear its ugly head.