The Edward Nygma Secret Mental File

Have you ever wonder about the psychological state of Batman’s villains? I do. So, let’s dive in and learn more!

How It Started For Edward Nygma

Here is the Edward Nygma secret mental file!

His name has a few variants from Edward Nygma, Edward Nigma, and Edward Nashton. This villain belongs to DC Comics, and his creators are Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. It was in October of 1948 that Edward Nygma made his first appearance in Detective Comics #140.

Edward Nygma or The Riddler is one of Batman’s most enduring rogues. His approach is to leave clues and puzzles for either the GCPD to solve or Batman himself. Batman considers him a criminal mastermind of Gotham City.

DC Comics — Batman Rogues by Mikel Janín
DC Comics — Batman Rogues by Mikel Janín

A fun fact about The Riddler is that he became IGN’s 59th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. Many adaptations of the character are available. He was part of cartoon series and movies, live-action movies and series, and video games.

Many Puzzling Backstories

The origin store of Nygma starts with his fascination with puzzles when he was just a child. A teacher announces a puzzle contest in school, and the winner would be who solved it the fastest. So naturally, Nygma wants to win for the victorious glory.

DC Comics - The Riddler - Arkham Games
DC Comics – The Riddler – Arkham Games

To achieve his goal, Nygma breaks into his school at night to solve the puzzle so he could know it by heart and time himself. The story goes that he won the contest despite cheating and receives a book of riddles for his prize as a winner.

Nygma grows up to become a master of puzzles as a carnival employee. He outrivals with deceitful games with every single customer he encounters. With Nygma, it’s all about mind games and puzzles, which earns him the name The Riddler. He goes from a carnival employee to a criminal with murderous tendencies.

The New 52 Riddler

Not only did Nygma go under a complete makeover, but his story also changed drastically. His story starts at Arkham Asylum, where under his personal gas, The Joker has Riddler tell a secret. Nygma figured out a way to escape Arkham Asylum all along but decided to remain in the facility.

DC Comics – The Riddler – The New 52

When the Zero-Year storyline started, Nygma proves to be relatively more intelligent than anyone could think. He bested Batman twice. He even took over Gotham by turning it into a flooded wasteland.

The Riddler also crossed over to The Flash storyline of The New 52.

The Rebirth of Riddler

Nygma’s story starts again at Arkham Asylum. In The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story beginning after the events of Zero-Year, Batman recalls the battle between the two. Riddler stabbed a police officer twenty-six times after his arrest, forced to spit out the whereabouts of The Joker.

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He blackmailed his way out with information on every police officer’s family. Nygma then got himself a partner in The Joker.

That is only the beginning of Nygma’s story in the Rebirth storyline showcasing his mental abilities.

But What About Gotham?

The Riddler from the television series Gotham is a character one can grow fond of quickly. Edward Nygma is a genius forensic scientist at the GCPD. He demonstrates mental capabilities beyond anyone in his field. But, Nygma lacks the social skills to make friends or demonstrating interest in a co-worker in the archives.

Gotham – Oswald Cobblepot and Edward Nygma

Nygma became Riddler after numerous failures and pushed over the edge. His mind created the Riddler to protect him from any more pain caused by the outside world. Riddler acts like a memory suppressor by manifesting himself as a ‘real’ person. However, Nygma loses control for periods, and there are fights between the two.

Gotham - The Riddler
Gotham – The Riddler

Oswald Cobblepot or Penguin shows affection toward Nygma, who doesn’t realize that Oswald’s friendship is one a lover would give. Once he understands his friend’s love for him, he expresses his attraction toward a woman, and it costs him a part of his sanity. Nygma was made not born a criminal.

The Mind Of A Narcissist

Edward Nygma shows signs, quite early in his origin story, of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is a mental condition that creates inflation in self-importance. The patient has a profound need for overwhelming attention and admiration even. This creates a lack of empathy for people around the patient.

DC Comics - The Riddler - Mikel Janín
DC Comics – The Year Of The Villain – The Riddler by Mikel Janín

But, people with narcissistic personality disorder have abysmal self-esteem and are quite fragile. They are helpless in front of the slightest disapproval. This disorder causes the patient many problems in a large variety of areas in life.

DC Comics - The New - The Riddler
DC Comics – The New – The Riddler

It is next to impossible for them to maintain a healthy relationship with friends, co-workers, or intimate relations. When patients believe they deserve recognition for their work but do not get it, it creates an overwhelming sense of disappointment. As a result, all relationships become unrewarding, and most people do not enjoy their company.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder

Nygma shows apparent signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. This disorder is a multifaceted developmental syndrome. It involves the patient being relentlessly challenged in social interaction. They fail to often communicate with clarity in a verbal or nonverbal manner what they want to say or share.

They also show signs of restricted or repetitive behaviors. The overall effects of ASD and its gravity of indicators vary from individuals.

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An ASD diagnosis is available as early as two to three-years-old years old in a child. However, some children can generally develop until specific skills stop growing or regress. Autism is a lifelong condition and isn’t easy for anyone. However, people with ASD can have independent lives and productive ones at that, but it varies from individual.

How Does ASD Affect Nygma

Nygma has poor social skills and often doesn’t know when it is appropriate to say certain things. Often he speaks what he thinks without what we would say ‘a filter.’ His puzzles and riddles could be his way to socially interact with people around him.

DC Comics - The War of Jokes and Riddles - Mikel Janín
DC Comics – The War of Jokes and Riddles – Mikel Janín

We can clearly see that Nygma fails to clearly state his ideas or thoughts. Back-and-forth conversations are not ASD people’s forte. He also tends to keep to himself and hide his emotions. He doesn’t respond to social cues. The most common is direct eye contact or facial expressions.

DC Comics - The New 52 - The Riddler by Greg Capullo
DC Comics – The New 52 – The Riddler by Greg Capullo

Nygma possesses repetitive patterns and interests in specific undertakings. For example, he always has an object in his hand. He also has something to play with because of an inability to stay still. He also has a personal speech pattern to express himself. A vocabulary he created to clearly express himself. It could either be from a show he watched repetitively or a book.

In Nygma’s case, he also has a strict routine, and his interests are uncommon for a person his age, like puzzles. Sadly for Nygma, his ASD was also his beginning of other mental illnesses, a common side effect.

The Psychopathy Tendencies

Nygma’s Psychopathy tendencies are present in his absence of compassion toward people. In addition, his personality, mannerisms, and behaviors show a lack of emotional connection.

DC Comics - The War of Jokes and Riddles - Mikel Janín
DC Comics – The War of Jokes and Riddles – Mikel Janín

His psychopathy shows once he doesn’t receive the gratitude or attention he thinks he deserves for his work or devotion. His court-ship with a co-worker fails, and his psychopathy can surface. The same goes for anyone who crosses his path. His psychopathy merges with his narcissistic disorder and creates a mindset one would believe could be a multiple personality disorder but isn’t.

Nygma has a lack of emotional reactivity, and it further proves his psychopathy. His skin conductance response or SCR has a reduction to aversive stimuli. The same goes for pleasure, which reinforces the natural non-response to certain basic emotions.

DC Comics - The New 52 - The Riddler by Greg Capullo
DC Comics – The New 52 – The Riddler by Greg Capullo

The SCR also explains how Nygma can still function even when hurt, tortured, or beaten. However, his responses are different than an average person. His emotional reaction to brutal scenery or pleasant one leaves him indifferent because it doesn’t matter to him. He is a textbook psychopathy case.

My Unprofessional Diagnosis

Because I am no doctor of any kind, here is my less than professional opinion about Mr. Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler.

Edward Nygma should remain in Arkham Asylum. Sending him to Blackgate Penitentiary would be a grave mistake in his condition.

Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum

Scientist Edward Nygma suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and symptomatic textbook psychopathy. What Edward needs is in-depth therapy according to each of his distress.


In Edward’s case, he was made not born a criminal. His cognitive disorders provoked a psychopathic response because of a missing diagnosis in childhood. His elevated IQ makes him a potential risk, and he should have a therapist who is on alert. The therapist should also be good with riddles and mind puzzles to satisfy Nygma’s intelligence and keep him engaged in the therapeutic process.

DC Comics - The War of Jokes and Riddles - Mikel Janín
DC Comics – The War of Jokes and Riddles – Mikel Janín

I believe Edward Nygma could eventually have rehabilitation, but not without compassionate people around him. However, he does require supervision and encouragement. He is in distress and in need of help.

That was Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler’s secret mental file. But what do you think of The Riddler’s mental state?

The OCD Nerd,
Arielle Lyon

3 thoughts on “The Edward Nygma Secret Mental File

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