Does Arthur Fleck have BPD? (+3 Other mental illnesses)

This info-rich blogpost will be explaining if Arthur Fleck has BPD. We will also be looking at the various other mental health issues that Arthur Fleck portrays in his appearances in the DC comics and movies.

Does Arthur Fleck have BPD?

Yes, Arthur Fleck has BPD. In the DC comics and movies where Arthur Fleck appears, he portrays a number of the signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. However, his diagnosis of BPD has not been confirmed by the comics or the movies.

Still, it is quite evident that Arthur Fleck clearly suffers from some mental illness as he is in fact seen going to visit his mental health professional for medications. He also portrays a number of toxic and psychopathic behaviors throughout his appearances.

In the DC movies and comics where Arthur Fleck is featured, either as himself or as Joker, he certainly shows most of the diagnostic signs of Borderline Personality Disorder. These have been discussed in detail in the following points.

He clearly fears abandonment

In the DC comics and movies where Arthur Fleck makes his appearances, he definitely portrays a high fear of abandonment. This directs many of his motives and actions throughout the story, and can be clearly seen in the 2019 movie, Joker.

One such instance of his abandonment can be seen when he is mocked on TV by Murray, whom Arthur Fleck seriously reveres. He simply cannot accept that his hero mocks and abandons him and loses his cool shortly after.

He has a distorted sense of self

Arthur Fleck is not strong in his perception of self and this often changes during the course of his story. This can be clearly seen in his transformation from Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian to Joker, a serious villain.

One of the characteristic signs of Borderline Personality Disorder is distortion of self which can be seen in Arthur Fleck. In one of his statements, Arthur Fleck even doubts if he has truly existed in the world.

He is not able to maintain relationships

Another sign and symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder which is seen in Arthur Fleck is his struggle with relationships. Throughout most of his story, Arthur Fleck is mostly alone. In the 2019 movie, Joker, Arthur Fleck can be seen flirting with his neighbor.

While this looks very promising for Arthur Fleck, it can be understood much later that all the conversations with her actually take place in his imagination and are not true. However, while it lasts in his head, the emotions that Arthur has are certainly intense in nature.

Another relationship in which Arthur Fleck can be seen to show intense emotions is that between his mother and him. He shows true devotion to his mother even after she mistreats him many times when he was a child.

Arthur stays with his mother, for his basic fear of abandonment, which has been covered in the very first point. Once it becomes too much for him, his perspectives are immediately polarized and he goes on to kill his mother later.

He definitely shows dissociation

Dissociation is another BPD symptom that Arthur Fleck shows. This has been beautifully covered in the 2019 movie, Joker. In fact, his entire relationship with his neighbor seems to happen in an alternate universe, showing how serious his dissociation was.

He goes through multiple mood swings

Another sign of Borderline Personality Disorder in Arthur Fleck is his struggles in maintaining his mood and mindsets in various situations. Arthur is definitely a very moody character, and often, his bad mood has led to even deaths.

One such instance of his mood swings can be seen in his appearance at the ‘Murray’ show. Arthur is mostly enthusiastic throughout the show since he adores and reveres Murray. However, when Murray insults him, things immediately go south and Arthur kills him.

He takes part in reckless behavior

It is no surprise that Arthur Fleck takes part in a lot of dangerous activities, mainly due to his recklessness. This is not only seen when he is his original character, Arthur Fleck, but the recklessness increases severely when he takes on the identity of Joker.

After Arthur Fleck metamorphosizes into Joker, he develops a dreadful devil-may-care attitude, which eventually turns into his catchphrase, “Why so serious?” His recklessness and dangerous attitude can be clearly seen in both the 2019 movie Joker and the 2008 movie, The Dark Knight.

He tries to harm himself

This point might be slightly confusing since Arthur Fleck actually does not show many self-harming behaviors, mainly in reference to the 2019 movie, Joker. In that movie, Arthur, however, seems to be ready to kill himself on the Murray show but then goes on to kill the host instead.

However, taking part in dangerous and reckless behaviors without thinking about your own safety and health can also be termed as self-harming behavior. Arthur also does not take care of his health and is severely malnourished, which further adds weight to this point.

His perceptions of others easily changes

Arthur Fleck also constantly waivers in his perceptions of others. At one minute, he sincerely adores Murray and finds him his hero. At the very next moment, he can be seen shooting Murray to his death. This is just one of many instances which point to Arthur Fleck’s moodiness.

Arthur Fleck’s mental illnesses

Other than Borderline Personality Disorder, Arthur Fleck portrays the signs and symptoms of numerous other mental health disorders and emotional struggles. These have been described in the points below.

  • Pseudobulbar Affect: In the 2019 movie Joker, Arthur Fleck can be seen emoting very inappropriately. This is beautifully shown when he is attempting to complete his stand-up routine. Instead of completing his routine, Arthur laughs uncontrollably.

This actually points to his Pseudobulbar Affect or PBA. This is mostly caused by some physical trauma to the head. While the main causal trauma is not revealed, it can be attributed to the physical abuse Arthur Fleck undergoes at the hands of his mother’s partner.

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: Another personality disorder which Arthur Fleck can be seen to be suffering from is Antisocial Personality Disorder. It is this disorder which leads Arthur to behave violently and aggressively with others.

For instance, he is almost always on the wrong side of the law and regularly gets into trouble. He also lacks empathy and sympathy for others, and smartly uses their personal attachments to wreak even more havoc.

This personality disorder in Arthur Fleck becomes even more prominent when he becomes Joker. Joker is definitely antisocial and does not express the slightest amounts of guilt or remorse for his actions, even after he kills many.

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder: Some mental health experts who have closely studied Arthur Fleck’s character and personality have discussed that he might be actually suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.

In many instances, Arthur Fleck seems to transform into a completely different person, performing violent acts and even killing people. This is so different from his original sensitive and shy personality.

Arthur also seems to lack any type of memory as to what has transpired during these moments of dissociation which further adds to this theory. Eventually, his identity of Arthur Fleck is completely and permanently replaced by Joker who easily takes over.


This info-rich blogpost has explained if Arthur Fleck has BPD. We have also looked at the various other mental health issues that Arthur Fleck portrays in his appearances in the DC comics and movies.

If you like this blogpost, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!