The Hidden Psychology of HARLEY QUINN

The Hidden Psychology of HARLEY QUINN

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Harley Quinn is one of the most unique and popular characters in recent DC history. And with her onscreen debut in 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, it’s time to look at the psychology and history behind the character, and understand the truth behind her relationship with the Joker.

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Video Sources used:
BTAS Harley Quinn –
Paul Dini interview –
Norrmalmstorg –
Suicide Squad footage –
Batman: The Animated Series Intro –
Joker Seduces Harley –

Music Used:

Rock Angel by Joakim Karud
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0
Music provided by Audio Library

Dreams by Joakim Karud
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0
Music provided by Audio Library

Before I Sleep by Muciojad
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0
Music provided by Audio Library


August 5, 2016 / 38 Comments / by / in
  • i want to lean more about there relationship

  • this video might also be useful to understand Harley 🙂

  • he's my puddin i love him very much, who do you think you are?

  • Okay this is gonna be long…People mostly do not get what other people see in Joker/Harley relationship… The point is, a good,calm, intelligent girl becomes wild and fearless and…more colourful, also the point is "being crazy together" and "being 2 of a kind" – they are both crazy, but they are the only 2 people on Earth crazy like that, neather Joker nor Harley could possibly fit with anyone else because they both NEED each other. They are quite the opposites in a lot of things, but they still are kinda crazy in the same way, Harley is crazy, not only about Joker but also simply insane. I know there are a lot of crazy people on Earth but these 2 really would not fit with anyone else… Yes, Joker uses her a lot…But she knew at the begining of the romance that he was manipulating her (even though she did not know the "abusive father stories" were a lie, she knew he was crazy and manipulative) and yet she surrendered willingly, even when she was still sane, before the electroshocks, before the chemical vat, she knew but chose to let him manipulate her and drag her into his world, she actually asked him for all of that because that is the way she is, obsessed with him, wishing to prove herself and become like him, because no matter how bad it is for her, she actually NEEDED someone like Joker.
    Ofcourse nobody wishes having someone beat them, use them, throw them away, what people see in their relationship is being uncoditionally loyal and crazy, something dark and sexy and unusual, having someone very dangerous love you because you feel powerful and protected even though he was abusive, but as I said nobody looks it that way, people just see it as having someone superior and dangerous who kinda scares you with his darkness and craziness… That is very attractive and intriguing… And I must say, even though in "Suicide squad" they did not show Joker being abusive that much (only the electroshocks) , both of the characters were shown pretty genuinely, maybe a bit different from the cartoon series but still genuine, because this movie was not as much about them as much as it was about the squad, they were only in some scenes so the movie really could not explain something as complex as their relationship and show all of it, so in the movie they are actually portrayed pretty well..
    Also, not just in the movie, Joker loves Harley in all his versions, in his own twisted way, he just does not handle it as a normal person because he is a psychopath and even the creators explained that he "can not show love or affection because he feels VERY uncomfortable with loving feelings" and he just cant comperhend them and sometimes he forgets himself and becomes loving towards Harley but tries to "fix it" with becoming very abusive the next second because it makes him very uncomfortable, that is what psychopaths are like – unstable. And as I said, even though Harley wishes for attention, love, affection and sometimes even to be normal (especially in the movie), she WANTS it but she NEEDS someone like Joker because otherwise he would be just like any other guy and they would not fit, even in the cartoon series he was nice to her once, gave her presents, attention and was gentle, she called him a "wimp" because she is crazy. And yes, I know Joker as a psychopath loves THE IDEA of Harley, his own little slave who follows him unconditionally crazy about him whom he can use for sex, his psychopathic games, his"work" and he loved the idea of making such a strong and clever woman weak and completely his. But even in the cartoon series and comics he loves Harley in his sick way…In one episode he actually "needs Harley" because they were separated at that time and he misses her. He dumped her a lot of times and she dumped him a lot of times, he leaves her behind (like in the movie, what people didnt realise, Batman got Harley but did not get Joker…becasuse he always gets away with it and leaves her behind a lot of times), they both tried to kill each other numerous times, a lot of times because Joker could not handle loving someone or because after creating a monster would like to destroy the monster..Sometimes it is too intense even for them..Such colourful and crazy characters and there is 2 of them? yes, perfect but also a disaster, too intense…

