I Feel the Need to Psychoanalyze Carter More

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PTSD, drug addiction, unbearable pain ... Carter has all these things and more but his main problem is his need to be working in that hospital. He clearly came back to work too early. Afterall, he was nearly cut in half with the blade of a knife one centimeter from his spine. Hobbling back to work for a full day only six weeks (?) after the attack was insane. His co-workers were amazed to see him but no one had the guts to tell him that he looked like hell and should not be there. But why was he there? He certainly could have used his time better to heal, get off pain meds, try non-drug pain relievers like acupuncture, go to therapy for his nightmares and flashbacks, etc... Carter seems to feel safe in the ER which is very ironic considering. His friends are there and he doesn't seem to have much of a life outside the hospital. In the past he has "hung out" there after his shifts have ended. He was usually smiling alot, always glad to be there. I think he does have an addictive personality but not to drugs, to the hospital. He used drugs only so he could still function at the hospital. I see the hospital as the place that took care of him and his brother when he was little. When his parents didn't know what to do for them, the doctors and nurses did. Even though his brother died, I still think Carter sees the hospital as a refuge. After this terrible attack, he still wanted to be there, to feel safe there even though that is where it happened. You could take the pain meds away from Carter and he would deal with it, take the hospital away from him and it would kill him.

-- maryann (map5860@aol.com), May 23, 2000


That is so insightful!!!! Actually, it's pretty sad to think that Carter is more addicted to the low-level Maslow's security of the hospital than he is to drugs. The first addiction sounds much harder to overcome than the second.

-- Mary G. (Lovelife.truth@iVillage.com), May 23, 2000.

What an interesting notion, Maryann. I don't think anyone, in all the threads of speculation and chatter about Carter, have made such a connection. Addicted to the hospital--it's very possible. I suppose there is still a great deal we don't know about him, even after all these years. He's a young, intelligent, extremely attractive doctor, from a wealthy family, who--amazingly--seems to have no life outside the hospital, as you said. WHY on earth would that be the case, especially before the attack that sent him even further into isolation from those who care about him? He has had no long-term, stable relationship with a woman. He lives with his grandmother. Where has this isolation come from? He seems to find solace only in helping others, making a difference and healing people, but he seems to give very little thought to healing himself. He returned to work too soon--is it possible that he couldn't stand to be alone with his thoughts and feelings, so he came back, only to be alone among his co- workers? A very interesting notion.

-- Cecelia (evilstoat@hotmail.com), May 23, 2000.

Are you by any chance related to Freud? Lol! Anyway, when you mentioned that he was probably addicted to the hospital, per se, I do agree with you. The hospital is perhaps the one constant thing in his life; probably from the time he was very young. As you said, this constancy is probably what makes him feel that it is a secure place, he feels safe there where he has been for over 6 years. When you think about it, a lot of things have been taken away from his life, both major and minor; patients dying, girlfriends moving away, cars burning up, houses burning down, parents missing, his med student dying. He's lived in several different houses all in a course of a few years. Yet the hospital has always been there. Not simply as a refuge, but more like a homebase. You asked why he couldn't stay home and recuperate; but I think the hospital is Carter's home, and obviously whilst he's there he can't sit and think and meditate about his condition. He's pushing himself, medicating himself, all so he can stay in the one place where he's most comfortable.

-- samira (matb_west@chickmail.com), May 23, 2000.

Along that vain, Cecelia, I can tell you from experience that once you have gone through a harrowing, scary, and maybe even emotionally/mentally disturbing situation, you can almost get a phobia of being alone. I know that Carter would probably feel more secure among people even if they do ignore or not talk about his pain.

-- Lauren (whateverchick@aol.com), May 23, 2000.

Carter is addicted to approval, I think. And he gets it at the hospital. I was watching "John Carter, M.D." last night. He seemed to need Benton's attention and approval like a little kid needs candy.

I don't think he's outgrown this. In the intervention meeting, he said "You have no idea how much I have been through these past few months, but I've been here -- I've showed up -- I haven't complained." To him, working hard and being a good doctor means other people will notice and approve of him. Also in the episode last night, he had this line about "My father hates it when I'm late." That kind of gives it all away right there. Carter's character has remained very consistent over the years in that respect.

-- debbie (riccardoiii@aol.com), May 24, 2000.

