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Monday, January 29, 2018

Arrow: Oliver's Never Ending Battle With Trauma

Oliver suffers from PTSD

   I understand that Arrow is dropping in the ratings which makes me sad because if it weren't for this show then we probably never would have gotten The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Some have sighted Oliver Queen's treatment of his friends and teammates as undeserved and are most likely getting tired of the theme but the issue is that it's exactly what his character would do because Oliver suffers from PTSD.

Rene, you know Oliver has PTSD!
Unfortunately Rene has issues with authority
so bad combo these two

    Signs of PTSD are alertness, paranoia, a need for isolation, and anger issues. Oliver's biggest problem is trust. Rene, Curtis and Dinah have felt the brunt of Oliver's harsh lessons in fighting and his leadership skills. Rene's betrayal and Dinah's secret have more of an affect on Oliver than they would have on an emotionally healthy person because for 5 years Oliver had to be guarded and being honest would have gotten him killed. It's a pattern of seemingly misplaced trust that sets Oliver 5 steps back when it comes to interacting with people and forming attachments. 

Dinah doesn't have Felicity's patience with Oliver
(NOBODY does)

    What made Oliver's PTSD worse was losing his mother, best friend Tommy and Laurel. These were all people he was close to but lost which even drove him back to the island where all of his trauma started because Oliver felt he needed to heal in isolation when it's best to mourn with friends and other loved ones like Felicity and Diggle. Then there was Evelyn's betrayal (I always hated her to be honest) which set him back again putting him on high alert (even though he was always on alert but being surrounded by friends and family lowered his guard). Five years of physical abuse, psychological torture, and committing murder scarred Oliver deeply and it made him believe that in order to survive he has to keep his distance emotionally from people because he felt relationships weighed him down and during his 5 years of horror they would have been but there was one glimmer of hope that brought Oliver a little step closer to recovery.

Love can heal the deepest wounds

   It took a long time for Oliver to reach a point where he can share his emotional burdens and issues of trust with someone and allow himself to be vulnerable. I'm surprised Felicity got that far. They broke up and Oliver was incredibly hurt and had trouble letting her go but now they're married. Felicity showed she had a high tolerance for pain and showed a lot of patience always ready to draw Oliver back from the brink. Even when they were broken up Oliver would always turn to Felicity to ease his anxiety and anger. People with PTSD can come off as difficult and closed off even violent with people they don't know which makes forming new relationships hard for them because it's what a small part of them wants, isolation because they don't feel like they can trust many people. Felicity became a lifeline and made Oliver better. Had William known Oliver years ago after Lian Yu then it would have damaged their potential father-son relationship. Because of Felicity's influence and love Oliver actually tries to be a better parent.

I like new Green Arrow. Oliver doesn't even want
to do it anymore

    PTSD is incurable. Therapy and constant support is what's needed to help manage the symptoms but Oliver isn't in an environment that would give him the support needed to recover. Being a vigilante seemed to help Oliver cope but in an unhealthy way. It was Diggle, Thea, William and Felicity who keep Oliver grounded but he still suffers from paranoia and alertness. Spying on his friends was wrong but Oliver didn't know how else to react. 

Oliver keeps going back to Hell Island

     It would have been better to confront his friends but like a dog who's been kicked too many times Oliver lashed out in the only way he knows how because it's these instincts are what kept him alive and so he holds onto those emotional knee jerk reactions. Oliver will never be cured of his PTSD so he will always have issues of trust and paranoia. Now if people are wondering if Oliver Queen will ever change the answer is: maybe; sometimes but it'll always be 1 step forward and 3 steps back. Oliver can take steps in the right direction but the world he lives in makes it difficult to make changes permanent. Having someone else become Green Arrow would definitely help but PTSD is a dark shadow always present and will affect him forever. 
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