  • The overlay is SO ANNOYING

  • crap stop googling shit and boxing people into catagories

  • AW MAN! i never watched this to the Q&A announcement…. i was gonna ask a bunch of weird questions

  • There is a couple of things about Harley Quin's psychology you had missed. She has battered wife syndrome, this syndrome makes her subservient towards the Joker, she is pushed more and more by the Joker. If Harley Quin was a real person then she is at a very high risk of either committing suicide or committing murder, and when I say murder, I mean murdering the Joker. In one of the games Harley Quin did in fact kill the Joker. The other psychological condition she has is the Electra complex. This complex is at the very core of her attraction towards the Joker. Harley's father was abusive and she became a psychiatrist as to understand why. And when she meets the Joker a man who is manipulative and abusive just like her father, she is unconsciously immediately attracted to him. She also is a partner in crime, which means that she loves, fears, respect, and most importantly a follower. This is very evident, with Harley Quin. Did Harley Quin get abused during childhood? Yes. Is she a follower? Yes. Is she currently a victim of abuse? Yes. When Harley Quin was a child she was a victim of abuse, this taught her how to be a follower, and to obey any command, even at the expense of her safety. But one thing in the movie that I didn't really agree with, in regards to Harley Quin, and that is she said that she heard voices in her head. This is a very common symptom of schizophrenia. As far as I know, that in every form she has never been a schizophrenic.

  • I just have to say the term "psychopath" isn't a medical term or diagnosis. It was first used in the media and the more or less better term IS antisocial personality disorder. I know he mentioned it which is good.

  • Somewhere in the new 52 comics, Harley was fighting Azrael, who made the comment to Harley "I see your soul deep down, you are not pure evil, you are simply mis-guided"….and in another 52 comic, Harley was on a date with either deadshot or Mason Macabre, and he did a good job of psycho-analyzing Harley, one of the things he said was " Because deep below their is constant turmoil, change, etc. you keep your surface personality bubbly, happy and rapidly changing so people won't ever wonder what's going on beneath you."….All in all, i feel Boomerang in Suicide Squad described her best: She's a rabbit hole mate, don't fall in.

  • Dude don't even think you'll ever understand the dynamic between these two characters (Joker and Harley) they are insane what they see as okay is killing, stealing, and causing chaos in general. The abusive thing may not even seem like abuse to them, maybe just another way of showing affection, and even if that isn't the case, ITS FAKE. Don't try to make sense of something that can't be understood.

  • I have been subscribed to this channel almost since its inception and the content has increasingly gotten better! I recommend to anyone interested to subscribe for great content, you won't be disappointed.

  • That's a lot of psycho analysing, appropriate for a video about Harley Quinzel I guess.

  • I do not like New 52 Harley. She's too violent and bloody. Cartoon Harley was always somewhat distant from it all, more like a looney toons character. If people died it was as a result of property damage or not escaping her traps, it was always indirect. She never set out to kill anyone with the exception being Batman. She's very pragmatic. Bats is just a person to her.

    I loved movie Harley because Margot struck a nice balance between the two. I see her as wanting to escape the trappings of her life and dons a persona of crazy and happy.
    Because if she's crazy or the Jokers victim, she doesn't have to face the horrible things she's seen and done.
    The chemical scene in the film really reads to me like a juxtaposition between her happiness at finally apparently being cared for by Joker and her mental scarring at what he's put her through to obtain that attention.

