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Offline PGM1961

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Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« on: March 12, 2011, 04:34:22 AM »
In the 'Camouflage' thread, the idea was brought forth that there was actually a second sister in the Therese/Jeanette backstory, and that she was killed along with their father, and the surviving sister felt so guilty that she 'recreated' her personality, so that she wasn't dead.  Here are my thoughts on the subject.

I don't think there was another sister.  Accounts show multiple personality disorders often stem from some traumatic experience, and sexual abuse is at the top of the list, along with physical abuse.  The second sister theory is possible, but I tend to think that the multiple personalities is more likely, so Occam's Razor points to that one.  Besides, in cases where one person assume the personality of someone who has died, the disorder follows a different pattern of behavior than the one shown by Therese/Jeanette.  I think the developers researched MPDs, and wrote their story so that it followed classical symptoms of multiple personalities.

Also, both 'siblings' spoke of how their father wouldn't let them go outside to play, because it was too 'dangerous'... a common tactic with abusive parents, so the kid doesn't talk to anyone else, and reveal the abuse.  I find it unlikely that a father like that would abuse one twin, and not the other, and still allow them to play together... if that were the case, he wouldn't want the one he was abusing to tell her sister, and they would be separated as well.  This is also common.  So the multiple personalities were there before the father was killed.

Here's more food for thought... which was the original 'sister'?  I think it was Jeanette, because Therese was the one who was abused by their father, and the one who killed him, so she might want to distance herself from both of those acts by saying it happened to someone else.  Then again, perhaps Therese was the original one, and the 'Jeanette' personality was created to have some safe 'haven' to retreat to, in the face of the father's abuse.  Until, of course, he abused her while the Jeanette personality was in control.  This might explain why Therese lost control and killed him... not just out of jealousy, but he had taken away her refuge from his abuse, and drastic action was called for.  Thoughts, anyone?


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Offline Porphyria

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 06:08:36 AM »
It wouldn't surprise me at all if there were only one of them. I mean she is Malk after all. I would bank on Therese being the original though. I don't think there is any way to really know. I didn't like Jeanette. I'm female.

Offline Rick Gentle

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 06:46:55 AM »
Not that this isn't a topic I'm interested in, but perhaps it would be better to move it to a different board. This one's for WODMMO discussion.

One of the reasons I think that there were two sisters originally is that the huge (almost floor-to-ceiling) portrait on the wall to the right of the entrance pictured the father and TWO little girls, with distinctive looks (one had pigtails, like Jeanette, one didn't). His hand is only on one of them, I think (which must be Therese). The picture was almost certainly commissioned after Therese's Embrace, however, so it may have made sense for her to model both Therese and Jeanette. On the other hand, the father-figure is a fairly distinctive-looking man, leading me to believe that all three were modeled on real figures. (If it were recalled from memory, I would expect him to be styilized, or at least not look bleary-eyed and unshaven. I think that it must have been done with the three being real-life models; failing that, perhaps a picture of the three together.) The two little girls don't look all THAT different from each other, though; if Therese and Jeanette were twins, this would make sense; but if they're the same person, it would make even more sense.

Additionally, Therese makes brief mention of her "siring" Jeanette ("I did sire her, after all."). If Jeanette was a creation of Therese's imagination, I doubt she'd have gone to that level of detail - she would just sort of exist, with no reason for it. On the other hand, figments of imaginations have a strange way of gaining rationality; this may be the case with Jeanette being "Embraced" by Therese. The Therese personality is a vampire; the Jeanette personality is a vampire, and created after Therese; therefore Therese must have "Embraced" Jeanette.

Therese at one point says "I was the good girl" - implying that Jeanette was the "bad girl". If Therese was the victim of sexual trauma, I would presume that she would feel like the "bad girl" - the one is suffering this punishment. With Jeanette being the bad girl and NOT suffering the trauma, I find it suspicious that Therese would conceive of it in this manner. I don't think that proves anything, but it's interesting that the Jeanette personality - the untraumatized one - would be built up as the "unhappy" or "bad" personality, instead of the happy or innocent one.

Jeanette tells of the story of the murder of their father, where Jeanette was the one lying in bed while Therese got the gun and shot their father. It could be that one personality did the one thing - lying in bed - and then switched to the other personality to get the gun, but that's a little discrepancy in speech that has tickled my brain for a while. Why would "Therese" get angry and shoot the father for abusing "Jeanette", and not just switch over to the "Therese" personality, er... when the time came? I'm reading a motive of jealousy of a sibling in that case.

One of them says that after the murder of the father, people (presumably some sort of authorities) came and split them up. Now, unless this is some sort of euphemism for psychiatric treatment, where the Jeanette personality was shut down, I don't see how the authorities could have separated one person. There would be no reason for the Therese personality to "find" the Jeanette personality again ("But they couldn't keep us apart.") if she was "cured".

