When thinking about the most glorious and best fictional villains of all time, we often think of DC Comics’ The Joker. He made it to Arkham, but what’s his illness?
The Joker In Me
So, The Joker secret mental file is now public, well written by me. Let’s not scrutinize the endless repertoire of stories involving The Joker in DC Comics. There’s too much. Let’s just do the diagnostic. He’s been in comic books, video games, movies, cartoons, and novels, so let’s dive in.
I’m not a lifetime comic book reader. But I most definitely am a fan of Batman. That is ever since I turned four years old. I watched the reruns of the 60s Batman and cartoons. When I met my husband, my obsession turned for the best or the worst. That is depending on how you want to look at it.
The Joker is my favorite villain of all time. Ever since I can remember, I like to analyze people the freakier, the better. I have this passion for the human brain and how it functions. So, evidently, The Joker fascinates me by nature.
Psychopaths, sociopaths, textbook sociopaths, and serial killers are amazing to me. Not because of the end result but because of that “breaking point” or “glorious realization.”
When you look at their story through their eyes, the villain is their victim. But sometimes there is no villain because they don’t recognize good and evil. The Joker secret mental file is here!
A Funny Brain PT 1
The Joker has many fans worldwide for his many character traits that make him unique. Seriously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What I see is a magnificent brain!
There’s an expression in French, “le génie frôle la folie,” which translates to “a genius brain is on the edge of madness.” I am of those that believe The Joker is so intelligent with a genius IQ. After all, he is aware of being in comic books. So, most likely, he turned mad. But why?
His past is not set in stone. Nobody knows his actual name. I hope we never come to know because that would destroy the character. Of course, some authors took artistic liberties to create their vision of the character.
Like The Killing Joke, and that is a Batman classic. However, if we take a quick look at Christopher Nolan‘s Joker, isn’t that perfect? The changes in The Joker’s origin story every time he tells the story is genius.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder What?
One of the common mental illnesses associated with The Joker is the STPD. It stands for Schizotypal Personality Disorder. This particular disorder includes many problems. It has social anxiety, paranoid ideation, transient psychosis, social anxiety, and topped by unconventional beliefs.
These *people have difficulty maintaining relationships. But that is quite understandable due to social anxiety. I do suffer from it, and it takes me time to adapt.
* People: note here that only about 3% of the general population is diagnosed with this illness. Those patients are often males who suffer severe discomfort.
I do not have STPD. But I do share these criteria those patients have when it comes to avoiding getting attached to people. I also do share the thought that friends and family have negative thinking about me. So, while this illness seems scary, and it is, doesn’t mean you cannot relate to them.
Digging further into STPD, the people diagnosed with it have atypical speech and gesticulations. Odd modes of dress. Now the article doesn’t specify what they consider strange clothing. However, I don’t count that as something that would strike me as a disorder.
Piling on, people with this illness are not comfortable with conversations. Then again, I despise small talk, but I do not talk to myself in public, which they do.
They are prone to interpret situations as strange and link those to the paranormal. Moreover, sometimes superstitions even. Many receive a depressive diagnosis because of its many facets.
Where does that leave us with The Joker? Look at it this way; a fictional character known to have that specific illness would be Richie Gecko from Dusk Till Dawn. All those symptoms don’t have to be at full capacity to have the tendencies. But let’s dig deeper.
A Funny Brain PT 2
Is The Joker a psychopath or a sociopath or a bit of both? Was The Joker born evil or came to be that way? Without a past set in stone, which can know? We can surely speculate according to the obsession he has with Batman or the way he treats Harley Quinn.
The Joker clearly doesn’t seem to mind killing children, pregnant women, infants, animals, or seniors. That indicates that his good vs. bad barometer is either off and simply never existed.
Harley Quinn devoted much of her time and love to The Joker, but he didn’t respond to how a lover would. Speculation could be that it is because he cannot recognize good from the bad, so the gesture to him is without consequence.
However, when it comes to Batman, somehow his brain ticks and want something. Is it to possess him? To torture him? Maybe kill him? Or is it to love him? Does he see Batman as a friend? Or is it a villain? Or better, a figment of his imagination? Could it be a trauma, or a lover?
Without any barometer to differentiate good from bad, the Joker might see Batman as his lifeline. After all without him, The Joker turns to nothing. That in itself doesn’t require good or bad. It’s the acknowledgment of what is reflection is, his opposite.
