Back in season 3 I did some research and according to some people Mona was supposed to have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, which didn’t make all that much sense to me. But just earlier I heard she has borderline personality disorder, which happens to be exactly what I have as well. Both BPD (borderline) and ASPD (antisocial) are Cluster B personality disorders, but they’re still very different.
Ok, so here’s my little psychoanalysis.
Borderline Personality Disorder
I have BPD so I can tell you exactly what it’s like.
Basically, you’re emotionally unstable. You can have pretty bad mood swings, so you can wake up extremely happy and all it takes is just a seemingly unimportant event or memory or something that doesn’t seem to be a big deal to other people, to go from extremely happy to ridiculously angry. Also, the emotions you feel don’t have the same intensity as someone else’s who doesn’t have BPD - they will be intensified to the point that it’ll make you wanna throw up. Sadness is depression, fear is panic, pain is agony, anger is rage, jealousy is a mix between depression, panic, agony, rage and wanting to strangle someone, and the best part - it will last extremely long.
You get obsessed. Obsessed with tasks you need to complete right here and right now and if anyone or anything gets in your way, you will straight up lose it (example: I feel the need to finish writing this very post and if anyone is going to interrupt me right now I will get extremely irritated and possibly yell at them for no real reason). And you also get obsessed with people. You have an unstable self image and absolutely no sense of self (imagine having a life-long identity crisis) so when you meet someone who fascinates you, you will wanna be their bff and you’ll overtext them, you will wanna hang out all the time, you’ll wanna do nice things for them, and all you want in return is a simple friendship. You practically worship them.
Which brings me to my next point. You may worship this person for a while, but then all it takes is one simple action or sentence said by that person for you to start hating their guts. People are either gods or the devil, and there is no in-between.
This is pretty clear when it comes to Mona’s personality. Hanna was her bff and her everything. She didn’t even do anything wrong in the eyes of most people, but she started ditching Mona for her other friends and that was enough for Mona to start hating her. It’s pretty clear that she always either loves her to death or hates her even more, but she never just casually hangs out with her like an acquaintance would.
Relationships turn you into someone you barely recognize. You overtext, overcall, you feel like you’re annoying your boyfriend/girlfriend (you can’t help it though, you just don’t know where the limits are) and then you get paranoid and upset if they do something to make you think they don’t like you anymore because you assume they’re going to leave you.
Interestingly, this is a very typical BPD trait and yet, I haven’t seen this with Mona when it comes to people she was dating. But obviously not everyone has the same symptoms. This kind of behavior could simply be a thought pattern in some cases though, so Mona could just have this stuff happen in her head and others wouldn’t notice how much agony she’s in.
And then there’s the impulsivity and an anger management problem. You have such a hard time controlling anger that you feel like that’s all you ever do. Someone says something you strongly disagree with and your impulsivity prevents you from thinking rationally, so you reply immediately, and the response tends to be very emotionally-loaded.
This is a huge A thing in general. Back then Mona was pretty much free to unleash her A-ness on Hanna and the other girls. She didn’t need to manage her anger and I know (as an ex-bully) what kind of relief this is.
You will be jealous - of your friends having other friends. Their other friend gets invited somewhere instead of you? You will be jealous to the point of not wanting to speak to your friend. In fact, that friend is no longer your friend - you hate their guts because you’ve done so much for them and they reward you by choosing to hang out with someone other than you. You want revenge, and you want it bad.
On a related note, you will hold grudges for a very very very very very VERY VERY VERY long time. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. Decades. Someone once took 2 kittens away from me. I only had the kitties for about 2 months or so, but I was like 10 back then. I’m 26 now and I don’t see myself forgiving that person anytime soon. That person deserves absolutely everything they love to be taken away from them. I should also mentioned I wasn’t invited to this friend of mine’s university graduation party and yet she invited some bitch she met a couple of years ago (while I’ve known her for 15 years). She is no longer my friend. Like, really.
What I haven’t noticed when it comes to Mona is depression and anxiety, which are pretty common. This is one of the reasons why I really wanted Mona to have more screen time, because if she did then the writers could have been able to explore her disorder a little more, and maybe more people would learn about what depression is really like.
I haven’t noticed any suicidal tendencies with Mona either, but I can imagine that to her faking her own death could have been an emotional relief. That would explain why she blindly decided to trust A.
The fact that the writers decided not to have a daddy Vanderwaal in the picture was very clever. BPD is often associated with parental neglect by one or both parents, not having a parent, emotional or physical abuse by a parent and so on. Having 2 loving parents wouldn’t make sense here at all.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
I’m not an expert on ASPD, I have no experience with it, but I have researched it (just like all other personality disorders).
