How can one be a superhero without any cool superpowers? Can they fly? Do they have superhuman strength? Can they at least turn invisible? In Bruce Wayne’s case, he can do none of those things. However, he is one of the most fascinating superheroes of our time. Bruce Wayne has amassed the intellectual and financial wherewithal to create captivating weapons and gear to compensate for his lack of superpowers to create himself into the hero we all know as Batman. But what drives a man to dress up as a bat and be this vigilante that fights crime?
Bruce Wayne has all of the money anyone could ask for and has worldly pleasures at his beckoning. Yet he chooses to play Halloween every night and fight crime. Although he is a fictional character, I want to examine the mental stability of Bruce Wayne and what drives him. What type of mental state is Bruce Wayne in? Is he crazy? Should he be institutionalised? Should he be put in jail?
Here are possible psychological disorders that Bruce Wayne may suffer from. A word of caveat, though: This is just for fun and one cannot be thoroughly diagnosed without proper examination. I am merely basing this off of the history of Bruce Wayne and how he interacts with his environment. Plus he is fictional, so who cares?
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Witnessing your parents murdered in front of you can be a terrifying experience. It is something that a young child will never forget and will leave an indelible mark on him for life. Everyone reacts to stress differently, and in Bruce’s case, he may have taken an extreme route to cope with his trauma.
As Batman fights crime and rids the city of vile criminals, he takes his share of punishment on the body. In addition to the riggers training he puts himself through, it would be no surprise that Bruce may take several painkillers to alleviate his pain.
Dealing with the loss of his parents can be a difficult experience for a child. He tries to combat his depression by fighting crime. Alas, his symptoms still remain. Bruce is mostly melancholy and is often aloof. Besides Alfred, he has no close relationships and remains isolated from people. Also, he associates himself with darkness, black colours and is more active during nocturnal hours.
Dissociative identity disorder
Bruce is dealing with two personalities here, Bruce Wayne and Batman. As a result of the murder of his parents, Bruce attempts to avoid his trauma by masquerading around town as a human bat fighting crime. As Bruce Wayne, he is a successful businessman that is respected and admired by many. Although he may appear to function between the two identities, his persona as Batman is a vigilante and is breaking the law.
Although my evaluation of Bruce Wayne is moot, it is fun to explore the possibilities. Is Bruce Wayne crazy? I will let you be the judge of that. As Bruce Wayne, he can take care of himself, run a successful business and maintain his responsibilities. He is not harming anyone and is an active philanthropist. So Bruce seems to be an outstanding citizen. Then we have Batman. He fights crime with these sophisticated weapons and is obsessed with villains such as The Joker, The Riddler and many others. Batman is a vigilante and that is a crime. At the very least, Bruce Wayne/Batman should be jailed for his vigilante crimes. But with the support of Commissioner Gordon, what does Batman have to worry about? Yet it is Bruce Wayne who may suffer consequences if they are to discover the truth.
Chris Laird is a mental health professional and author.
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