After finding out that Lori did not survive child birth on “The Walking Dead,” Rick Grimes fell to the ground crying. When he fell, he rolled into the fetal position, and this is not the first time viewers have seen this action from the show’s main character. Based on this action, there are interesting assumptions that can be made about Rick’s psychological makeup.
The first time “The Walking Dead” fans saw Rick assume the fetal position and cry was when he returned home from the hospital in the series premiere. When Lori and Carl were not home, the officer crumbled onto the floor, pulled his knees up, and began to cry. The changes in the world were too much for his mind to deal with and curling up into the position related to babies was the only natural reaction in which he could feel comfort.
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, “During their first few weeks, newborns maintain the position they had in the womb (fetal position): clenched fists; bent elbows, hips, and knees; arms and legs close to the front of the body.” This is the position everyone feels the most comfortable in during the earliest stages of life, and children can sometimes revert back to the position in times of extreme stress. When my daughter was a year old, she would occasionally assume the position in fear and my wife and I were told by her pediatrician that this was a natural reaction which would subside as she got older (which it did).
The psychology behind it
Abnormal psychology teaches that people can often experience digression to childhood habits during times of extreme stress. In Rick’s case on “The Walking Dead,” we have to assume the potential loss of his wife and child in the first episode caused the psychological digression when added with everything else he had experienced in the hospital and on his way home. In the recent example, Rick could not comprehend the impact of Lori’s death after being confronted with the baby being born, the death of T-Dog, the possible death of Carol, the walker attack on the prison, and the attack by one of the former prisoners.
The psychology of Rick
Rick is able to deal with more issues than the average person could. The character is constantly pushed to the brink, but he is often able to bring himself back for Lori’s, Carl’s, or the group’s sake. Like everyone, though, he has a breaking point. When Rick reaches his breaking point on “The Walking Dead,” he loses the control which was progressed since birth and finds himself reverting to the fetal position. Essentially, he drives himself to temporary insanity and psychological regression. If he can bring himself out of his temporary brushes with insanity, he can deal with anything the world of “The Walking Dead” can offer.
More from this contributor:
‘The Walking Dead’: Andrea is group’s Achilles’ heel
‘The Walking Dead’: Who should kill The Governor?
‘The Walking Dead’: Why we hate Lori more than Shane