had he stayed on the path laid out for him by his parents, elliot's life may have been easy. born in los angeles, california as hae-il jeung, elliot was the first-born son of international entertainment agent jihoon jeung and his wife, styling coordinator hyewon kim, two upstanding professionals in their respective fields with about as much free time on their hands as they had intention on raising their son: zero. while they were busy between their careers and the vacations they took to extravagant locations all over the world, elliot's care fell into the hands of nannies and babysitters who, in their own ways, didn't seem to know how to handle elliot and his needs while growing up. when he fussed and cried, it wasn't his nanny he wanted. it was the attention of his mother. when he acted out and misbehaved, it wasn't the mediocre discipline of his sitter he wanted. it was the attention, however negative, of his father; and though he earned his attention from them in those few moments when they were home and unoccupied with phone calls or scheduling appointments or managing contracts, his father was quick to become only ever a disciplinary and his mother would have much rather shipped him off to the care of other relatives - be it his aunts and uncles, many with children of their own that she hoped elliot would pick up good habits from, or back to his nannies and sitters who, while more permanent fixtures in his life than even his parents, only seemed to come in and go out a revolving door due to his temperament.
even without their place in his life as readily available as they should have been and his attention apt to wane during classes when he should have been paying attention, elliot wasn't without his excellence in schooling; and though there were slipping grades whenever he was presented with a subject he didn't find a keen interest in and wanted little to nothing to do with, it wasn't difficult for him to apply himself in most cases. when the time came and graduation was around the corner, it wasn't difficult either for elliot to not only find a subject that he knew he would enjoy studying, but a college that would accept him. in 2010, elliot enrolled at new york university, focusing his studies on music when he wasn't drowning in general education or, as it was a part of any college experience that held some new found freedom from the boundaries of home, parties. while his parents footed the bill, paying for his apartment and maintaining an allowance that was to go towards food, laundry and other necessities of living on one's own, that was all the attention they paid to his college career and it was all too easy to fall into the bad habits as long as he made sure his grades were kept up, presentable to his parents.
it was all set to come to a halt when he met taesoo, falling in love quick and fast which would seem to be a recurring characteristic in elliot's life. if it wasn't a rush felt with taesoo, it would be a rush felt elsewhere and nothing seemed as promising as gambling, harboring the opportunity to not only feel the adrenaline and anxiousness of a good card game, but win a few dollars on top of it. it didn't start out large, a few scratch lotto tickets here and a card game with friends there, but as promped by a few considerable wins compared to the money put into it, elliot was all too quick to start pouring more and more money into it with hopes of winning bigger and better even if the odds were sure to always be stacked against him. when his parents had caught wind of this, especially when the need for more money came into the picture to cover expenses elliot hadn't at all been responsible about, they had no choice but to cut him off and gambling was just as quick to become an act of desperation to cover the bills and expenses that were piling up and essentially caused by the same thing.
with a past that didn't lend itself to sliding back into a once-known poverty, his husband sought out that sense of security elsewhere that elliot couldn't provide in the financial black hole he had created for the two of them, finding it in someone much wealthier and financially stable than it seemed elliot could ever hope to be. it was then that a much more detailed view of elliot's life was painted, his borderline personality disorder coming out in much more vibrant fashion than it had before during interventions and therapy sessions, prompted by his husband's infidelity and his own struggles that had been life-long in the making. elliot shut off quickly when the truth had come out, withdrawing himself from what - who - was perhaps the only bright point in his life, no longer able to trust him even if he didn't deserve the same himself; in the swell of anger that had followed, elliot ultimately proposed a separation. If his potential ex-husband - potential only because no papers had been filed despite discussion of it and there was nothing signed – wanted to go find someone else, he could and elliot...
well, he didn't do as well for himself as he hoped initially, turning much more readily to prescription medications now that he had them in his name, drinking and gambling as a means to feel that sort of high he knew he had once felt with his husband before everything had come crashing down. it only worked to compound the problems that were already making a mess of their marriage and, as the mountains of debt only became bigger, elliot knew he had to find help somewhere even if he refused to turn to his husband to do it - not necessarily because he thought taesoo wouldn't be able to or couldn't hold some sort of influence over him, but simply because he didn’t want to be any more of a burden on his life than he already had been. it was only one mistake made after another, including the separation, and elliot had no intention on making it even worse.
unfortunately, he couldn't turn to his parents either who had already cut him off from their financial support and froze his trust fund for a number of reasons, the largest of which proved to be his sexual preferences and choice to marry another man instead of keeping to traditional ways and values. this was only ever surrounded by his addiction issues and dropping out of college, something both jihoon and hyewon took particular disappointment in. instead, elliot turned to his cousin living in the flushing area of queens, new york, who would only help with certain requisites: elliot had to make strides to fix the messes he had made in all aspects of his life, including attending regular therapy sessions for treatment of his emotional disregulation, addiction counseling for everything he had gotten himself caught up in and maintaining, at the very least, a part-time job to pay a portion of the rent and living expenses. while he hopes to beat his addictions, finding himself able to come up for air again after drowning for them for what seems like an eternity, elliot is perhaps more keen to see it fix his failing marriage, though he doesn't know whether it is an actual possibility or a just a pipe dream.
