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Fictional Characters and personality traits/disorders

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by HooahDOc, Jan 30, 2012.

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  1. HooahDOc

    HooahDOc

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    I'm giving an in-service talk to staff at a local hospital on personality disorders. I would like to pick one fictional character to use as an "example" to help them somewhat understand the characteristics as well as make it a little less "doctory" for the non-physician people present.

    It's pretty easy to find an example for anti-social PD, but I'm lost for the rest. Anyone have any ideas and why they would choose that person?
  2. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    I went to a CME training many years ago on personality disorders, and the speaker had pages worth of examples.. unfortunately, the only ones I remember are Kramer (Seinfeld) and Phoebe (Friends) as seeming schizotypal.
  3. nitemagi

    nitemagi Senior Member

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    Glenn Close in fatal attraction - BPD.
    Bree Van Der Kamp (Desperate Housewives) - OCPD
  4. InBoston

    InBoston

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    What about nonfictional characters? Let's make this a little more fun.

    Obama? Narcissist?

    Ron Paul? Psychotic?

    Newt Gingrich? Histrionic?
  5. nitemagi

    nitemagi Senior Member

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    See the Goldwater rule.
  6. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    Hmm, Richard Simmons definitely seems to be the embodiment of a particular one, but the Goldwater Rule is a good one. Mr. Simmons did, however, help me to memorize every single trait of that disorder.

    Disclaimer: I've never ever met him in person or evaluated him. The mention was merely as a mnemonic device
  7. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor

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    I have a ppt on Axis 2 illustrated entirely with Harry Potter characters--

    Schizoid--Filch
    Paranoid--Moody
    Schizotypal--Trelawney

    Narcissistic--Umbridge
    Histrionic--Lockhart
    Antisocial--Volde...He who must not be Named
    Borderline--Lestrange

    OCPD--Granger/McGonnigal
    Avoidant--Neville
    Dependent--Dobby

    Not perfect, of course, but memorable...
  8. tryp

    tryp

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    I wish that people would be a little careful with Borderline Personality Disorder. I am a medical student with BPD and I find it very difficult when people use something like Fatal Attraction as a teaching tool. I get that it's not supposed to be completely serious, but honestly, doctors hate us enough already and I just hate when it seems like they're being given extra ammo to use against us, or an extra dollop of prejudice.
  9. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    Agree. Fatal Attraction presented someone with BPD to one of the worst extremes possible. Not so much with severity, though it certainly was severe, but the worst thing that can happen to you if you meet someone with it. Several with this disorder have it as a result of emotional trauma as a child.

    A problem here is there hasn't been any good portrayals of it in television shows or film, and people draw over to Fatal Attraction as a type of default.

    The only good portrayal of it that I can think of from a character most people would feel has a more positive portrayal is Starbuck in the new Battlestar Galactica. A problem there is that it's a niche show that most people didn't watch, and they only focused on her borderline PD in a few episodes.

    Another problem here is that most residents first encounter borderline PD is inpatient. Borderlines that make it to inpatient tend to be worse ones. There are many people with this disorder that are functioning in society and have it on a weaker extreme. If more doctors had their first and main exposure to someone with it in outpatient, I'd think their perspectives would be more positive. Further, most doctors aren't trained in DBT, the accepted form of treatment for this disorder, and this just ups the frustration with this disorder that is wrongfully taken out on the patient. Another problem is frequent flyer borderlines to the ER and inpatient should be in a 24-hour DBT ACT team where the team can divert and prevent them from going to the hospital in the first place. Most areas don't have this, let alone even outpatient DBT. There's one in my area but only because a doctorate level grad student in counseling made one as her thesis project and it's stuck since then.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  10. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    Hmm, in terms of superheroes and villians...

    Cluster A
    Paranoid PD:
    Schizoid PD: The Watcher, Death, Galactus
    Schizotypal: Hmm, can't think of one!