So from what I understand, ASPD and BPD have some similarities. People with ASPD also tend to be impulsive, but they tend to be more aggressive. I should mention that people with BPD are not violent or dangerous (unlike what popular movies tell us - Fatal Attraction, or The Roommate do not portray BPD accurately), but people with ASPD tend to break the law a lot and also tend to be aggressive. Deceiving others and lying are apparently also common, as well as getting into physical fights. Not to mention ASPD is associated with actual psychopathy (BPD is not).
The thing with Mona is that she seemed to have been very well-behaved before Alison happened, and people with ASPD cannot get diagnosed unless there’s evidence of them having conduct disorder.
People with ASPD don’t really feel guilty and they don’t typically care about other people’s feelings. And yet, look who’s feeling guilty here…
So when it comes to personality disorders there’s this little thing, called Million’s subtypes (for BPD)
Avoidant features (”discouraged”): loyal, submissive, feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, depressed.
Depressive/masochistic features (”self-destructive”): moody, imploding
^Not like Mona at all (well, ‘loser Mona’ perhaps?). But then we have:
Negativistic features (”petulant”): resentful, stubborn, impatient
Histrionic/antisocial features (”impulsive”): superficial, frenetic, whimsical, afraid to lose people
Petulant or impulsive subtype of BPD = Mona Vanderwaal.
Obviously, A is definitely very ASPD-ish, but when Mona was A I feel like she really just wanted revenge and power, but she wasn’t homicidal. She ran over Hanna and all, yeah, but that was probably a result of impulsivity.
What really irritates me here is the fact that the writers tend to be very dismissive when it comes to disorders. I mean yeah, Mona was in Radley, but since she was still A (or on A’s side) after she was released, there’s this big recovery gap that should have been filled. She was A, but then she suddenly became “normal”.
Mona’s several personalities
So basically, we have:
Victim ‘Loser’ Mona
Auspicious ‘Loser’ Mona
Wannabe Innocent Mona
Self preservation Mona
Except… I know from my personal experience I tend to physically change my style a lot. I change my hair color all the time, hair length, clothing style etc… and Mona seems to be fairly consistent with that.
OH WAIT. Nevermind that.
My point is, she has a million personalities and that’s oh-so-typical for BPD. Ask me how many people I’ve been. No wait, don’t.
After Ali’s comeback:
I feel like Mona felt threatened by Ali after she came back to Rosewood, but I’d say that was more of a power thing. Who’s going to be the Queen of Rosewood now. Better make sure it won’t be Alison. That kind of thing. She went as far as making deals with A to make sure she won’t go back to being Loser Mona. Fair enough. Being haunted by your past is not something you want if you have BPD, because being reminded by who you used to be (and how little control you used to have) is like combining all negative emotions you can think of, multiplying them by a million, and then realizing you’d rather die than keep feeling that emotional tornado.
After the Dollhouse
So THIS is what frustrates me the most. This is a major fail. She seems more normal now than ever.
I’m in recovery, so my BPD symptoms aren’t out of control. BUT, if someone kidnapped me right now and I’d be trapped, psychologically (and physically - remember Mona was in that hole without food or water?!) tortured for a few months, I’d be sent straight into a nut house and I probably wouldn’t be released before the age of 90.
I think she’s acting ridiculously normal. Mona did mention she was in Saratoga for a while and I believe a mental hospital is there, but there’s no such thing as a 3 day torture recovery intensive course.
I feel like I can’t really say much more here because this is a complete fail. A psych evaluation is pointless here. Do your job, PLL writers because what the hell was this?!
Anyway, now as for the current A (Charles, Red Coat, “Kisses”, whoever…) I’ll analyze him after the A reveal. I’m also thinking about analyzing Hanna because she’s also very complex (eating disorder, stealing, alcohol abuse…).
By the way, if I was wrong when it comes to anything about ASPD, let me know.
I noticed that Jack’s visor is of omnic origin/design or something of the like because one of the ads in Numbani has that really hot omnic (with the really nice hands yes omg leave me be) and the mouth/ear pieces are pretty much EXACTLY like Jack’s
or Jack’s are like theirs…
This little coffee bit in Hounds is a little favorite of mine. (Ignoring the fact that Sherlock is experimenting on John with the coffee.) John sees the coffee as a peace offering from Sherlock, and drinks it despite the fact that it isn’t prepared in his preferred fashion. Even though he isn’t aware of the real meaning of the gesture, John is still determined to make sure Sherlock knows he’s forgiven.