on the surface, elliot is easily charming, friendly, always wearing a smile on his face even if it is mostly there to hide whatever is going on beneath what people view as calm waters. it is much better to him that people think he has it all together than, in fact, exploded apart, not one to broadcast his troubles for all to know even if some people are more privy than others. he loves to socialize and have fun, often at the expense of remembering what happened the night before once he gets caught up in the drinking aspects of late nights and while that may cause problems in some people, elliot is far more the sort to find his own way home for a quiet reprieve. he is loyal to those close to him, however short of a fuse it may be at times when he is feeling the influence of his disorder far more than normal. all it takes is one slight, one perceived break of trust (and especially a validated one), for elliot to start backing off and withdrawing from a relationship which makes his current predicament with his husband far more troublesome: while he wants nothing more to trust him and be trusted in return, he finds it hard to bring down the walls he set up, especially considering he doesn't want him to see how far he has fallen since their separation.
underneath that surface level, life can be fairly tumultuous for elliot and, at times, for no other reason than he feels like everything is in upheval, ready to turn upside down at a moment's notice and there is nothing he can do about it. things are either extremely good or extremely bad, though the latter is a line of thinking much more reserved for private moments where he doesn't feel he is wasting someone's time. in these moments, he is quiet, reflective, holding back the tides of whatever he is feeling at the time with, essentially, all of his being in hopes that he doesn't find some impulsive means of righting himself (or what he believes to be righting himself). of course, he finds some validation in the fact he managed to turn his life upside down himself, going from a happy marriage to living with his cousin in light of a separation, but there is no part of him that doesn't realize that it was much of his doing in the first place. while therapy has helped him in some measure, it is still a long way to go before he will be more able to see the fruits of his time spent there.BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a disorder characterized primarily by emotional dysregulation, extreme "black and white" thinking (believing that something is one of only two possible things, and ignoring any possible "in-betweens"), and turbulent relationships. It is also characterized by pervasive instability in mood, interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior, and a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. It centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships: sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one. It usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. While some persons with BPD are high functioning in certain settings, their private lives may be in turmoil. Most people who have BPD suffer from problems regulating their emotions and thoughts, impulsive and sometimes reckless behavior, and unstable relationships.
People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder live in a world of inner and outer turmoil. They have difficulty regulating their emotions and are often in a state of upheaval. They have distorted images of themselves, often feeling worthless and fundamentally bad or damaged; and while they yearn for loving relationships, people with borderline personality disorder typically find that their anger, impulsivity, stormy attachments and frequent mood swings push others away. The disturbances suffered by those with borderline personality disorder have a wide-ranging and pervasive negative impact on many or all of the psychosocial facets of life, including employability and relationships in work, home and social settings. Furthermore, borderline personality disorder may be marginalized by society due to their moods and behaviors.TRIVIA
• holds a keen interest in music that has, as with many things, taken a back slide in light of his troubles. he is particularly skilled at playing guitar and though he occasionally does break it out of it's case to enjoy privately or the occasional public gig at a coffee or record shop, it's few and far between. it does have a knack of calming him down, giving himself not only something to focus on, but to funnel his emotions through instead of holding them all in until he bursts.
• hasn't had a drop of alcohol since moving in with his cousin who, for reasons of keeping him on the straight and narrow, doesn't allow it in the apartment. that being said, he still manages to slip into spending a few dollars here and there to fuel, even slightly, his gambling addiction though that often backfires on him, leading less and less to the rushed feeling and more and more to depression.
• attends therapy sessions weekly for both his emotional disregulation and addictive qualities: one happens on mondays with a follow up session on friday, the other wednesday. the rest of his time is spent holding down a part-time job as a waiter at a neighborhood korean restaurant where he maintains a minimum wage salary which isn't much, but it's something to put towards bills - be it the daily living expeenses, rent or those he has built up over time. very little of his income is brought in by music.
• does have a trust fund that he cannot touch. his father, currently, is the trustee of the fund and has otherwise frozen any transfer of funds until elliot has made significant steps in improving his life. though it is a point of frustration in elliot knowing that money can help his current situation by paying off a number of bills and loans he has, he knows it's for the better he doesn't have his hands on it.
• doesn't call his husband by his american name, using either his given name in full or "soo". this also may have something to do with taesoo's appreciation of taylor swift and being sure using "tae" would just strike up a serenade of taylor swift songs.