Sookie is supposed to be our heroine and the main character of our show…yet… Many people have a difficult time understanding some of the reasoning behind Sookie’s actions/decisions and consider her to even be one of their least favorite characters despite her position on the show. Many audience members even also find Sookie “annoying” for a variety of reasons. There must be a reason for this right? Well, let’s consider things from a psychological viewpoint…Shall we?
…There is no doubt that Sookie would be profoundly affected by being essentially rejected her parents and subsequent molestation psychologically. I believe that many of Sookie’s problems or actions stem from this event in her life.
Some people respond to childhood sexual abuse by being completely withdrawn when it comes to sexual activity. Sookie certainly was hesitant to engage in sexual behavior initially not just because her ability isolated her, but because of the trauma of past sexual abuse. She admitted this hesitation/anxiety to Bill after the first time they had sex as she told him the story of her molestation. This happens even as Sookie insists that she supposedly “does not blame herself” and downgrades the severity of the situation by saying “it was just touching, not as bad as what some girls go through…”
People who experienced sexual abuse as a child can be underemployed in comparison to their abilities for a variety of reasons related to the trauma, included a lowered self-esteem. Sookie’s difficulty in studying with her ability/disability and societal rejection only exacerbated this symptom. As a result, Sookie ends up becoming a waitress and initially doubts her abilities for a better career until vampires begin using her ability.
Victims of childhood abuse can develop a feeling that their lives are out of their control and can focus on things they can control such as their home. This is part of what made Maryann’s violation of her home so much worse for her.
If the victim of sexual abuse does not respond to the sexual abuse by withdrawing completely, physically and emotionally, the victim can have trouble understanding boundaries since their own boundaries were not respected. In regards to Sookie, it can refer to the times she consciously intrudes in the minds of others when it isn’t necessary (such as hearing Arlene’s fears of pregnancy, Tara covering for Jason, and Alcide’s personal thoughts regarding Debbie and their situation) and moving too fast in relationships, which she was obviously able to do with Bill.
Other than the pure psychological trauma itself, I believe Sookie has developed a case of Dependent Personality Disorder or (DPD) as a result of her molestation and rejection throughout her life, despite her seemingly strong will and personal abilities.
People with DPD are attracted to forceful and dominant people who come into their lives.
People with DPD can use sex to feel close to someone emotionally after loss and/or personal trauma (even if the personal trauma occurred with the sexual partner).
People with DPD can become submissive in romantic relationships.
People with DPD seek people in their lives they consider “protectors” and when one “protector” is gone, it is replaced with another “protector figure” in their lives.
People with DPD can be excessively naive and be hyper-sensitive or ignore criticism from others (easily perceive criticisms as personal attacks no matter how well-meaning the intentions behind the criticisms are).
People with DPD tolerate a lot of mistreatment from others, especially romantic partners or close friends, so that they can avoid being alone.
People with DPD can easily attach to new romantic relationships or the idea of a new romantic relationships when they feel vulnerable and/or alone.
There are further examples which could be explored but we can see a lot of the behavior that we have been frustrated with or were disappointed about stems from a personality disorder (Dependent Personality Disorder) Sookie developed as a result of childhood molestation and isolation that she also experienced as a child and into adulthood.
Sookie is obviously not a typical heroine who is always strong and independent and ready to conquer anything. In fact, Sookie is a better heroine than that because she is human (at least partly lol) just like you and I. She takes advantage of her strengths while also struggling with her weaknesses. Maybe, the heroic part of her story will be to either learn her personal strength and independence with a love like Eric that encourages that side of her or it will simply be her learning her independence. Sookie’s story will be inspiring because it will either be tale of overcoming personal struggles with love OR it will be a tale of learning personal strength and independence…
…or perhaps, IT IS BOTH!
Sources Include: WebMD, “Psychology” by Myers (Publisher Worth Edition 9), and The Dependent Personality by Bornstein.