Share

cover art for taylor swift’s teenage dream: a depth psychological tour through ‘the tortured poets department’ and the puella aeterna archetype

Back From The Borderline

taylor swift’s teenage dream: a depth psychological tour through ‘the tortured poets department’ and the puella aeterna archetype

Have you ever wondered why Taylor Swift—and her music—seem to hold the entire music industry and legions of fans worldwide in what seems like a perpetual chokehold? In this episode, we’ll aim to get to the bottom of this phenomenon with a lyrical analysis of her latest album, "The Tortured Poet's Department," through the lens of depth psychology, most notably how Swift perfectly embodies the puella aeterna (forever girl) archetype.This analysis is not about Taylor Swift as a person—as none of us, not even her most die-hard fans, truly know the real human behind the persona—but rather the broader patterns her lyrics and public image represent, which paradoxically may not usher fans toward growth but instead keep them anchored in an endless teenage dream.


At 34, Taylor Swift continues to expertly embody the essence of youthful idealism and romantic drama, holding a mirror up to our collective reluctance to embrace the responsibilities and complexities of adulthood. Her music portrays eternal youth, echoing a societal fascination with the simplicity and excitement of adolescence, and one might say—at the expense of mature introspection and integration of lessons learned. Through this exploration, I’ll invite you to question the allure of perpetual youth and consider the transformative power of moving from the eternal girl to embracing and embodying the wisdom of the Mother and, eventually, the Crone.


This episode will challenge you to see beyond the surface of Swift's enchanting narratives. It asks why we, as a society, are mesmerized by tales of tumultuous love and eternal innocence, and how this infatuation may prevent us from recognizing that real, securely attached love is stable, enduring, and a conscious choice to stick through the less stereotypically 'passionate' times that modern music, media, and culture aim to sell to us. Whether you are a die-hard fan, a casual listener, someone perplexed by Swift’s decades-long stranglehold on public attention, or someone seeking deeper insight into cultural phenomena, this discussion will engage you with compelling questions about personal growth and societal values. Join me for a provocative and enlightening journey into the world of archetypes and cultural narratives with Taylor Swift's latest lyrics as our guide.


TIME STAMPS:


✧ 00:00 – 10:33: Episode introduction + disclaimer

✧ 10:33 – 21:03: what is the puella aeterna archetype?

✧ 21:03 – 27:08: artistic evolution (swift vs. adele – a lyrical comparison)

✧ 27:08 – 36:24: the business of youth (taylor swift’s persona as brand strategy)

✧ 36:24 – 50:41: lyrical analysis (living in the past, the forever virgin, and unconscious fear of commitment)

✧ 50:41 – 01:07:29: lyrical analysis (living in a bubble, inner emptiness, and self-sabotage)

✧ 01:07:29 – 01:28:28: lyrical analysis (struggles with identity, romanticizing toxicity, and high school drama)

✧ 01:28:85 – 01:36:21: final thoughts


Enjoyed this episode? Explore more as a Premium Submarine. Dive deep into hundreds of hours of ad-free exclusive content and full-length episodes on Patreon, including my original BPD recovery series, guided meditations, and much more. Click here to preview the premium collections you’ll unlock access to for as little as a couple of cups of coffee a month. Learn more and join at backfromtheborderline.com.


The information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • mending mind and spirit: the path of sacred psychiatry with dr. judy tsafrir

