Pony Personality Disorders

Found on reddit. Reposted with permission. Link to original source.

All right, after watching the latest episode and not having overthought anything in a while, I felt like writing something. So why not write about ponies? Here’s my hypothesis: every pony of the mane cast represents a personality disorder according to the DSM-IV. To be diagnosed with a particular disorder, you have to fulfill at least four and in some cases five criteria that are typical for that disorder. All statements listed with a bullet point are taken directly from the DSM-IV’s definition. So, let’s get diagnosing.

Histrionic Personality Disorder: Pinkie Pie

Ponies suffering from histrionic personality disorder have one and only goal in life: being the center of attention. As the most recent episode has shown, behind everypony’s favorite fun-loving, good-natured, party pony lurks a deeply troubled and disturbed soul that can only be herself when she’s the focus of everybody’s attention.

  • is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention

That’s Pinkie Pie all right. She has a tendency to burst into the scene and disregard anything else that might be going on. In Applebuck Season she took center stage during the award ceremony for Applejack and had to be reminded that she wasn’t, in fact, the reason everyone gathered in the town’s square.

  • displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions

Remember how during the finale of the second episode she burst into tears and IMMEDIATELY went to announcing a party? Remember how she went from being scared to being excited to being indifferent in Bridle Gossip?

  • consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self

Her costumes, her uncanny ability to appear anywhere at any time, take your pick. This is Pinkie in a nutshell.

  • shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion

See above; also, everything about her is theatrical. Remember her song that started a war?

  • considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

Remember how she “frisked” Hairity during Bridle Gossip? Yeah, she has no sense of “personal space”, which is why’s she always in everybody’s face. Also, she tried to befriend a dragon in Dragonshy by simply being… Pinkie. She believes her personality is enough to warrant trust and intimacy.

  • has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail

Her silly willy dilly filler words just serve as packaging for her outbursts.

Also, the story of her childhood she told in Cutie Mark Chronicles was, apparently, horse apples. Yet her transformation into her old Pinkamena persona hints at this part being true: she used to be someone else. This could potentially hint at dissociative personality disorder: delusions, false memory, paranoia etc. are all signs of what is colloquially known as a “split personality”. Maybe she constructed her Pinkie identity as a kind of defense mechanism, to distance herself from a truly traumatic event in her childhood and the attention she receives helps her maintain that defense by legitimizing it. So there may still be some truth in that tall tale she related to the CMC.

Her tendency to mess with the fourth wall could also be considered a sign that she’s not who we think she is. Pinkie remains a mystery.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rarity

Named after Narcissus, some dude who pops up in Greek mythology who was so obsessed with himself that he fell in love with his own reflection. This can be considered the more “introvert” version of histrionic personality disorder; narcissists don’t compete for other people’s attention because they know how godlike they are.

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance

Welp, that’s a freebie.

  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

This is too easy.

  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

Rarity does not associate with the riffraff as evidenced by her problems with Applejack’s conduct during Look Before you Sleep and glorifies Equestria’s high society in The Ticket Master.

  • Requires excessive admiration

c.f. her Icarus-like story in Sonic Rainboom

  • Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

The dogs in A Dog and Pony Show even enabled her sense of entitlement by conforming to it.

  • Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her

They devoted an entire episode to this.

  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

I really oughta stop here. Seriously Rarity, go see a shrink.

  • Predominant “name dropper” boasting or suggestion association with people or affiliations of importance.

Just because I’m not a big fan of Rarity, this one’s just for fun. Or petty vengeance: Photo Finish? Hoity Toity? Sapphire Shores? You name it, she’s named it. And associated with it.

Not much to say here. Rarity is what the scientific community refers to as “totally fucking nuts”. Of course, her calling being something entirely superficial only makes it worse. I don’t have much hope for this one.

Paranoid Personality Disorder: Rainbow Dash

Pegasus society is, apparently, much more competitive than any other pony society. We get to see how boastful and brash flying ponies are so Dashie took this competitiveness to its logical extreme: everyone’s your enemy. Trust nopony.

  • suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
  • is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates

Those are both pretty similar and both of course apply to Dashie. “Are you a spy?” is probably the most obvious hint; Dashie is quick to doubt the loyalty of others. This may have something to do with her representing loyalty: unless another pony conforms to her idea of loyalty, that pony has to be disloyal.

  • is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her

Dashie tends to get uncomfortable when the situation gets emotional. And of course she refused to tell anyone about her being nervous (if not outright scared to death) during Sonic Rainboom. She also denies being scared of dragons after almost having her rump kicked by one. She must maintain her tough pony persona.

