When it comes to "Fallout 4", players encounter Cait quite early in the game. Well, depending on which quest-line they follow. Despite her tough exterior, she is one of the most vulnerable characters living in the Commonwealth in 2287.
Unfortunately, most residents of the Commonwealth are not willing to accept Cait and provide her with the comfort she has yet to receive throughout her twenty-six years.
However, the sole survivor has the option of becoming Cait’s first true friend, and ultimately her significant other. Cait is my favourite character, so I did ultimately "romance" her during my playthrough back in 2019.
The sole survivor arrives at the Combat Zone and learns that Cait is used as “entertainment” through her constant cage fighting (there are other examples Cait does not reveal to the player) under owner Tommy Lonegan.
Not surprisingly, Cait does not enjoy her experiences at the Combat Zone. More specifically, the player soon learns Cait has been fighting in some way her entire life. Although Cait and Lonegan are simply business associates, he does care for her and is deeply concerned by her substance abuse (chem addiction):
Cait was born into a distant and abusive family of Irish descent in 2261, her parents would routinely beat and yell at her. She attempted to run away twice, the first time she did it, they locked her in a shed outside of the house they lived in. The second time, they broke one of her legs. Cait eventually became convinced she was a mistake, due to the constant abuse, but deluded herself into thinking that they loved her enough not to kick her out of the house. The illusion was shattered once her eighteenth birthday came: They had slapped a shock collar around her neck and sold her into slavery, all without a hint of regret. (fallout.fandom.com)
Cait is proven to be quite vulnerable until she shares a close relationship with the sole survivor, as the basis of her mental health issues during adulthood are the result of frequent abuse from her parents for the first eighteen years of her life.
©Fallout 4/ Kirk Preston
Although, it's easy to dismiss Cait’s feelings towards her family (now deceased), with hopes that Cait will surpass those emotions herself- keep in mind what's she's been though.
Furthermore, it's difficult to dismiss constant abuse from those who are expected to protect you. Keeping that in mind, Cait’s vulnerability results from the fact that instead of protecting her and raising her to become the best version of herself, her parents neglected her and sold her into slavery on her eighteenth birthday.
Throughout the first eighteen years of life, Cait’s parents refuse to acknowledge her humanity and treat her as if her life was insignificant. Apart from selling her into slavery, the pinnacle of the abuse Cait receives from her parents is when they break one of her legs because she tries to escape her childhood home for the second time.
The issue of one’s parents deliberately bringing physical harm to them is traumatic in itself, such that Cait’s physical injuries sustained from her parents also present emotional aspects that diminish her willingness to continue fighting.
Keeping that in mind, Cait’s parents break one of her legs for two specific reasons. Although the first is evident, Cait’s parents do not want her to escape from their home and live a better life. The issue of a physical injury causes Cait to become immobilized, yet the emotional aspect of her trauma remains the most significant.
Cait’s parents break one of her legs so she cannot escape to a better life, and this instance also serves as a reminder that she lacks complete control within this situation. With Cait immobilized due to her broken leg, her parents continue to abuse her and remind her that she lacks control while destroying her humanity in the process.
With respect to Cait’s emotional health, the instance when her parents deliberately break her leg successfully destroys her confidence until she encounters the sole survivor at the age of twenty-six.