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The character Rust, played by Mathew McConaughey in the TV series True Detective, Season 1, has quite a number of quirks or ticks. One of them is to check his pulse at times. His hand reaches out to feel for his cartoid artery for a while.

I have noticed that he is shown to do this exactly after a rough moment. The first time he does it is after his locker room altercation with Marty (when he threatens to break Marty's wrists). He again does this while accompanying Ginger (one in the biker gang called Iron Crusaders) on the black neighbourhood snatch. And if IIRC, he does it a third time right after he has had tempestuous sex with Marty's wife.

Why does he do that? Is it a way to subdue himself or something else?

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1 Answer 1

It's a grounding technique I've seen suggested for people who have survived traumas. Basically a bio-feedback mechanism to remind you that you are alive/settle you after an emotionally volatile experience.

Rust is obviously messed up because of things he saw as a cop. His daughter was also killed in a car accident. Rust in general shows signs of maladaptive coping, such as his copious use of drugs and alcohol, never sleeping, and so on. He's a guy who has seen a lot of shit but who is too stubborn to seek help or express how he feels...hence why the season finale was so effective, because it's one of the few times we see him open up.

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Well Rust is obviously messed up because of things he saw as a cop-- most notable being the incident that made him quit, as mentioned in ep 7, when he talks about how a meth addict microwaved her own baby. His daughter was also killed in a car accident. Rust in general shows signs of maladaptive coping, such as his copious use of drugs and alcohol, never sleeping, and so on. He's a guy who has seen a lot of shit but who is too stubborn to seek help or express how he feels...hence why the season finale was so effective, because it's one of the few times we see him open up. –  SkyPiglet Mar 20 at 20:23
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@SkyPiglet: Actually you are mistaken on that. It was Marty who witnessed a lady microwaving her infant (apparently to dry her). That was the final straw for him and he quit the force. However, Rust has had his own share of trauma I agree. He witnessed a meth head injecting his 10 year old to purify him. Rust shot that guy. Later lost his daughter. Ended up undercover for a long time, where he got shot at. So ya, there definitely was trauma involved. –  KeyBrd Basher Mar 21 at 5:25
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Would you please add some source to this "bio-feedback mechanism" thing. And maybe explain it in a little more detail. I think it'll make the answer more comprehensive. –  KeyBrd Basher Mar 21 at 5:27

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