  • persistently bears grudges, i.e. is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights

Applejack beating her almost made her obsess about defeating AJ (to be fair, the obsession was mutual). And she didn’t intend to rest until she’s beaten AJ; losing is an insult to her.

  • perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack

She’s quick to consider any offhand remark a challenge. Not to mention that she’s quick to become defensive in general but to her credit, this extends to other ponies.

Despite her initial reluctance, she gladly and warmly accepted her friends’ group hug at the end of Cutie Mark Chronicles. So the treatment regimen is quite simple: more group hugs.

Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder: Twilight Sparkle

See how obvious this all is? Twi’s a perfectionist and an organizational genius. A born bureaucrat. Like Hermes Conrad. Sorta. Well, let’s get going:

  • is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost

Is there anything Twi hasn’t learned from a book or made a list for? She consulted a book for a sleepover for crying out loud.

  • is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships

Oh yeah, this is just, you know, the entire point of the show. Anybody know if Lauren Faust happens to have a degree in psychology?

  • is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things

Most obvious in Bridle Gossip when she completely disregards Spike’s suggestion of a “supernatural” remedy.

  • shows rigidity and stubbornness

How she dealt with Pinkie Pie’s paranormal (yet somehow very much real) capabilities.

  • shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion

Granted, the latter part doesn’t apply as much but… hey, you only need to fulfill 4 criteria to be diagnosed with OCPD according to the DSM-IV and the other traits are utterly obvious. Also, the show is her treatment: she learns lessons, realizes the biases in her thinking/perception and becomes a more relaxed, stable pony.

Schizoid Personality Disorder: Fluttershy
Interestingly, within the context of the show, she DOESN’T exhibit enough symptoms to be diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder, so this’ll have to do.

  • neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family

She left Cloudsdale behind, lives in a tree and almost turns to stone when being introduced to Twi. She’s a lone wolf pony.

  • almost always chooses solitary activities

As far as I’m aware, animals don’t count. Also, when she was asked why she wanted to attend the Grand Galloping Gala, she didn’t care about the actual event and was more interested in the otherwise inaccessible garden.

  • appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others

She actively loathed praise in Green isn’t your color, due to it putting her in the spotlight. She doesn’t want to be a part of any of it.

  • shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affect

I’m so angry I could just scream!
Granted, she’s mostly reserved because she doesn’t want to upset anyone but she may be a little out of touch with her emotions.

  • lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives

Having 5 friends is probably a lot but still. She’s never really seen mingling with anyone else, is still shy and reserved (even among her friends, as seen in Dragonshy) but is certainly getting better.

Fluttershy may be an interesting argument against classifying a “schizoid” personality as a disorder. She’s happy, enjoys what she’s doing and found a way to be solitary and still help her surroundings. There’s a gradual scale between introversion and an actual disorder, she may be one of the borderline cases – or simply an example why disorders shouldn’t always be determined by the majority’s consensus. Anyway, she can be quite open with her friends so unless she self-identifies her personality as a constraining or impairing, I’d say she’s fine.

Uh… I got nothin’: Applejack

Well… Applejack’s fine. She was the first to realize her obsession over the ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala; she keeps everyone grounded and comes closer to the “only sane pony” stereotype than Twi. Sadly, I foresee some problems with her physical health in the future: like Granny Smith, she’ll sooner or later have to get a new hip. All that applebuckin’ must be hell on her body. She is sturdy, no doubt about that but ponies weren’t built for this kind of excessive physical activity. Coupled with the fact that she comes from a cultural background that apparently values hard work as an end in itself (typical of early capitalist, religious society; c.f. Calvinism and Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) she’ll most likely work herself to death and consider it a positive, virtuous thing. Her rejection of Manehattan society at an early age could’ve made the antithesis – i.e. farm life – seem like the only possible alternative to pretentiousness and alienation, thus solidifying her belief in the absolving nature of physical labor.

Hanging out with other ponies (especially unicorns) could turn out to be a positive influence. Particularly Twilight could be her “savior” – they’re not too different personality-wise, their relationship is based on a deep mutual trust and respect and maybe by associating with her, AJ can learn a thing or two about the benefits of intellectual pursuits and simply seeing life from a different point of view.

Well, that about wraps it up. In general, I’d suggest some cognitive behavioral therapy, an SSRI for Dashie, maybe lithium for Pinkie and more friendship. Much more friendship.

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26 Responses to Pony Personality Disorders

  1. brian577 says:

    Any revisions to Fluttershy’s disorder (or any of the other ponies) based on the season finale?

  2. Fluttershy has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. It was pretty obvious as early as “Dragonshy”, but the disorder isn’t particularly well known or understood among the general public and of course because of the name it’s consistently confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is in fact a completely different class of diagnosis. I’m convinced she must be based on an actual person one of the writers knows, because the depiction is just too spot-on to be an accident.

