Short answer: maybe. He hasn’t been properly diagnosed because he is, of course, a fictional character. But it is definitely interesting to analyze certain favorite characters because they are so relatable to all of us. Or maybe it’s just the opposite, we love to understand characters that do not exactly go route that we would think is moral. Either way, learning about characters and people is fun, and mostly is how I found out that I wanted to study psychology, because people are so interesting and our mind also works in mysterious ways. So let’s get started!
Anakin Skywalker or a.k.a Darth Vader is the memorable tragic hero in the Star Wars series. He was ruthless, powerful, and skilled and in the end, he brought balance to the force by killing the mastermind of the Empire.
In series 1-3 of the Star Wars saga, you do get backstory regarding Anakin Skywalker’s past. There he was swept from home to train with the Jedi, fought a war, fell in love, and ultimately as every tragic hero does, fails while he tries to aim for good.
In one particular video I saw about Star Wars, there was a slight mention about how according to a psychologist, Anakin Skywalker showed six out of nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder. So I went on to do some research of the nine symptoms of borderline personality disorder myself and try to correlate them with Anakin Skywalker.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I AM NOT CONFIRMING THAT IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS THEN YOU DO HAVE BPD. IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU MAY SHOW THESE SYMPTOMS PLEASE SEE A PROFESSIONAL.
- Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): From my viewings of the third movie, Revenge of the Sith, Padme talks to Anakin, persuading him to flee the planet Mustafar, then once he realizes that Obi-Wan was there, he panicked, thinking that she was ultimately on Obi Wans side, and used the unforgivable force choke hold on his wife (Lucas, director, 1999).
- A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation) (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): While Anakin doesn’t have much friends besides Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, he does seem to have a rocky relationship with Obi-Wan, often fearing that he doesn’t trust him to be the best Jedi (Lucas, director, 1999). This distrust has put a barrier between them two. The best example would be that in the very end of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan explained that they were much like brothers, signalizing their closeness and Anakin adds that he hates them, which would be an extreme feeling (Lucas, director, 1999).
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices) (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): This distorted sense of self can be indicated in the second movie where Anakin blames Obi-Wan for him not allowing young Anakin to freely do as he pleases. He wants more from the Jedi Council but they wouldn’t allow him to freely move around (Lucas, director, 1999). In the third movie, he goes to into evaluation to see if he can raise his status from Padawan to Jedi Master, which they have declined. Since then, he has been at a loss for what he is supposed to do, seeing that being a Jedi Master was clearly what he been training for his whole life (Lucas, director, 1999).
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): I have a running joke for you guys; Anakin Skywalker is said to be the best pilot in the galaxy and yet he always crashes (Lucas, director, 1999). Although, I do not believe that this is the solution to our diagnosis here. If you guys do find anything that might fill this one, please comment below!
- Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): Again, I do not believe he does this. If he does, please let me know, I could always be missing something!
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): Luke Skywalker can go from okay to extremely panicked to focused in a matter of seconds (Lucas, director, 1999). Of course, the events of what happens do not help the situation but it does give evidence of changeable moods. He does go with his feeling fully rather than being guided by them (Lucas, director, 1999).
- Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): Anakin does get bored from time to time, which causes him to want to seek more from the Force. Although, the main reason for him wanting to go to the Dark Side was to save Padme, but of course it will relieve boredom and possibly emptiness (Lucas, director, 1999).
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): The best examples for this would be in the second movie where he explains that Obi-Wan is holding him back and there’s distrust between them (Lucas, director, 1999). Also in the third movie which I have stated in the first symptom.
- Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d): If the third movie didn’t convince you that he was paranoid, I don’t know what will. For the rundown, he has a reoccurring dream that Padme died in childbirth. Then on, he went on and tried to find ways to make sure of her safety and the children’s safety (Lucas, director, 1999). Unfortunately this drive pushed him, along with Senator Palpatine, to ultimately be Darth Vader (Lucas, director, 1999).
Borderline Personality Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml