Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adina's Mental Health

As you know, Divergent Lives is a story that centers around the lives of fraternal twins separated at birth. Adina Cruz Rosario is one of the twins. Today I would like to examine Adina's mental health and show how the mental imbalance she suffers from is at the core of her actions in this story.

When puberty hits, it is a well known fact that hormones are raging and this is a very tenuous time for young teens. Family support, especially parental support, is crucial. Generally, your body is changing and your emotions are all over the place. There is angst to spare. Everything that is experienced by a young adult at this age is huge.

Adina began this process of her own human development during a time in NYC when a lot of change was happening. The women's movement was in full swing; America was in the midst of the civil rights movement and "political corrected-ness" was in its infancy.

Her parents are old world Puerto Rican immigrants trying to raise her with the ideals they grew up with. As the only child of these immigrant parents, Adina also had the burden of having been born after a difficult pregnancy so she was very much protected her whole life but especially so during the early stages of puberty. Many of the changes in her body were dismissed with comments such as "You're becoming a woman now" and "You are in the process of losing your innocence."

The protection of her virginity was over-emphasized and her very own value was dependant on her being able to present herself as a virgin to her future husband. If she couldn't do that, she was told over and over that she would go to hell because God would never allow her into the kingdom of Heaven if she were to die as an unmarried woman who wasn't a virgin.

As a teenager, Adina was not allowed to participate in sleep-overs. Friends outside of school were scarce. The friendships she did develop were superficial and those came much later -- during her years in college.

So she spent a lot of time reading, and she was very smart. She kept up with current events and she believed everyone had a right to choose whatever path they wanted in life.

At an early age, she became curious about sex and she turned away from her religious upbringing. She was arrogant in her rationale that religious zealots were uneducated and beneath her.

In her mid teens she fell in love with a young man from the other side of the tracks. She became pregnant then lost the baby in a suspicious miscarriage. This event triggered a change in her mental health and her development took a turn for something ugly and sinister. Her sociopathic tendencies became dominant and she was institutionalized for a time.


As a mother, I've always felt that when a child is going through puberty, it was necessary to be extra careful about the things you said and did. A child's ego is fragile during this time. I think it is crucial to constantly support, encourage and shower them with accolades so as to help build healthy self esteem.

What do you think? Does doing the above help create arrogant sociopaths or does it even matter? Are sociopaths; psychopaths even narcissistic personalities born this way?

I would love to hear what you think!

Next up: RJ's Mental Health



  1. Personally coming from a somewhat similar background in regards to religion and being somewhat sheltered, I do believe it has a heavy impact on one's mental development. The things that parents are trying so desperately to shield children from become teasers to the child so to speak. They become more inquisitive and develop a curiosity that in turn makes them want to see for themselves. Constantly causing internal battles that can lead to mental disorders. I think it is rare that one is just born with these disorders, although genetics can also play a role as well. It is almost always a trigger that lies within from a previous traumatic experience.

    1. I agree with you PhatPhat, that being raised in a sheltered (read "protective") environment only invites curiosity. The forbidden is enticing. Anyone know of a story involving an apple, a snake and a couple in a garden?

      I also agree, or rather refuse to believe that you can be born this way. Infants at birth can't possibly be born killers. I have no scientific basis for believing that, but I find it extremely hard to believe that if in fact a child is born this way, there is no help for him or her without having had a chance to form its own personality.