Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch where Comics Get Counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko.
Doc Issues: And I’m Drue.
Anthony: This is Issue 164 and we are talking the Tightness daughter of Trigon Raven. Not to be confused with Raven Darkholme, who we just did a couple weeks ago. That was Mystique. She’s an X man. This is a teen Titan.
That was Marvel. This is dc. Totally different. Also Duck, and I don’t know how to read a calendar. And as such, this episode is actually going to be the season finale because we got messed up and it wasn’t until I happened to look at the calendar go, oh, this was supposed to be the Aquaman episode. We were gonna push Raven back to next year so that we could do Aquaman to tie in with the release of the movie right before Christmas.
And this whole time, over the past couple weeks, I’ve been like, yeah, we’re gonna do Raven, and then Aquaman, Raven, and then Aquaman. And then I looked at the calendar, I go, oh no, there’s no time for Raven, and then Aquaman, unless we just go right into, and then there’s no break, which is not what Doc and I want.
Yeah. Doc DA is shaking his head going, no, no, no, no, no. I’m also shaking my head going, no, no, no, no. We just need just a couple weeks for the holidays and such. So this is the season finale. We will fit Aquaman sometime in season nine when we come back next year. So before we get into Raven, then just a little heads up, January is going to be our first, second, I suppose.
Second if you count the Batman one.
Doc Issues: The Batman one was its own thing. It may not have fit perfectly as a month, but. Still, it was a Batman month.
Anthony: Okay, so Batman, the whole Batman bat March was the theme. January though is the first time we’re we’re including the patrons into this. We asked the patrons Pick a lantern, any lantern.
And the whole month of January, we’re going green and red and blue and sapphire. We’re covering lanterns is the takeaway from all this. So the whole month of January, all the episodes are going to be about various colored lanterns. We’ve actually got two reds in the list, just minor spoiler alert, we’re not going full names.
Patrons are gonna get an extra episode exclusive just to them. And patrons are also going to join us for a live watch party of the Ryan Reynolds movie on h b o Max, which. May be it, have a different name by then, may exist, may not exist, there may not be anything on the platform left. Who knows? Kind of seems like WB and Discovery in DC are really just making it up as they go along these days.
But in any event, if the Green Lantern movie is still on H B O Max in January, we’ll be doing a live watch party with our patrons. We’re gonna MST three K the hell out of this thing. Although I have to say I saw it a couple years ago and it may have been the Jamaican cannabis talking, but it wasn’t that bad.
You know what, it probably was the Jamaican cannabis talking. I was, I was up there with T Franklin. Oh wow. When, when we watched it and I was like, man, this movie’s really
colorful. Yeah, I’m, I’m now thinking why, why is,
why didn’t, why didn’t anybody like this movie? This is, this is pretty good. Oh, geez.
Doc Issues: So the four 20 reference aside, I I think this is gonna be a good introduction for my daughter into doing these things because we have been watching some stuff and she is sharp. I don’t just mean witty. I mean, she’ll cut your soul and
Anthony: I love it. She is your kid. So any event, if you wanna get in on all that, go to patreon.com/capes on the couch and subscribe, and you will have access to not just the new stuff that we’ve got coming up for season nine, but also the long and lengthy list of.
Previously available content, exclusives, uncensored material, all that jazz. So with that, any further ado, let’s get into the background on Raven. Raven was created by Marv Wolfman and the late great George Perez in DC Comics presents number 26 October, 1980.
This was an insert story that introduced the new teen Titans as they were known. Raven Starfire Cyborg Beast Boy was an existing character. Dick was an existing character, but that was the. Creation of those three, mainstay of the Teen Titans team. So Raven is the daughter of the Demonn Trigon and a human woman, Angela Roth.
Raven was raised in Azara to control her emotions by monks so that she can control her demonic powers, which include Astra projection, teleportation, and emotional manipulation. Once she learned that Trigon was planning to invade Earth, she first approached the Justice League for assistance, but they refused because Zatanna said, you have Demonn in your soul and we want nothing to do with you.
So she performed the Titans as the new teen titans to battle Trigon, who they imprisoned in an alternate dimension. But when Trigon inevitably escaped a corrupted Raven and took her. The Titans killed her, allowing the souls of Nazareth to possess her body and kill Trigon, after which she was resurrected free of his control.
She later became dark Raven after she was possessed by her evil conscience and implanted her good soul in Starfire. Although she said she implanted a seat of trigon, the evil raven then attempted to destroy star fire, but was defeated by the titans, and her good soul was placed in a new body. And she said this was actually her plan all along that the good part of her underneath said, I’m gonna take just enough control and put this in there because this will help you defeat me later on down the line.
It’s kind of like Jalen Erso putting the flaw in the in the exhaust vent in the death star to allow the rebels to destroy it. That’s a rogue one. Spoiler. Sorry. Just rewatch that before we could get into and, or, anyway. She later enrolled in a high school under the name Rachel Roth and dated Beast Boy for a while, but she broke up with Beast Boy and left the team.
