Flowisk Garden

Could Flowey Have PTSD?

While according to the game's narrative, Flowey's emotional problems stem from a lack of soul, I believe that his problems can also be explained as something else: PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. On this page, I want to explain in detail why I believe this to be the case, by examining what PTSD entails.

PTSD symptoms are split up into multiple categories, and I feel that Flowey exhibits several of them over the course of the game. For the sake of fairness, I will list even symptoms that Flowey does not seem to exhibit. The symptoms that he seems to show will be bolded, and a few symptoms that he does not show—but often are not exhibited in children—will be italicized.

The Symptoms of PTSD

Intrusive Memories and Reliving

  • Recurrent intrusive memories about the event(s)
  • Reliving the event(s), also known as flashbacks
  • Nightmares about the event(s)
  • Psychological distress and/or physical reactions when reminded of the event(s)
  • In children, recreating elements of the event(s) during play


  • Avoiding thinking about the event(s)
  • Avoiding reminders of the event(s)
  • Inability to recall all details of the event(s)

Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood

  • Persistent beliefs that the world is unsafe
  • Blaming oneself for the event(s)
  • Feelings of anger, shame, fear, or guilt about the event(s)
  • Inability to feel positive emotions such as joy or love
  • Emotional numbness
  • Losing interest in activities one previously enjoyed
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Hopelessness about the future

Negative Changes in Emotional Response

  • Irritability, aggressive behavior, angry outbursts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always being on guard
  • Self-destructive behavior, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts

A Closer Look

Now that I've listed the symptoms, I'd like to talk more about instances in the game where I think Flowey exhibits these symptoms. Let's begin.

  • In children, recreating elements of the event(s) during play

At the end of the Omega Flowey fight—but before the six souls rebel against him—Flowey taunts Frisk's helplessness and urges them to call out for help:

Call for help. I dare you. "Mommy! Daddy!" "Somebody help!" See what good it does you!

When Frisk indeed calls for help and initially receives no answer, Flowey is happy to taunt them further:

But nobody came.

This attempt to torment Frisk directly parallels the fear Flowey experienced when he woke up as a flower, in his father's garden. When this happened, he became frightened, realizing that he couldn't feel his limbs and that his body had turned into a flower. In a panic, he called for help:

"Mom! Dad! Somebody help me!" I called out.

The unfortunate result of his pleas, however, clearly stuck with him:

But nobody came.

  • Persistent beliefs that the world is unsafe
    Blaming oneself for the event(s)
    Feelings of anger, shame, fear, or guilt about the event(s)

As he explains several times throughout the game, Flowey's motto is "kill or be killed"—a motto that implies a view that the world is a dangerous place. When Frisk has the opportunity to speak to him as Asriel, he explains the origin of this worldview: because he showed mercy to attacking humans rather than killing them, he died, and was subsequently reborn as a flower. Futhermore, he admits to blaming himself for this outcome, as his death could've been prevented has he fought back.

I was the one that resisted. And then, because of me, we… Well, that's why I ended up a flower. Frisk… This whole time, I've blamed myself for that decision. That's why I adopted that horrible view of the world. "Kill or be killed."

  • Inability to feel positive emotions
    Emotional numbness

Flowey explains that his ability to feel compassion and love for others vanished. Some time after he awoke in his father's garden, Asgore eventually found him and attempted to console him. However, this seemed to yield no particular emotional response from Flowey.

He held me with tears in his eyes, saying… "There, there. Everything is going to be alright." He was so… Emotional. But… For some reason… I didn't feel anything at all.

Unfortunately for Flowey, as the weeks went by, he still couldn't seem to feel anything despite his best efforts.

I soon realized I didn't feel ANYTHING about ANYONE. My compassion had disappeared! And believe me, it's not like I wasn't trying. I wasted weeks with that stupid king, vainly hoping I would feel something.

After his father failed to evoke any particular postive emotions within Flowey, he eventually became dejected and ran away from home. From there, he sought out his mother, Toriel, who was unfortunately no more successful than Asgore had been.

I thought of all people, SHE could make me feel whole again. … She failed. Ha ha…

  • Feeling detached from others

Flowey states that the only person he could possibly still care about is Chara, but at the same time, he is convinced that he couldn't actually care about them. Furthermore, he sees himself as being completely unlike everyone around him, due to this emotional disconnect.

There's only one person I could care about anymore. And even then, I couldn't TRULY care about them.

I'm not LIKE everybody else.

As an interesting sidenote, such feelings are not uncommon amongst sufferers of C-PTSD, or Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a result of multiple traumas over a period of time rather than one particular event.

  • Hopelessness about the future

After Flowey concluded that he could no longer love others, he became despondent and, eventually, made an earnest attempt to end his life. Due to a fear of death, as well as uncertainty regarding what happens to a soulless person after their death, this suicide attempt failed, and Flowey discovered his newly-acquired ability to save and reset. For a while, he decided to use this ability to help and befriend everyone, but eventually he overused his power and burned himself out, becoming tired of everyone and turning to killing others out of curiosity. Eventually, even this became uninteresting.

At the end of the pacifist route, Asriel confides some information about his past to Frisk. This somewhat alleviates some uncertainties and regrets of his, but doesn't completely dispel his worries, as he knows that he cannot maintain his true form and will soon return to being a flower.

In a little while… I'll turn back into a flower. I'll stop being "myself". I'll stop being able to feel love again.

Of course, he is certain to become a flower once again, but he's very quick to adopt a pessimistic outlook.

  • Irritability, aggressive behavior, angry outbursts

It may be a stretch to connect this behavior to psychological trauma, but by the time Frisk enters the Underground, Flowey's personality has become far more aggressive and violent than the personality he had in life as Asriel. He is also temperamental, being easily provoked.

Is this a joke? Are you braindead? RUN. INTO. THE. BULLETS!!!

  • Self-destructive behavior, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts

Following the realization that his emotions had been stifled and that Chara was gone, Flowey became dejected enough to attempt suicide.

But I decided… It wasn't worth living anymore. Not in a world without love. Not in a world without you.

As previously stated, this suicide attempt is what made Flowey aware of his newly-acquired power to save and reload. Following his genuine suicide attempt, he made multiple other attempts for the sake of testing his powers.

Again and again, I brought myself to the edge of death.

After being defeated by Frisk in his Omega Flowey form, he seems to fall back into despair, and tries to goad Frisk into killing him:

Killing me is the only way to end this.

Should Frisk refuse to kill him, Flowey breaks down crying:

…why are you being… …so nice to me? I can't understand. I can't understand! I just can't understand…

Some Symptoms Flowey Does Not Exhibit

As mentioned towards the beginning of this page, there are certain symptoms Flowey does not show. However, because there are differences in how PTSD manifests between children and adults, him not showing these symptoms would not be out of the ordinary. For example, children might not forget aspects of the traumatic event, instead merely misremembering the order of events. They might also feel that there were signs that the trauma was going to occur, and believe that they can prevent future harm by being cautious. Finally, rather than experiencing flashbacks, children might instead compulsively recreate elements of their trauma during play.