***The following post is intended for those who had some questions after seeing the movie Gone Girl. In other words, read ahead only if you’re interested in major spoilers.***
If you saw Gone Girl in time for Halloween, good timing! And you’ll know what Linda Holmes of NPR means when she says: “…(T)he second half…is, in many ways, a horror movie about the great difficulty — and eventually the impossibility — of defeating her. She is the rare monster in a monster movie who wins at the end. Whatever she has to do, however offensive, however distasteful, however horrifying.”
What’s Amy’s Diagnosis?
Although psychiatrist Andrew Pierce (Health) allows that Amy is a “psychopath” he’s quick to add that this is becoming an outdated term within the field. Antisocial personality disorder is more appropriate.
Paul Puri, another psychiatrist interviewed (The Huffington Post) regarding this issue, agrees. About the criteria:
…People who have no conscience and do things to abuse or hurt other people to a high degree of psychopathy, where they will hurt other people for their own enjoyment…They’re believed to have difficulty getting excited by…things other than cruelty or taking advantage of it.
Each of these experts adds that Amy also has aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder. States Puri about those with this condition:
Their core self feels very unstable, so they’ll do things to kind of help them feel more stable, and that will often be things like pulling people in to take care of them or in behaviors such as cutting themselves or parasuicidal behaviors like cutting or burning or getting hospitalized for the purpose of being taken care of. The other aspects of it are emotional mood swings in very brief periods, so they overreact to things that otherwise they might not react to.
The Effects of Being Raised as “Amazing Amy”?
Mark B. Borg, Jr., PhD, Grant H. Brenner, MD, and Daniel Berry, RN, MHA, who share a website called Irrelationship, state on their Psychology Today blog:
Amy’s parents appropriated her childhood. Every detail of Amy’s upbringing was embellished in the pages of her parents’ highly successful children’s book series—and that is how Amy Elliot became Amazing Amy. Through the persona of ‘Amazing Amy,’ every failure and near miss was transformed into an unconsoled victory. Amazing Amy took care of her parents in every possible way: wealth and fame bought at the cost of their daughter’s development.
Most likely she’s a product of both nature and nurture, says Pierce. “Part of it is her disposition, and part is her parents not correcting and even worsening these tendencies. Her parents could have, if not tempered, at least not exacerbated what’s going on with her.”
THE ENDING OF GONE GIRL: Why would Nick stay with Amy?
The answer is found in the concept of “Irrelationship,” say the site’s authors. From their front page: “An Irrelationship is a kind of secret unconscious agreement between two people to ACT like they are together and loving – but the REAL reason is to keep them from feeling their feelings, and stay in denial about past problems.”
From the pertinent Psychology Today post:
An irrelationship is a pseudo-partnership. It may look intimate, but it’s actually carefully constructed—usually without the participants’ awareness—precisely to avoid the openness, spontaneity, and reciprocity that characterize true intimacy, while enforcing the relational rules and roles of early childhood. And this repeats in our adult relationships—it may be why we end up in one bad relationship after another. And every time, it feels just like going home. Maybe that is why, in the final moments, as Nick is telling his sister about Amy’s pregnancy, and she is crying in anguish over her brother’s horrific fate, he seems to change. He looks relieved; at least, resigned. It seems that Nick is realizing (a la Poe’s, ‘The Purloined Letter’) that the letter always reaches its destination, and that this is a fate that was not imposed by but co-created with his partner.
And Dr. Puri sees another possible reason Nick stays (plus one similar to the above):
People can end up very desensitized…If you drop a frog in boiling water, he’ll jump right out. If you drop a frog in cold water and turn up the heat, he’ll slowly boil to death, because he just doesn’t realize enough to sense the big jump. So, there might have been small things that slowly progressed, and he made a reason for it, and before you know it things are so out of control that he doesn’t even see how far that’s departed from normal…The other thing is the nature of the way people repeat patterns in their lives. They often try to reset or correct a bad experience, but often they just keep on repeating it. So, if he is drawn to her, many times people are drawn to things that repeat from similar drama earlier in their life and they’re trying to, unconsciously, have a corrective emotional experience where things go better this time.
Yeah, About That Majorly Disheartening Gone Girl Ending
Emily Yahr, Washington Post:
Overall, this ‘happily ever after ending’ for the World’s Most Dysfunctional Marriage is a lot more difficult to take when you see Amy’s path of destruction. While Nick was a terrible husband, you can’t help but feel for him the entire film, especially when it’s repeatedly stated that Missouri has the death penalty if he’s convicted of killing Amy. When he’s ‘saved’ after she returns, you’re relieved for a second; but then you really, really want Amy to get the punishment she deserves for pulling off such a scheme.
…Unfortunately, in the movie, there’s no such closure — we’re just left with the unsettling feeling that many more terrible things are about to happen.