So I was looking up lasting effects of emotional abuse and I found this…
Running the risk of sounding callous, my initial response to this was “well, duh!”. Because of course Finn’s character and story have so many parallels to that of an adult survivor of emotional abuse. After all that is what he is.
Finn suffered an enormous amount of abuse at the hands of the First Order, physically but most certainly also emotionally. His story in TFA is a hero’s journey, but it is also the story of an abuse survivor breaking free of his abusers, reclaiming his life and identity, and the beginning of healing.
His character and story is so important because it shows us that survivors can be heroes too, that we can stand up for ourselves and fight back, while still being kind and gentle.
Too often, nearly always, survivors are portrayed as aggressive and violent, or alternately meek and submissive with no opinion or identity of their own.
And Finn? Finn is so damn important because through him for once we get to be the hero, while not erasing ourselves. We get to fight and fight back, without being portrayed as inherently violent or without control. We get to take the reigns of our life’s, to see the fear there always are in doing so, but to do it anyway.
And most of all. We get to stand up and tell our abusers no, you do not control me and to do so without shutting our hearts down to others, while still being kind and compassionate.
Finn’s story is one of an abuse survivor, but it also so much more and his portrayal and arc in TFA so rare in media. The abuse he suffered is important to his character, but while it affects him it does not define him.
And no, the comparison isn’t perfect for exactly that reason.
Maybe that to me is the most important thing about him. The reminder that while we are affected by what we suffered as children, it does not define us. We are all so much more.
And so is Finn.