    There’s haystacks of evidence for it, but a few key scenes include her obsessing over Angel Bunny’s eating habits in “Dragonshy”, her irrational fear of heights despite being a pegasus, her irrationally specific fear of adult Dragons, and her complete inability to manage these fears all in the same episode; her absolutely insane decision to withhold one of the parasprites from being rounded up in “Swarm Of The Century”; her apparently genuine inability to understand that her cheering was too quiet in “Sonic Rainboom”; the revelation that she lives outside of town by herself in “Stare Master” and her belief that the quiet game had any chance of working on the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the same episode; the way she compulsively runs back into her own house repeatedly even though she’s already late in the opening of “A Bird In The Hoof”; and of course her becoming hysterically enraged that the animals wouldn’t come near her in “The Best Night Ever”.

    Essentially, Fluttershy exists in a vicious cycle of low self-esteem reinforcing anxiety and anxiety in turn reinforcing low self-esteem, consequently lacks any healthy boundaries to her self-concept, and to cope with it she’s become a control freak. It’s not obvious that she’s a control freak because most of the controlling is going on in her head: Fluttershy has to constantly edit and re-contextualize her perception of reality so that it doesn’t threaten her; essentially she has an Orwellian Ministry Of Truth in her brain redacting any incoming information that threatens her self-esteem. This is, in turn, why she lacks self perception and emotional control, and is so intensely irrational about the outside world: you can’t think clearly about yourself or others if your brain won’t let you have accurate information in a misguided effort to “protect” you, and you can’t self-regulate your emotions if you can’t perceive yourself clearly.

    Fluttershy spends most of her time alone or with animals who are dependent on her because those animals can’t argue with her, and only when she’s able to tightly regulate her environment and the incoming information she’s exposed to does she feel safe enough to relax her psychological defenses and be able to think rationally like a healthy pony. So long as she’s by herself, Fluttershy can function somewhat normally, and her implied occupation of Ponyville pet groomer and general veterinarian is actually a fairly healthy way of coping with her issues. By the same token, she finds foals less threatening than adult ponies because it’s easier for her to dismiss anything they might say which upsets her as incorrect.

    The reason Fluttershy goes completely insane with anger in “The Best Night Ever” is that being “good with animals” is a central part of her precarious self-image, and the rejection she receives from the palace garden denizens (who surely have their own caretaker and don’t need her for food or anything else) is so total and undeniable that her usual ability to deny or recontextualize what threatens her emotionally- say, by finding a single animal that will tolerate her attention and focusing on it entirely, telling herself that the other animals don’t matter- is completely defeated, leaving her vulnerabilities totally exposed, and for Fluttershy it’s the worst possible insult, cutting her to the bone.

  3. Mike777 says:

    HA! I knew Applejack was best pony!

  4. Bob says:

    Yeah… I definitely see why it’s called overanalyzations. The characters are given these personalities to make them unique, interesting, and to add more opportunity for humor. But that is an interesting way to look at them. Dammit. I’m interested now. I’m gonna go look up more of this stuff. Overanalyzation FTW!

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  7. rockinwolf says:

    Dude, I know this is overanylisations, but seriously? Pinkie Pie is raised on a rock farm, and actually STATES she wanted the joy to last forever. Rarity has a stereotype of being a posh British pony. Rainbow Dash was born competetive, and yes, makes herself big and strong, but when she accuses Twilight of being a spy, for cryin’ out loud, she’d knocked Twilight in the mud and showed off a bit before Twilight left after a five second scene. She barely KNEW her! Twi had arrived in Ponyville that DAY for the first time ever. Fluttershy is shy, and nice to everyone in the Mane 6 (Or 5), so I forgive you for saying she doesn’t really have a close friend besides animals. OK, sorry, but I don’t really think…

  8. phil says:

    A few weeks ago my therapist diagnosed me with Bipolar disorder and ever since then I have been very interested in anything to do with psychological disabilities,
    (I could talk to my therapist about that too),
    And, Although this is an Overanalyzation, I find it very fascinating.
    It is clearly very well thought out, I don’t think that I ever would have thought of the M.L.P. ponies this way, it brings about a whole new way of thinking of these colorful depictions.

  9. “A hard worker thinks about a ski trip at the desk; a workaholic thinks about work on a ski trip”

    I think this defines AppleJack to a T. She NEVER thinks about much other than the apple orchard, She is ALWAYS working, and the only time she isn’t working is when she is competing against Rainbow Dash, or trying to win money at rodeos for the orchard.