Although the two were unrelated, she discovered three half-brothers that children, she discovered three half-Brothers children the Trigon had with other mothers, and they tried to use her to access their father’s realm. Raven used her powers to make her brother so greedy that they stole Trigon’s power in the new 52.
Her origin is practically similar, but initially she was operating as a double agent for Trigon under his control during a battle with the crime syndicate of Earth three. Raven was sent several thousand years into the past where she used her powers to teleport herself and the titans forward to the future before returning to the present.
And all of this chronal manipulation, severed Trigon’s connection to her, freeing her from his control. Then she and several other heroes were kidnapped by Damien Wayne, who was putting a team together to battle Reish Al Goul. And most recently, she and the other Titans created a school to train several new students and make a new Titans team.
Now she’s been a character in the comics for 40 plus years. I would also venture to guess that a large majority of our audience and a large majority of the pop culture society and Zeitgeist writ large are aware of her through the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go Animated series voiced by Tara Strong.
Spoiler alert, that’s the voice I’ll be going with for the skit because it’s the voice that everyone is going to be aware of. There are some subtle differences though, in the way that the character is written and presented. But I think overall that at least the OG team Titans, the more serious version.
Did a pretty solid job of staying largely true to the characterization and the interplay of the relationships that she had with the other titans, that this is essentially her found family, the family that she prefers, because she very much wants nothing to do with her father. And we will get into that in a little bit.
So we are just gonna jump then right into the issues. The theme for Raven is the fact that her heart is not her own. Now, this was an episode that was selected by our president level patron Ariel. No surprise there. She’s been on her Teen Titans kick for a while, and I’m pretty sure Raven is the last real large scale primary member of the team that Ariel hasn’t picked yet.
So she. She wants to talk about the emotional repression that she underwent as a result of her training, but also noted that in later runs, the emotional oppression was no longer there. So signs of character development, but still for a large part of her history, she was dealing with the fact that in order to control her powers and use her powers, she had to suppress and repress all and any emotions.
And that is not an easy thing to deal with, Demonn or otherwise
Doc Issues: well put. So this gives an opportunity for a little bit of a vocabulary lesson, and it is important. So you used two terms there and they’re not exactly the same. You mentioned repression and suppression. They both refer to the idea that whatever it is that’s under the surface, you have covered by many different layers so that it doesn’t show.
Then what’s the difference between the two words? Aren’t they synonyms for psychology? No, they’re not. It’s intention. Suppression means that you are intentionally pushing things down. Repression means that it’s become automatic, so you can have something that you have previously been doing intentionally to push away emotion, and it turns into such a common thing that you don’t have to think about it anymore.
So you can get suppression, turning into repression, or you simply could have had so many traumatic experiences in your life that that was the only defense mechanism that developed, or one of several defense mechanisms that can develop. And it’s so prominent that it didn’t matter whether you were trying or not.
It just survived this long because you survived this long with that defense mechanism. There is no one set rule as to how this happens. It’s made clear with Raven’s background that it happens intentionally and it’s because the stakes are high. You could think of anybody that deals with intense emotional situations all of the time where your reactions to something are just as important as the situation itself or the actions of the other people around you.
So when everyone else is acting chaotically because they don’t know what to do, either they’re panicking or they’re angry, or they’re crying and and don’t know what to do, paralysis by analysis, whatever it is, you are the steady hand. You are the one that remains calm no matter what. That’s the positive.
The negative side is let’s say whatever the troubling situation is, is resolved, whether it was your intention or not, whether it was your role or not. And now everybody is showing relief, exhilaration, excitement, just outright joy, happiness, laughter, humor, whatever. It’s not exactly an on off switch. It takes so much energy and effort, especially if you’re using suppression to push things down, that it doesn’t just automatically come back up quickly for many people.
And so, or same thing with repression, it doesn’t automatically come up, mainly because you’ve learned you have to keep that for as long as you can. So it may not necessarily be that the person doesn’t want to show other emotions, be they what we would consider positive emotions. It may be that they’re out of practice.
Or they may fear what might happen if they quote unquote lose control. Because there is another part to this. Let’s not imply that a person has never had these other emotions. They definitely have experienced them, but they’ve learned to mask them from society for one reason or another. And it isn’t always the best thing to show it in an inopportune time.
Even if everybody else would consider it to be an inopportune time, and the person may be aware that they’re doing it. If enough people pointed out to them and from the outside looking in, we may think, just do it. Just smile, just laugh. Just do it. And and the person simply says, okay, and it doesn’t come.
That’s not their fault. They’re not mocking you, they’re not saying that they don’t understand. It’s just. Now so much a part of who they are that it’s going to take incredible effort to do otherwise. And if you’ve already learned that that effort needs to be used in other ways to protect yourself and to protect others, then you’re not usually gonna switch over into another category to use the same energy to reverse it.
