Suicide 1 – Marilyn Monroe

A well-known borderline¹ was Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson). Despite her glamorous outward appearance, a volcano simmered within her. Elton John wrote his famous song “Candle in the Wind” to describe her, which succinctly summarizes how impulsively changeable she was. Norma was born in 1926, and her parents divorced in 1928. She always claimed she didn’t know who her real father was. Norma’s mother, Gladys, because of her mental health, gave her child away for fostering to the Bolenders, where she lived until she was seven. Norma believed the Bolenders were her real parents until she was told the truth at this age. Gladys came back to have her daughter live with her, but when Norma was nine, Gladys was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Gladys’s friend Grace became the young girl’s guardian. Grace married a man named Ervin Goddard when Norma was still just nine years old, so the young Norma was sent to the Los Angeles Orphan Home and then to a series of foster homes. Two years later she went back to live with Grace but was sexually molested by Goddard.

Marilyn was married three times; first to neighbor James Dougherty in 1942 when she was sixteen. He agreed to marry her to avoid her being returned to an orphanage. The marriage lasted only three years. She remarried in 1954, to baseball player Joe DiMaggio, but this marriage lasted less than a year. Very soon after, in 1956, she married playwright Arthur Miller, who described her as follows: “She was whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensitivity that few retain past adolescence.” Throughout her life she hated being alone and was terrified of being abandoned. In adulthood she was in and out of psychiatric clinics and attempted suicide at least three times. Tragically, she finally succeeded in killing herself (over-dosing on barbiturates) on August 5, 1962.

The Science of Evil

Baron-Cohen          2011


¹Borderlines aka people suffering from borderline personality disorder are theorized by some to be deficient in their awareness (perceptions of self presentation to others and valid interpretation of the behavior of others towards oneself) due to an overriding lack of empathy. Such a force, or lack thereof, produces an isolated and profound self-centeredness in an individual that, most often, continually interferes and ultimately, prevents any formation of a healthy or “normal” relationship with another.

Borderlines suffer primarily from a daunting fear of abandonment. This produces seemingly schizophrenic behavior (which in actually is just confused and inconsistent behavior), emotionally volatility and frequent depression, feelings of isolation and loneliness, hatred of oneself and others, and self-harm or even self-destruction.

This disorder is highly associated with early childhood abuse or neglect, and it appears that they are trapped in a perpetually destabilized state of agonizing, ambivalent desire and fear. These individuals constantly crave to be needed, wanted, and loved…..to never be alone, but at the same time, their fear makes it impossible to believe they are worthy of such true attention and desire. They undulate from feeling “smothered” by the “unwarranted or controlling,” intimate and caring motives of another versus feeling totally abandoned or betrayed by someone showing the slightest bit of independence.

Cribb Comment          2015

6 thoughts on “Suicide 1 – Marilyn Monroe

  1. This nearly perfectly describes someone in my life I love dearly. Do you believe someone like this can ever be reached? Can he/she ever be able to acknowledge and accept the

    • I think it is a very difficult dynamic to resolve. The borderline would most likely first need to arrive at accepting the diagnosis of their disorder (BPD) which requires significant introspection +/- therapy and then, be willing to persistently challenge their adaptive instinctual tendencies on a constant basis. It seems most prefer endless resetting via perpetual cycles or settling for a weak dependent companion that they can constantly push back and forth in an attempt to satiate both their desire and fear. This doesn’t work and it always leads to more self-destructive behavior. FYI – This is only my opinion and it is not based on any literature or studies that I am familiar with.

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