(American Psycho)

What’s the Matter with Him?
Where to begin…?
Patrick Bateman is not as easy to analyze as he might seem (Which he would probably love to hear). What appears to be Antisocial Personality Disorder – a sociopath – is a little more complex, and a lot more confusing.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In the same realm as Antisocial Personality Disorder, Patrick’s symptoms are as follows:

*Sense of self-importance
Patrick seems to believe that the fact that he has a lot of cash makes him an extremely important man.  In fact, money is a facet of Patrick’s being that makes him “better” than most other people.

*Believes that he is “special;” can only be understood by or associate with high-status people
Even in his most desperate hour, Patrick calls a lawyer instead of a psychiatrist. When he takes Paul Allen out for dinner, Patrick makes a show of pretending to recognize Ivana Trump at a nearby table; he tells a private investigator he has a meeting at the Four Seasons (With the guy from The Cosby Show), and does not falter when Detective Kimball implies that Patrick has no idea where the Four Seasons is really located.

*Lacks empathy
Patrick Bateman Screams
Patrick Bateman - Check Out Those Eyebrows
Patrick Bateman - Sullen

*Often envious of others/believes others are envious of him
His tone of condescension is evident through his constant narrative, but Patrick’s train of envy goes so far as to make the display of business cards at his office a tense and competitive affair.

*Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes
Patrick Bateman Checks Himself Out

Patrick’s Bateman’s hallucinations cannot be accounted for by a personality disorder. Patrick imagining horrific things happening, or imagining that they did not happen, can be explained by Schizophrenia, a rare but severe mental illness.

Patrick believes that he murders people (And cats) and confesses to doing so. While the confession turns out to have really occurred, the events leading up to it are shrouded in mystery. Upon arrival at the apartment where he supposedly stores multiple corpses, Patrick finds an empty apartment and that the tenant living there is not the one that he believes to occupy the place. Weirder still, the man he thinks he killed is said to actually be alive.

Does Patrick Bateman have Multiple Personalities?
Patrick Bateman Pulls His Face Off
Patrick frequently gets mistaken for other people and  the inhabitants of his small corner of the world don’t pay a lot of attention to each other, but that does not mean he has split personalities. Dissociative Identity Disorder – often called Multiple Personality Disorder, and sometimes incorrectly called Schizophrenia – is characterized by the victim blacking out and assuming other “altars” or personalities. Since Patrick never blacks out and is conscious of pretending to be someone else to con Paul Allen,  he does not have multiple identities (One of him is enough).

Is Patrick Bateman a Sociopath?
Patrick Bateman Smiles

Are you shocked?
While his violent tendencies and lack of empathy paint Patrick as the epitome of a sociopath, it all depends on your interpretation of the movie.
The author believes that most of Patrick’s violent behavior, based on the way people react to it and the empty apartment, is imagined. While Patrick’s fantasies are certainly alarming, they do not make him a sociopath. Even the grotesque notebook that Jean discovers would imply that Patrick preoccupies himself with violent thoughts, but he does not act on them in reality. Furthermore, Patrick does not seek out ways to break the law, which is characteristic of a sociopath. The only time he is in violation of the law is when he seems to be hallucinating.
However, if you believe that Patrick’s actions really took place, then he absolutely is a sociopath.
What is important to point out is that Patrick Bateman believes that Patrick Bateman is a sociopath. Perhaps by believing this, he could be considered a sociopath.
It all depends on how you slice it.

Is there Hope for Patrick?
Patrick Bateman Sobbing
Sadly, this American psycho seems beyond repair. While there is a glimpse of prescription medication on Patrick’s bathroom counter just before he kills Paul Allen (Or thinks he kills Paul Allen), it is unclear whether Patrick takes the medication, what the medication is, or if there is even medication in the container in the first place.
This suggests that Patrick has sought help before, which means that Patrick Bateman knows that Patrick Bateman is crazy. Unfortunately, his confession at the end of the film falls on deaf or disbelieving ears, and brings no comfort to Patrick. The support system in his life is virtually non-existent; he speaks of no close family, and has no close friends. The only woman that cares about him has just found a sick catalog of his diabolical doodles, and Patrick seems to be the kind of guy that would sneer at anyone who visits a psychiatrist – which means he will never see one.
Thus, Patrick will probably never get better – not without a commitment to therapy. Lots of therapy.

What Do You Think?
Patrick Bateman Listens to Some Tunes
Even if you just have some strong opinions about Mr. Bateman’s taste in music, we’d love to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with us!

10 thoughts on “PATRICK BATEMAN

  1. Something occurred to me this morning, after watching the movie last night. The lawyer’s determination that Paul Allen is alive can actually make sense if you consider it from a different perspective. Assume that everything Patrick did is true. He really did kill all those people. Because all those people were found in Paul Allen’s apartment, it makes sense that the realtor and the lawyer have reason to keep their mouths shut. The realtor doesn’t want anyone to know about the bodies, because no one wants to live in a serial killer’s old apartment. The lawyer saying he had lunch with Paul twice in London makes sense if he is Paul’s lawyer. He is providing Paul with an alibi. Paul could never have committed multiple murders in New York if he’s having lunch with his lawyer in London. Food for thought.

