BOOMERANG LOVE, ROLLER COASTER
AND MOST VALUABLE DOG
How do we make sense of our Borderline
partner’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behavior? How do we order our world
when it turns on a dime from peaceful to hurricane, from zero to psycho
in a heartbeat? The good part, the person we love, exists right
alongside (or inside) the hurtful one.
Whether we decide to stay and ride the Borderline roller coaster – or
bail out and leave the relationship – the grief is the same. We must
separate from someone we love deeply.
If we stay with them, we separate emotionally. If we leave, we separate
emotionally and physically, with all the finality and additional grief
of the loss of dreams for the future, family structure, companionship,
all of that.
Having to force ourselves to walk away from something we love is
crazy-making. It flies in the face of all that’s human, all that our
heart wants to do, and everything that our sense of just plain living on
this earth would have us do.
Leave someone we love? We don’t do that unless forced to (war, famine
and pestilence come to mind). It’s so unnatural. Our spirits are built
to pour forth love, and heaven knows our Borderlines are good, deserving
people. We wouldn’t have chosen them to be our partners if they weren’t.
But the person we love doesn’t stay in one place. They move around,
hiding behind walls, throwing up barriers to our intimacy, lobbing hand
grenades as they run away from us. And then the person we love comes
back . . . penitent, sad, remorseful, tearful, full of promises (wishes,
So back and forth we go in our grief. We’re like a boomerang –
catapulting ourselves out the door of our relationship and then turning
around and going back through the door again. “I’m leaving him today . .
. but we have such a sweet love relationship . . . how can I walk away
from that?” Or “I’ve left and she’ll never rage at me again . . . but I
still love her . . . what’s wrong with me?”
Confusing, convoluted, roller coaster, stuck boomerang love grief.
12-step programs call it the Dance of Death because it’ll kill us.
I’m reminded of a story I heard once about a man who owned two dogs. The
two dogs got locked into a vicious fight, and it was clear that the
owner was not going to be able to stop the fighting. The only way to
stop it was to shoot one of the dogs.
The owner said to his friend, “I don’t know what to do. These are
valuable dogs. I paid a lot of money for them, and I love them both. But
they’re going to kill each other, so I’ve got to shoot one of them.
Which one do I shoot?”
The friend said, “I suggest you shoot the least valuable dog.”
Now I’m not saying that our Borderline partners aren’t valuable. But the
reality is that we are caught in the downward spiral of their disorder.
It’s a vortex that will suck us right down with them.
If our partners are not honestly making an effort to heal from their
disorder, we have no choice but to choose ourselves. We are the most
valuable dog at that point, and we are of no value to anyone –
ourselves, our families or our Borderline – if we allow ourselves to go
down with their ship.
And maybe . . . just maybe . . . our walking away from the struggle and
leaving them by themselves will allow them to see that their feelings
arise whether we’re around or not !
We will create lives of happiness for ourselves and our families. We are
the most valuable dog !
* * * * * * * * * * * *
GOD, FOR TODAY, help me to control my boomerang love. Help me to step
over, walk around, punch my way through my grief and take care of myself
in whatever way I must. And help me tomorrow, next week, next month and
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