Eaglefrost takes a look at Brokenstar from a psychological perspective.
In this series of articles, I will be analyzing various characters from the Warriors series, using my background in psychology. Kicking off the series is one of the evilest cats from the series, Brokenstar. Warnings for discussions of dysfunctional families and psychological disorders.
Brokenstar’s main problems come from an abusive and a dysfunctional family life. There’s no doubt that Lizardstripe was an emotionally and verbally abusive and neglectful mother, even going so far as to call her own kits, “brats.” Brokenstar’s adopted littermates made fun of him ruthlessly and never included him in any of their games, causing the young Brokenkit to find refuge in the medicine cat den with his mother Yellowfang.
However, his father, Raggedpelt, did the opposite: he spoiled him rotten and always defended him. For example, when Brokenpaw had been fighting with a couple of WindClan apprentices at a Gathering, Raggedpelt immediately came to his son’s rescue when Cedarstar called him out. He argued with the leader’s decision to punish Brokenpaw alone, saying that the young apprentice was only displaying loyalty and courage. Later on, Raggedpelt made his son a warrior before he had completed his final assessment.
When Brokenstar became a leader, he created his own version of the warrior code, bending the rules to suite his own needs. This is a direct result of his childhood, er, kithood, and a lack of boundaries. In a family where there are too loose of boundaries, there may be frequent criticisms, unhealthy teasing, and no parental guidance on how to dress, speak, or behave, which leads the child longing for a capable adult in charge (The Root: Unhealthy Families). To explain, Lizardstripe frequently criticized Brokenkit, telling him that he was stealing her own kits’ milk.
Continuing, The teasing Brokenstar received from his littermates is not what I would consider to be “healthy.” One of them even went as far as to say that he smelled funny and therefore, he couldn’t play with them. Finally, Raggedpelt didn’t provide proper discipline for his son, only ever making excuses for his actions, thus, never really reaching Brokenstar how to be a proper warrior.
A second theory for Brokenstar’s corruption is Antisocial Personality Disorder, or when he was a kit, the child version of Antisocial PD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. For a child to be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, he has to meet the following criteria according to the DSM-V: “A pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting for at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following categories, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling (DSM-V pg 462).
The three symptoms of the first category, an angry/irritable mood, include: losing their temper on a frequent basis, being touchy or easily annoyed, and often being angry and resentful. The four symptoms of the second category, argumentative/defiant behavior, include: arguing with authority figures, deliberately disobeying authority figures, deliberately annoying others, and blaming others for their problems. The final category, vindictiveness, means that the subject must have been spiteful or vindictive twice in six months. And of course, this must cause clinically significant distress and not be because of some other issue, be it psychological or physical 😉 (DSM-V).
That said, how does all this apply to Brokenstar? Well, he certainly lost his temper quite often: fighting at a Gathering anyone? After this incident, Yellowfang herself even prays to StarClan for Brokenpaw to learn to curb his temper. So check for one symptom. Brokenstar certainly showed that, more times than not, he was angry and resentful. For example, when his foster littermates were making fun of him and Yellowfang interrupted them, coming to his aid, Brokenkit replied angrily that he could have fought them off himself. A later example of this was when he given Nightpelt as a mentor. Yellowfang caught him muttering under his breath about the unfairness of being given the sick cat as the mentor. This leads me to my next observation: arguing with authority figures. Numerous times throughout his apprenticeship, he argued with Nightpelt. For example, right after he had had his apprentice ceremony, Nightpelt wanted to explore the territory with him, but Brokenpaw was defiant and wanted to learn battle moves. This, leads to my last observation about Brokenstar’s kithood, his vindictiveness. Brokenpaw’s answer to everything was to fight. For example, at the Gathering, he fought with the WindClan apprentices when they refused to admit that they had been stealing prey from ShadowClan (which most likely was a false accusation to begin with). So check for the final symptom.
Wherever Brokenstar’s cruelty comes from, whether from a psychological disorder, or from poor parenting, maybe with proper discipline and parenting, some of these issues could have been avoiding. What are your thoughts? Was Brokenstar’s cruelty caused by a poor family life or from Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which later likely turned into Antisocial Personality Disorder?