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Personality Dysfunctions on The Characters in Winnie The Pooh

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Table of contents

  1. Winnie the Pooh
  2. Piglet
  3. Eeyore
  4. Rabbit
  5. Owl
  6. Christopher Robin

Reach back for a moment, if you will, to a time of much simpler thought and understanding. Take your time as this will create disparate experiences as the person differs. Back to the time where we received information and understood it to be the surface level and we didn’t notice the twisted underlying themes or sly adult jokes inserted in our kid-friendly censored books and shows. Now look at them with the eyes that you currently possess (assuming you have eyes, there’s nothing wrong with not having eyes except that you won’t be able to read this for yourself and someone else’s voice could take the creativity out of your perception) and realize the plethora of childhood measures of entertainment and notice the tricks of the guile authors and creators of these stories. You’ll notice that as you think back, the story of Winnie the Pooh comes to mind, the tale of a boy named Christopher Robin and his endeavors with Winnie the Pooh and the other residents of the Hundred Acre Woods.

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Alan Alexander Milne (A.A. Milne) wrote the stories for his son, Christopher Robin Milne, as childish entertainment pieces with the intent of then being children’s stories and nothing more. This intention was far from a reality as his life’s work as an author is clouded by the four children’s stories and caused many problems for Milne and his family. The main problem being between Milne and his son Christopher Robin as he describes in his autobiography that his father “…had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son”. The troublesome relationship affected Milne in his final days as he ended his life contrary to the success of Winnie the Pooh bringing joy to others, in that his life’s end was not joyous as he had a stroke in 1952 that restricted him to a wheelchair until his death in 1956.

The significance of Winnie the Pooh being an example of the stories from childhood that shed a new light and fresh perspective once an adult is the analysis of its characters. It has long been a fan’s discussion that the characters of Winnie the Pooh each suffer from a personality dysfunction based on the actions of the characters in the stories. The personality dysfunction associated with each character along with the actions of that character that evoke their association with such disorders will be explored through character analysis of Milne’s creation of each character’s storyline in the original Winnie the Pooh stories. Explanation of the personality dysfunction associated with the characters along with their connection by actions in the stories and the extent of their personality traits’ associations with the disorder will be explored. The research intends to discover to what extent are the fans correct in their suggested correlation of the characters to the actual characters’ behavior in the first story in the quartet of children’s stories, Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh

Winne the Pooh is the main character that “lives under the name of Sanders” in the Hundred Acre Woods. Pooh is associated with “Addictive Personality Disorder” in reference to his love of honey and relentless actions taken to get honey at all costs.

Addictive Personality is an“…informal term based on the belief that certain people have a particular set of personality traits that predisposes them to addiction…”and can act as a gateway to other personality dysfunctions or disorder). There are a few characteristics that are associated with addiction such as: impulsivity, sensation-seeking behavior, negative affect, negative urgency, neuroticism, disagreeableness, narcissism, and even aggression. Impulsivity can be described sometimes as spontaneous actions without much care about the consequences of such actions which could lead to risky behaviors. Sensation –seeking behavior is similar to impulsivity adding reason to the actions being to fulfill the need for a certain experience. Negative affects refer to unpleasant emotions — anger and sadness — that lead to maladaptive behavior, which includes substance abuse. The urgency is how hastily a person responds to distress and with that urgency, they may have difficulty managing stress in a healthy way and often turn to substance abuse to deal with it. Neuroticism includes people that respond to adversity negatively with emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, and irritability. Disagreeableness refers to the correlation of addiction to be associated with selfishness, unfriendliness, and uncooperativeness. Aggression is characterized by hostility and violent behavior toward others and Narcissism suggests a heightened sense of self-importance both are associated with gaming addiction.


Piglet is the lovable pig-based character that is seen as Pooh’s sidekick as he is with Pooh in the majority of his endeavors.

Although it may seem as if it is a part of your personality, anxiety isn’t considered a personality disorder as personality disorders are psychological and take on the characteristics of personalities that are considerably different than cultural norms to the extent of causing significant distress and interpersonal problems. The personality disorders that are linked to Anxiety are separated into three clusters A, B and C used by the DSIM-IV-TR which is used to evaluate personality disorders.