    Cluster C
    Avoidant PD: Molecule Man
    Dependent PD: can't think of one off-hand
    Obsessive Compulsive PD: Doctor Doom



    Cluster B
    Histrionic PD: Arcade
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcade_(Marvel_Comics)

    Narcissistic PD: Dr. Doom
    http://scienceblogs.com/startswitha...end_diversion_youd_better/doctor-doom-14.jpeg

    Borderline PD: Boom Boom
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabitha_Smith
    Jean Grey in the Ultimate Marvel Universe (not the main Marvel Universe)\

    Antisocial PD: Absorbing Man, Joe Chill, Joker
  11. HooahDOc

    HooahDOc

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    What about that chick from Girl, Interrupted? The one played by Winona Ryder
  12. billypilgrim37

    billypilgrim37 Unstuck in Time

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    Goldwater - Antisocial? ;)
  13. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor

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    I would imagine that Dependent PD would disqualify one from Super Hero status.
    Might make one a good sidekick, however... :D
  14. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    hmm:
    Paranoid Personality DO: Magneto, Batman, the Punisher

    Didn't like the movie. It touched upon some elements of borderline PD but I don't think it got it in an effective manner to educate people not familiar with it.

    Precious touched upon several themes of borderline PD, but Precious, the character, didn't seem to actually obtain it to the degree where she got more than traits of it. It certainly is a demonstration, true to life, of someone experiencing constant invalidation. A series of chronic invalidation without allowing the child to develop resilience and an emotional understanding of what is going on are tantamount to the development of borderline PD. For that reason, I think this movie could be an integral part of an education on teaching why some people develop it, but not so much a good demonstration of someone who actually develops it.

    I've yet to see a group of psychiatrists seem to understand and inquire about the level of validation a person may have received as a child. This should be included in any analysis of a person with a cluster B PD.
  15. InBoston

    InBoston

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    Precious' Mom: Sociopathy?
  16. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    The mom seemed borderline and antisocial.

    The ending of the movie is a good example of someone, though not a therapist, offering validation to a person in need of it.
  17. kugel

    kugel

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    Seinfeld:

    Jerry: OCPD
    -has to wear button down long-sleeve shirt, jeans, white sneakers, cereals are arranged alphabetically

    Kramer: Schizotypal
    - magical thinking, wants friends but can't figure out how to act like a friend, odd clothing/grooming

    Elaine: Histrionic
    - when he leaves his sweat on the gym equipment it must be a signal to me that he's interested, everything is a drama/exaggerated ("You want to see nipples? Well, Here!!")

    George: Avoidant? Dependent?

    Newman: ASPD
    "Now you are beholden to me and you must do anything I ask."

    Soup Nazi: OCPD
    - rather lose customers than break the rules he made up

    Baboo (is that the right name?): Dependent PD

    Mr. Costanza (George's father): Paranoid PD
    - belief problems in his life are conspiratorial, injustice collector, holidays are made up to keep us down-trodden (Festivus: the Festival for the Rest of Us!)

    Mr Peterman: Narcissistic
    - name-dropper, belief that his random stories are illustrative to others' lives, oblivious to the fact that others are bored/disgusted

    Mrs. Costanza (George's Mother): Borderline PD
  18. Daedra22

    Daedra22 ~Harm None~

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    Histrionic PD: Lwaxana Troi, anyone?

    *edit* Continuing the sci-fi train of thought...

    Narcissistic PD: Gaius Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  19. atethesun

    atethesun

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    We should start a thread talking about characters from different movies.

    Who wants to start? How about.... The 3 brothers from Darjeeling Limited
  20. Chimed

    Chimed

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    What about Anakin Skywalker with BPD?

    Here is a published article that address this:

    Attached Files:

  21. belle54321

    belle54321

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    This one is obvious. Sheldon Cooper: OCPD (+ probably Asperger's)
  22. billypilgrim37

    billypilgrim37 Unstuck in Time

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    I know this is what everybody always says, but I take a lot of issue with the Asperger's diagnosis. I think that's exactly what DSM5 is worried about when it talks about how every person who is just a little weird or awkward gets an autism spectrum diagnosis.

    Kudos to you for specifying OCPD, as everytime I hear someone say he has OCD, I want to pull my hair out (trich style).
  23. belle54321

    belle54321

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    That's why I included the word "probably.":oops: since I am no psychiatrist yet.
  24. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator

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    For OCPD, I always thought Frazier Crane's brother (Niles?) was a pretty perfect example. But I'm probably dating myself.
  25. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    And narcissism. His frequent put-downs of others for not understanding physics as well as he does is certainly narcissism.

    I think Asperger's is not inappropriate. The guy doesn't understand simple emotional and social cues.

