Joe Goldberg Suffers from Various Mental Illnesses

Synapsis of the show ‘You‘: A seemingly normal bookkeeper, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) falls madly in what he views to be “love” with a young writer Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Goldberg takes it into his own hands to fabricate circumstances in which he would bump into Beck in cute, unconventional ways. Once he wins her over, he begins to grow more confident and involves himself more and more in her life. He creates elaborate schemes to get what he wants and to remain worthy as a boyfriend in Beck’s eyes. As things start to go downhill and he feels his control start to slip away, he becomes more aggressive and ultimately makes some detrimental decisions. In order to run away from the damage he had created, Goldberg moves to a completely different city and starts calling himself “Will.” There he meets a young woman named Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) and immediately becomes obsessed. He uses similar tactics to the ones he used with Beck and tries to find as much out about Quinn as he can. In time he wins her over and their love for one another prompts them into beginning a questionable relationship.

Claim: Joe Goldberg has Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and traits of PTSD.

Reason(s): Joe Goldberg is a charming, good looking, approachable and arguably intelligent man. When Goldberg first meets Guinevere Beck, he immediately starts analyzing everything about her. From the way that he feels that she views herself, the types of friends she has all the way to what type of man she deserves. Goldberg has essentially chosen to forget that Beck is in fact, a real person, and only sees what he has chosen to discern about her. There are specific reasons why I have diagnosed Goldberg with so many disorders, but one that is outwardly obvious is narcissistic personality disorder. Goldberg views himself as an intellectual and challenges others when their views are different from his own.

Beck has without a doubt questionable choice in judgment when it comes to friends and boyfriends. Her best friend Peach Salinger(Shay Mitchell) displays reactions to Beck that can only be described as alarming. The way she tries to control Beck’s life and encourage her the way she wants is much like how Goldberg treats her. Both of them have ulterior motives and Salinger has also coordinated specific plans for both her and Beck. Or if we look at Beck’s boyfriend at the start of the show, Benjamin ‘Benji’ J. Ashby III(Lou Taylor Pucci), we find that he treated her very poorly in other ways. Benji would blow Beck off multiple times throughout the show and he seemed to not support her ambitions. Reading into Beck’s past a little bit, I would say the reason why she thinks it’s normal for the men in her life to disappear randomly has a lot to do with the way her father was absent through much of her life. Father’s play a big role in their children’s lives and being distant or not around for them can cause adjustment issues later in life. (I could go on a long rant about the way I feel about father’s who aren’t there for their own kids. But let’s leave it at this for now…. Beck’s father skewed her views on how her boyfriends should treat her).

But between all of the bizarre relationships that Beck has encountered, Goldberg takes the cake. Goldberg shows signs off suffering from antisocial personality disorder. He constantly uses his charm and wit to get what he wants from other people. Goldberg pretends to be good pals with the other bookkeeper at the book store, Ethan Russell (Zach Cherry), and sways him to do certain things. But in actuality, he looks down on Russell and constantly judges him on his taste in music and his desire to impress others with his vocabulary. He also shows little empathy for others and lacks any type of remorse. Throughout the show he deals with feelings of hostility, aggression and unnecessary anger. There were also multiple times in the show where he became extremely irritable.

An example of one of these times is when Beck had chosen to have a random guy over after their second encounter in the book store. Goldberg became irritated that Beck could simply not see “what a great choice he would be for her.” He watched as Beck literally broke her bed while fooling around with the random guy. Which caused Goldberg to formulate a reason to help Beck buy a new bed frame the next day.

The reason I listed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well, is because of the way that Goldberg grew up. Goldberg did not have a good childhood and as a result, suffered from symptoms of PTSD. His mother had multiple affairs while with his father and it was not uncommon for her to take her son with her. His father would create ways to louer Goldberg into telling him about his mom’s affairs. His father would also think up cruel ways to abuse him. Throughout the show, Goldberg had various flashbacks about both his parents. There were also periods of time when he seemed to daydream or be far off in his own world, even though he was around people.

Goldberg had improbable fantasies about the women he chose to stalk. He would make snap judgments about them and insinuate who they were in real life. Goldberg had a few qualities that could convince viewers he wasn’t all that bad, but the bad outweighed the good. Goldberg was overstepping boundaries left and right. There were multiple times throughout the show where he tried to make his strange stalker antics look like pure romantic gestures. After he and Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) broke up for a short time, he began to stalk her on Instagram. Goldberg would check out the pictures she was posting and try to envision what her angle was. He was essentially trying to figure out why she was craving other people’s attention and why his wasn’t enough (even though they weren’t together any longer). Now if this isn’t CREEPY, then I don’t know what is. Or the example I mentioned earlier about him convincing Beck to allow him to accompany her to get another bed frame. Goldberg took the romantic version of “pursuing a woman” way too far. He skipped the steps of winning over their affection, and jumped straight to becoming utterly obsessed with them.

Conclusion: Lifetime’s TV Show ‘You’ is an interesting and exhilarating show to watch, but Joe Goldberg is not the romantic stud that he attempts to portray himself as. He suffers from multiple mental illnesses and changes the women he decides to pursue because of them.

Definitions of personality disorders shown in Blog

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A mental condition in which people view themselves to be better in a granduer sense. They have an excessive need for admiration and attention. They mask their hidden self-esteem issues with an overabundance of confidence.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: A mental condition where people consistently have poor judgement in what is right and wrong. They show little concern for how the people around them feel. They have a heightened sense of their own worth and disregard when others don’t share that same view. Most people with this disorder tend to put others down to raise themselves up.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A disorder in which a person was unable to fully recover from the trauma of an event or situation. They are effected by said traumatic experience periodically. There is no time limit in which it effects them. People with PTSD often have onset flashbacks or anxious thoughts about what has effected them.

Published by pausolivia

I am a student journalist at Columbia College of Chicago. Over the years I have become interested in psychology and the way that characters are written in movies and TV shows. Combining both of these passions, I will be honing in on writing about characters inarguably with personality disorders and characters that resemble characteristics of people with personality disorders. In my blog I will include a section that is strictly factual and gives a definition for each personality disorder that will be discussed. I will also include a section that describes characters that have a personality disorder written into their role as the character and give evidence of their disorder. I will also include a section where I will give characters a diagnosis of my own and provide evidence to back up my claims. This section will be viewed more as a discussion and viewers reading my blog can add to my diagnosis and either agree with or dispute my claims. I will also encourage my viewers to research characters that they think have personality disorders and share their reasoning behind them. I will focus only on personality disorders, but I will make it known that mental illness is a very serious topic and should not be seen as otherwise.

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