Mental disorders associated with superheroes
Jul 16, 2021
Something that greatly enriches fictional characters is their psychological definition, because it facilitates the construction of their development and evolution. We thus have movie classics in which mental disorders are the main protagonists, such as Better impossible, A wonderful mind or Rain Man. However, in the world of superheroes, the extreme of their powers is also often accompanied by very extreme psychological characteristics. It is because of that it is possible to associate some of these superheroes with mental disorders.
Superheroes and mental disorders
If there is one character archetype whose narrative benefits greatly from mental frailty, it is called superheroes, since this resource allows them to humanize and facilitate identification by the viewer.
In that sense, we can illustrate elements of psychology with these colorful characters, and some of the most popular heroes whose interest lies in some mental disorder they can be the following.
Spider-Man gained the ability to climb walls thanks to the bite of a radioactive spider, but it was not until he was the victim of tragedy that he obtained this property. At first he used his powers in show business, for selfish ends, and it wasn't until he let a thief, who would kill his much loved Uncle Ben, who would learn the famous mantra from him: with all great power comes great responsibility.
From then on, the character acquires inflexible moral values, sacrificing his personal life whenever he could use his power to help someone. So, repeatedly his excessive dedication to duty It has led him to abandon personal relationships, job opportunities or to confront the police or other superheroes, illustrating symptoms that we can find in the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.
Upon exposure to radiation, Bruce Banner acquires the curse of transforming into a destructive monster called the Hulk. In clear inspiration from the work of Lewis Stevenson, The Amazing Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which had some influence on early psychodynamic studies), Banner and Hulk's personalities were completely opposites, the former being a brilliant and introverted scientist and the latter an irrational brute with the intelligence of a child, in an obvious case of dissociative identity disorder, in which neither of the personalities has recollections of what the other did when it was out of control.
Also, the transformation into Hulk occurs at high levels of stress, for which Banner has learned in various versions breathing techniques, meditation, etc.
3. Hombre de Hierro
Iron Man was conceived as an antithesis of himself: he was an iron man with a severe heart disease. This concept was extended over the years to the psychological field and, although it has been oriented at times to the narcissistic personality disorder due to his high ego, the truth is that, above all, we find symptoms associated with substance use, specifically with alcoholism.
And it is that Tony Stark twisted the commitment of his publisher against this social problem, being a millionaire businessman who could not control his alcohol consumption, leading him to lose his social relationships, his company, his house and his armor, although he was finally able to overcome and become stronger, like so many other victims of this condition. Of course, since then the character only drinks water, avoiding the discriminatory stimulus that could trigger the whole process again.
Better known in Spain as Wolverine, Wolverine is a mutant who underwent the intervention of an experiment in which they reinforced their adamantium bones, the hardest metal in the fictional Marvel universe comics. As a result of the trauma, Man X suffered a retrograde amnesia That kept her from remembering part of his past. However, over time it was further discovered that the memories he kept were nothing more than "memory implants" inserted in the same experiment, that is, induced false memories in the same way as in the studies of Elisabeth loftus.
Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents by an armed robber while still a child, situation that led her to use his inheritance to become the crime fighter named Batman Bruce relives the experience of the murder of his parents on certain dates (the anniversary of death, Mother's Day ...) or whenever he goes to the scene of the crime, as occurs in post-traumatic stress disorder.
In addition, he has problems falling asleep and, at times, high irritability and, although exposing himself to situations similar to the event stressful would contradict the diagnosis, this symptom is often reflected in comics and movies by the constant avoidance of Batman towards the weapons of fire.