Superman’s life is messed up

Superman has to live with more pain and horribleness than nearly any other super hero.

I am going to ignore the standard discussion over the pain of losing an entire civilization versus seeing your parent shot, which inevitably arises when discussing the dark life that is Superman. Instead I want to focus on the psychological trauma and pain caused by his powers.

First off, he can hear everything going on in Metropolis. Every single thing that occurs Superman can hear. He has to hear all the negativity of the city, all the hate and all the bigotry. But more importantly he can hear everything that goes wrong. Every time a domestic abuse occurs Superman can hear the woman being hit, every time someone is raped or mugged Superman can hear the screams. Superman is forced to hear ever single horrible occurrence in Metropolis.

Now if his powers were as simple as Super Hearing then this would be torturous in and of itself but Superman’s array of powers make the situation much worse, as he could go out and try to stop everything. He could constantly be moving, trying to stop anything bad from happening. But he can’t. Either because he has to deal with something else or the more painful times when he simply needs time to recover psychologically. He can’t always be out fighting evil and stopping criminals or he would go insane. So he has to ignore cries for help.

Superman has to make a conscience decision not to save someone. He has to try and damper his super hearing knowing that do so could cost someone their life. He has to prioritize everything he does. He has to continually ask himself should he stop criminals from robbing a bank or prevent a child from being abused? Which is more important? Which can he more easily life with if he lets it occur? Most heroes stop crimes whenever they see them, but Superman has to decide what he stops. Every second of his day is deciding who lives and who dies.

At the same time he is separated from the rest of world by his powers. He is living in a world of cardboard and if he loses control for even a millisecond he could destroy half a city. If he punches one super villain too hard he could push the villain through ten buildings. Causing thousands of deaths. One shout in rage could send shock waves the permanently deafen thousands. Every action has to be controlled. More popular heroes like Wolverine can lose themselves in the moment. Fight with passion or embrace their emotions. Not Superman. He is never free. The cries of millions are constantly ringing in his ears and ever single action he takes matters.

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