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Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’s Trauma

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Date added: 19-02-06


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Dissociative identity disorder is usually a reaction to trauma as a way to help a person avoid bad memories. When people face traumatic experiences, they have a choice to cope in a healthy or unhealthy way. Sometimes in extreme cases, they believe that having another identity could help them cope by escaping their current reality. For example, Dr. Jekyll has created a different personality, Hyde, that he uses to escape his reality and create a new one. Through Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll displays a Dissociative identity disorder due to a traumatic experience that happened in his past.

Dr. Jekyll displays signs of an abused childhood by having a second personality, Mr. Hyde. Jekyll uses Hyde to forget and run away from the pain. It is shown that, “Among childhood trauma types, only physical abuse and physical neglect predicted dissociation [identity].” (Sar et al. 1). He is saying that the reason to dissociative identity is not only childhood trauma, but abuse as well. Childhood trauma can cause dissociative identity by allowing the kid to escape to a different reality, due to the creation of another personality. In about 90% of dissociative identity cases there is a history of child abuse.

Dissociative identity is another way for people and kids get away from the world and create a new and better one. Some signs of dissociative identity is having nightmares, zoning out, and memory problems. Jekyll shows these signs throughout the book by waking up without realizing what he did. For example when he killed Carew in the alleyway. Dr. Jekyll stated, while talking to Mr. Utterson, “I know you have seen him…and I fear he was rude.”(Stevenson, 13). Under the context, it seems that he does not remember meeting him. That’s shows that he does not remember what happens whenever he is Mr. Hyde, which is a prime example of dissociative identity disorder.

Another traumatic experience that could happen is a close family member dying, or a mentor dying. They use their second personality to escape the pain of losing someone they loved. It is most common that because of a loss of a loved one, people generally create a different personality to disband the pain in their original world. Some signs are a loss of identity as related to individual distinct personality states, and loss of time, sense of self and consciousness. In the book, it shows lots of times where Dr. Jekyll wakes up, not remembering what happened when he was Hyde. For instance, in the book Jekyll turns into Hyde by accident at a park, “ I looked down; my clothes hung formlessly on my shrunken limbs…I was once more Edward Hyde” (Stevenson 51). This shows that he realizes that he changes, but not what he does, and example of this, “Dr. Jekyll was a double personality because he remembered the process of transformation (what today we would call dissociation), but not what he did while he was Mr. Hyde.” (Waiess Vol. 93, Iss. 3,).

Also now Jekyll can switch to Hyde with just thoughts instead of potions, which shows how someone with Distinctive Personality disorder can escape to there other reality with just a thought and idea instead of a trigger of some sort. It becomes easier to escape if they lost a loved one, by remembering who the deceased was to them. Just the thought of that person can send someone into a deep depression, which they will heal by switching personalities and becoming a different person. When a person switches to another personality, they usually feel completely different and not normal. In the book, Jekyll describes this as, “ … something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body…” (Stevenson 44). This shows that whenever he transformed into Hyde he felt, “ happier in body” (Stevenson 44) which proves that when he was Jekyll, he felt pain and depression, most likely because of a traumatic childhood past.

Jekyll was suffering with a weight of a traumatic childhood either from a close family member dying or something else that changed his life, and he used Hyde to escape all those feelings. When he was Hyde he felt free and happy, but he realized that Hyde always had hatred in his mind. He realized that it was a mistake to use Hyde to run away from his past, so he began to stay as Jekyll and not change. This caused a deep depression and he could not last long, he needed to change to Hyde to have the feeling of being happy and free again. Most people need to switch to their different personality to stay away from suicidal thoughts and actions.

A different way Jekyll can be diagnosed with Distinctive personality disorder is by being alone and not having much social interactions with other people when they were a child. When someone is alone their whole childhood life, it creates an image and gets them thinking why. They start asking if something is wrong with them and will live the rest of their life thinking that they are awkward and weird to others. In the book, Jekyll was sitting inside alone stating that he was, “ Very low. It will not last long, thank God.” (Stevenson 25). This was right after he stopped becoming Hyde. It was a cause and effect of the childhood trauma. Because Jekyll stopped becoming Hyde, he became very depressed and didn’t want to see anyone or go outside. In the book, Jekyll does not live with anyone except waiters, servant, and maids. He does not have a lover or any family that live with him.

Jekyll even wanted to be left alone for a long time, “‘The doctor is confined to the house’ Poole said, ‘and saw no one’” (Stevenson 22). His want to be alone shows that he never had that much social interactions when he was a child. If he did then he would not be able to stay alone in his room without seeing his friends. He would be so used to having people and friends to talk to that he would be uncomfortable by being alone in a room. As a child he would learn that it is weird not having friends to interact with, so that would cause him to always want to be around friends his whole life. But, it is the opposite with Jekyll. He had a traumatic childhood due to a decrease in social interactions with other kids. The effect of his childhood, caused him to create a different personality, Mr. Hyde, which would take out all the anger he had on the inside and bring it to the outside world.

Throughout the whole book, the idea of dissociative identity disorder is the constant theme. Jekyll is always showing signs of dissociative identity disorder in the book. Stevenson was very successful on giving the message of the book. The readers could really understand what he has trying to say under the words and pages. Dissociative identity disorder has been a very interesting and questionable topic to get information on. Lots of people suffer from this disease. They usually do not have people to love on them and care for them, only because the people think they are crazy. People with Disabilities are usually left alone and outcastes by the whole world, that is why we should embrace them instead of allowing them to feel left out. Every human, whether they have something psychologically wrong or are physically deformed, should be treated no different than those that appear normal. Everyone is different and weird in their own way.

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