Welcome to Pop Psych, where we analyze what’s wrong with your favorite fictional characters.
Episode 3: Batman’s PTSD | Written by: Bradley Meyers
Created & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Tessa Goss
Animations by: Brodie Rush
Illustrations by: Nanci Ayala Rush
Opening Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Academic Consultant: Angela Belden
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Opening Animation by: Luis Vega
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
© 2015 Wisecrack, Inc.
Batman Goes to Therapy: Pop Psych!
Ok, patient #52 this week, Wayne, Bruce. Rich, handsome and single!
But talk about mommy and daddy issues. Bruce was born into affluence in Gotham City. Gotham being Old English for “complete sh**hole”. Bruce grew up like any other kid. 154 room house, personal butler, giant, underground cave system. But Bruce’s life of being the cutest 1%-er in the world was tragically cut short after his parents were brutally murdered in front of him. He…didn’t take it well. So instead of using his vast resources to better fund the police force or an anti-crime hashtag campaign…
Bruce decided to spend all his money dressing up like a bat and punching people in the face. Why? Freud’s Structure of Personality breaks us all down into three main parts: the Id, the unconscious, illogical part of our mind. The “Randy Quaid” if you will. The Super Ego, our morality, shaped by our parents, peers, TV, the internet and Netflix. And the Ego, the conscious part of our mind, the one that balances the Id and Super Ego.
Now, Freud thought of consciousness like an iceberg: the Ego, our conscious mind, being the 10% that’s out of water. The Super Ego and the Id lying underneath where we think they can’t bother us. Until, of course, anxiety starts to bubble up and the feelings of the Id start to become conscious. Say the anxiety of, oh I dunno, having your parents shot to death in front of your 7-year-old face. So Bruce developed a handy, little Ego Defense to block the impulses of his Id. So why did Bruce choose to become Batman? Well, he’d tell you it was because of that time a bat flew through his window and he imprinted on it like a badass baby duckling. But that’s not true. It’s because of a movie. The movie that Bruce and his parents saw just before they got whacked? The Mark of Zorro. Psychologist Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory says that we learn our behavior by watching a model. It goes like this: Bruce associates his parents murder and the movie closely. The image of Zorro was powerfully etched in his mind as the way to respond to aggression and trauma. Bruce trained the rest of his life to become Zorro. And being his own Zorro is pretty useful when it comes to making Meth addicts pee their pants.
So what’s up with Bruce? He’s clearly suffering from Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. Criteria A: “Witnessing or exposure to actual or threatened death,
…Dead Parents, check!
Criteria B: “ Recurrent, distressing memories of traumatic
events, distressing dreams or flashbacks.”…he had 7 during our session.
Criteria C: Unprovoked outbursts….Verbal aggression and physical violence towards people or objects…
I recommend Bruce engages in Prolonged Exposure Therapy, which promotes processing of the trauma memory to reduce distress and avoidance evoked by the trauma reminders. Also, he should probably avoid the whole Bat-Nipples thing.
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