Cluster A includes the Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal personality disorders. Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is the mental stat of long-term patterns of distrust and suspicion of others but isn’t a full psychotic disorder as schizophrenia. Schizoid personality disorder is a pattern of indifference to social relationships, with a limited range of emotional expression and experience. Schizotypal personality disorder is described as odd or eccentric behavior with little to no close relationships and a general lack of understanding relationships form or their behavior’s impact on others.

Cluster B includes the Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic personality disorders. Antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy, is a mental condition where people show no understanding or care for right versus wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of other people. Borderline personality disorder, also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, consists of abnormal behavior such as unstable relationships with people, unstable sense of self, unstable emotions over a long term. Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by the constant need for attention, emotional overreaction, and suggestibility. Narcissistic personality disorder is shown through individuals that behave with a lack of the ability to empathize with others and a greater sense of self-importance.

Cluster C includes Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive Compulsive personality disorders in the sense of being anxious or fearful which is the cluster that most fits Piglet. Avoidant personality disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by a lifelong pattern of extreme social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and sensitivity to rejection. Dependent personality disorder is a psychiatric condition identified as the overreliance on other people to meet one’s emotional and physical needs. Obsessive Compulsive personality disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that affect the people that suffer from it negatively with unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations or obsessions leading them to behave or commit certain mental acts in response to the thoughts and obsessions.

The type of anxiety personality disorder that fits Piglet the most within Cluster C would have to be the Dependent personality disorder. Beyond its definition, Dependent Personality Disorder is characterized by patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about one’s environment and oneself that are shown in a plethora of social and personal aspects of life. When these traits are not flexible, maladaptive, and cause notable impairment of functionality or subjective distress, they’re considered to have this personality disorder. Also, when the behavior of a person strays from the normal in one’s cognition, emotional expression, interpersonal functions, or control of impulses.

People, or in this case characters, with Dependent personality disorder lack trust in their abilities and tend to follow others ideas because they feel that they are better compared to themselves. Loss of loved ones or separation from others could bring them tremendous devastation and they would even pain themselves to the extent of suffering to stay in relationships. They tend to view themselves in an inferior light and make their abilities seem less than they are. Symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty making decisions without reassurance from others
  • Extreme passivity
  • Problems expressing disagreements with others
  • Avoiding personal responsibility
  • Avoiding being alone
  • Devastation or helplessness when relationships end
  • Unable to meet ordinary demands of life
  • Preoccupied with fears of being abandoned
  • Easily hurt by criticism or disapproval
  • Willingness to tolerate mistreatment and abuse from others.

The causes are unknown but it usually appears in early adulthood and those that are at higher risk tend to have been extremely sick or experienced separation anxiety as a child and it is more prevalent in women than men.


Have you ever heard the sound of a donkey in England? According to A.A. Milne, that sound is “Eeyore”.

The personality disorder associated with Eeyore the donkey of the Winnie the Pooh story is that of depressive personality disorder or depression, and the two are often mistaken to be expressions of the other when they aren’t the same thing. The main difference between them being that a person with Depressive Personality can have Depression, but a person with Depression isn’t necessarily Depressive Personality. Depressive Personality isn’t classified as being a personality disorder but it can be considered to be under the category of ‘Personality Disorder Not Specified’ which means that there isn’t enough research to classify Depressive Personalities as a named personality disorder, but there is evidence of its’ existence.

Depressive personality is characterized by the evidence of personality traits that can drop a person’s sense of well-being. The technical definition being the traits of: Depressivity, Anxiousness, Anhedonia- absence of pleasure or the ability to experience it.

Depressivity is described by the Pallipedia as “Feelings of being intensely sad, miserable, and/or hopeless. Some patients describe an absence of feelings and/or dysphoria; difficulty recovering from such moods; pessimism about the future; pervasive shame and/or guilt; feelings of inferior self-worth; and thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior”.

Anxiousness is described by as being full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous. Earnestly desirous; eager. Or attended with or showing solicitude or uneasiness. Anhedonia is described by as the loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature depression, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses. Depressive Personality physically looks more like the following as one with DP would:

  • Feel dejected, gloomy, and worthless most of the time and is not a result of situational depression or chemical depression
  • Be overly self-critical and derogatory without valid justification for attitude or comments
  • Is negativistic, critical and judgmental toward others
  • Has a pessimistic point of view
  • Feel guilty or remorseful most of the time without reason to explain feelings.


