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Lego Batman and Borderline Personality DIsorder Kaylee Gaut Visual Report N480 Professor Mallon


The Family


Bruce Wayne is the man behind the Batman costume. By day, he is a billionaire living in Wayne Manor in Gotham City, but when there is trouble in the city, he becomes a superhero. He was orphaned at a very young age and inherited his parents’ money. He was raised by his butler, Alfred, but still spent a lot of time alone and missing his family which resulted in his development of Borderline Personality Disorder. He is at the stage of Middle Adulthood, Generativity vs. Stagnation. Although he has shown success as Batman, he does not have any personal relationships. Alfred frequently finds Bruce staring at old family photos and feeling depressed because he does not have anyone close to him. By adopting Dick, growing closer to Barbara and being appreciative of Alfred’s care, Bruce feels more successful at this life stage.



Alfred is the Wayne family’s butler. He has worked for the family for as long as Bruce was alive and raised him as a father figure when his parents were murdered at a young age. Although he does the best he can, he has a hard time raising the troubled Bruce and is commonly seen reading Setting Limits for Your Outof-Control Child. He is at the stage of Maturity, Ego Integrity vs. Despair. He spends a lot of time reflecting on how he chose to raise Bruce and feels despair because of Bruce’s lack of relationships. As Bruce starts to overcome his condition, Alfred feels much more successful as the father figure to Bruce.

The Family


Dick Grayson is an orphan boy that Bruce Wayne adopts. Because of his acrobat skills and enthusiasm for fighting crime, he becomes Robin, Batman’s sidekick. He is in the stage of Adolescence, Identity vs. Role Confusion. He is first seen in role confusion because he is struggling to find happiness with himself as an orphan struggling and determined to change himself to become “more adoptable.” His growth and transition to finding his identity is seen when he finds happiness as Bruce’s son and Batman’s sidekick.


Barbara Gordon just recently became the new Police Commissioner, taking over after her father’s retirement from the position. Before this position, she graduated top of her class at Harvard for Police and cleaned crime out of the neighboring city, Bludhaven. With her experience and desire to help Gotham City, she takes on the alias of Batgirl to help Batman fight crime as well. She is at the stage of Young Adulthood, Intimacy vs. Isolation. She was so focused on her career at a young age so she never truly developed any strong relationships. She is seen striving for intimacy by doing everything she can to help Bruce open up to her and his new family.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

7 Bruce Wayne exhibits many common signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a Cluster B Personality Disorder “described as marked instability in interpersonal relationships, mood and self-image” (Townsend, 2015). He was predisposed to developing this disorder as a result of the childhood trauma of the death of his parents at a young age. In general, individuals with BPD have a very intense affect with frequently changing behaviors while also exhibiting “a single, dominant affective tone, such as depression, which may give way periodically to anxious agitation or inappropriate outbursts of anger” (Townsend, 2015). Bruce displays many common BPD symptoms including: chronic depression with underlying rage, clinging & distancing, manipulation, self-destructive behaviors, impulsivity and rage reactions.

Family structure The family is extended, cohabitating and adoptive. Bruce is the center of the family. Alfred has no blood relation to Bruce, but raised him as his own son after the death of his parents leaving him as a father figure to Bruce. Bruce then adopted Dick from the orphanage making him a single parent. Barbara later moves in to Wayne Manor and cohabitates with the multigenerational Wayne family. They all fight crime together with different responsibilities (Batman in charge, Dick as the sidekick, Alfred in the Batcave for prep/planning and Barbara incorporating the Police Department).

Duvall’s Stages of development Although Duvall’s eight stages of family development are based on normative families, this family would be at the Stage 5, Families with Teenagers. Because they are raising a teenager, the family should be focusing on maintaining freedom and responsibility, maintaining communication, establishing post-parental interests and careers, and increasing internalization of ethical standards (Kaakinen, Duff-Gedaly, Hanson & Coelho, 2015).


Culture/Religion The family does not identify with or practice any religion. The family has created their own unique culture of fighting crime together. Because Bruce Wayne inherited billions from his parents, they are an upper class family living in Wayne Manor on a private island. They live a lavish, upper class lifestyle in Wayne Manor utilizing Bruce’s inherited billions. They have expensive dinners every night and spend a lot of time playing with Batman’s vehicles in the Bat Cave.

Communication The family has very poor communication skills as a result of Bruce’s BPD since he is the center of the family. He has a very hard time voicing his love, care and appreciation for the rest of the family. Although his emotional distance hurts them, the rest of the family continues to be very open and honest about their love and appreciation. They do tend to get frustrated with each other, but rarely get into bad fights over it. They communicate non-verbally by spending quality time together (fighting crime, watching movies, having dinner, etc) and by entrusting each other with duties while fighting crime. A great example of positive non-verbal communication from Bruce is seen when he gives the family one collective “good idea” on his Good Idea Tracker.


Strengths •

Fight crime as team

Eat meals together

Watch movies together

Other family members work hard to show appreciation to Bruce

Financially stable

Unique culture specific to this family

Dick respects Bruce as his father

Weaknesses •

Bruce struggles showing appreciation

Family gets hurt/frustrated with Bruce’s BPD

Fighting crime is dangerous

Lack of religious support

Bruce lacks respect for Alfred as a father figure

New family (Dick was recently adopted and Barbara recently moved in)

Family systems theory The Family Systems Theory is appropriate to use for this family because it “allows nurses to understand and assess families as an organized whole and/or as individuals within family units who form an interactive and interdependent system” (Kaakinen et al., 2015). This theory consists of four major concepts that are used as a framework for care when working with the family.