Carter did not move back in with his grandmother until after he was returning to work. I think he moved back in to try to feel safe. He remembered his talks with his Gamma as a teenager. The next thing we know he moves in with his Gamma. I do think carter loves working at the hospital . He loves helping people and he feels a sense of comaderie with the staff. The hospital is like home to him. However, I think he was a scared to be back at the hospital he was attacked at. However, he loved being there so he tried to shake those feelings on his own. Yes. Carter does care what people think of him. I think most people do. However, I don't think approval is the main reason he is a Dr. or works at county. I believe he trully does want to be a Dr. and help people. His caring and compasionate side he shows with patient is true. He really wants to help. He's not faking it too look good. His wanting to help people is genuine. I think he's hardworking so he can do even a better job to help people. Yes, there is an underiding need for approval, but it is not the main reason he works hard to to become a better Dr. I think many people have some form of need to get approval and respect from the people they care about. I don't think Carter's approval seeking has diminished some from the earlier seasons. He has matured and grown over the years.

-- Brenda (jckwfan@aol.com), May 24, 2000.

No, I agree that Carter wants to basically help people and that's why he's a doctor. However, I still think the approval seeking really comes out on the job. Less so than it used to, but why else would he be so concerned about dragging himself into work and "not complaining," as he said to the intervention group.

-- debbie (riccardoiii@aol.com), May 24, 2000.

I don't think that coming back to work so soon was because of approval; I think that making sure he was hiding his pain / discomfort was so that he wouldn't burden anyone else and his colleagues who were going through various venues in their person lives. He probably thought that talking to Mark when his father was dying wasn't such a good idea, burdening Kerry with his problem after her suspension wasn't a good idea etc. That has nothing to do with approval. I also think that, as many people with PTSD/Survivor's guilt, he probably thought he deserves to feel that pain, and that he should just get on with his life and be thankful that he's living.

IMO, Carter sometimes comes across to me as someone who doesn't know his own worth; his constant seeking of approval just proves that. However, I definately think that that has improved; I mean, as a student and intern you're always looking for approval. Subordinates are always looking for that, looking for compliments as that's the only indication they have that they're doing something right. I always found it kind of funny when Carter seemed to be hunting for compliments etc, but this is something that a lot of young people in general do. As he grew older, as of late, I haven't really seen a lot of this approval seeking.

-- Samira (matb_west@chickmail.com), May 24, 2000.

My only hope for next season they will get into all the things you are all saying, I think they need to. It will explain alot of why he came back to work so early, why he was over medicating himself, and maybe just explain why he is such a loner. I just hope they don't forget what all has happened, and just start off the first episode of him already at work and doing fine.

-- Paula (pbranden@dwave.net), May 24, 2000.

I think this is true for Carter, but also for just about all of the other doctors. Mark seeked refuge there after his divorce (in one epi he came in on his day off; everyone was surprised, he asked Susan if people thought it was weird, and she lied, "no"), Susan worked like crazy after she lost Susie, I even remember Doug wanting to work Christmas because he didn't want to deal with having no place else to go. After you've gone through school and you kind of have a permanent place to call "Home" for work, work becomes your social life. Have we really seen many of them hanging out with people outside the hospital? (besides Doug and his women!...and even he ended up with our ER nurse) Carter had his "outside" ER relationships with Roxanne and Elaine. In fact, last year, when we saw Lucy at a party with other students, I thought, 'oh my gosh, she DOESN'T work with all these people!'

Anyways, it is obvious that Carter is dedicated to his work: "I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to help people...", and for the right reasons. His friends are there, and even though he wouldn't admit it, he needed them.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), May 24, 2000.

I know this isn't really about this thread but,didn't Carter say he had a sister(?)I remember in the 1st season he mentioned it,and also he said in the season 2 finale something about his sister coming all the way from Paris to come to his graduation(?)

-- jessica (jlm44076@yahoo.com), May 24, 2000.

You're right, Jessica - I think it was in "John Carter, MD" where he mentioned a whole herd of relatives who were coming for his graduation when he was talking to Peter and he did say that his sister was coming from Paris. We have never seen any of his relatives other than Gamma, I don't think.

-- Melanie (msintn@hotmail.com), May 24, 2000.

He did mention his sister in the graddduation episode. I think I remember him mentioning two brothers in another episode. I know he had at least one, because I remember him telling a boy with cancer about his brother who died of leukemia.

We have seen his grandfather once (Chase's drug o.d.), but I don't ever remember seeing his parents.

-- Beth (bsmith@internet-95.com), May 24, 2000.

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