The key trigger for Stockholm syndrome is a captive's misinterpretation of a lack of abuse as kindness. Like abused dogs under new owners, Dunbar and Stands With a Fist fall in love with the tribe, then each other, a wolf, tatonka, fucking everything.
Psychologists tell us that a love predicated on a disorder is doomed to fail, especially when the cause of that disorder is removed. At the end of the film, the two run away from the tribe together and live alone on the open plains. The only feasible way for the spark to remain between them is if they both act as perpetrator against the other. Imagine a relationship between two people where each feels tortuously confined while simultaneously completely dependent on the oth- No, no on second thought, this relationship seems pretty standard.
The Breakfast Club: John Bender and Claire Standish
Why it Will Never Work:
Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder.
Once more we get the Princess and the Bad Boy matchup, but the pairing in The Breakfast Club is actually far uglier than what we had in Star Wars. At least Han and Leia were adults who had been around the block, and presumably knew what they were getting into. The sad thing is, these relationships do happen in real life, but they more resemble what we get in The Breakfast Club--the naive young girl who mistakes profound antisocial tendencies for awesome badassery.
Some girls like the idea of falling in love with angry, bitter, aggressive men with rap sheets and a history of self-destruction. Claire is one. She's established as the quintessential popular/rich girl, while Bender is the type of person destined for prison or various holes in the desert. He's antisocial, offensive and generally kind of a dick. Bender torments Claire so much that it's hard to tell whether he wants to stick his dick or switchblade in her.
The movie makes it clear Bender suffers from post-traumatic embitterment disorder due to a traumatizing childhood of abuse and shitty Christmas gifts. This potent combination of helplessness and rage is bound to draw in a girl like Claire who wants to help almost as much as she wants to get back at daddy.
The problem is that post-traumatic embitterment disorder isn't as cool as it looks during a few hours of Saturday morning detention. According to the folks at All About Counseling.com, Bender will likely shut down around affection and intimacy, and when he's incapable of expressing those feelings like a normal human being, lash out with violence. Claire is looking at a future of unrequited affection and excuses about running into the door.
This sheds a whole new light on the final shot of the movie. After sharing a kiss with Claire, Bender appears to punch the air in a jubilant gesture that always seemed more than a little bit out of character. According to the science, he was just warming up.
Emma Larkins is a conducer of elegant mental stimulation. Check out her blog and her Squidoo page.
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