So you kind of end up in this track that kind of feeds in on itself. And on one hand you can live like that indefinitely, to be honest. On the other hand, you may be missing out on a lot of things, and hopefully as we’ll get into later, you could find a way around that.
Anthony: Well, thank you for the vocab lesson.
It was kind of enlightening. I, I confess, I kind of always view those two things as basically synonyms of each other. And they’re cousins, if you will, that they’re close, they’re related, but they are distinct and different. So I will be more mindful in the future when I use suppress or repress.
So thank you. Thank you for that.
Doc Issues: Oh, I like to think that every season I actually give some truly meaningful psychological piece of information so that we could consider this the “edu” part of edutainment.
Anthony: I think it’s more than just once a season, but I digress. So the second issue then is that she seemingly cannot escape her father’s manipulation and control.
This is a situation, and it’s come up in numerous stories, not so much so to be a trope, but Oh, trigon is back. And he’s manipulating Raven. He’s using her, he’s possessing her in some fashion to either try to take over the world or gain access to the realm. And no matter how often she and or the titans imprison him, kill him, give her a new body travel through time, he’s always there.
He’s like a bad penny that they just can’t quite seem to get rid of.
Doc Issues: Yeah. And take away the supernatural part of it, or any of the other comic book elements of it. And what do you have? You have a manipulative and intrusive father. That’s something that a lot of people can relate to. Now let’s, let’s start with the positive.
I am very proud to say I have a daddy’s girl. And it is nice when you have a relationship where you, you share common traits, common experiences, common habits, and all of those things come together to produce wonderful results in terms of how you love each other. Excellent. You want that to continue forever.
You want that for the rest of your life. That’s not how everybody lives. And it would be naive for me to say that that’s how every family lives. This is a perfect example of it. There is always going to be the natural power difference between a parent and a child. The parent is responsible for your existence.
The parent is responsible for your survival, for your learning for. Pretty much everything that, you know, up to a certain age, and as we’ve talked about with many other episodes, that’s going to change as the child gets older. But what if it, hmm, what if it doesn’t, I’m not saying that the child doesn’t have a peer group, cuz Raven certainly does.
I’m not saying that Raven doesn’t have her own experience, doesn’t have her own personality. Clearly she does. But that original premise that the father is responsible for everything, even if Raven doesn’t want him to be, that’s how he views himself. And I know this is not the, the Trigon episode, I’m, I’m not making him the focus, but that’s the point.
He wants to be the focus regardless of whether or not Raven wants him to be the focus. When you have misaligned purpose and meaning in life, Raven now has to find a way to navigate all of this and do the painful thing over and over and over again of maintaining boundaries, severing ties when necessary because this person is toxic in her life.
And when a person that is incredibly close to you is using it in an abusive way,
you’re going to have emotion tied to that. And as much as you suppress or repress those emotions, they still will come up. Except in this case, I know we’ve been talking about love so much. Let’s say the love part has gone based on experience. You still have anger, you still have. Disdain. You know that this is going to cause pain.
It’s rare in life where we can say that each experience you have with this person in your life in the future is going to cause pain. And yet Raven clearly has come to that conclusion. And yet because of that original connection, which she had nothing to do with, she had no control over how she was born and to whom.
And yet because of that, this person is inserting themselves in her life over and over and over again. It means that you’re ripping open that wound every single time, even when you are doing the healthy and correct thing for yourself. That is not something that’s easy to deal with and for anybody that is in that circumstance.
If you’re getting the abusive text and you’ve changed your number, and it happens over and over again, if the person comes by your house and they’re not wanted, if, for those of you who have the restraining orders and you are worried that the person is gonna act out even more, because statistics have shown that there is a subset of people that act out more in violence against those who are trying to protect themselves with a restraining order.
I’m giving those as the most extreme examples. But the problem is, I can’t even say that they’re unrealistic examples. They’re, they’re way more common than we realize. For anybody that needs to hear this, please recognize that there are people that are always willing to talk to you, even if it’s just to hear you vent about this, so that when those wounds are pushed on, they’re not getting totally ripped apart, that they are simply as milder pressure as they can be because you have support around you.
That’s, that’s all it comes down to. And it’s, it’s such, such a shame that what in theory for the health of all of us around us, the parent-child relationship can be so, so crushed because the parent doesn’t recognize that they had to be a human being first before they were just being a parasite.
Anthony: It is rough. And unfortunately, I know several individuals who have had to go limited or no contact with their parents for various reasons, and the parents have difficulty respecting the boundaries. And when you were talking about showing up and the possibility of getting violent because the boundaries are in place.
It’s so unfortunate and unfortunately realistic for a large number of people. The narcissistic injury that occurs when the child or loved one doesn’t necessarily even have to be a child. But the narcissistic injury that happens when someone sets up the boundaries to keep the abuser out can unfortunately turn violent and in worst case scenarios, deadly.