    She has a crippling fear of failure, When she didn’t win prize money at the rodeo she refused to return home. When she had to do all the bucking for apple buck season, she refused to admit that she needed help until she worked herself silly.

    AppleJack is not alright, I could argue that she is the most self-destroying pony.

  10. Karen says:

    Instead of Schizoid for Fluttershy, I would say that she has Avoidant Personality disorder. People with SPD are uninterested in socializing, but Fluttershy enjoys having friend and was delighted to host a sleepover for the Cute Mark Crusaders. People with APD are avoidant of others and appear withdrawn, anxious and aloof. Fluttershy is too insecure and afraid of disturbing peace to socialize the way she wants to. She holds back her real opinions in fear of confrontation but when angered, she herself becomes more offensive than defensive. Like when Rarity asked her what she thought of the dress she made her and she kept saying she liked it until Rarity forced her to tell her her real thoughts and when she did, she had a lot to say.

    She’s too uncomfortable with her negative feelings especially anger and has lots of criticisms in her head but doesn’t dare express them and she holds in the anger. She prefers the company of animals cause they’re more socially fulfilling for her since she feels useful (which she doesn’t feel around other ponies), loved and accepted. When even animals don’t give her the social fulfillment she has a difficult time getting with other ponies from animals, she will eventually lose her patience and try to force it like at the Gala.

    Also, I think that the elements of harmony work kind of like the 7 deadly sins and heavenly virtues. For instance, Applejack is always honest with her friends and others, but lies to herself. Especially when she was Applebucking and tired herself out immensely. Rainbow Dash is always loyal in the end, but can be easily misguided by hanging out with the wrong crowds and people (like the griffon) and comes close to being disloyal, but isn’t in the end. Rarity who is generosity is quite selfish at times and stingy as well, but tries not to let that get the best of her. (Rarity’s my favorite btw <3 she's just fabulous dawhling!) Pinkie Pie who is always upbeat and laughing can become very angry and bitter whenever she feels that no one likes her and she's not the center of attention. This was shown in Party of One. Fluttershy may be very kind, but has a bit of a mean streak underneath at times . Yeah, like the sins and virtues. People who are productive can also have the sin of sloth, and with others etc. The sin you're most vulnerable to is also the virtue you are most as well.

  11. Ann says:

    Fluttershy has social anxiety disorder. Look it up.

  12. Apples & Skittles says:

    Fluttershy probably has social anxiety disorder. My best friend has it, and oh my Celestia, it’s like she and Fluttershy are f***ing twins.

  13. Fluttershy’s diagnosis is the one I’d question. She doesn’t have “flattened” emotions, she has SUPPRESSED ones. Specifically her negative emotions like rage. At the Grand Galloping Gala, she bloody exploded. Simple assertiveness training turned her shockingly aggressive. She also has tremendously low self esteem and her dislike of fame has more to do with her fear of judgment in other’s eyes (hurricane fluttershy)

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  18. Dragonix says:

    Hello, I suffer (if I can really say SUFFER, I’ve grown quite used to it.) from Manic-depression, or Bi-Polar disorder. I’ve always considered myself to be the living embodiment of a humanized Pinkie Pie, as do my friends. I honestly feel that Pinkie could be easily diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, as well. We both have VERY similar personalities. From, the rapid cycling of emotions, to always being in the extremes of whatever emotion we are feeling. There is almost no “middle area” for us. When we’re Manic, we’re bouncing off the walls with energy, and excitement. (Or screaming with rage, during the “angry-manic” episodes) When we’re depressed, we’re sluggish, withdrawn, and the world seems to be a grey mass of oppressive force. The times when people should really be concerned are when we appear to actually be calm, and collected. (MOST of the time, sometimes this is normal.) During these moments, we’re usually cycling through feelings and thoughts so quickly, that we don’t even have enough time to express them, before we’re feeling and thinking something completely different. I also feel that her periodic transformations into “Pinkamena” (as her sad form has been dubbed) support my theory, as well, with “Pinkie” being her manic form, and “Pinkamena” being her depressed form. Even during these large transformations, during which we have one set mood we are usually in for a while, we can still have many rapidly changing mood swings, due to the stress our minds are under from the disorder. If you look into it, I really think you’ll agree with me, at least partially. (I know it’s not always easy to agree with someone about these kinds of subjects when you haven’t personally experienced this sort of thing, yourself.) Well, this is just my opinion, based on my experiences. Thanks for listening. :)

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  20. Dewitt says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
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  23. werewolfgirl74 says:

    applejack has PTSD. chance of Jaslie died when she was young that’s why she went to the Manehattan to live with her uncle and aunt orange.

  24. werewolfgirl74 says:

    her parents*

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