In many cases of MPD, but not all, I think, the "dominant" personality has no memory of what happens when the other personality(ies) are active. (This is the case with Evan Klein in the Chicago Chronicles, another Malkavian with MPD.) And yet Therese seems aware of some activities Jeanette gets up to (such as her relationship with Bertram Tung, flirting with the player-character, stealing the amulet, etc), and vice versa (Jeanette knows when Therese gives the character quests; she knows about Therese's interests in Gallery Noir, etc). I think this can be used as evidence that these two are "complete", living personalities, instead of an incomplete fragment - Jeanette's personality having been adopted wholesale by Therese. They obviously knew each other intimately before the Embrace, given how much time they spent together.

The two also have direct conversation with both one another and with the player-character, as if they were both "listening in" at the same time. They do not forget what the other has said while the other personality is active, as multiple personalities sometimes do. They even finish one another's sentences. This gives a little more evidence to the idea of them as "two people trapped in one body" rather than more "standard" MPD.

Oh, right. I think Therese was the original sister, because she has a more domineering personality (as an elder child would), and as the one abused, it would be up to her to create the "alternate" personality. What good would it do for Jeanette to create a personality that was being abused by their father, just like she was?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 07:12:57 AM by Rick Gentle »
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Offline PGM1961

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 01:19:31 PM »
Yeah, I probably could've put this in Bloodlines section, but the thread it was spawned from was in the WODMMO section..., and I doubt most people care where it's located.  If Sig or Skyra want to move it, they can.

About the portrait... as you said, it was almost certainly done after Therese's Embrace; perhaps even by Therese herself.  Or maybe Jeanette -- she seems to be the creative, artsy half, to Therese's logic and practicality.  If that's the case, of course both personalities would be in the picture.

Therese says that after their father's death, "...they tried to separate us, but I refused."  If some asylum/orphanage really wanted to split them up, they could... unless it was impossible.  It sounds to me like some psychiatrist tried to cure her, and failed. 

Therese also says, "I chose this life, and brought you (Jeanette) into it so we could stay together."  I don't think this points to a second sister... I think it's just Therese, rationalizing the fact that if she's a vampire now, her sister has to be, too.  The deepest delusion in the world isn't going to make Jeanette human... she can't walk around in daylight, after all.  Or perhaps she tried to, once; and that's when she realized that Therese must have 'sired' her.

Also, the fact that Therese says she had a choice implies that someone explained the Embrace, before it was performed... maybe some Malkavian, trolling the asylums for a good candidate for the Embrace?  If Therese refused to be cured as a child, it's likely that she'd been in an institution since childhood.  Any Malk looking at Therese would say, "Ah!  Two for the price of one!  What a bargain!"   :smile:

As for Therese being the 'good girl'... I'm sure that's what daddy whispered in her ear.  "Be a good girl, and do what daddy says."  "Be a good girl, and don't tell anyone about this."  This betrayal of parental trust is one of the most heinous things about sexual abuse... the victim comes to equate the sexual act with love and trust, even if it's inappropriate.  In a lot of abuse cases, the victim assumes that when a foster parent or authority figure shows love and respect, they must want sex, because that's how the abusive parent acted.  Indeed, the abusive parents usually told them, "If you really love me, you'll do this."  So the victims make sexual advances to the foster parents, assuming they want the same thing.  It's really sick.  So in Therese's broken mind, she is the good girl.  Although if your player character is Malkavian, you refer to Therese as the 'dark daughter of Janus', and to Jeanette as the 'whiteness, she of alabaster and ivory'.  With Malkavian insight, your character is able to tell that between the two sisters, Therese is the killer.

Of course, with all of this, my "Jeanette is the real sister" conjecture is taking a beating.  Oh well, that part was just to spark debate.  I really do think there was always only one sister, and Therese was the original.
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Offline Rick Gentle

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 08:14:26 PM »
The issue of the Embrace brings up another point: while those who will become Malkavians are usually "on the edge" in terms of mental derangements before their Embrace, the Embrace takes this to a whole new level. It's possible that Therese's/the original sister's derangement before the Embrace was suffering from sexual trauma - but only after the Embrace did this explode into full-blown MPD. If this was the case, then there must've been a second sister, to provide the history of the two that Therese gives. In Masquerade rules, Malkavians have to take two Derangements at character creation. What is Therese/Jeanette's other derangement? (I'm not sure whether Therese's homicidal tendencies are her Derangement; she seems to be given motivation for it - getting fed up with Jeanette, the player-character seemingly acting against her, etc. Homicidal tendencies and paranoia aren't exactly rare among Cainites - Alistair Grout was paranoid, but he had good reason to be; Sebastian LaCroix certainly gets homicidal about the player-character towards the end of the game.)