    01:52:22
    Join me for a transformative journey with Dr. Judy Tsafrir, a board-certified psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a visionary in the field of mental health. A recipient of the 2024 Silver Nautilus Award for her groundbreaking book, "Sacred Psychiatry: Bridging the Personal and Transpersonal to Transform Health and Consciousness," Dr. Tsafrir brings a unique perspective shaped by her background as the daughter of Holocaust survivors. This deep personal connection to generational trauma has profoundly influenced her holistic approach to mental health care.In this episode, Dr. Tsafrir discusses her transition from traditional to holistic psychiatry, integrating spiritual, environmental, and physical healing practices. She shares insights on the limitations of conventional psychiatry, which often relies heavily on pharmaceuticals and overlooks the holistic integration of the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of health. Her comprehensive method includes extensive initial consultations to understand the deep-rooted causes of her patients' ailments, who often find her after being disillusioned with mainstream psychiatric approaches. Dr. Tsafrir is passionate about addressing Environmentally Acquired Illnesses (EAI), such as mold toxicity, a frequently unrecognized condition in conventional medicine with significant psychological and physical impacts. She elaborates on the extensive list of symptoms associated with mold toxicity and employs a multimodal approach to treatment, emphasizing diet, lifestyle changes, trauma healing, and community connection.Moreover, Dr. Tsafrir engages with the existential questions that paralyze many of us—fears of death, impermanence, and loss. She criticizes societal tendencies to stigmatize those who confront these profound issues and praises the sensitivity needed to tackle such existential concerns. Throughout the episode, she discusses how embracing inevitable aspects of life such as aging, illness, and death can be transformative experiences. Tune in to gain invaluable insights into how the integration of heart, mind, body, and spirit can lead to a more fulfilling and healed life. Dr. Tsafrir shares strategies to foster resilience in a world facing ecological crises, offering a comprehensive look at how holistic practices can transform personal and global health. ✧ Click here to connect with Judy via her website (https://www.judytsafrirmd.com/)✧ Click here to learn more about or purchase her book “Sacred Psychiatry: Bridging the Personal and Transpersonal to Transform Health and Consciousness”Enjoyed this episode? Explore more as a Premium Submarine. Dive deep into hundreds of hours of ad-free exclusive content and full-length episodes on Patreon, including my original BPD recovery series, guided meditations, and much more. Click here to preview the premium collections you’ll unlock access to for as little as a couple of cups of coffee a month. Learn more and join at backfromtheborderline.com.The information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
  • mending mind and spirit: the path of sacred psychiatry with dr. judy tsafrir [ad-free premium]

    01:52:22
    Join me for a transformative journey with Dr. Judy Tsafrir, a board-certified psychiatrist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a visionary in the field of mental health. A recipient of the 2024 Silver Nautilus Award for her groundbreaking book, "Sacred Psychiatry: Bridging the Personal and Transpersonal to Transform Health and Consciousness," Dr. Tsafrir brings a unique perspective shaped by her background as the daughter of Holocaust survivors. This deep personal connection to generational trauma has profoundly influenced her holistic approach to mental health care.In this episode, Dr. Tsafrir discusses her transition from traditional to holistic psychiatry, integrating spiritual, environmental, and physical healing practices. She shares insights on the limitations of conventional psychiatry, which often relies heavily on pharmaceuticals and overlooks the holistic integration of the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of health. Her comprehensive method includes extensive initial consultations to understand the deep-rooted causes of her patients' ailments, who often find her after being disillusioned with mainstream psychiatric approaches.Dr. Tsafrir is passionate about addressing Environmentally Acquired Illnesses (EAI), such as mold toxicity, a frequently unrecognized condition in conventional medicine with significant psychological and physical impacts. She elaborates on the extensive list of symptoms associated with mold toxicity and employs a multimodal approach to treatment, emphasizing diet, lifestyle changes, trauma healing, and community connection.Moreover, Dr. Tsafrir engages with the existential questions that paralyze many of us—fears of death, impermanence, and loss. She criticizes societal tendencies to stigmatize those who confront these profound issues and praises the sensitivity needed to tackle such existential concerns. Throughout the episode, she discusses how embracing inevitable aspects of life such as aging, illness, and death can be transformative experiences.Tune in to gain invaluable insights into how the integration of heart, mind, body, and spirit can lead to a more fulfilling and healed life. Dr. Tsafrir shares strategies to foster resilience in a world facing ecological crises, offering a comprehensive look at how holistic practices can transform personal and global health. This episode is essential for anyone interested in how personal history and holistic medicine intersect to forge new paths in psychiatric care and create a healthier, more connected global community.✧ Click here to connect with Judy via her website (https://www.judytsafrirmd.com/)✧ Click here to learn more about or purchase her book “Sacred Psychiatry: Bridging the Personal and Transpersonal to Transform Health and Consciousness”
  • old tricks, new faces: modern female pickup artists and their (outdated) 90s dating playbook [preview]

