Psychology of Jason Todd

The first Robin, Dick Grayson, grows up and becomes Nightwing. Batman, of course, needs a Robin. He finds his second Robin in Jason Todd, another orphan. Batman caught Jason stealing the hubcaps off the Batmoblie.

[Jason, whose car did you THINK you were messing with?].

Batman sees this kid with the guts to steal from him and decides to train him as the next Robin.

According to attachment theory, there’s four basic styles of attachment: secure, anxious preoccupied, dismissive avoidant, and fearful avoidant. If a child is loved, cared for, allowed to have independence with still a nurturing base, the child will most likely develop a secure attachment style, like the majority of the population.

Jason shows a lot of promise, and everything’s going pretty cool for a while. But then Jason starts getting more and more aggressive, and also discovers that his deceased mom was not his biological mom. Almost immediately after this shock, Jason goes in search for his still-living biological mother.

Jason's parents die while he’s still young. He’s “adopted” by Batman, only to be disappointed and left again.

Batman totally doesn’t support this desperate search, but he joins up to help Jason anyway. Long story short, Jason finds his biological mom and believes she is in danger from the Joker. In attempting to save her – defying Batman’s orders – Jason confronts the Joker. Jason’s mom, however, is actually working for the Joker, and Jason is trapped. The Joker beats him violently with a crowbar, leaves Jason at the brink of death, and then blows up the building, with Jason and his mom inside.

As with many other events in his life, Batman blames himself for this death. He decides to work alone in order to prevent any more innocent deaths.

Too late to save him, Batman pulls Jason’s dead body from the burning rubble.

Little does Batman know, Jason’s body is actually “rescued” by Ra’s Al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows. But anyway. Ra’s Al Ghul revives Jason through the life-giving Lazarus Pitt. Jason takes off, and for 4 to 5 years, he stays hidden, preparing for his return to Gotham.

I say “rescued,” because technically Jason’s death was the result of Al Ghul’s action.

He turns up under the alias “Red Hood,” odd choice considering this was once the alias of the Joker, Jason’s murderer. Jason believes he’s cleaning up Gotham by controlling and manipulating crime lords. He has this personal code or sense of morality. He won’t hesitate to kill any criminal, but he enforces that none of the drug dealers he controls sells drugs to kids.

To Jason, Batman not killing the Joker in revenge is another betrayal or abandonment by a parental figure. Once again, Jason feels alone and unloved.

Although he says he’s cleaning up Gotham, Jason’s actions follow an elaborate plan to reconnect with Batman. Jason kidnaps the Joker and beats him similarly with a crowbar, exacting revenge. He presents Batman with an ultimatum: choose him or the Joker. Batman’s been carrying around this guilt of letting Jason die in the first place, but Jason doesn’t blame him for his death. He blames Batman for not avenging his death and killing the Joker. If Batman truly loved him, Jason reasons, he would have killed the Joker for taking Jason away from him.

"This is what it's all been about. This! You, me, him! Now is the time you decide! If you won't kill this psychotic piece of filth, I will! If you want to stop me, you're going to have to kill me!"

If like Jason, a child feels abandoned, unloved, forgotten, or has to earn their parental figure’s love, that child will probably have an anxious preoccupied attachment style. These people want to be loved, but they don’t trust. They try to make others prove their love – Jason does this in the extreme by forcing Batman to kill his murderer. He is “preoccupied” with love in that he is searching so hard for it, but “anxious” in that he never trusts that Batman truly cares for him.

Alfred Alder theorized that part of personality is developed based on a person’s birth order in their family such as being the oldest or youngest child. If you think of Batman as a parent and the Robins as his sons, Jason is a second-born or middle child.

Middle child personalities can go a couple of ways, depending both on how the parent(s) treat the children and how the children perceive they are being treated.

Adler thought that if the oldest child seems valued more, given more attention, than the second-born or middle child, then the middle child will feel inadequate, or develop an inferiority complex.

Dick Grayson was the first Robin, the first person Batman truly trusted beside Alfred. He unknowingly set the standard for Jason to meet, which lead to some of Jason’s insecurities. Was Jason just a replacement for the partner Batman wished he still had? Would Batman have killed the Joker if it had been Dick instead?

Created By
Heather Ness

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