Friday, November 4, 2011

X-23's Repetition Compulsion

Childhood trauma victims, particularly physical abuse, sexual abuse; or those subjected to constant invasive medical procedures, can have what's commonly called a repetition compulsion. The inflicted lack of self-worth creates a state of repetition along with self-destructive tendencies. These tendencies can include self-mutilation, drug abuse, and self-sabotage.

In select cases like X-23, there can be a reaction of defiance. A subconcious decision caused by stimuli to actively not become an aggressor like those that harmed them, but to remain within a victim's attitudes and perceptions unknowingly. This history tends to lead the victim into becoming an aggressor. Rare cases like X-23 can lead to a state of self-victimization, prostitution, and only becoming aggressive towards those that would victimize others. Instead of leading into a state of omnipotence to over inflate self-worth or a state of vanity, the subject would deliberately and actively remove themself from such thoughts or actions because of their perceived lack of self-worth. The lack of power in their childhood doesn't get forced into wanting to feel powerful as an adult, but rather they actively sacrifice themselves for others without thought. Not to create worth, but actively because they feel others deserve the protection and they themselves are expendable.

Kimura, in the confines of the miniseries, represents the opposite end of the spectrum. The abuse victim who becomes the aggressor. They need to be all-powerful and create another like themself. X-23 represents the side of the spectrum with empathy; the abuse victim who becomes a protector without any self-preservation instincts. The second only acts when others are involved and attempts to prevent harm from befalling them, whereas the first would put others in harm's way purely for pleasure.

The psychology is interwoven in all of X-23's actions and thoughts, including the self-deprecating humor used in Collision. All of it is within the confines of the character and her perceived self-worth. The self-deprecating humor that actively manipulated Daken also created damage to X-23's self-worth by reinforcing why she perceives herself as subhuman. The addition of the physical stimuli from X-23 killing children, an action she has never done before, further causes the reversion to her old habits of self-harm despite any physical reinforcement manifestations she may have had to the contrary. This repetition reinforces the cycle as displayed in Touching Darkness and continues into the Chaos Theory arc.

This isn't factoring in the maternal influences and other factors that have put the character where she is before the beginning of the 3rd volume comic run. Nor does it factor in the active romantic pursuit and infatuation of an aggressor that X-23 has exhibited previously by pursuing a relationship with Hellion. His aggressive persona is counterproductive to the growth X-23 needs to overcome her past and may instead cause this repetition compulsion to continue. This also hasn't included the damage done by not letting her take responsibility for her actions; those choices started to push her to the edge of becoming an abuser by allowing an excuse for these actions and lack of remorse for committing them. Her interactions with Wolverine during this time acted to create an agressor instead of healing her of the abuse. Gambit's interactions are doing the opposite. He's allowing her to heal without more abuse or condemnation. The next step would be social interaction among peers that are accepting of her for who she is now. A place where she could freely be or become herself would be required. I've refrained from any analysis pertaining to her higher cognitive functions as those were kept intact for her aptitude and adaptability as an assassin by the Facility and not directly impacted by the abuse.

X-23's comic and appearances contain heavily mature themes that may go over the average comic reader or reviewer's understanding if they haven't grown up under unorthodox means, seen it first hand, read up on it, or have any familiarity to it being possible in the modern world. It is entirely highbrow and may elicit gut reactions of aversion from others that don't grasp this, have an inclination to condemn others, or that she isn't an animal. She was raised for subterfuge, intelligence gathering, and strategic strikes; eventually she was to be sold off to the highest bidder had she not escaped. Something that's hard for many to fathom, but still happens in countries all over the world including the United States of America within some subcultures.


  1. Holy crap, you actually posted. It's a little impersonal though but interesting.

  2. Don't expect it often guilt trip boy. :-p

  3. That's my bad. It wasn't my intent. Just too much other crap to think about and not enough sleep lately. Yeah yeah yeah, I know I'm making excuses.

  4. Are you too friends,family, relationship? XD

    Alt-tab... I'm just ummm. I'm amazed at this. You're introspective is amazing.

  5. She's an IRL friend. She should be in bed by now though. She's the person I pretty much tell everything to and trust implicitly. Helps that she's in school for psychology stuff. We bounce ideas back and forth and she helps me keep my sanity at times.

  6. Friends. Don't like labels. I like freedom and having fun. ;-)

    @snowflakian what happened to "no personal details?" :-p