Squid Game Characters and Their Personality Disorders

Updated: Oct 16

Squid Game, a popular Netflix show, has intriguing characters with remarkable personality traits. We can uncover what mental illness the characters are suffering from by analyzing their behaviors.

In this article, we'll speculate what personality disorders the squid game characters suffer from. If you identify with some of the characteristics or traits, I encourage you to see a licensed mental health professional and get help.


This page contains major spoilers if you haven't watched the show yet.


A 90-minute to two-hour interview is usually required to acquire a diagnosis, during which the psychiatrist asks between 40 and 100 questions. There's a lot of specificity and carefulness that goes into a diagnosis. For educational purposes, we're presuming that the individuals are suffering from some form of mental illness.


Squid Game is a work of fiction. Everything is blown out of proportion, everything is more severe, there are absurd settings, and the show exaggerates personality features. If you recognize yourself in some of the characteristics, that does not mean that person is you.


Seong Gi-Hun

Seong Gi-Hun is the main character in the show. Gi-Hun is a kind of anti-hero. He's broke, and the first time we see him in episode one, he steals his mother's credit card, withdraws cash, and spends it on horse racing. He loses some money, bets again, and finally wins, displaying an emotional outburst.


Gi-Hun is divorced and makes big promises to his daughter. She isn't surprised when he fails to deliver on his promises because she knows her dad is unreliable. Gi-Hun joins the Squid Game out of desperation for money. (Warning: major spoilers ahead!) He proceeds through the Squid Game and wins it all. He now has a large sum of money as a result of his victory. In theory, his problems should be solved. However, he feels awful for the next year, consumes alcohol, and dyes his hair. He appears to be at a loss for what to do with himself.

Finally, he is headed to the airport to catch a flight to see his daughter. He appears to be on his way to living a regular life. On the verge of boarding the airplane, he turns around and decides to walk away. The presumption is that he's going to join the next round of the Squid Games.


Diagnosis Seong Gi-Hun from Squid Game

Gi-Hun is one of the more stable characters compared to the others in this article. Gi-Hun is suffering from a Gambling addiction. Part of the reason he's broke is that he appears to have worked multiple jobs without being able to store away money.


Even though he has often failed to show up for his daughter and has a crippling gambling addiction, we're still rooting for him. His daughter still loves and cares about him. She understands that it's not his fault and that he's a good person who can't stop gambling.


''People with addictions aren't bad people.''

Impulsivity and future discounting are common traits of gambling, pathologic gambling, and behavioral addictions. People with behavioral addictions have a hard time controlling their impulses and making plans for the future. They prefer short-term gain over long-term gain. Experiments uncovered that someone with a behavioral addiction will take one dollar today rather than ten dollars tomorrow.


Kang Sae-Byeok

She escaped from North Korea, and her brother is in an orphanage. She's trying to figure out a way to get her mom smuggled out of North Korea. She doesn't smile much, and she doesn't seem to relate to other people. She's a bit of a loner who distrusts others.


She's quiet and reserved, except for a few occasions. She became agitated after learning that someone couldn't assist her in smuggling her mother out of North Korea, which resulted in her burning him with boiling tea. We witness that pattern throughout the show, where she is calm and reserved and appears to have control of her emotions until there is an emotional outburst.

Diagnosis Kang Sae-Byeok from Squid Game

She shows symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and attachment disorder. When people are traumatized early in life, it can manifest in different ways. For Kang Sae-Byeok, it mostly seems to have developed into attachment issues.


Children who grow up with emotionally supportive parents are more likely to have healthy attachment types. A child has no idea what to feel, and they can't articulate their feelings either. A child learns about the world by imitating their parents.


People with attachment issues have difficulty forming relationships and learning how to trust other people. They can't trust another person to look after them, so they have to keep their walls up all the time. Sae-Byeok grew up with the impression that the world is a dangerous place.


If you grew up in a household where your parents were not always supportive, believing that the world is a dangerous place, and you experience a lot of anxiety while you're out in the world. It will be beneficial to see a licensed mental health professional.


Ji-Yeong

Ji-Yeong is a calm character, similar to Sae-Byeok. She is not, however, as volatile as Sae-Byeok. Ji-Yeong seems uninterested in forming bonds with others. She only joins in groups if she has no other option. The most noticeable feature is that she becomes enraged whenever someone speaks about religion.  When looking at her background, you'll notice that her father was abusive. It's unclear how her father was abusive. However, the show gave the impression that he was sexually abusing her and was justifying his deeds with religion. Also worth noting is that her mother had passed away.