And Raven absolutely sees that. It may be fantastical, it may be supernatural in nature, but the abuse and the horror in that relationship are all too real to many, many readers. And I think that’s one of the reasons why she’s resonated with readers as long as she has, is because there’s a not so small subsection of comic book readers who can empathize with Raven in that situation where she just wants to be free of the abusive parent.
And no matter how hard she tries, no matter what she does, he’s still there. And he’s, he’s lingering, he’s like a splinter that just will not go away. And it’s, it’s truly unfortunate. So. Segueing then to the third issue, which is a little less dour, although certainly has an opportunity to cause as much strife as the abuse issue is.
Her power of empathy leaves her vulnerable to the emotions of those around her. It’s not just that she can control the emotions of others, it’s that in turn she feels those emotions so strongly that they actually have an effect on her. And so if she is around someone that is feeling great joy, she will experience great joy.
If she’s around someone that is feeling tremendous sadness, she will feel terribly sad. If she is in the vicinity of someone who is filled with rage and anger, she will also get very angry that. Strips away a lot of her own emotional agency and really puts her in a tough spot, which is where some of that emotional repression comes in.
That was what, why she was taught that by the azara monks to say, just keep everything down and then you don’t have to worry. That’s obviously not healthy, but it’s not healthy either to feel everything that happens around you.
Doc Issues: Yeah, and this was definitely the development of the character in the later years, which was great to see because I definitely see all of these issues in my work environment with many patients.
This last one is problematic because these people are thermometers, they’re emotional thermometers of the room, and for anybody that’s not familiar with our show, that’s just jumping in, welcome. I work on an inpatient psychiatric unit, which means I’m dealing with people usually at one of the most difficult points in their lives.
They’re in crisis, which means they may have some severe emotional reactions to things. Now, take a person that is highly emotional, reactive and place them with other people that are expressing intense emotion, even if they’re not as reactive. Well, depending on how many people are severely depressed and suicidal, depending on how many people are manic, irritable, or exuberant, and, and elated to the point that they’re grandiose, and even without a diagnosis, these people may show signs of those things when they’re not even aware of it.
It makes it incredibly difficult to get a read on how I’m supposed to help them, how I’m supposed to provide the appropriate management and treatment. So that they can feel better for whatever their underlying issue is. And that’s the other thing. They end up switching from thinking about their own condition to often wanting to assist with the other person in what they’re going through.
They’re trying to focus on everybody else, and they don’t focus on themselves. Now on the positive, that means that that person may be doing a lot of good for themselves because we know that some level of altruism can be a wonderful defense mechanism. The thing though, that I definitely keep awareness of for myself as a healthcare provider, and I know many patients we have to remind them of this, is as Anthony has said to me many times, what I’ve confided to him, you can’t fill from an empty cup.
So doing everything and putting everyone first and not doing enough for yourself. Can be so stressful and so draining that you end up putting yourself into a severe depression or producing severe anxiety because you’ve neglected things that you knew that you were supposed to be doing in the first place and just forgot about, or whatever The combination of you know, situations are and reactions are.
I’m not saying that there’s one right way to handle that, and I’m not saying that you should ignore the people around you. Please don’t take that as the message. The message is, as much as you are placing importance in what others are feeling, make sure that you’re placing that same emphasis on yourself, because the better you know yourself and what you are experiencing, the better you can relate to other people with, let’s use that word again, healthy boundaries.
So that you don’t drain yourself helping them so that you can actually do things for a more prolonged period of time without feeling like you’re exhausted. And for those people around you to recognize that you’re going to help in a way that’s healthy and afterwards not feel guilty about the fact that you helped so much that they see you’re drained.
You have that effect and you don’t even realize it. So for all the good you are doing, you are actually still potentially influencing a person negatively and not recognizing it. So this can all feed in on itself. It’s this huge emotional ourobouros. And yes, the easiest escape valve is either repression or suppression, but just cuz it’s easy doesn’t make it healthy.
So finding. System that you have to use for your emotions and recognizing what it is, what the ratio is that works for you, and knowing when it’s not quite where you would want it to be. Regulating all of this, despite having severe events in your life that are going to happen, even if we’re not talking about the things that Raven has gone through, this is something that no one knows how to do perfectly.
I’m not claiming to know how to do it perfectly, but you can do it better than you’re doing now. And while some people may say that that is an insult or, or you know, something that’s, that’s considered a a flaw. I think it’s the opposite. I think it’s a challenge. I think it’s rewarding and I think it’s the exact type of inspiration that allows us to be more emotionally mature. As we go through life.
Anthony: Absolutely. I am always advocating that we should be striving to learn ourselves better, to learn how to be aware of ourselves better, how to control ourselves better, not control in the sense of control, meaning how can I put this? Control, meaning utilization in the proper context, not necessarily control as in manipulation.
That’s what I mean when I talk about control in that context, just being able to control yourself and control your emotions, to be aware of them. You should always know yourself as well as you possibly can. And that is an ongoing process because the world around you is always changing, so therefore, your response to those external stimuli going to change.