CONCEPT 1 All Parts of the System are Interconnected This concept implies that when something is affecting one member of the family, every other family member is affected as well. Although it is also important to keep in mind that “the effect on each family member varies in intensity and quality” (Kaakinen et al., 2015). For example, Batman struggles with his relationship with Joker because he has difficulty admitting that Joker is his “greatest enemy.” This affects Alfred because Bruce becomes more demanding as a result of his current stressor. Dick is affected because he loses quality time he could be spending with his new adoptive father. Barbara is affected because Bruce focuses on his tumultuous relationship with Joker instead of his newly blossoming relationship with her. This also adds more general stress to the family unit because it triggers more severe reactions from Bruce as a result of his stress and BPD.

CONCEPT 2 The whole is more than the sum of its parts This concept explores the idea that family is more than just the combined individual lives of each member and the family unit is, in a sense, its own entity. This concept is very important to this particular family because each individual has their own complexities which puts the family at risk of being neglected. If Bruce were to focus on crime fighting by himself as he used to then the family would be losing their own unique culture and bonding opportunities. Although he was a great crime fighter on his own, there was much improvement for himself and the city as a whole when his family joined him.

CONCEPT 3 All systems have some form of boundaries or borders between the system and its environment

This concept is very important to ensure that the family is not greatly impacted by outside forces. According to this concept, “families control the in-flow of information and people coming into its family system to protect individual family members or the family as a whole” (Kaakinen et al., 2015). One very clear way that this family keeps boundaries from the environment is by wearing masks while fighting crime. By hiding their true identities, they can live their crime-fighting culture while still protecting the family entity and keeping their personal lives unaffected by villains. There is also the physical barrier between Wayne Manor and Gotham City because their mansion was built on an island away from the city.

CONCEPT 4 Systems can be further organized into subsystems Just because the family unit is viewed as whole in this theory does not mean that the smaller subsystems should be ignored. Breaking the family into subsystems takes into account the three dimensions of families: structure, function and processes” which will help to identify and develop specific interventions to achieve better outcomes (Kaakinen et al., 2015). Because this family is non-normative, there are multiple subsystems that should be kept into consideration when caring for the family. • Father – Adopted Son: Alfred and Bruce • Father – Adopted Son: Bruce and Dick • Grandparent – Grandson: Alfred and Dick • Friendship/Possibly Romantic: Bruce and Barbara • Friendship: Alfred and Barbara • Friendship: Dick and Barbara

Specifically for this family and their own unique culture, they could also be seen as having Crime-Fighting Partner relationships with each other.

Interventions and Outcomes The Problem: Bruce’s BPD has a very negative impact on his newly developing family. It is very difficult for him to open up emotionally to people who care about him which leaves him unable to display his care and appreciation for them. He frequently acts impulsively with self-destructive behaviors. He also distances himself from his family and uses manipulation tactics and his rage reactions to promote this distancing. This leaves the family feeling frustrated, hurt and unappreciated for all they do for him.

Intervention: Discuss with the family that attitudes and environmental factors can impede and interfere with recovery goals by reinforcing problematic behaviors such as avoidance behaviors, encouragement of negative coping and communication of low behavioral expectations (Carmel, Torres, Chalker & Comtois, 2018) Rationale: "The central barrier to recovery is the perception of others involved in and influencing their psychosocial recovery ... [and many will struggle to] recognize certain kinds of social interactions that are meant to be supportive as tangible barriers to their recovery” (Carmel et al., 2018) Outcome: The family will avoid attitudes and behaviors that may interfere with his recovery instead of helping it. Most importantly, they will not allow Bruce to ignore his feelings/problems and “bottle up” emotions in an attempt to make things easier for him. They will work as a family to help him overcome internal problems.

Intervention: Help the client and family understand how these behaviors interfere with satisfactory relationships (Townsend, 2015) Rationale: Client may be unaware of how others perceive these behaviors and why they are not acceptable (Townsend, 2015) Outcome: Bruce and each family member will be able to identify harmful behaviors and why they are harmful for their relationships. Bruce is unaware of the emotional struggles he causes his family which is why they should all be able to verbally identify them before being able to overcome them.

Intervention: Reinforce the importance of collaborative treatment for both the patient the family (Bailey & Grenyer, 2015) Rationale: This will help the patient “to develop and integrate a stronger sense of self, diminish abandonment fears, increase rejection tolerance and emotion regulation capacity” and will help the family “to balance healthy separation and facilitate care for self along with caring for the relative with BPD” (Bailey & Grenyer, 2015)

Outcome: With his family more involved in his care, Bruce will become more understanding of his self and the implications of his actions to help him overcome his problematic behaviors. The family will develop better understanding for the care of Bruce so they become less afflicted by his problematic behaviors as a result of his BPD. They will also reach out for their own care or provide self-care when necessary to avoid caregiver burden.

Works Cited Bailey R. C., and Grenyer B. F.S. (2015). The relationship between expressed emotion and wellbeing for families and carers of a relative with borderline personality disorder. Personality and Mental Health, 9, 21–32. doi: 10.1002/pmh1273 Carmel, A., Torres, N. I., Chalker, S., and Comtois, K. A. (2018). Interpersonal barriers to recovery from borderline personality disorder: A qualitative analysis of patient perspectives. Personality and Mental Health, 12, 38–48. doi: 10.1002/pmh.1397. Kaakinen, J., Duff-Gedaly, V., Hanson, S. & Coelho, D. (2015) Family health Care nursing: Theory, practice and research (5th ed.). F.A. Davis: Philadelphia

Townsend, M.C. (2015). Psychiatric nursing: Assessment, care plans, and medications (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

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Lego Batman and BPD  
Lego Batman and BPD