Friday, May 25, 2007

Darth Vader had Borderline Personality Disorder?

WebMD reports that Anakin Skywalker (you know, from Star Wars), who, of course, became Darth Vader, showed "clearly" symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, as determined by psychiatrists at the French Toulouse Hospital. [5 commas!]

The French psychiatrists — who included Laurent Schmitt, M.D. — based their diagnosis on original Star Wars film scripts. Schmitt's team describes Skywalker's symptoms, including problems with controlling anger and impulsivity, temporary stress-related paranoia, "frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (when trying to save his wife at all costs), and a pattern of unstable and intense personal relationships," including his relationships with his Jedi masters. Changing his name and turning into "Darth Vader" is a red flag of Skywalker's disturbed identity, note Schmitt and colleagues.
Huh? BPD is not the first diagnosis I would come up with. I would've thought Narcissistic PD before BPD. Needs at least 5 of these [from Wikipedia]:
  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by other special people
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. strong sense of entitlement
  6. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy
  8. is often envious or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. arrogant affect.
I think he had them all.


Gerbil said...

I love Star Wars as much as the next 80s child, but--don't those French psychiatrists have anything better to do with their time?

Anonymous said...

Hi Roy. May the force be with you and all your alters.

Anonymous said...

one shrink to another (ok, 3 anothers), i have a copy of the poster from the presentation. some of the arguments for clinical presentation were odd (they cited his podracing as a child as adequate evidence for criterion 4: impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging); they also blamed his mother for everything (*sigh*) and claimed he dissociated after he killed everyone in the Tuskan camp after his mother died. damned if I could find any evidence that he'd dissociated, including derealization or depersonalization. another argument for BPD was that before he became Vader he didn't know who he was or what he wanted to be. on that count, I'd argue 1) he was a teenager, for god's sake and 2) he knew exactly what he wanted to be...the most powerful Jedi ever. he kept saying that, very melodramatically. (i rewatched two of the movies after i saw the damn near killed me, the writing is so bad.)

was going to send you the poster but can't find an email addy (don't blame you there) and don't know that i'm supposed to have it, so can't be posting it all over the web, now, can i? ;-)

i'm tempted to argue there are some histrionic behaviors to go along with the rest of his cluster B sz, but that might just be all the really bad acting/writing.

Roy said...

Anon w/copy of poster...
our address is not immediately apparent, but you can send to mythreeshrinksATgmailDOTcom.

Thank you for the first-hand account. Sounds like something they put together so that their department would pay for them to travel from France to San Diego so that it could be presented. (Hmm, I'll have to remember that one...)

Midwife with a Knife said...

What if he didn't have a personality disorder at all, but just bad PTSD?

Just a thought....

DrivingMissMolly said...

Some see borderline pd as a form of protracted PTSD.