And then you have to say, what does my response to this stuff say about me? And I, I say this all the time that you, you can’t control anything in this life, but your reactions and your responses. And so that’s what Raven goes through when she deals with all of the emotional input that she’s receiving.
It’s about learning how to respond and to not react. Because similar to the idea of suppression and repression being similar but distinct, responding and reacting are similar but distinct. And I would argue having a response to a stimulus is a healthier way of coping with things than a reaction because a reaction to an external stimulus, emotional or otherwise, tends to be instinctive.
It tends to be gut level, it tends to be near instantaneous and is not always necessarily the best long-term solution. A response to me, and I think that most people would understand where I’m coming from when I say this, a response as opposed to reaction means you take a beat. You think about it. I’m not saying you have to dwell on it for an extended period of time.
Just take a second and say, Hmm, if I do this versus this, how’s this gonna go? What’s. Best for me and this situation, and then you respond accordingly instead of just going with that gut reaction of, oh, they said this. So I’m gonna say that. I mean, sometimes you have to react, sometimes you literally don’t have the time to respond.
But by and large, I would argue the overwhelming majority of situations that we encounter allow for at least a moment or two to say, let me think about this. What’s going to be the healthiest response, and how can we work? How can I work together with the other person or persons on this to achieve a healthy end goal?
So for Raven, that means. She’s gonna be subjected to the stimulus, she’s gonna be subjected to the emotions of those around her. If there’s nothing she can do about that, there’s nothing any of us can do about that. We can’t walk around demanding that those around us be happy, sad, whatever. But you can take that second and say, I understand you’re angry and you have the right to be angry, but I’m not going to let your anger dictate my emotions.
I’m not going to let your bad mood ruin my day. I’m not going to give you that control over me. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what it is. You are letting the other person dictate control over your emotional response, and that strips you of your own agency. And it’s not fair to you.
And it’s certainly not fair to them because they’re clearly dysregulated most times and they can barely manage their own emotions. Now, in essence, you are asking them to also control your emotions or have input on your emotions, and that’s not fair to the other person. So in long run, for you and the other person, it’s healthier.
If you take that beat and say, how can we get through this? How can I best serve me? And then you by doing what’s right. And you know, that’s something I’ve been working on as a parent is my kids’ upset. Not always just immediately knee-jerk reacting to it, but saying, okay, I understand you’re sad. I understand you’re upset about something.
I’m not going to allow your frustration to escalate me because a dysregulated adult can never. Get a disregulated child to deescalate. It’s just not gonna happen. The kid doesn’t have the emotional maturity to deescalate on their own. But now if I turn around and amp things up and yell, and if you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about her.
That kind of talk doesn’t serve anybody any purpose. So whether you’re a parent or whether you’re a grown person speaking to another grown person, don’t let someone else’s dysregulation impact you. Control your own emotions. Be aware of your own emotions and to follow up on that. If that triggers you, if their dysregulation triggers you, find out why. Do the work.
Maybe not in that moment, because it’s not always the the time and place for it, but later, when you’ve removed yourself from that situation, go. That person’s bad mood, really set me off. What is it about that situation that impacted me? Because it clearly triggered something internally that led to that gut reaction.
And again, it’s not always easy, but you gotta do the hard internal work to find that out and that awareness is gonna lead to a happier and healthier version of you overall in the long run
was a long, amazing ramble.
Doc Issues: No, that was, that was amazing.
Anthony: I’ve been doing the hard work internally. I’ve been trying at least a lot of it comes down to the parenting, frankly. Learning how to be a better parent has taught me how to be a better person and a more emotionally aware person. Again, not always perfect, but which has also kind of helped me because I’ve learned to accept and appreciate the incremental growth.
Rather than say, well, I can’t get from A to Z instantaneously, therefore I’m gonna chalk it up as a failure that I have to go through A to B, to C to D, et cetera. And saying that if I take that step forward, and even if I take a step backwards, it doesn’t mean it’s an instantaneous fail. And then I just throw my hands up and forget about the whole thing, that it was a bad moment.
And I allow myself the grace to regroup and to try again, cuz there’s always gonna be another situation and there’s always an opportunity for repair of. A relationship provided the other person is willing to do the work as well. I’m not saying that you should do all the emotional labor yourself. That’s a whole other discussion.
We’re not gonna get into that. I’ve rambled on long enough. I’m not the one with the, the degree . I’m not the the professional here. In any case, we are gonna take a break, plug a couple shows, and when we get back, we will get into treatment. So stay tuned.
And we’re back. So, treatment in universe,
how are we helping Raven today?
Doc Issues: We are helping Raven by entertaining myself. What do I mean by that? We know that Raven has quite literally been controlled by her emotions before and has been controlled by others. I wanna see what that looks like. No, that doesn’t mean I want her father to take over again.