Diagnoses Ji-Yeong from Squid Game

Ji-Yeong is an excellent example of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even Complex PTSD. The show does an excellent job of explaining how trauma manifests itself in various ways. People who suffer from PTSD or complex PTSD may feel empty, and useless, have difficulty relating to others, and believe that no one understands them. As a result, they avoid relationships. Complex PTSD can develop in those who have been repeatedly traumatized. The distinction between PTSD and complex PTSD is that PTSD can develop from a single event such as being mistreated or in a vehicle accident. When people are repeatedly traumatized, complex PTSD emerges. Based on Ji-Yeong's history, it looks like she grew up in a repeatedly traumatic environment.


She's quiet until it comes to religious people, which is her trigger for many negative emotions.


"Trauma is the great chameleon of psychiatry since it can look like any mental illness."

When someone gets traumatized at a young age, their internal sense of self gets damaged. It makes you feel as though you're not human. You may be very confused by people who have a sense of positive identity. It's also difficult to form relationships because they require a connection between two people, and it's hard to have a relationship with someone if you feel empty on the inside.


Trauma is fascinating because it may take on many different forms.

Deok-Su

Deok-Su is the dominating criminal. He doesn't mind killing people, and he's the show's first true villain. He establishes alliances for the only sake of self-gain, not for the sake of concern, support, or anything else.


Diagnosis Deok-Su from Squid Game

He's a great example of a low-functioning Sociopath. The most noticeable trait of sociopathy is a lack of empathy for other human beings. Most people have a sort of internal moral compass that guides them in determining what is good and evil. People with antisocial personality disorder, often known as sociopathy, do not have the internal awareness that other people do.

Sociopathy in childhood is known as conduct disorder. Some diagnostic features of conduct disorder are torturing animals and setting things on fire. They don't respect other people and will sometimes inflict harm on them. It often has to do with a traumatic upbringing. Sociopathy is the typical villain. Therefore most villains in television shows, movies, and other media are sociopaths.


He's a textbook example of a masculine sociopath. If you get diagnosed with sociopathy does not mean you are this person. People that are on the sociopathy scale are useful for jobs like doctors, psychiatrists, etc.

Mi-Nyeo

Mi-Nyeo is overly friendly. Her relationships tend to turn extremely fast. She figures out the power dynamic and forms an alliance with the gangster. She'll be super into someone one second, and the next second she'll be not interested in them anymore. She's also quite manipulative and hypersexual.


Diagnosis Mi-Nyeo from Squid Game Mi-Nyeo is the classic media portrayal of a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Unfortunately, when the media shows someone with BPD, it frequently portrays it as a negative stereotype. In the show, she is portrayed as a crazy ex-girlfriend.


Some traits someone with BPD has are the inability to maintain stable relationships, experiencing heavy mood swings, manipulative behavior, and splitting.


Early-life traumas can lead to attachment issues, PTSD, complex PTSD, and BPD. It can develop in lite versions of all of these mental illnesses as well. BPD patients are extremely sensitive. They will feel fantastic one day, and then their mood will sink the next day when people do not live up to their expectations. These mood swings are often misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. However, People with BPD identities are formed by how they are treated by others.


BPD patients frequently feel trapped and emotionally manipulated into loving someone. There's a lot of splitting going on as well. It means that when they interact with a group of individuals, they will adore some of them and despise others.

They'll believe that one person is perfect, while everyone else is terrible, so their relationships become very black-and-white.


People with BPD will oftentimes try to extract promises of fidelity from other people, and they'll try to guilt-trip you. This behavior stems from fear of abandonment.


Cho Sang-Woo

Sang-Woo appears to be a neutral character. He went to university and got successful in finance as a result of his education. Later on, he becomes the show's second villain. Gi-Hun is genuine and wants to work together with Sang-Woo. Sang-woo, on the other hand, is being cautious. He only collaborates for the sake of self-gain. In the episode where he gets the concept for the sugar game, he remembers that he should have an easy shape. Rather than sharing this information with his group, he suggests splitting up. As a result, he tried to get Gi-Hun killed.

Diagnosis Cho Sang-Woo from Squid Game

Sang-Woo is a great example of a high-functioning Sociopath. He isn't fully cold-hearted or numb, and he feels some empathy. He shares many characteristics with Deok-Su, such as his willingness to throw others under the bus. He'll put himself first and strive to build partnerships to benefit himself. He's a ruthless competitor and has the "ends justify the means." mentality.


Sociopaths can still be good people. If you watch his facial expressions between the first and last episode, you can see his internal struggle.


In the real world, mental illness is different than the stigma that popular media represents it as.