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Single Serving
A PsychoSONGanalysis by psychologist, Dr Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT
Song: Should I Stay or Should I Go
Band: The Clash
To set the tone for this review, please tune in to this cover of the song by yours truly:
Should I Stay or Should I Go

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
In this song, the Clash perfectly, and passionately depict the phenomenon of “mixed signals,” that are prevalent in many, if not most intimate relationships.  They also capture, quite poignantly, the phenomenon of ambivalence. 
A certain level of ambivalence in relationships is quite normal, given that human beings seem to inherently struggle with a clash (no pun intended) between individual expression and independence, on the one hand, and, the need to be intimately connected with others, on the other. 
Furthermore, there is generally one person, more, ostensibly dependent in a relationship, and another more, ostensibly independent. 
Taken to the extreme, ambivalence in relationships signals psychopathology.  What does psychopathic ambivalence look like?  Think of the song, “Thin Line between Love and Hate.”  Pretenders did a great remake of that song.  Listen to it, and you’ll learn that if you’re at the wrong end of a borderline personality disorder, or you’ve pushed the boundaries in accordance with your own psychopathological ambivalence, you could end up in a hospital bed just a heartbeat from your death bed.  If the love isn’t fed, and the hate is furthered, love/hate relationships can become dangerous. 

Always tease tease tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day is fine, next day is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
Bipolar disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder commonly go together.  Bipolar disorder emphasizes mood instability, and Borderline Personality Disorder is more of a deep-seated character problem, and emphasizes instability in relationships.  Of course unstable moods can easily fuel instability in relationships. 
When you “tease tease tease,” in relationships, the ambivalence you feel is usually waited on the hate side of the love/hate side of the love/hate relationship equation.  A teaser is afraid of intimacy, but craves attention and is generally a thrill-seeker.  Beware of the tease.  And those who seek teases may not be so psychologically sound themselves.  They are often depressed and seek significant (ambivalent) others to give them a rush of adrenaline. 
Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know!
If you feel you are a victim in an abusive relationship, the question of whether to stay or to go should be obvious.  Duh?  Go, before they kill you, either physically, or psychologically.  But it’s very complicated for the victim.  They are often realistically afraid of what the abusing party is capable of.  They often realistically don’t trust that the law will consistently protect them if they decide to leave. 
If you are a victim of abuse, the answer is to find a way to find the strength and support systems to leave, so that if it comes down to that, you will never return to the hell you are presently in. 
Seek support from friends, seek legal support, and, if necessarily, seek professional help in the form of psychotherapy, including group and individual treatment. 
The Clash articulate AMBIVALENCE and internal conflict with profound deftness, poignancy and clarity in this classic, punk-influenced song.  It speaks to a universal dilemma----the quintessential dilemma of our generation.  Should I Stay or Should I Go? 

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