That’s not what I’m getting at. It’s all Raven, but it’s different parts of Raven, and I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I. Love sports. I love the idea of competitions, to be honest. It doesn’t even have to be athletic. It can be a debate for all I care, but I want the different parts of Raven to spar.
And I don’t even wanna be the referee, cuz I know in, in previous times where I’ve had these scenarios, I’m kind of acting as a referee. No, no, no. I’m going to be a commentator. I’m simply going to call it like I see it with emotion, pun intended. And let her know herself a bit more based on what I’m saying as things unfold.
So if it seems like her own guilt is starting to beat her down compared to her sense of purpose, then I’m going to call it out. And that might give that part of her the incentive to do better. And if there are other sides that clearly are starting to cheat with regards to her own fulfillment in life, then I’m gonna make sure that the, you know, the people observing it, and I’ll be honest, it’s selfishly just me.
Cause I wanna maintain confidentiality that we know what’s going on and we do our best to make it known to all the other ravens so that they can join in and keep things in proper alliance and allegiance so that ultimately they can all reconcile and we end up with a better character than we had before.
Anthony: All right. I like . I was just, how you said, oh, I’m doing this for my own entertainment. I was like, okay, not really sure where this is gonna go, but that’s fair. So out of universe. We’ve got an empath who has an abusive father who’s taken away and raised in a austere environment, doesn’t have the best socialization abilities.
Obviously the manipulation and powers and so on and so forth are outta question here, but there’s still quite a bit there to work with.
Doc Issues: Yeah. So we could talk about the dynamics of having that type of abusive parent. Let’s just go there and say it. Which clearly leads to addressing trauma. I’m sure people have heard that many times and what can be done for.
But then also the part that you added that I’ll admit wasn’t originally in my mind and is very important is if the person is removed from that environment and then has a different set of circumstances, has now learned other techniques, including the idea of, to get back to that first issue, just making sure that things stay at an even keel.
Yes, it’s great for survivorship, but maybe the person didn’t take that to heart the way that the people that helped her thought that they would. Or maybe it was intentional where they are really just shutting down and don’t know how to express themselves. But it’s clear that when things happen be they triggers, be it a sign of a greater illness like P T S D or depression or anxiety or whatever, that when certain triggers come up, it’s like it’s the floodgates and.
People are shocked because they don’t see this usually from that person and then outta nowhere. It’s just everything explodes. Like, well, how does that happen? Because that’s not that common. And so now it’s like, well, is that an environmental thing? Do you need to change the environment first? Do you need the person to recognize that even though it’s not, as I said so many times, even if it’s not their fault, it is their problem.
And also trying to add more tools to the toolbox because this is one of those rare times where, as I said, that tool can be used indefinitely and permanently. And if the person doesn’t see it as a problem and the people around ’em doesn’t see it as a problem, maybe they’re just that flat person. And I don’t, I don’t even wanna say that as an insult.
Like just, that’s what they’re known for. They’re known for this super even keel, like doesn’t get rattled by anything. And if they truly don’t get rattled by anything. Okay, live your life. Cool. But if it’s the type of thing where either the person is acknowledging they want to express more and they don’t know how, so that’s one end of the spectrum or they don’t do anything.
But when something triggers it, as I said before, it just explodes out. That’s not good. So you just deal with what you’re, you’re looking at from that perspective. And in cases like this, I’d like to point out that there is a significant risk, there is a significant risk of substance abuse because it creates a false sense of regulation.
A person like that may look to other things either to open up, so they may look at stimulants or things where they think this will get the energy going, you know, or alcohol for disinhibition, if that’s, that’s a big part of it. And once again, temporarily those things may work. And that’s the scary part cuz now you’ve got the reinforcement that you’re the different person, that you’re now the, you know, the outgoing person.
Like, oh boy, watch what happens when they get a few drinks in ’em or whatever. And it’s misleading and can definitely feed addiction. So that’s something to screen for. But if that’s not there and we’re simply talking about the therapy involved or whatever other management that you’re doing, this is where a person keeping a journal can be really helpful because you can do this in a matter of a few sentences a day or maybe if you wanna make it more complicated, you can do it to start the day and to end the day, you know, what was your mood that day?
Like, and, and it’s tough because the idea is, of course we have different moods during the day, but the point is narrow it down. Just give yourself the gestalt, give yourself the overall feeling of what the day was. And then after you’ve done that for a while, see what the trends are. Is it fluctuating up and down, up and down?
Is it more truly even q as you would suspect? Is it, you know, you’re having significant highs and lows because also that can be part of diagnostics for the provider. Not that that’s the real intention, but any type of that feedback can really help so that we know where we’re going. It’s really hard to chart a course when you haven’t looked at the map.
So mapping all of this out for the person, allowing them to experience what they experience, avoiding artificial ways to manipulate the situation, knowing what the triggers are, identifying safe mechanisms that you can use other than cure, repression, or suppression. And continuing to just iterate on that as you go along.
That’s pretty much the
Anthony: crux of therapy.
