Jim Dalling’s Pop Psychology for November 6 1984

Working as a therapist in Downtown Dartmouth, some themes, issues, and problems seem to be recurrent. This week’s post features two songs by ‘The Boss’ that touch on a couple of these recurrent themes.

Slipping to spot #39 you’ll find ‘Cover Me’. Springsteen captures something essential about relationships with his sparse, beautiful lyrics:

The times are tough now, just getting tougher
This old world is rough, it’s just getting rougher
Cover me, come on baby, cover me
Well I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

According to attachment theory, we crave safety above all else in our loving relationships. Through tough times in a rough world, our partners are our primary protection against the torments of life. Sadly, however, they are (of course) frequently imperfect. Over time, these imperfect connections can become frayed even damaged.

We have raw spots, rocky times, and even relationship injuries that can challenge our connections and threaten our relationships. People frequently discover this just when they are on the precipice of throwing in the towel. Others have decided that things are too late. That’s when they come here – times are tough, getting tougher and somehow one partner or another has been crying out to the other:

Cover me!  Keep me safe! I’m afraid! I need love and recognition!

Sadly I find that many people who see me either don’t know what they want, how to get it or communicate their needs terribly. They end up very misunderstood. Even as a registered professional counselor, I’m not immune. I’m learning to be less terrible about articulating what I need from my relationship. Sure, my relationship has had some really big threats that are fairly exceptional. Still every day, it’s my responsibility to step up and be cover for Laura. Lately, I’ve learned how important it is for me to step up, articulate my value in the relationship and allow myself to receive comfort.

If we don’t show up fully in our relationships, we risk being misunderstood. Which brings me to our next track. This week Born in the USA debuted in the top 100 at #52.  When it was first released, most people thought it was a patriotic anthem, when in fact Springsteen wrote it to protest the poor treatment of Vietnam veterans by the United States. A Reagan advisor asked Springsteen if the song could be used in the reelection campaign. Springsteen said no. He stood up. He didn’t let himself or his truth get left out and misunderstood.

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