View Single Post
Old 06-06-17, 06:55 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
ADDvanced Forum ADDvocate

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: North America
Posts: 12,075
Thanks: 1,928
Thanked 1,321 Times in 1,002 Posts
mildadhd has disabled reputation
Understanding Counterwill: "Oppositionality cannot arise on its own"

Understanding counterwill has got to be one of the most important topics, all parenting adults and their children would benefit from, from being aware of.

Especially children (and adults) who are more emotionally reactive due to being born with more emotionally sensitive temperaments.

Chapter 20 "The Defiant Ones: Oppositionality"

And one may choose what is contrary to one's own interests and sometimes one positively...
One's own free unfettered choice, one's own caprice, however wild it may be, one's own fancy worked up at times to frenzy...
What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead.

-FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, "Notes from the Underground"

STEVEN, ATHRITY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD labor relations officer for a large company, was referred to me for assessment.

He was respected as a creative man who brought original and innovative thinking to his work.

A skilled negotiator, he was able to approach any situation from new angles and unique perspectives that could break a logjam when everyone else was stuck.

"I do things nobody else would dream of doing, but I feel I could be doing a lot more," he said.

At times he would impulsively take on problems and responsibilities beyond his experience or control.

This propensity for risk taking had brought him and his company near the precipice of disaster more than once.
As I wrote in my consult letter to his family doctor, "It is a tribute to Steven's daring, acumen, and creativity, and thanks to some good luck, that so far he has avoided catastrophic consequences to his original and idiosyncratic approach to his work."
In this and in every other way, the diagnosis of AD(H)D was self-evident.

As he related his life story, Steven expressed one major regret.

He had been an extraordinarily gifted classical musician in his childhood and adolescence.

An international solo career had been widely predicted.

In his midteens, however, he had given up his instrument, the clarinet, and completely severed his involvement with music.

My consultation report noted:

The parents were both artistically inclined.

The mother was an actress, the father a talented musician.

Steven himself was introduced to music at an early age and was apparently something of a child prodigy on the clarinet, being invited as an adolescent to play with the ... National Youth Orchestra.

He was at one time considered to be a great prospect.

He quit the clarinet at age sixteen for what he says were reasons of spite and defiance toward his father, who forced him into practicing and would beat him when he refused to do so.

He was made to practice four hours a day.

He continues to love classical music and deeply regrets not having continued with his musical studies
Steven has for a long time considered his abandonment of a musical career as a perverse, boneheaded misjudgment.

"It was the stupidest thing I have ever done," he said.

He was surprised to find that I did not agree with him.

"It was one of the most necessary things you have ever done," I told him.

"To have continued under those circumstances would have been to surrender your soul to your father. Psychologically, you might have not survived that"

The mistake, if we could speak of it as a conscious act, was not committed by the son but by the father.

The force he had exerted on his son produced its own counterforce, resulting in the impulse that finally sent Steven in the direction exactly opposite what his father had wished.

Sadly, it also went against Steven's interests and contrary to the choice he probably would have made, had he been truly free to make a choice.

He did not have that freedom.

Steven had not acted, which would have meant autonomy, but reacted, which reflected psychological subjection--not to his father but to the unconscious defences he had built up against his father.

Quitting music was not an act of will, it was an expression of what the Vancouver developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld calls counterwill*..

-Gabor Mate, "Scattered". Chapter 20, "Oppositionality", p 183-185.

(Continued on next page)
"When people are suffering mentally, they want to feel better—they want to stop having bad emotions and start having good emotions." (-Temple Grandin)

Last edited by mildadhd; 06-06-17 at 07:19 PM..
Reply With Quote