Bonus points for using gestalt. It’s not a word you hear all that often. I always appreciate it. But yeah, I think journaling would definitely help someone like this to be help with that mindfulness that we were discussing earlier and helping them identify those triggers. And I also was nodding along when you were discussing about the potential for substance abuse, because you’re right, they do work in the short term and that’s the danger of those substances, whether it’s the stimulants or the depressants, whether it’s, drugs and, and things of that nature, or whether it’s even just alcohol.
They do work. And unfortunately that’s why you end up with folks that get addicted to them, whether it’s, you know, stimulants or, or alcohol or what have you, because then they don’t know how to cope otherwise. And you know, we say on this time in a half joking fashion, just say no to most drugs in moderation.
Every once in a great while. Sometimes it’s okay, you know, I’ve had plenty of days where, or instances where I say I’m just gonna take, have a drink just to take the edge off just a little bit. But I’m also cognizant of the fact that I can’t do that long term to self, self-destructive to my body. And it’s also going to remove my own ability.
Or not remove, but inhibit my own ability to do that myself. Once in a great while. You have a drink, it’s fine. I’m not gonna, I’m the last person that’s gonna sit here and judge you for saying, I had a rough day. I just wanna take the edge off with a glass of wine, or have a beer or what have you. It’s when you need that to take the edge off all the time.
You need to either come up with a new coping strategy, one that’s healthier, or find out how to remove or address the triggers that are causing that in the first place, as if it’s a consistent thing. Then you need, then you need to either change your environment or change your response or both, but because that status quo is not sustainable over the long term.
So with all that being said, let’s head into our last skit of the season and see what happens when we get Raven on Dr. Issue’s couch.
Doc Issues: Hello, Raven. I’m Dr. Isue.
Doc Issues: What can I do for you?
Anthony: Well, we can talk about stuff, I guess.
Doc Issues: Okay. Such as.
Anthony: I don’t know.
Doc Issues: Feel free to talk about whatever you want. I’m, I’m not used to digging this hard to start a conversation. When the person booked the first session
Anthony: I got a recommendation.
Doc Issues: I’m flattered.
Is there something holding you back?
I was trying to avoid using this as arath Onz. Zho. That’s better. You should be easier to talk to now. What did you do? I had to find a way to let a part of myself out, but I needed a willing vessel. You worked just fine. I’m a good
not an empty vessel. I didn’t say empty. Just willing. You’re an empaths.
I can tell.
Then what is it that I’m supposed to carry as a vessel?
Oh, I don’t know. The weight of soul. Crushing guilt. That you can never do anything to make your problems go away. Or stop those that created you from ruining your life or trying to find someone that takes you seriously for more than a fling.
Or even when I throw it away, I can still feel it eating at me. Oh, I can tell ow,
what the hell, what
Anthony: bit me? I wasn’t using metaphors. You,
Doc Issues: you put your emotions into me. They physically, I don’t know how to
Anthony: describe this.
I wouldn’t try to put words to it. They hate that it’s too close to an amateur trying to learn a new spell on the fly. Then why do this at all? Respite. Mostly I have a very tough burden. 99.9% of the time I keep myself reigned in. But that 0.1%. When that gets out, let’s loose. Let’s just say no one has ever liked the consequences.
Doc Issues: certainly not liking them myself. What do
Anthony: you do to mature them? There is no maturation process. You just have to neutralize them, and that’s what
Doc Issues: you’ve been doing your whole.
Anthony: Yes. Well, when I’m in control, that’s what I do.
What specifically happens
Doc Issues: when you’re not in control?
Anthony: I can’t answer that. Can’t or won’t? Can’t because my memories become warped and it’s usually due to someone else taking control. One time it’s part of myself, another time it’s someone else. All I know is when it gets to that point, pain and suffering follows, then I have to do damage control and all I want to do is be left alone.
Does that make sense at all?
Doc Issues: I have to say yes. Mainly because I think you make sense and then now I feel like you make si, oh, God spoke too soon. Something you said or I said
Anthony: you don’t like. That’s not good. When you reach a certain threshold, the part of myself I gave to you should automatically come back to me.
Al, it’s stuck. How is that
Doc Issues: possible? Remember how you said willing vessel? Well, I think the best I can explain it is I take my work home with me. Sometimes
Anthony: you can’t hold on to other people’s emotions. That’s ridiculous.
Doc Issues: Well, it’s not so literal. 99.9% of the time,
Anthony: fine. Alderan and lenal. Alderon and lenal. Why are you still holding on?
Doc Issues: I need to ask you a few more questions.
Anthony: Are you joking right now?
Doc Issues: Surprisingly, no. Tell me what was so wrong with my answer before. I
Anthony: didn’t believe you, so you don’t trust me. I just met you and yet you
Doc Issues: made me carry a burden that has weighed on you since you were born. There’s a huge contradiction
I was. I was trying something different. Dark arts, meditation, isolation, fighting, that only gets me so far. I can’t lean on teammates without some serious backlash. Even the ones I love, loved still love. Anyway, the point. I know the colloquial definition of insanity, and I’m tired of doing the same thing over and over again, but I didn’t expect this.