Granted, usually when one vampire Embraces another, they don't tend to share the same body. (Though there is Velya the Vivisectionist and Elaine...) However, where Malkavians are involved, almost anything can happen. Especially when you bring powers like Dominate (where you can screw with peoples' memories) and Dementation (*manic laughter*), I am prepared to believe that when Therese Embraced Jeanette, she may have killed her or failed at the Embrace, thus leading her to absorb Jeanette's personality out of grief, loneliness, etc.

If Therese was the "good girl", and felt good about the sexual abuse she was suffering, she would have no need to create an alternate personality. Only if her mind was shattered by the experience would she need to create a separate personality. Not nearly all cases of rape or sexual abuse end in MPD. (At least, not that I'm aware of; these aren't statistics I keep up with.) I think that Therese is falling back on the "good girl" ploy because she does feel like the "evil twin". To me, it sounded like she was trying to convince herself. As you quoted, Malkavian player-characters refer to her as the "dark daughter", and darkness or blackness is traditionally associated with evil (at least in Western culture; a culture which both the Malkaivian player-character and Therese/Jeanette likely grew up in.)

Therese is fairly clear-headed and logical aside from her obvious mental instabilities, so I'm sure she's perfectly aware that she's a murderer and has suffered some sort of abuse - though what she considers abuse may not line up with what the rest of the world considers to be the abuse. If Jeanette was the "good" personality, then she would need to be maintained as the safe place for the Therese personality to retreat to. Instead, Jeanette causes nothing but trouble for Therese, as if inflicting the punishment that Therese feels she should receive as the "bad girl". I've never really studied psychology, more than what I pick up by watching T.V. or reading (or playing games like Bloodlines   :justabite:), but these seems like the most likely course of action to me.
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Offline VentrueIan

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 09:03:59 PM »
     I always thought of Jeanette as the original sister, namely because normally people spawn other personalities that are strong enough to protect them. The first time you hear "them' arguing you hear Therese say something like "Go ahead, run away little sister, I'll take care of everything, I always do."
     As far as there being 1 or 2 sisters, I've often wondered about the painting, but most likely something painted after the embrace by one of the personalities.
     Just a theory, but honestly, without the clarification of the creators, it could be any of the above. They may have purposely left the true answer blank just to leave you wondering about it.
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Offline Nanaloma

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 10:32:01 PM »
When there is no answer and multiple probable possibilities, one can have so much fun with it:  The sexual abuse was the father turning Therese (now, doesn't he look crazy in the portrait?) and she found him turning Jennette then turned her to save her life (due to the shotgun blast catching Jennette as well as her sire's head).  Just throwing this out to see if it is edible. 
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 10:34:08 PM by Nanaloma »

Offline PGM1961

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2011, 10:44:16 PM »
   Just a theory, but honestly, without the clarification of the creators, it could be any of the above. They may have purposely left the true answer blank just to leave you wondering about it.

True.  I think that the developers definitely want to leave you with the 'multiple personality' impression though, because it's mentioned elsewhere in the game that Therese and Jeanette are the same person (when you're talking to Bertram and Beckett, for starters).  Any discrepancies in the backstory is more likely to be due to their flawed understanding of the psychology, not because of any 'second sister' theory.  That's adding a level of complexity that I don't feel was intended by the developers.

Now, if you were making your own PnP game based on Bloodlines, you are free to include whatever backstory you feel makes the characters more interesting, and/or believable.

When there is no answer and multiple probable possibilities, one can have so much fun with it:  The sexual abuse was the father turning Therese (now, doesn't he look crazy in the portrait?) and she found him turning Jennette then turned her to save her life (due to the shotgun blast catching Jennette as well as her sire's head).  Just throwing this out to see if it is edible. 

I think Therese/Jeanette are too mature to have been Embraced by their father.  From the way the girls describe it, the abuse took place when they were children... they talk about how "father didn't let them go outside to play", because it was too dangerous; and when Therese shot her father, she blew his brains out "all over the silly clown wallpaper."  Sounds like a child's room to me.  Then there are the references I've already pointed out, which indicate that Therese was institutionalized, at least for a while.
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Offline Rick Gentle

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 09:39:58 AM »
We need to get someone from CCP/White Wolf or Troika to step in on issues like these, too! If we can't get WODMMO news, we should at least be able to delve even more deeply into the games we already own and love!
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Offline Nanaloma

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 09:24:17 PM »
Tech support?  Tech support???  What am I missing?   :cometome:

Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 05:51:28 PM »
I have to comment this one. ;)

I believe that the real sister is Therese and that the Jeanette "personality" came to life due abuse and forced isolation (lack of socialization, freedom and human touch). It is very possible that Therese has been embraced during the hospitalization and that she is telling the player in the game her own (foggy) account. Only the writer(s) that created her know the truth and I would really like to know the real "personality" and how the second came into life.
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Offline MadamePhoenica

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 04:47:55 PM »
Thought I might weight in here:


There is evidence to suggest that Therese might actually be the original sister. After Jeanette tells the story of how Therese killed her father, she talks about the police "separating them".

