I honestly thought I would not hear from Pernille Rose Grønkjær again, after several months of no contact, but I received a wonderful e-mail from her this morning regarding the film. Quite surprisingly, she had sent me both the trailer and the pilot, which included her interview with me and G as well as interviews with other therapists and professionals like Pia Mellody, author or Facing Love Addiction and The Intimacy Factor.
This is not the actual documentary. I still don’t know if I will be included in the documentary. What this is, rather, is a teaser for submission to the Danish Film Institute so as to get them interested in funding the film.
As much as I would love to share her work here and post the trailer, I am a bit hesitant. I do feel as though I was somewhat misrepresented. I do not fault Pernille for this. I think she has an idea for her film in her mind and she is pulling only those lines of mine essential for her vision– she is not, however, creating a clear picture of “me.”
I have to say that when I watched the trailer (not so much the pilot) I felt a little sad for myself. It portrays love addicts in a much darker, more desperate light than I view myself. It’s surreal to see how others interpret mine and G’s behavior. I felt as though I came off a little dangerous, or rather, “pathological,” whereas that is/was not the case at all in my real relationship to G. Yes, I clocked a few more hours of obsessing over him than I’d like to admit, but my way of managing his rejection was to leave him, to run away. Not to chase after him or call him incessantly (actually, he would do that to me). I knew he wasn’t good for me, and I had enough self-esteem to leave. But I didn’t have enough self-esteem to stay away and so I’d go back because I missed him and he missed me. I knew he would take me back. It was never me trying to convince him to love me, but rather, me trying to convince him to change when he simply didn’t want to. Also, the other men I dated didn’t satisfy me mentally and emotionally like he did. I was NEVER “stalkerish” or like Fatal Attraction woman. I simply hurt myself by remaining in a relationship where I was denied certain things. The other thing is, G and I were best friends. He loved me and was very good to me in many ways. And as long as I didn’t place too many mature demands on him in the latter years of our relationship, we got along wonderfully. He is a very deep communicator (not so in front of the camera!) and we talked for hours every day. I wasn’t able to find that any where, so I stuck through the bad for the sake of an intense mental connection.
Finally, what is not portrayed (which might have given me a little pride back) is that ours was a mutual addiction. He was equally addicted to me at certain times in the relationship. In fact, on the car ride home the day we filmed, he said to me, “Tracy, all of what you said, all that craziness that went on in your head, I felt all that for you too.”
I think the therapists touched deeply and exactly on certain issues, (that love addiction is very much about fantasy, not about love) but hyperbolized other characteristics of love addiction (the stalking, the pathology, the danger etc.). There are of course those extreme variety of love addicts that will commit these more anti-social behaviors, but I would have to say that most love addicts are simply burdened by obsessive thinking and worry (this is the case with me). They have low self-esteem and allow men to treat them badly, but they are rather passive in their behavior and do not have that desperation to chase of which some of these therapists speak. I think the key word here is “passive,” and I would even go as far as to say “submissive”. Most love addicts are passive and/or submissive, and simply make bad choices based on insecurity and low self-esteem. At least that was my case. G’s love of me was quite controlling. If he said jump, I said “how high?” He stripped me of my identity on the one hand, on the other, he brought out beautiful things in me and helped me through a lot. But I do not know many women who are overly aggressive or actually attack men and go after them.
As per the documentary, I believe Pernille wants to focus on these latter, extreme cases. And well she should. Drama sells. She wants to make a film that people not only respect, but fear. She wants to shock. But what troubles me deeply is that I do not relate to this kind of behavior, nor do I want to be perceived in that way. There are MANY different varieties of love addiction. Not all women (and men for that matter) behave the same way. And so too, there are different stages as well. I’d like to think that I am a little more advanced than some of these cases where the police are called in. That’s a boundary I’ve never crossed.
Gosh, I’m even thinking of that scene in “He’s Just Not That Into You” where Gigi misreads Alex’s signals and thinks he wants her. She hops in his lap at the very end of his party when no one is around and practically rapes the poor guy. He responds by pushing her off and saying something like, “whoa babe, you got the wrong idea.” I can thankfully say I have NEVER made that same mistake, or anything remotely like it. And though I know there are women who have done this, I believe that is more the exception than the rule.
Truth be told, the whole G thing may have merely been some sort of “post-traumatic-stress” reaction to the dissolution of my marriage. My marriage was abusive. it was dramatic. It was filled with rage and pain and suffering. Coming form both parties. G was mellow, peaceful, hard working. We never fought. I was disgruntled, but willing to put up with no sex for the sake of that kind of peace. That’s the simplified version of it.
I wanted to mention something that I noticed one of the therapists saying too, that love addicts tend to go after “avoidant” men (bad boys). This is quite true, however, what is more important to note about love addicts is that they too are avoidants. It’s two different sides of the same coin. Love addicts are masters at avoiding THEMSELVES because they are scared to death of who they are. Love addicts fall in love with men who avoid them, so that they may avoid themselves in the process of focusing on and struggling with the avoidant. The man, however, is never the issue with a love addict. The love addict (self) is the issue. The man is merely the object or manifestation of the love addict’s insecurity and identity crisis.
Just so you know, I DO realize she just sent me a “clip,” a small taste of what this film will tackle. I have to say she is extremely brave to get into such a touchy, unique and at times painfully dismal subject. But she amazes and inspires me.
A note on the pilot: This is study on love addiction. It by no means can or will tackle all the issues pertinent to love addiction for everyone. There are parts here spoken by therapists which, for me are, are way off. Please take it with a grain of salt. My favorite is the ending where Pernille just phases out what G says with that cheesy love long. It’s classic. I only wish I could remember what the heck he was saying!