    Honestly what I'd love is Harley becoming a seperate villain. She breaks up with Joker for good and never goes back to him, even if he continues to influence her life.
    My secret dream is her joining up with the Bat family as a sort of wildcard who has the best insight into the Joker and a lot of other villains. So she is an occasional ally when things get really dangerous.

  • what people dont understand is that it isnt abuse, she wants it and she likes it and they are in a ddlg relationshipp, you can tell by her puddin collar, her yes sir bracelets and her 'daddys lil monster' shirt she is a little, a submissive. he is her dom.

  • another cuck harly bull shit video

  • if anything Harley Quinn abuses the Joker he keeps trying to break away and she keeps dragging him back here

  • in suicide squad the joker is not abusively

  • When all you want something that you can't have will surely drive anyone crazy.

  • Dini has said that the Joker is in fact in love with her but it exasperates him that he is. It makes him so angry that his anger is displaced in the form of abuse on the object of his affection.

  • She's a metaphor for people in abusive relationships.

  • I don't think this video gives a complete answer. To fully understand (or at least have a chance of understanding) Harley, we must look at Harleen Quinzel first. Throughout the comics, and in multiple incarnations, it's been shown that Harleen had a very rough childhood. It's perfectly realistic for her to have kept her desire to be free dormant, to the point where they became intertwined with her increasingly violent surroundings. This led to her being somewhat of an anarchist, someone who simply wants to do whatever she wants, someone for whom the societal code doesn't work anymore. This new-found desire to become independent and free from the shackles of society laid dormant until Joker brought it out of her. This also explains how she was able to stay with Joker for all that time, suffering abuse. It is indeed a mix of Stockholm and Nightingale, but it's also co-dependency. She can't live without Joker not because she's in love, but because she's addicted. She's terrified of the unknown, preferring to stick with an unhealthy life that's familiar. She keeps coming back to Joker because he's the only one to have been there since the beginning. On Joker's side, he always seeks validation. He needs her to be around so that his work won't be in vain. The title "Mad Love" is therefore slightly misleading. Harley and Joker were never in love. They just needed each other to live a life they've always wanted, and they're the only ones who understand this line of reasoning necessary to live such a life. Harley (and indeed Harleen) has always been a genius at keeping up appearances, and manipulating people into only seeing what she wants them to see. From her amplified crazy and sometimes childish behaviour, to that theory of her getting through med school by seducing teachers (which would explain how someone who looks to be in her mid-twenties could have gone through a decade worth of education to get the proper degrees to be called a psychiatrist), everything comes back to her manipulating everyone into underestimating her. Hell, that's the reason why she dresses the way she does: Sure, she also thinks it looks cute, but come on, do you really think she doesn't count on people staring at her butt? Harley is the perfect example of turning your negatives into positives, and her philosophy seems to be "The ends always justify the means." It's a pretty powerful message, to be honest.

  • This video sucks, the Joker IS NOT PSYCHOTIC, he doesn't hear or obey voices in his head, he is actually extremely sane and knows what he is doing, he is a philosopher with a mission, but a pretty twisted mission comparing it to humanity.

  • I've watched a lot of these types of videos, but this was very well done!!

  • People romanticising The Joker and Harley is so goddamn annoying! It's one of the best examples around for what an unhealthy, twisted and abusive relationship is and I wish the shitty Suicide Squad movie would have actually shown that since it would not only have been in keeping with the source material but obviously is also such an important part of what makes Harley such an interesting character.

  • He kidnapped her mentally and emotionally, not physically.

  • As someone with a Cluster-B personality disorder, I want to correct something.