Good Old Psychopathy
Earlier I mentioned some belief The Joker to be a psychopath while others believe he is a sociopath. The difference is that a psychopath doesn’t know the difference between good and evil while a sociopath does.
I personally believe that The Joker doesn’t recognize the difference anymore. Maybe he once did, but I strongly doubt it. Let’s dig into it.
Psychopathy is a personality disorder. A strong characteristic of this illness is due to anti-social. The patient has no empathy or remorse toward anything that society would qualify as wrong. Often, those people are egotistical and can, on some occasions, have an association with sociopathy.
Do not freak out if you are antisocial, I am, and I do not kill people! It is just a common trait among people suffering from mental illnesses.
The Triarchic Model
The label “psychopath” is often wrongly used in association with “crazy” or “mad.” These are wrong words to use in any circumstances when referring to a person.
Nonetheless, a ladder of psychopathy is now available. It is not official and, in some cases, among psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, criminologists, as controversial. I find it useful.
This triarchic model tries to de-stereotype psychopaths by separating them into three categories to create degrees. The Psychopathy Checklist is a measurement that helped create this model as well as the Psychopathic Personality Inventory.
Now, where does The Joker fit in all this? The choices are Boldness, Disinhibition, and Meanness. When reading about them, it seems he has all three. What does that mean?
He may have differences in the amygdala, impairments in front lobe systems, and high Impulsive antisociality. Again, what does that mean for The Joker secret mental file?
When it comes to The Joker’s mental illness in terms of psychopathy, he checks all three boxes of the triarchic model. He has intense fear and high-stress tolerance. He doesn’t care about unfamiliar territory or danger due to his self-confidence and assertiveness.
However, The Joker has mediocre impulse control and foresight. He demands gratifications, and that comes with poor behavioral restraints.
Now, his lack of empathy is beyond repair. He has no close attachments and exploits others to his benefit with no remorse.
He defies authority consistently, and it could be for orgasmic results or destructive excitement. The Joker does use cruelty to gain empowerment regardless of the outcome.
There you go boldness, disinhibition, and meanness.
Almost inconceivable to believe someone could laugh when beating virtually to death. Even less believable when they are looking at lifetime incarceration.
The Joker is a villain that laughs at any occasion he gets. It is after all one of his many trademarks.
However, The Joker always finds a way to make his day brighter and laughs at anything threatening coming his way…not so fast.
The Joker’s incontrollable laugh is actually a genuine illness and wraps up all of his behaviors and diseases with a cute little bow. The Joker secret mental file gets only weirder!
The Pseudobulbar Affect is also a synonym to emotional incontinence. This illness has the patient in uncontrollable episodes of extreme reactions such as laughter and hysterical crying. It is an emotional disturbance.
PBA is often a result of a secondary neurologic disorder. However, in some cases, brain injury. When it occurs, the patient cannot control their emotion.
Either it is crying or laughing. They are incapable of gaining control over their emotional reaction. Often, a patient can laugh when in distress or angry. It means they can have fits of laughter.
It can be an effect linked to personality disorder but not such as liability disorder. Due to outbursts of extreme and opposite reaction without stimulus, patients of PBA can become antisocial and leading to refuse relationships of any kind or attachment.
The pathophysiology is, to this day, investigated. It is still controversial. Some believe it is the corticobulbar pathways managing emotion and expression. The theory being that when bilateral lesions are descending to the corticobulbar tract causes failure in controlling emotions.
But the most fascinating one remains traumatic brain injury. PBA is most likely a result of the disruption of neural networks. PBA is directly linked to neurological disease.
My Non-Official Render
As a non-psychiatry practitioner, because I’m an artist and author, it is as follows…
The Joker’s past is a mystery and took many forms, yet at the core remains the same. My conclusions are the result of much research!
In my non-professional opinion but Batman obsessed, I believe The Joker to suffer from Schizotypal Personality Disorder.
Secondly, he has the triarchic model, as he fits in all three categories of boldness, disinhibition, and meanness. It results in Pseudobulbar Affect matching his prior illnesses and uncontrollable laughter.
I would recommend studies on the subject, physical and psychological. However, The Joker should be heavily guarded and secluded. The Joker’s place is in Black Gate and not Arkham Asylum. This patient cannot be rehabilitated.
That is it! What are your thoughts? What is your version of The Joker secret mental file?