Does Harley Quinn have BPD? (+5 Additional diagnoses)

The current article will be describing if Harley Quinn has BPD. In addition to this, we will be listing the different signs and symptoms of BPD that Harley Quinn shows. Finally, we will also take a look at the other mental health disorders Harley Quinn might have.

Does Harley Quinn have BPD?

Yes, Harley Quinn has BPD. In the comics and movies where Harley Quinn is depicted, she is shown to depict a number of signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. This is not confirmed by the creators of the character, but has been simply assumed by readers/viewers.

Harley Quinn starts out as a brilliant student who is a psychiatric intern at Arkham Asylum where she becomes fascinated with ‘the Joker’ who is an inmate there. The Joker easily seduces her and she tries to help him escape.

After several unsuccessful tries, Harley Quinn’s license to practice is revoked and she is also interred at the asylum. However, during an earthquake, she and the Joker escape after which she becomes his partner in crime.

Their relationship of course was not easygoing and the Joker actually tries to kill her, a number of times. In one incident, he pushes Harley Quinn into acid to try to kill her, but she ends up getting superpowers as a result.

Harley Quinn herself has been studied for her negative traits and antisocial personality. She is also seen to be very manipulative and cunning in nature. The supervillain actually depicts signs of a number of mental health disorders.

One fan theory about Harley Quinn’s mental health which is very commonly accepted is Borderline Personality Disorder. Some signs of Harley Quinn’s Borderline Personality Disorder have been described in the following section.

She shows idealizing behaviors

Harley Quinn has love for only one person in the entire world and that is none other than the Joker. The feelings are not mutual, since the Joker only seems to use her for his physical needs and other criminal activities.

The Joker clearly manipulates her right from the start in order to gain her sympathy and her affection. Even when he tries to kill her many times, Harley Quinn easily forgives him whenever he apologizes and shows the slightest amount of affection towards her.

Harley Quinn puts the Joker on a pedestal, and her entire world revolves around him. At the same time, when he crushes her, she immediately devalues him. This type of splitting behavior can be seen in Borderline Personality Disorder.

The Joker is clearly Harley Quinn’s favorite person, which is also present in BPD. Those who have BPD will do anything for their favorite person and keep going back to them, even if they are hurtful in return.

She depicts many mood swings

Throughout her appearances in comics and movies, Harley Quinn goes through a number of mood swings. She can go from excited to angry to depressed in a matter of minutes. These types of mood swings are also very characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder.

She can be quite impulsive

Another sign of Borderline Personality Disorder which Harley Quinn shows is high levels of impulsivity and recklessness. She is truly an unpredictable character, which actually makes her super dangerous as a villain.

Impulsivity and recklessness are often signs of mental health disorders, and are often present in personality disorders. They can also be present in mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and even Impulse Control Disorder.

She has a high fear of abandonment

Harley Quinn is devoted to her favorite person, the Joker, and has high fears of abandonment that he might leave her at any moment. This is especially since the Joker has already abandoned her and even tried to kill her many times.

Harley’s fear of abandonment is mainly directed towards the Joker. But, she does not portray this fear towards other people. This again shows the intense emotions that Harley Quinn has for the Joker.

Harley Quinn’s mental health disorders

Harley Quinn, especially in her relationship with the Joker, has been studied very closely by many mental health experts as a perfect example of a toxic relationship and emotional manipulation.

She, as a person, also depicts a number of mental health issues. While not much information has been given for Harley Quinn’s childhood history, many people have tried their best to arm-chair diagnose her with whatever information has been available in comics and movies.

Some mental health experts feel that Harley Quinn depicts a number of signs of a personality disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder. A few alternate diagnoses that have been pinned on Harley Quinn are listed as follows.

  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: A lot of people seem to agree with the theory that Harley Quinn actually has Histrionic Personality Disorder. This is highly possible for a number of reasons as seen in Harley Quinn’s behavior and actions, like,
  1. She craves attention from others and uses her flirtatious behavior for this
  1. She tends to wear seductive and revealing clothing, especially in her second phase of villainy, such as torn t-shirts and tiny shorts which don’t leave much to imagination
  1. She also wears her make-up and her hair in a way that is very attention-grabbing in nature
  1. She speaks very superficially and shallowly, to give the impression of a dumb and ditzy blonde, when she is in fact a very intelligent psychiatrist who is able to read people very quickly
  1. Despite her intelligence with other people, she fails to do so when it comes to the Joker and thinks their relationship is very true and intense, when in fact it is pretty much the opposite of this
  • Schizophrenia: Along with a number of toxic and dangerous behaviors, Harley Quinn also demonstrates a lot of psychotic behaviors and deluded fantasies. As a result, some people feel that she might have schizophrenia.

But, she does not show hallucinatory behaviors and even the other main symptoms of Schizophrenia. But, she definitely portrays a lot of psychotic traits, especially in her attitudes towards her enemies.

She also shows a number of tantrums and inability to sit still for a long time, which further fuels this theory that she might have ADHD. It is also likely that her ADHD might have co-occurred along with her personality disorder, which is quite common.

  • Hybristophilia: One more alternate diagnosis for Harley Quinn is Hybristophilia. This is mainly because of her intense devotion towards the Joker, despite being hurt by him many times. Hybristophilia is also called ‘Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome.’

She often refers to him as ‘Mistah J’ and ‘Puddin.’ While this is not a symptom of mental illness, it is definitely problematic especially considering the fact that he has actually tried to kill her many times.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Due to her complete and intense obsession with the Joker and anything to do with him, Harley Quinn is also assumed to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by some people who have followed the character closely.

But, she does not show the other symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, such as compulsive actions and rituals. Her only obsession seems to be towards the Joker, and even this often fades when he really has hurt her.


The current article has described if Harley Quinn has BPD. In addition to this, we have listed the different signs and symptoms of BPD that Harley Quinn shows. Finally, we have also taken a look at the other mental health disorders Harley Quinn might have.

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