In Me, Myself
and Irene, the main character, Charlie, has dissociative identity disorder.
A dissociative disorder is a condition that involves disruptions in
consciousness, memory, identity, or perception. Dissociative identity disorder
can be characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states
that take control of the persons behavior. Charlie started off as a happy, newlywed
and normal guy. His wife Layla cheats on him and ends up leaving him with three
children, none of which are his. This abandonment by his wife and her affair
leaves Charlie to become emotionally damaged. After Layla left Charlie became a
pushover and would let himself be verbally and physically abused by others.
Even though he is a Rhode Island state police trooper everyone in the town
still did not treat him with respect. In one scene we can see this disrespect
when even a little girl assumes it is alright to cuss Charlie out. Over the
years, this continuous disrespect and abuse causes Charlies anger to build up.
Once Charlie has had enough of this he suddenly develops a split personality
named Hank. Hank is a rude and violent and deals with all the confrontations Charlie
avoids. Charlie goes to see a psychiatrist who diagnoses him with “advanced
delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage.” Charlies
split personality mostly emerges when Charlie is under extreme stress.  In Charlies case he exhibits disruptions in
memory and identity. When Hank emerges, and does careless and reckless stuff,
Charlies does not remember anything that happened. Charlie comes back to
injuries and changes to his body and he doesn’t remember how or when he got
them. Hank will get into fights and be rude to people, none of which Charlie remembers.
Charlies disruption in his identity is seen when Hank takes over and controls
his mind and body. Charlies second personality Hank, takes over and thinks he
is helping Charlie throughout the movie.

            The movie
has some accurate and inaccurate portrayals of dissociative disorder. The movie
does a good job of showing the personality differences between Charlie and
Hank. Charlie and Hank have vastly different personalities. Charlie is a quiet
guy with a passive personality who doesn’t get any respect and gets pushed
around. Hank on the other hand is very aggressive and violent and demands to be
respected. Hank and Charlie have opposite personalities which is common to
someone who has dissociative identity disorder. Another difference between Hank
and Charlie is that Hank smokes cigarettes while Charlie does not. This
difference in their personal preferences is common to the disorder. The movie
is inaccurate because Charlie develops this second personality later in his
life when dissociative identity disorder is way more likely to develop during
childhood as a response to severe abuse. Another thing not accurately displayed
in the movie is how Charlies dissociative identity disorder is often called/
confused with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia and split personalities are two
different things but in the movie, it is made is to seem like they are very
similar or alike to each other. Charlie is given medication to help with his
disorder. According to the movie as long as he takes this medication Hank will
not emerge and Charlie won’t have to worry about it. The movie poorly displayed
the actual treatment for dissociative identity disorder. Not only would the person
have to take medication, therapy is also strongly recommended and there is no
talk of Charlie receiving therapy in the movie. Because of the inaccuracies of
the disorder displayed, a typical movie goer could confuse schizophrenia with
dissociative identity disorder, believe that this disorder is easy to treat by
just taking some medication, and think that anyone at any age can develop this
disorder by anything slightly traumatic or emotionally damaging.

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