Are Sangwoo’s emotions genuine?
I’ve seen the word ‘love’ is being used a lot lately by the fans. Does Sangwoo really love Yoonbum or not? Does he feel any emotions at all? How genuine and real his emotions can be?
There are 3 possibilities based on certain personalities:
- He’s written as a psychopath and doesn’t and will never truly love Yoonbum.
- He’s suffering from some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is using the ‘numbing’ method to cope with everything. But he can fall in love.
- He has Borderline Personality Disorder and loves Yoonbum.
1. Antisocial Personality Disorder
I know Koogi didn’t do any researches about the disorders so keep in mind these are more about certain personalities. I’m not focusing on the disorders! Let’s imagine what happens if Sangwoo is written as a ‘stereotypical’ psychopath/crazy person (with some psychology facts).
Psychopaths have very shallow feelings. They do not understand fear at all, they lack empathy and do not feel guilt. There are certain emotions such as love and sadness and they do not feel those like others do. There are several panels with Sangwoo with question marks next to him, showing he’s genuinely confused because he doesn’t understand Yoonbum’s fear. “Of course it’s dark, it’s a basement!!!?” or when he asks Yoonbum what is he doing when Yoonbum is trying to run away. He expects Yoonbum to stay quiet while he’s cutting him. He shows no empathy when Yoonbum talks about his past, even calls it “Boring”. There’s especially a panel I came across yesterday, of Sangwoo misinterpreting Yoonbum’s expression which leads me to believe Sangwoo does not understand ‘upset’, ‘sad’ or ‘scared’ because his ‘emotions’ are very limited, mostly to anger and summarized to feeling good, feeling bad.
Everything is a game for Sangwoo. And people are the toys. That shows how shallow he is. Think about him throughout the chapters. Every single move he made was for a game.
He plays until he’s bored of the game and then throws away the toys when there are no benefits for him in the game or when the game is not fun anymore. This is especially hard for a lot of fans to accept because they can’t believe after everything someone would just end it like that. But psychopaths do!
Sangwoo’s love for Yoonbum as a psychopath is not love at all. It’s
self-centered. It’s about Sangwoo, not about Yoonbum. Psychopaths grow
up learning from others. It helps them survive and fit in like a normal
person but in the end they do not truly understand those feelings.
Sangwoo does things to show affection but those are things he THINKS must be done in that certain situation and because he does not really
understand them, they look wrong, out of
place and weird. (like the bathroom scene or when he hugs Bum in the car or after they kill the man from the gaybar )
Even when showing affection and care, he’s doing those because he wants to and because there’s some sort of benefit for him.
He’s always treated Bum differently (from Day 1) because he is special but doing so, he always acts as if he’s doing Bum a favor, while in reality he’s doing it because there’s an advantage in it for him. He’s having fun and playing:
In brief, In his mind, he’s being nice to Bum, he might even think he’s in love. He’s giving him ‘gifts’ and ‘rewards’ because he wants him to cheer up, understand him or stop whining but his perception of ‘love’ and ‘care’ is very shallow and wrong and it will stay like that. Even if he ever tells Bum he loves him, it’s not the same love people talk about. It’s Sangwoo’s kind of love. Bum is special to him and he’s Sangwoo’s favorite toy! Sangwoo wants him now but Yoonbum will be thrown away the moment he’s broken or useless.
2. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
“Love and feelings are nothing but weaknesses.”
You’ve probably heard that sentence or similar sentences to it from a lot of villains. The ones who are ambitious and want to take over the world. They believe feelings are unnecessary and make you weak.
We know Sangwoo is a victim of child abuse but we don’t know how bad the abuse was. Was there any sexual abuse involved? We also know he witnessed horrible events. The murder of his parents (whether it was himself who did it or his father). These sort of things usually lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes the victims use the ‘numbing’ method to be able to live on. This means they turn off their emotions and feelings to cope with the horrible past experiences. They might see feelings as weaknesses and we can see a lot of that in chapter 5:
“You know what? I hate guys like you the most. Guys that are too scared to die but are always complaining. Too absorbed with pitying themselves to do anything. Stop going on about how lonely you are. I hate that shit!”
In brief, while he can relate to Yoonbum, he hides his true feelings and thoughts in order to stay strong. He doesn’t show any emotions but he is capable of feeling them.
Now why this theory might be wrong? because people with PTSD, usually don’t even want to talk about/remember their past because it’s too painful for them but we saw Sangwoo talk about his past without any problem and he didn’t seem fazed at all. He didn’t even show any empathy when Bum spoke. So… back to number 1.
3. Borderline Personality Disorder
While I think it’s a good theory, the thing about people with BPD is that their emotions are too intense. They feel TOO MUCH. No matter what the type is. At least we’ve seen Yoonbum switch between the feelings of love and hate quite a lot and even cry because the feelings hurt and he was confused… while Sangwoo’s feelings throughout the chapters is pretty much static. It goes from anger to frustration to boredom and etc (shallow emotions, so again, back to number 1!). We’ve only seen him in a rollercoaster of emotions once and that was when he thought Yoonbum ran away. However, that was a panic attack! Anxiety is what causes panic attacks. While fear and anxiety are interrelated, they’re not the same thing. He mostly felt hurt and betrayed, he was mostly angry. While I’ve talked about his fear of abandonment many times, that could also just be a panic attack triggered when he thought Yoonbum ‘betrayed/left/lied to’ him. It could also be a symptom of PTSD since he even had a vivid flashback.
But since these are not supposed to be on point, let’s not be very nitpicky. If he in fact has BPD, he’s already most likely in love with Yoonbum and he’d almost be destroyed if Yoonbum leaves him. (He might even consider killing himself or Yoonbum before that happens.)
So as a conclusion you can see why a lot of people might want to support the 3rd theory. Because Sangwoo will be vulnerable and in love with Yoonbum
(and well, it’s more BL-ish :S). I’m not against that idea but personally I find the 1st theory more interesting and I think more facts and evidences lead to the 1st theory. He’s proven himself a psychopath over and over by showing no guilt/remorse, no empathy and no emotions and being impulsive and reckless is also a symptom of Antisocial Personality Disorder and not just BPD.
But in the end I suppose it depends on the author. Maybe Sangwoo will be the first psychopath to ever fall in love :p
All images belong to Lezhin. Artist/Author: Koogi