By Tim Stevens
Although this is highly unusual for this writer, I feel compelled to compare two clients I am now working with.
It should be noted that the circumstances themselves are also rather unusual. The clients in question, Peter Parker and Kaine (NLN although I believe he now uses “Parker” as well) are, according to documentation, genetically identical. Kaine is a clone of Peter with the same experiences up until his late teens/early 20’s and then radically different ones. They are, essentially, identical twins who were then separated and dropped into very dissimilar worlds. If it was possible for them to acknowledge this reality, they’d be highly sought after for medical and psychological tests.
Kaine was mentally ill for a period, apparently suffering from an organic brain defect or injury that led him to be violent and experience what could best be characterized as a persistent sociopathic state of mind. However, with the “healing” of this defect or injury, he has grown more like his genetic match.
As a result of their shared experiences, they do share some similar personality traits. Both are prone to guilty feelings, both are highly motivated by responsibility, both will typically choose helping others over their own interests. Kaine is still the more violent of the two with the quicker temper, but he experiences his emotions more fully and thoughtfully now. Although he insists he is a monster, still, it comes from a place of guilt for what he’s done, not a declaration of a path that he is excited to follow.
Kaine checked in during a brief recent sojourn to New York and, despite recent difficult events, seemed much different than he had even after he was “healed.” He’s made friends—although he begrudges admitting it—feels a bond to the place where he lives, and has dedicated himself to protecting others.
Peter, on the other hand, has displayed a rapid change in personality that this writer, despite trying to be nonjudgmental, would characterize as “for the worst.” After several weeks of no-shows, the client did finally arrive for an appointment, only to fire this writer, claiming he “had no need for this pseudoscience or the charlatans that practice it.” He was caustic and rude, not just with myself but with the entirety of the staff. He also appeared to be very forgetful, failing to recall specific memories he had once discussed with impressive clarity and candor. In short, he hardly seemed himself at all.
Additionally troubling has been his behavior as his costumed alter ego, Spider-Man. When wearing the mask he has shown a frightening increasing in violent behavior. This has included a rumor of him killing a criminal, something he seemed incredibly opposed to in the past.
With the client no longer in therapy with me, there is little I can do to intercede. However, I remain very concerned that, like Kaine before him, Peter has developed some kind of brain abnormality. I have no other theories what could be causing this sudden change.
Both clients will be meeting with Doctor Christopher Yost this August, the findings of which can be found in the file labeled “Sibling Rivalry.”
Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee who currently provides therapy and outreach at a state university.