    When you mention OCD, I feel like that's incorrect and should still be included in the attributes of HPD. The idea of needing to earn affection is a huge part of Cluster-B Personality disorders. The person that fills that need for affection is usually nicknamed an FP (short for Favorite Person).
    Harley displays many symptoms of HPD as you said, even before. She was a psychology student that failed her classes constantly, but using her talents (such as her gymnastics, giving her the scholarship) and her good looks to seduce her professors into giving her good grades. It's classic attention seeking. Everything she did was for attention.
    Now though, she has a specific target for attention. The Joker became her FP at first through the tragic abusive dad story he gave her. Then she began to trust him more. Then she began to overshare her life with her patient (Oversharing, while not a symptom, is something most Cluster-Bs, including myself, do). Then, at the sight of her main source of attention breaking out and coming back in, damaged, she felt responsible for him. He was a broken child to her, but also the ONLY source of attention she'll EVER need from ANYONE (Cluster-B sufferers have very black-and-white thinking). She's now dependant on him.
    She breaks him out of Arkham using an alias (the alias HE gave her, again, bringing the theme of only him mattering in her life back) and becomes his partner in crime.
    She spends the rest of the chapter trying to seduce him (wearing the see-through lingerie, making sexual puns) or gain his approval (the piranha scheme), yet he refuses until the last moment, where he reacts violently.
    To her, this is still ATTENTION. Negative attention, but still ATTENTION. While someone with BPD might isolate themselves at even the slightest indication that someone hates them, HPD will still pick at that wound constantly until the other end of the relationship can't take it and blows up. She takes the violent attention until he throws her out the window.
    While after the injury, she seems to somewhat regret what she did, she sees the rose in the vase, signed "J" and falls back into the cycle again. She has his attention again.

    This continues for DECADES. Some comics say shes over him for good, some say she still has that internal conflict, and some say shes still madly in love with him, but the HPD shows through all of that.

    Also, the relationship with the Joker is very clearly abusive, but you worded it as "maybe even abusive" as if it had the possibility of being protrayed as healthy. As a personal survivor of several abusive relationships, I can say this almost felt as if it was being brushed under the rug.

    Anyway, sorry for the word count on this, but I truly hope this gets read.

  • you should do a better research, before you make a video!
    OCD isn't what you say… at least exactly. You may know what it is, but the words you use to describe it, are wrong! They give different meaning to the disorder! That's bad because many of the people that they are watching take your words as scientifically valid. & wikipedia isn't a valid source!
    Even though, nice editing and concept.
    Also, it's not really her psychology that way, but joker is the reason of her actions. He is abusing her, and she is in a domestic violence situation!

  • Uhh sociopath know your disorders.

  • Not everybody is interested in a fucken cartoon life, no wonder why there so many kills

  • You know what would make an interesting theory? What if Dr. Harleen Quinzel took on the role of Harley Quin in order to do extensive research or to produce a long case study on The Joker?

    Of course, there is many evidence to knock this theory down. But wouldn't it have been a fun idea?

  • It Can Get Abusive But I Ship Them The Joker Might Have Hit Her Multiple Times But I Still Believe That The Joker LOVES Harley And If The Joker Didn't Want Harley Quinn Then He Wouldn't Have Let Her Be His GirlFriend#HARLEYXJOKER

  • "shouldn't be romanticized, it's abusive" to that i give you a quote from another great movie: "whoever said love needs to be soft and gentle?"

  • Hate it when people constantly say Harley should be her own character. It's bullshit. I even did a presentation in college about how Suicide Squad bastardized Harley Quinn. Hypersexualized and watered – down. Shame.

  • The crazy thing is that Harley would never have come about as a character if Joker had been a one off as originally planned. It's because Joker ended up as an important character instead of being killed off that there ended up being that episode that introduced Harley to begin with only for her to be integrated into the comics because of her popularity. I find of interesting that both she and Joker were initially only supposed to be one offs, yet both became such popular characters. That's a huge connection there.

  • Harley didn't choose to follow Joker, he manipulated her into doing so.

  • "The Joker pegged you as hired help the moment you walked into Arkham" – Batman (BTAS) enough said. Then again that came out in the 1990s and before the New 52.

  • I personally can't stand the bitch

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