    26:58
    Does he actually love you, or is he just tolerating you for as long as it takes him to get what he REALLY wants? It's a jarring question, one that challenges the very foundation of romantic relationships. But it's precisely the kind of provocative statement that modern female dating influencers use to capture the attention of millions. These influencers, with their sharp advice and confident personas, have sparked a resurgence in dating strategies that many thought had been left behind in the past. They are telling women to make men chase, to withhold affection, and to use their feminine wiles to manipulate relationships in their favor. But is this truly empowering, or is it simply recycling toxic advice from decades ago?In this episode, we'll dive deep into the fascinating world of modern female pickup artists. We'll explore how these influencers are repackaging old dating tactics under the guise of empowerment and financial independence. Drawing parallels to the notorious pickup artist culture of the past, we'll examine how these strategies echo the advice from the 90s best-seller "The Rules," a book that preached the art of playing hard to get. Through this journey, we'll uncover the striking similarities between these eras and how these tactics have been modernized to fit today's digital landscape.Listeners can expect to learn not just about the history and evolution of these dating strategies, but also about their implications for modern relationships. We'll discuss the rise of influencers like SheRa Seven, whose advice to women includes withholding sex to keep a man interested and using reverse psychology to manipulate men into financial support. We'll also delve into the social and economic factors that make these strategies appealing today, from financial instability to the pervasive pressures of modern dating.By the end of this episode, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how old dating advice is being repurposed for a new generation. You'll gain insights into why these strategies are resonating with young women today and the potential pitfalls they may lead to. We'll challenge you to think critically about the advice you consume and to consider what truly empowers you in your relationships. So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into the world of modern female pickup artists and their outdated 90s dating playbook.Enjoyed this episode? Explore more as a Premium Submarine. Dive deep into hundreds of hours of ad-free exclusive content and full-length episodes on Patreon, including my original BPD recovery series, guided meditations, and much more. Click here to preview the premium collections you’ll unlock access to for as little as a couple of cups of coffee a month. Learn more and join at backfromtheborderline.com.The information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
  • how psychiatry became the fast food of mental health treatments: exposing systemic failures and hidden agendas with dr. roger mcfillin [ad-free premium]

    01:48:18
    In this hard-hitting episode, I sit down with Dr. Roger McFillin, a board-certified clinical psychologist, executive director of the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health, and host of the globally popular "Radically Genuine" podcast. Known for his fearless critique of the mainstream mental health system, Dr. McFillin exposes the detrimental consequences of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs, advocating for a deeper understanding of human suffering.Dr. McFillin shares his journey from a disillusioned practitioner of evidence-based treatments to a vocal critic of the American mental health system. We discuss his "red-pill moment" while working in an in-patient child psychiatric unit, where he witnessed the heartbreaking reality of children being restrained and drugged. This pivotal experience led him to question the efficacy and ethics of psychiatric interventions and to explore the profound impact of the placebo effect in psychiatric drug studies.In our conversation, Dr. McFillin highlights the hypocritical nature of psychiatric drugs being labeled as "medicine" when prescribed, yet still considered "drugs" when obtained elsewhere. He argues for the importance of finding the "story behind our suffering" rather than merely labeling and pathologizing it. Dr. McFillin also critiques the current mental health system, describing it as the "fast food of health care," prioritizing quick fixes over addressing the systemic issues underlying the mental health crisis.We delve into his views on antidepressants, which he describes as potentially "one of the most lucrative scams in history." Dr. McFillin explains how our culture has "lost its language for suffering," and how focusing excessively on mental health can paradoxically harm our well-being. He emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in understanding and addressing psychological distress.Join me as Dr. McFillin shares his provocative insights and well-researched perspectives, challenging the status quo and advocating for a more compassionate, story-driven approach to mental health. This episode is a must-listen for anyone questioning the mainstream narrative on mental health and seeking deeper, more humane approaches to understanding and alleviating human suffering.RESOURCES:✧ Click here to listen to + follow Roger’s podcast Radically Genuine✧ Click here to learn more about (or join) the Conscious Clinician Collective✧ Click here to watch the video that was originally banned on YouTube mentioned in our discussion
  • old tricks, new faces: modern female pickup artists and their (outdated) 90s dating playbook [premium exclusive]

    52:06
    Does he actually love you, or is he just tolerating you for as long as it takes him to get what he REALLY wants? It's a jarring question, one that challenges the very foundation of romantic relationships. But it's precisely the kind of provocative statement that modern female dating influencers use to capture the attention of millions. These influencers, with their sharp advice and confident personas, have sparked a resurgence in dating strategies that many thought had been left behind in the past. They are telling women to make men chase, to withhold affection, and to use their feminine wiles to manipulate relationships in their favor. But is this truly empowering, or is it simply recycling toxic advice from decades ago?In this episode, we'll dive deep into the fascinating world of modern female pickup artists. We'll explore how these influencers are repackaging old dating tactics under the guise of empowerment and financial independence. Drawing parallels to the notorious pickup artist culture of the past, we'll examine how these strategies echo the advice from the 90s best-seller "The Rules," a book that preached the art of playing hard to get. Through this journey, we'll uncover the striking similarities between these eras and how these tactics have been modernized to fit today's digital landscape.Listeners can expect to learn not just about the history and evolution of these dating strategies, but also about their implications for modern relationships. We'll discuss the rise of influencers like SheRa Seven, whose advice to women includes withholding sex to keep a man interested and using reverse psychology to manipulate men into financial support. We'll also delve into the social and economic factors that make these strategies appealing today, from financial instability to the pervasive pressures of modern dating.By the end of this episode, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how old dating advice is being repurposed for a new generation. You'll gain insights into why these strategies are resonating with young women today and the potential pitfalls they may lead to. We'll challenge you to think critically about the advice you consume and to consider what truly empowers you in your relationships. So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into the world of modern female pickup artists and their outdated 90s dating playbook.
  • how psychiatry became the fast food of mental health treatments: exposing systemic failures and hidden agendas with dr. roger mcfillin

