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Psychoanalysis of the Governor in The Walking Dead

Updated on November 1, 2014

The Governor is an overly selfish person who does not care about the well being and emotion of other. He only cares about those who close to them, he ignored the right and needs of others, he is also manipulative, and he does not allow people disobey him.

Manipulative behaviour

He manipulated people by playing nice and kind, making people to trust him; he is also willing to help others, to gain their trust. He is cable to control emotion; he was always considered as a claim responsible person with good leadership skills; he never expresses his anger, never express his emotion when he was upset, and he also cable to give orders and comforted others, it made him a reliable person during the crisis. People never consider him as a threat, even his decisions were often driven by his emotion.

The Governor also created terror in people’s mind, and then convinced them that following him were the only way to survive, forcing the people to rely on him.


He has low moral consideration; he is cable to understand other’s feeling but found difficult to empathise others. He displayed no guilt and shame after he killed his people and sent children to war; he values others by what they can do for him. He tend to rationalise himself when his actions against his conscience, by considering himself that he is the only victim.

Antisocial personality disorder

I believe he has antisocial personality disorder; the symptoms he displayed included repeating lying, aggressiveness, irresponsible toward others and lack of remorse. His personality might be developed after the apocalypse, or his always had antisocial personality disorder (if he always had this disorder that means his could be emotionally abusive and manipulative toward his wife and daughter).

*Abusive parents and partner are cable to pretend their family are nice and wealthy, and make the family members to keep their secret, therefore even if the Governor was antisocial before the apocalypse; it is unlikely for his friends and others aware of it.


The Governor might have a good relationship with his daughter, and he denies accepting her death by keeping in a room. Later, he project his emotion to his daughter to a young girl called Meghan, from the interaction between him and Meghan, I believe he is a loving and protecting father and husband, but I am not sure if he was manipulative toward his family, because he only met the family for a few days, which means the Governor and the family were in honeymoon stage.

His daughter might also represent the only hope of the Governor; his zombie daughter gave him motivation to survive, to maintain his personal boundaries. But when his zombie daughter was killed, it destroyed his personal boundaries, he turned his negative emotions in to hatred, and then projects these emotions to the prison (because they accepted Michonne), he became more aggressive, and he started to neglect his people that he responsible to.

*Referring to Freud, Denial is defence mechanisms that cause people refuse to admit or recognise something bad happened or happening, it often occurred when someone are not able to cope with a traumatising event, or an addict refuse to admit they are relying on drug.

*he projected his emotion toward Meghan might because they have the same hair colour, similar age, and might be similar personality as well.


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    • Matty2014 profile image

      Matty2014 3 years ago

      Well, I only watched a few episode in season 3, but I watched the whole season 4, so from what I know about him, I believe the situations that made him angry is when something or someone against his decision of destroying prison.

      What happened was Michonne killed his zombie daughter, and than the prison accepted her afterword, so he unconsciously associated his negative emotion with the prison. He did not have anyone he fully trusted to help him to cope and expressed his emotion after the trauma, and he was repressing himself either, so if anyone or anything stimulate his negative emotion, he would break down and got angry. Just like a person keep blowing air in a balloon, without releasing it, when it came to certain point, someone poke it with a needle, it explosed.

      Many people who seem claim and good at control their emotion are actually repressing themselves, and when they are repressing themselves, they are likely to turn their negative emotion into anger.

    • emilyzeinert profile image

      Emily Zeinert 3 years ago from Central Coast, NSW, Australia

      This was really interesting. Great character dissection, although, I'm unsure where you were up to in the series when you wrote this. The Governor does express his anger in a quite a few situations and completely snaps.

      I love your work, though!