Jeanette: "They broke us up for a while, but the first thing you did upon your escape was find me"
Therese: "Shut up about that!"

(Personally I would love to know more about what happened there)

It stands to reason that the Jeanette personality was initially created as an escape from the abuse she was suffering at the hands of her father. It's also possible that her father scared her into not fighting back, or she could have even found she liked it against her better judgment, and blamed herself:

Jeanette: "I used to hear father come in at night. He would tell you how much he loved you in your ear before he........had his way with you.......and he didn't have to force you, you went limp and became his plaything"

Multiple personalities are often created in these circumstances to give the victim some form of control over their lives, hence why Therese is always so controlling of Jeanette. And in other instances a second personality can be the things that a person hates about themselves. Hence Therese's claim that Jeanette made their father miserable, and was an awful daughter. In other words Therese's father likely made Therese feel like everything was her fault, even when she was trying to be a good girl, so she separated that out and blames "Jeanette". She cannot come to terms with the fact she was pushed so far as to kill her own father to save herself from the continuing abuse.

Other interesting points:

*When you first talk to Therese, she apologises for Jeanette's earlier behaviour - "I do apologise for my sister's crassness if it made you feel uncomfortable. She's unabashedly scandalous, but I suppose in the club business that kind of personality is a necessary evil"

*Others have talked about the big painting of the girls and the man in their room. Of the two, Therese is the art buff, so it could be that she painted the picture herself to portray the fact that she truly believed she had a sister, even though in reality she probably didn't. Upon thinking about that though (and this thought has crossed my mind a few times), it is possible that she did have a sister when she was a kid, and the story about her father lying with Jeanette is true. Because the father drank, it's also possible that Jeanette may have in fact died at the hands of the father's abuse, which pushed Therese to breaking point, causing her to snap and shoot him, and wondering why it happened to Jeanette and not her. Another instance when a second personality is sometimes created is to try and deal with the "guilt" of not being able to protect a loved one from death.

*Right at the end when the PC is forced to make a decision, Jeanette admits to foreseeing her "demise": - "So, dear sister, I knew this night might come. Any message you want me to give father? An apology? A love letter?"


Leaving a story like this one with vague backstories leaves it open to interpretation, and I suspect this is what the original creators of the story wanted. Makes it fun though  :chinscratch:  :rock:  :cometome:

Offline Raving_Neonate

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 05:14:02 PM »

*Others have talked about the big painting of the girls and the man in their room. Of the two, Therese is the art buff, so it could be that she painted the picture herself to portray the fact that she truly believed she had a sister, even though in reality she probably didn't. Upon thinking about that though (and this thought has crossed my mind a few times), it is possible that she did have a sister when she was a kid, and the story about her father lying with Jeanette is true. Because the father drank, it's also possible that Jeanette may have in fact died at the hands of the father's abuse, which pushed Therese to breaking point, causing her to snap and shoot him, and wondering why it happened to Jeanette and not her. Another instance when a second personality is sometimes created is to try and deal with the "guilt" of not being able to protect a loved one from death.

*Right at the end when the PC is forced to make a decision, Jeanette admits to foreseeing her "demise": - "So, dear sister, I knew this night might come. Any message you want me to give father? An apology? A love letter?"


Leaving a story like this one with vague backstories leaves it open to interpretation, and I suspect this is what the original creators of the story wanted. Makes it fun though  :chinscratch:  :rock:  :cometome:

You put a valid point. Now that I pondered a bit further, the "Murder of Jeanette" theory is a plausible option. Multiple dialog lines point in that direction and the "creation of Jeanette" might as well kept Therese from being devoured by guilt that she couldn't help her (as much as malkavians go when talking about stability eh? ;) ). So she tries to keep Jeanette "alive".

+1 from me. ;)
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Offline Morslyte

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 05:34:32 AM »
I think there was another sister indeed, and proof of that for me is enough the painting in the wall of the office in the Asylum:


As for the theory of abuse, I don't find it relevant enough to the madness of the Malkavians to try to understand and comprehend it from the human psychoanalytical paths. She might have been healthy and well cared for as a human, but that is all thrown out the window the moment a Malk embraced her.
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Offline Malkav

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Re: Jeanette and Therese - one sister or two?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 02:13:37 PM »
The picture is no proof for anything. We don't know when or by whom it was commisioned.
I'd say it was commissioned (maybe even painted) by the Therese personality, at least some years after the embrace.
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