    01:48:18
    In this hard-hitting episode, I sit down with Dr. Roger McFillin, a board-certified clinical psychologist, executive director of the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health, and host of the globally popular "Radically Genuine" podcast. Known for his fearless critique of the mainstream mental health system, Dr. McFillin exposes the detrimental consequences of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs, advocating for a deeper understanding of human suffering.Dr. McFillin shares his journey from a disillusioned practitioner of evidence-based treatments to a vocal critic of the American mental health system. We discuss his "red-pill moment" while working in an in-patient child psychiatric unit, where he witnessed the heartbreaking reality of children being restrained and drugged. This pivotal experience led him to question the efficacy and ethics of psychiatric interventions and to explore the profound impact of the placebo effect in psychiatric drug studies.In our conversation, Dr. McFillin highlights the hypocritical nature of psychiatric drugs being labeled as "medicine" when prescribed, yet still considered "drugs" when obtained elsewhere. He argues for the importance of finding the "story behind our suffering" rather than merely labeling and pathologizing it. Dr. McFillin also critiques the current mental health system, describing it as the "fast food of health care," prioritizing quick fixes over addressing the systemic issues underlying the mental health crisis.We delve into his views on antidepressants, which he describes as potentially "one of the most lucrative scams in history." Dr. McFillin explains how our culture has "lost its language for suffering," and how focusing excessively on mental health can paradoxically harm our well-being. He emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in understanding and addressing psychological distress.Join me as Dr. McFillin shares his provocative insights and well-researched perspectives, challenging the status quo and advocating for a more compassionate, story-driven approach to mental health. This episode is a must-listen for anyone questioning the mainstream narrative on mental health and seeking deeper, more humane approaches to understanding and alleviating human suffering.✧ Click here to listen to + follow Roger’s podcast Radically Genuine✧ Click here to learn more about (or join) the Conscious Clinician Collective✧ Click here to watch the video that was originally banned on YouTube mentioned in our discussionCONTACT ME + UNLOCK PREMIUM: To join the Premium Submarines on Patreon (unlocking full + ad-free episodes), check out my sponsors and book recommendations, or contact me directly, visit backfromtheborderline.com. Disclaimer: The information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
  • the evolution of melancholia: from ancient narratives to modern depression [preview]

    24:26
    What if everything we think we know about depression is wrong? What if the very framework we've built around the concept of depression has been shaped, not by the inherent nature of the experience, but by changing cultural narratives and evolving medical perspectives? In today's episode, we’ll trace depression’s origins back to ancient times, where it was known as melancholia—a term that encompassed a broader and perhaps more human understanding of the experience. Unlike the clinical, often pathologizing perspective we hold today, melancholia was viewed as a natural response to life's inevitable sorrows and hardships. Fast forward to the modern era, and we see a shift—one that frames depression as a medical condition, a disorder to be treated and cured. This transformation didn't just happen overnight. It was the result of centuries of evolving thought, influenced by cultural changes, medical advancements, and societal expectations. As we navigate through this historical tapestry, we'll uncover how these shifts have impacted the way we experience and talk about depression today. You'll learn about the ancient notion of melancholia, how it was perceived by thinkers like Freud and the ancient Greeks, and how modern psychiatry has redefined it. We'll discuss the implications of viewing depression as a disorder versus a natural human experience and explore how language and culture shape our understanding of mental health. But more importantly, we’ll reflect on what these insights mean for us today. Are we, perhaps, pathologizing what might be a normal aspect of the human condition? Could our modern approach to depression be limiting our understanding and empathy towards those who suffer from it? By the end of our journey today, you’ll have gained a new perspective on depression and melancholia. Perhaps you will see these experiences not just as conditions to be treated but as essential parts of what it means to be human. So settle in and prepare to uncover the rich history and evolving narrative of these deeply human experiences, and consider how we can move forward with a more compassionate and nuanced understanding of psychological suffering.UNLOCK THE FULL EPISODE: visit https://www.patreon.com/backfromtheborderline to join the community on Patreon. From here, you'll be able to access all full-length (and ad free!) episodes of BFTB, opening up hundreds of hours of additional bonus content. CONTACT ME CHECK OUT MORE OF MY WORK: To read my Substack articles, access my Amazon book recommendation list, or contact me for collaborations, visit backfromtheborderline.com.
  • the evolution of melancholia: from ancient narratives to modern depression [premium exclusive]