    I do think he has OCD and OCPD, though I believe his OCD is to a mild degree, and his OCPD is quite strong. The guy goes down the stairs and has to cite off the local stars while doing a specific rhyme with each step, messes up once, and has to start all over again. That IMHO is more OCD than OCPD.
  26. surftheiop

    surftheiop

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    I think Sheldon is just Lawful Neutral ;)
  27. NilesCrane

    NilesCrane

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    I think Charlie Sheen's character in that sitcom of his was a good portrayal of NPD. De Niro's character in "Raging Bull" was a good example of paranoid personality though that's probably debatable. "Fatal Attraction" is a good example of more severe BPD symptoms though I think BPD patients rarely end up doing something like kill the person, so that was just theatrics. But the boundary violations, the possessiveness and identity disturbance, the moodiness, the gradual decompensation, the severe pain inside that comes out in various ways (such as self-cutting), all were there. I think a better example of BPD is "Single White Female." It especially focuses on identity disturbance. "What About Bob" is a wonderful movie about boundary violations, about a patient with a bunch of issues, mostly OCD, though later as a result of improvement of those symptoms apparently, he also becomes quite dependent on this doctor, so maybe DPD as well. The doctor has some NPD traits himself though not enough for a full diagnosis. Great movie, recommended just for the humor.
  28. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor

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  29. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I have a theory that House (MD) has Borderline Personality Disorder. He pretty much meets all of the criteria except for self-injurious behavior.
  30. billypilgrim37

    billypilgrim37 Unstuck in Time

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    The opioid addiction probably feeds most of that.
  31. PsyDGrrrl

    PsyDGrrrl Head Shrinker

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    How about the characters on King of the Hill? Hank is the perfect example of OCPD, Dale is Paranoid PD, Bill is Dependent. Boomhauer seems a little Schizoid, and Dale's wife a little Histrionic.
  32. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    Actually, he has displayed self-injurious behavior though not necessarily with an emotional regulation function, FWIW.

    Awesome theory, though.

    Azula on Avatar: TLA is a classic example of callous Conduct Disorder/Antisocial Personality Disorder, IMO.
  33. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow

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    My take on House...

    He has some elements of borderline PD, but IMHO he has a personality that is driven to be correct. He's obsessed with figuring things out. I don't like the word obsession because it implies that he's taking it too far. I don't think one would feel that way if they were the patient.

    I also believe that some people wouldn't be quite as effective in what they do in certain things if they didn't have some personality quirks. I know someone, for example, who was a very talented artist but had problems in dealing with women. He eventually overcame his phobia of talking to women, lost his virginity, was happy in a sexual relationship, and then lost focus on his art. I believe he was channeling his sexual frustration through his art.

    Several people accomplish great things due to odd personalities or circumstances.
  34. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    I used Dale as an example of paranoid PD in class once. :)

    I don't think Boomhauer is schizoid, though. He's too much of a womanizer.

    Btw, I just saw the discussion of Sheldon and Aspergers. I think he DEFINITELY has it. Most of his behaviors are not just unusual, they are also highly maladaptive.
  35. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Administrator SDN Senior Moderator

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    So I just saw a cracked.com*** article that references this CMAJ article alleging that most Winnie-the-Pooh characters are prime examples of psychiatric disorders. Hmmmmm.....

    Quite a few interesting responses and citing articles listed at the bottom of the page, too.


    ***If you're not familiar with cracked.com, it tends to be non-PC and occasionally NSFW. Be warned if you happen to be sensitive to that kind of thing.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  36. PsyDGrrrl

    PsyDGrrrl Head Shrinker

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    Is he really? I don't watch the show regularly anymore, but I only recall one episode where he was with a woman.
  37. NoNoNoNo

    NoNoNoNo

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    Agreed with both of you.
  38. imalasagnahog

    imalasagnahog

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    I was re-reading Anna Karenina during my psych clerkship, and I thought Anna Karenina was likely borderline: her story is rife with interpersonal chaos, mood lability, fear of abandonment, and impulsivity, and

    SPOILER ALERT

    she eventually commits suicide.
  39. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    ITA with all of this. Especially Dale and paranoid PD because yeah...:laugh:
  40. cara susanna

    cara susanna

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    Yeah, there's one episode where they say he's slept with 101 women. Not sure if it's exaggerated though. ;) He tells a lot of stories about his escapades, too. There's another episode where they show him hitting on women and then getting rejected until one finally says yes.

    I guess it's more of a "tell and don't show" type of writing, but I think that's the show's fault.

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