The psychology of Batman: the initial trauma | teletic

By Andrés Aguilar of ‘House of C’.

From the first entry, we know that Batman is the most famous and popular superhero there is, he is also the one with the most comics around him, with a very well built and structured reality, a wide and varied folklore, legends and myths that are what They make it so easy to be drawn to and even identified with Batman and his teammates, as well as his wide cast of villains.

Everything built around Batman has contributed to his ceasing to be a fictional character: he was, but now he is no longer like that. Batman and his universe are very real, beyond what we believe, and one of the strongest foundations of him is the psychology involved in the character’s universe. Is it a coincidence that all of Batman’s villains end up in a psychiatric asylum? Are the traumas of Batman and his allies foreign to ours?

Let’s start from the initial trauma of the protagonist. It is necessary to define which Batman we are going to comment on, since there are as many as there are stories, more than anything to the presentation and interpretation of him in other media, mainly television and the big screen. However, we will focus on the Batman of the comics. Between the comics there are various interpretations, from Frank Millers to Scott Snyder, the takes on Batman’s traumas are as varied as the cards in a playing card, but there is always a common trauma.

His origin story, a boy who watches as his mother and father are murdered in front of his eyes on cold, grim concrete in a dark, dirty alley. After the death of his parents, days later, at the foot of his bed, the minor kneeling in a position to pray, swears by their spirits that he will spend the rest of his life punishing anyone who does criminal harm: at that moment he abandons his childhood and vows to honor his parents, preventing this from happening to other people, even if it requires walking through hell itself, all in order to make that bad person pay and catch everyone. It’s something everyone can relate to, a powerful enough motive to cement a conviction and believe in someone donning a bat-shaped mask.

Trauma involves two points: the actual experience, or threat of death or serious injury to one or the other, and reacting to this horrible event with intense fear, hopelessness, and horror.

The three most famous comic book superheroes, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, are all orphans and in their origins there are moments focused on the loss of their mother and father figures. It is here that there is a very important turning point that explains one of the biggest differences between Batman and Superman, between day and night.

Unlike Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker, Kal-El is not traumatized by the death of his parents, at the moment of the catastrophe he is a baby who travels through space with no notion of what happened, he is raised by a loving family and even his young adulthood comes to know their past and history and faces it as such, as a story. This leaves Superman free from the survivor’s guilt that Bruce does face and that haunts Peter his entire life, the guilt of being alive when others aren’t, and guilt over wanting to go to the theater, see a movie, or letting go. to the thief; and knowing that his wishes and actions were responsible for what happened later, including the loss of his family members.

Superman feels grateful, he feels blessed, a child who grew up with love, when Bruce feels guilty, responsible, sacrificing his life, his childhood, growing up without the love of a father or a mother to be able to honor the memory of the rest. of their life. Day and night, Superman and Batman.

What motivates the powerless kid millionaire to become a crime fighter and take responsibility for protecting others?

Researchers agree that the loss of one or both parents, when fully aware and aware, is by itself the most stressful event a child can face. Being a child and losing your parents rewrites the world for that person, if you had a loving figure, now life is absent from this love, and if you didn’t have it, you spend the rest of your life wanting that affection and approval that you didn’t can be obtained.

Batman

Children do not go through the usual stages of grief that are known as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Their grieving process may be seen as incomplete, for example, a grieving child may lose his self-concept because his identity is shaped largely by the model of his parents, he may present role conflict by having to assume family roles in an effort to To replace the father or mother who is no longer there, preserving the memory of the deceased family member undoubtedly affects the growth process and the minor can interpret death as abandonment or supernatural punishment for their own mistakes.

The loss of a mother or father during childhood leads to peaks in mourning in the years after the loss, as the individual feels the most marked absence when their friends can still share with their families. In Bruce’s case, he avoids some of these experiences by separating from his friends and creating unique goals for himself, and while his childhood friends are finishing school, the young man is training martial arts on the other side of the world. He never goes through the stages of grief, never denies what happened and immediately comes to terms with it and never goes through depression.

He does get angry and he does accept his new reality, but the only bargain he makes is to swear to stay angry to honor them, not to ask for their impossible return.

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The psychology of Batman: the initial trauma | teletic