The personality disorder that most associated with Rabbit is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Rabbit is portrayed as the character that likes to be in charge and can always present a clever idea. He likes to know things from the beginning, for example, consulting Christopher Robin about getting Pooh out of his bind or about the expedition to the North Pole. His desire to be in situational control is a glimpse into his OCD.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is a mental condition where one is preoccupied with rules, orderliness, and control. It tends to present itself in families, showing the option that it may involve genes (medline plus). It’s a preoccupation with perfectionism, mental and interpersonal control, all at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. This isn’t an occasional instance or circumstance, in order to be considered to have this personality disorder, this desire for situational control is reflected in the daily actions of that person and will be displayed in almost all of their situations. OCPD or OCD would apply if an apparent pattern lasts and is consistent across a range of personal and social situations. Individuals with this personality disorder usually feel most comfortable in situations with high control and may not express comfort in situations with others that express their emotions openly.

The symptoms of an individual with OCPD is one that expresses four or more of the following, that individual:

  • Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
  • Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
  • Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
  • Is over-conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
  • Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
  • Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
  • Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
  • Shows significant rigidity and stubbornness


In the first book of the Winnie the Pooh series, Owl is depicted as a wise and most educated character in the Hundred Acre Woods as the other characters come to him for information. He considers himself to be rather knowledgeable as he offers a font of knowledge, some invented by himself, and acts as the writer and reader. However, Owl can’t even spell his name correctly. Owl is associated with having Dyslexia, which by most definitions is considered to be a learning disorder more so than a personality disorder. Nonetheless, having Dyslexia affects the social and emotional aspects of one’s life.

Dyslexia at its base causes difficulty with reading, spelling, writing, and speaking; it’s often confused with other learning and attention disorders with similar difficulties such as Dysgraphia — the inability to write coherently, as a symptom of brain disease or damage — but they aren’t the same things. Dyslexia is a lifelong, brain-based condition that causes language difficulty and the brain has trouble understanding certain types of information. For example, matching letter sounds and symbols like the letter ‘b’ making the “buh” sound. Dyslexia can be characterized as having:

  • Difficulty associating sounds with letters and letters with sounds
  • Confusion when pronouncing words and phrases, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”
  • Difficulty reading aloud with the proper tone and grouping words and phrases together appropriately
  • Difficulty “sounding out” unfamiliar words
  • Trouble writing or copying letters, numbers and symbols in the correct order
  • Trouble rhyming

Dyslexia can be confused with Dyscalculia, which is referred to sometimes as “math dyslexia” which includes problems understanding numbers. Individuals with Dyscalculia have trouble with:

  • Read numbers incorrectly
  • Have trouble copying and writing math numbers and symbols
  • Have trouble with math concepts, such as counting, measuring and estimating
  • Struggle to master the “basics” (such as doing quick addition and subtraction in their head) that are key to working independently and efficiently.

The other learning disorder most confused with Dyslexia is Dysgraphia, which makes it hard for individuals to put words on paper and spell when writing. This is still shown in Dyslexia, but with Dysgraphia the individual could have trouble with the mechanics of writing. A student may have trouble physically gripping a pen or become tired easily when writing.

Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin is the reason for the Winnie the Pooh stories and he serves as one of the main characters throughout the many adventures through the Hundred Acre Woods. As mentioned earlier, the Winnie the Pooh stories were children’s stories written by A.A. Milne for his own son Christopher Robin Milne. The point of view in the story is told from the 2nd person, alluding to the presence of an ominous voice that knows all. Based on word choice, it can be interpreted from reading that he was physically telling the stories to Christopher as it includes responses from the young boy in the story. A.A. Milne transitions the role of Christopher Robin fluently from active response to the narration to literary inclusion and back. As far as the personality disorder that is associated with Robin, most interpret his role as a character to be schizophrenic or suffering from schizophrenia personality disorder.

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Schizophrenia is a personality disorder that affects the thoughts, feelings, and actions of an individual and they may have a very difficult time differentiating between reality and imaginary life. They may also show signs of being withdrawn or unresponsive including trouble expressing “normal” emotions in a social setting. It’s unclear still what causes Schizophrenia, but some theories include genetics (heredity), biology (abnormal characteristics in the brain’s make up or structure), and possible viral infections/immune disorders.

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