You care too much, even though I’m a stranger and it scares me.
Doc Issues: Ooh, thank you. Whoa. That was exhilarating.
Anthony: What did you do now? Nothing. Wait, it’s back to me. It came back willingly. Came back. But not the same. I’m not the same. Or part of me, I don’t really understand myself is, is this you? No, you’re you.
That’s a. I’ll need to explore this with other parts of myself. This is probably temporary, whatever it is, but you must be worth it if I didn’t even have to tell you about the time my father got inside of me. Wait, he, he what now? Eh, nothing. Gotta go. And don’t worry about nightmares. They go away quickly.
Wait, wait, wait. Just a, here’s a token award off any demons. Take one and call me in the morning if you need to, but I’m the doc. And for your own safety, please talk to someone so you don’t burn yourself out. Okay, bye. Did, did she really just
Doc Issues: say something about her? Oh
Anthony: Well, that was my best, Tara. Strong impression. ,
Doc Issues: you know, the way that you led into this episode. I think that there’s gonna be at least one or two listeners who thought that you were saying, we got Tara Strong
Anthony: to do this. Yeah, I don’t know that they’re gonna buy that. I’m Tara Strong , but I mean, if I can even come close to that, I’ll take it.
She voiced half of our childhoods for goodness sakes. Yeah. So, yep. So recommended reading to the Surprise of Absolutely No One is the New Team Titans, the Wolfman Paris Run. Go read those books. I’m pretty sure that was what we said for the Star Fire episode, for the Cyborg episode for the Beast Boy episode.
Maybe not so much for the the Dick Grayson episode, cuz Dick Grayson’s got a lot of fantastic stories. But if you have DC Universe, infinite, definitely go check out those Teen Titans books. Quality storytelling. Top-notch artwork. You had two legends at the top of their game that just worked together, telling some absolutely iconic tales.
So go check it out. Go find the trade paperbacks. Whatever it is you need to do, go check out those Teen Titans books. So as we said at the top of the show, this is the season finale. We will be off for a couple of weeks for the holidays and when we’ll come back in January, it’s gonna be lantern month.
We’re gonna get green and red and real colorful. And as we said probably go ahead and sign up for our Patreon so you can unlock the extra material. You can join in on our watch party for the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie as we lampoon the bejesus out of that film. And And then we’ll get back into the regular swing of things in February, you know, with additional creator interviews and things of that nature.
But we’ll see how well this patron selected theme month goes. And if it goes well, this may start to be a more regular thing. Maybe not every month won’t be a theme month, cuz then it really won’t be special. But a couple times a year we’ll do a, we’ll pick a theme. One idea I had for a theme was I want to do all characters from all around the world with different accents.
So just have our patrons select characters that are not American and say, Hey, let’s see what Anthony sounds like doing South African, or, you know, something from I don’t know, Scandinavia, you know, what have you. Just different accents. So, I know, we’ll see. It was just an idea that I had popped into my head.
I’ve got a bit of a cold, which helped with the Terror Strong impression, and the cold meds are starting to kick in. So we’re gonna wrap this up before I get completely loopy. So you can find us on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at capes on the couch. Email us, keeps us on the couch gmail.com, and all of our episodes are on our website, capes and the couch.com.
We’re also a proud member of the Gonna Geek Network, and so you can find all of our episodes as well as all of our network shows on Gonna geek network.com. So check that out, doc and I have some guest appearances on play comics that should be coming out relatively soon. Our friend Chris, and then you can go check out Legends of Shield.
I had some. Recurring guest spots there and I’m sure we’ll get some more stuff coming around in the new year. So since this is the last episode before the holiday doc and I just want to wish you all a very happy, healthy holiday season, regardless of what holiday you choose to celebrate, choose to celebrate it with love and compassion and helping those around you.
And let’s keep that spirit alive beyond just two weeks in December. Let’s try and spread that joy and happiness and love for our fellow man throughout the year. If we do that, maybe we can actually turn this thing around. So Doc, I anticipate you’ve got some kind of an Edgar Allen Poe. Locked and loaded.
Doc Issues: not a pun, I’m just reading the damn end of the thing. Okay. End the raven Never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting on that pallet bust of palace just above my chamber door and his eyes have all the seeming of a demons that is streaming and the lamplight or in streaming throws his shadow on the floor and my soul, without that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted.
Anthony: go. I knew was gonna be Love it. I
Doc Issues: love that poem and that last part, especially if you think of Raven and what she’s been through and the idea that no matter what, that is going to be her life.
Boy, boy, I really, really hope. She gets the therapy she needs
Anthony: indeed. So for doc issues, I’m Anthony Sitko. Have a happy joyous holiday season and we will see you in 2023.