Today, we’re kicking off the Teen Titans discussions about trauma metaphors starting with the episode Nevermore. This episode is from the first season, and is the 6th episode of the show.
Please see the Disclaimers in the post that introduced this series. Screenshots are thanks to the Teen Titans WIki.
In the episode Nevermore, two of her teammates (Cyborg & Beast Boy) end up inside Raven’s mind. They find that not only is her personality shattered into her individual emotions, but her anger is on the loose rampaging through her mind. A recent fight with a villain triggered it getting loose, and she alone can’t stop it.
Often when my anger gets loose, it can’t be contained. It can stay that way for long periods of time. Part of how I know I’ve made some progress on my recovery is because this happens far less frequently now. It’s getting to the point where I might be able to say almost never.
I find it so fitting that her anger takes on the form of her father. I see this as being two things at once. One is that thing where people say “you’re letting that person live rent-free in your head” which is something I struggle with (though I am trying to learn to overcome it).
But this isn’t actually Trigon himself: it is truly Raven’s own anger. He traumatized her by destroying her home and killing her mother, and now she torments herself in much the same way. The show never has any clips of him actively destroying Azarath, but I think it’s safe to assume he used his powers such as the destructive beams from his eyes. Because we do see Trigon use such powers on the city in another episode (The End).
This rings so true for me, because this is common with especially emotional or mental abuse. The abuser tells their victim that they are worthless, and even years later the victim feels that way without understanding why. It’s like a part of their own mind has turned into their abuser. In Raven’s case, it’s her anger.
Though I’ve even found this to be true with physical abuse; for years and years I suffered from unexplained muscle cramps that made no sense. Until one day I realized it was my mind “hitting” me exactly like how my parents would hit me. In the same spots and everything.
I think this is quite different from the thing where you have someone living rent-free in your head. If nothing else, this is subconscious and therefore so much harder to heal from. Even just figuring out that it is happening is difficult.
Other Parts or Emotions of Raven
This is another part I deeply relate to because my personality often feels fractured and shattered. Raven’s various emotions all being on the loose and doing their own thing I related to a lot.
Raven’s emotions are as all over the place as my own feelings can be. She tries to stay calm on the outside regardless, which can be such a struggle when you have all these chatty things in your mind.
I like how her teammates assume her emotions are Raven herself just in different clothes. That interpretation is what I feel like sometimes. As if I become a different person.
The grey one is such a great example of anxiety. I especially like the part where her teammates insist for the umpteenth time that they forgive her: because that’s how anxiety works. Someone else can say anything (that they love you, that they’re aren’t upset, whatever). But their words alone won’t make you feel better. Not when trauma is there. Not when you have anxiety convincing you that they’re lying.
This part is done extremely well. Because I don’t think we heal from trauma in isolation. We are social animals. Her friends do not fix her mind for her. They help her fix her own mind.
There are several moments through the episode that are like how someone with depression pushes everyone away. For example, the moment when she tries to shove them out of her mind via the portal.
Because ultimately, she does need their assistance to deal with her anger. They don’t solve it for her, but she couldn’t have done it without them.
The videos I edited when I was a kid were not focused on specific episodes (like this series), but I’d like to share this one with you today. This is one of the later ones I made, and it is framed as Raven having a vision of destroying the world herself. A vision leaves her unable to voice her thoughts aloud, and unable to explain to Robin how not ok things are (he thinks it’s all over and everything is now fine, but she doesn’t even know where to start).