    50:21
    What if everything we think we know about depression is wrong? What if the very framework we've built around the concept of depression has been shaped, not by the inherent nature of the experience, but by changing cultural narratives and evolving medical perspectives? In today's episode, we’ll trace depression’s origins back to ancient times, where it was known as melancholia—a term that encompassed a broader and perhaps more human understanding of the experience. Unlike the clinical, often pathologizing perspective we hold today, melancholia was viewed as a natural response to life's inevitable sorrows and hardships. Fast forward to the modern era, and we see a shift—one that frames depression as a medical condition, a disorder to be treated and cured. This transformation didn't just happen overnight. It was the result of centuries of evolving thought, influenced by cultural changes, medical advancements, and societal expectations. As we navigate through this historical tapestry, we'll uncover how these shifts have impacted the way we experience and talk about depression today. You'll learn about the ancient notion of melancholia, how it was perceived by thinkers like Freud and the ancient Greeks, and how modern psychiatry has redefined it. We'll discuss the implications of viewing depression as a disorder versus a natural human experience and explore how language and culture shape our understanding of mental health. But more importantly, we’ll reflect on what these insights mean for us today. Are we, perhaps, pathologizing what might be a normal aspect of the human condition? Could our modern approach to depression be limiting our understanding and empathy towards those who suffer from it? By the end of our journey today, you’ll have gained a new perspective on depression and melancholia. Perhaps you will see these experiences not just as conditions to be treated but as essential parts of what it means to be human. So settle in and prepare to uncover the rich history and evolving narrative of these deeply human experiences, and consider how we can move forward with a more compassionate and nuanced understanding of psychological suffering.
  • healing your dysregulated nervous system: from flailing through life to micro-dosing silence with elisabeth kristof [ad-free premium]

    01:27:36
    In this episode, I sit down with Elisabeth Kristof, an expert in nervous system health and trauma resolution, the founder of Brain-Based Wellness and a co-host of the Trauma Rewired podcast. Elisabeth shares her journey of discovering neurosomatic intelligence, a path sparked by her own experiences with childhood sexual abuse, self-sabotaging behaviors, and toxic relationships. When her life fell apart, she found healing through understanding the brain-body connection and applied neurology.Elisabeth explains applied neurology and why it's crucial for trauma recovery and behavior change. We delve into the brain's role in our survival, the deficits in our input systems, and how using Neuro-Somatic Intelligence (NSI) tools can support self-regulation. Elisabeth emphasizes the importance of building a relationship with your body and how emotional processing can help break harmful patterns.Before her healing journey, Elisabeth felt she was "flailing through life," constantly in reaction mode, always sensing an internal lack of safety. She describes feeling like she was "running from something all the time," as if life was chasing her. Despite years of cognitive therapy, self-help books, and understanding the psychology behind her suffering, she couldn't get past the behaviors that kept her stuck. It was like watching a car crash happen but feeling helpless to stop it. This struggle highlights how trauma and maladaptive behaviors are deeply rooted in the unconscious, echoing the insights from Bessel van der Kolk's famous book, "The Body Keeps the Score."Many of my listeners find themselves stuck in repeating toxic and self-sabotaging behavior patterns, attracting unhealthy relationships, and constantly in a hyper-reactive state. This is a painful place to be. However, there is a way to heal our nervous systems. Often, being stuck means we've only reached a cognitive understanding in our healing journey. The key is to connect body, brain, and spirit. Join me as Elisabeth shares how to make this vital connection. She provides insights, tools, and her personal story of transformation, illustrating how applied neurology and somatic practices can lead to profound healing and lasting change. RESOURCES: ✧ Click here to start your 2-week free trial of nervous system healing with The-Rewire [unlock your 20% discount with the code BFTB20]✧ Click here to follow and listen to the Trauma Rewired podcast✧ Click here to visit Elisabeth’s website @ brainbased-wellness.com.✧ Click here to buy Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine