Batman: A Case Study on How NOT to Deal with Grief
For health we were given the focus question “How can you demonstrate strategies of how to deal with grief?” We could use any type of examples we wanted so my first thought was, like any respectable fan, my first thoughts were to delve into the world of comic books. Specifically: Batman. He suffered a traumatic event when he was younger – his parents were shot down right in front of him! As a result, he dedicated his life to protecting others. However, that’s when I realized…
Batman sucks at dealing with grief.
Unfortunately, his heroic approach, while a noble strategy for dealing with grief, has a few flaws that I want to suggest be tweaked so people dealing with grief can learn how to cope with their loss in the real world better than Batman has in the comic book realm.
Bruce's strategy has its merits because he decides to help others so they don't lose people. This is one of many ways Batman melds with society. There are people out there who have faced traumatic events in their childhood, like losing a loved one, and they've become cops or nurses to help people not lose loved ones, or they become counselors to help others cope with their grief. These practices can also help said person with their own grief by letting them have the satisfaction of helping others.
Where this approach becomes problematic is when the person's own needs are neglected. Bruce dedicates his entire life to being Batman and protecting the innocent. It’s gotten to the point where Bruce views his secret identity as Bruce Wayne and not Batman. He thinks Batman is who he really is and his “mask” is billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.
And speaking of “playboy”, as a result of Bruce Wayne being his mask, Batman purposely has casual flings with women and never settles down with anyone. In fact, the longest relationships Batman has had have been with Catwoman and Talia al Ghul. Both are femme fatale’s who are on the wrong side of the law. Why does Batman insist on pursuing these doomed relationships? Because he is afraid of growing attached to someone, suggesting that psychologically he is worried he will lose them just like his parents.
Also, you should never take your grief out on others in the form of verbal or physical abuse. Sometimes you bottle up your anger and take it out on someone innocent... like when Batman finds an excuse to hit robin in this often parodied panel.
It's nice to turn your grief into care about others, but don't ignore your grief. Confront it, move on, and don't let helping people prevent you from living your own life. And if you don’t, it’s your own fault. Don’t go blaming other people with physical or emotional abuse. You’ve been through a tragedy and you deserve comfort, but not at the expense of others feelings. Try to make lasting attachments so you can have a network of friends to look out for you so you won't be alone in your grief. This is why you need to talk to someone about your grief before you go out and try to save the world - whether you're saving it as a nurse or as a giant bat.