  2. Lastly, I interpret the ending of the film a bit differently than most. When he makes the confession, I believe thiswas a genuine emotional reaction from Bateman because I see Bateman as really a man who emotions are so repressed, warped, and mutated and as a result is a emotional ticking time bomb.

    But, when later on we see that no one even believed Bateman, i saw this as the point of no return for Bateman. When he realized that no one even took him seriously, he fully gave into his madness. Surrendered to it. Allowed it overtake. The ending monologue convinced me Bateman at the end of the film is now an unrepentant psychotic.

    This may not be the common interpretation but I see this way cause I have experienced the psychosis of Bateman in myself.

  3. Similar to what another replier said, I have a much different view of the film than others. While it’s seems many see the film as a dark comedy/satire, I see it as a very realistic exploration of a very realistic psychotic mind.

    The more I watch the film (really is one of my favorite films) I realize that the element that people seem to ignore is that Bateman is a man in pain and the product of unaddressed pain, that is, man who began with a some human vice (say, body image issue, insecurity, lack of self confidence, etc) and never had the appropriate therapy to deal with his vices and over time these vices grew into negative behavioral patterns, irrational thoughts, and finally straight on psychosis.

    Ultimately Bateman is trying to find control and freedom from his pain, but lacks the psychology stability (and support system) to do so in a HEALTHY way. So while trying to escape his pain, he ends up only making it worse.

    I believe Patrick Bateman represents the consequences of having a psychological problem and said problem never being addressed in a healthy, positive manner. A problem human mind tends to move toward insanity, irrationality, and rage when left to its own devices without the aid of positive influence. Bateman clearly takes things to a severe level because simply put he never found a way to deal with his emotions.

    I don’t know if this was Bret Ellis’ intention, but this is my interpretation. I kinda reject the whole yuppie greed even if that is what Ellis was parodying.

  4. As a (diagnosed) psychopath, I have a different view of American Psycho than the majority audience. And I’m not just saying that because I have a different view of everything than the majority of most demographics.

    I have both seen and read American Psycho. The first thing that struck me while, at first, looking up some quotes from the novel, is how spot-on realistic it is. American Psycho is a detailed description of what this life with a psychopathic brain is like, told from the perspective of said mind. That’s what makes it special, and having seen so many much less relatable depictions of psychopaths, it’s refreshing. If you want an intrapersonal, straight-from-the-brain expression of psychopathy, told not from an outside perspective but from the perspective of the psychopath, look into a) Tom Cruise interviews. b) American Psycho.

    I would definately say that Patrick Bateman is a psychopath, and that Bret Easton Ellis is also so. Everything about American Psycho, with the exception of most of Bateman’s taste choices and his funny and very convenient psychosis (which I think is just part of Ellis’ humour), are things I know very well myself. Reading and seeing it is like having an internal dialogue about my own view of people, view of life, and mental states – but with a narrative. I don’t think an empath writer would, and, more importanly, could write something like that. It’s a psycho writing about himself, and having a sense of humour about it. In other words; it’s all inside jokes.

    In short, though, the writer of this article isn’t exactly an expert on the subject. Psychopathy doesn’t necessarily include physical violence, especially not of that extent. Do you really think all of the psychopathic 1-4% of the world’s population are serial killers? And a lot of psychopaths do illegal things, yes, but we don’t do it for the purpose of breaking the law. It’s either an adrenaline kick involved, or we’re up to something that’s simply not legal. What he/she is thinking of is ASPD, which is not the same. Sociopathy, along with narcissism and borderline disorder, is also not psychopathy (just mentioning). I suggest the article writer give the ol’ Google a go.

    Also, no, telling someone to not place a spoon on the table isn’t necessarily OCD, especially not in this case. That’s just the power complex showing. The shower “ritual” is Patrick being narcissistic and being rather straight-edge about it.

    • Any information from a source such as yourself is appreciated, considering the personal measure of it and that it helps educate the readers (and writers) of the site.
      Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  5. I now know a sociopath (or maybe two) they are easier to spot once you become aware of their behavior. At the beginning I had nothing but contempt for him, after being deceived for around 30 years but now I realize that what an experience he has given me, and that, that I must take it as knowledge because a true sociopath will do anything in their power to reveal themselves. This is knowledge you cannot read in a book 🙂

  6. Whats the future prognosis on him? Assuming he did not actually kill anyone, but he seems to have really believed he did up to the ending, and he has these compulsive pre-occupations with violent thoughts. Would he eventually snap and really kill another person?

    • That’s very interesting and sounds correct! I didn’t see enough OCD from Patrick to delve into that in the article, although his father definitely has OCD so your observations would make sense if you believe there is a genetic component to that particular disorder. Thank you for your ideas; I’ll have to watch the movie again!

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