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Old 06-06-17, 08:29 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Re: Understanding Counterwill: "Oppositionality cannot arise on its own"


AD(H)D children can hardly be said to have a will at all, if by that is meant a capacity that enables a person to know what he wants and to hold that goal regardless of setbacks, difficulties or distractions.

"But my child is strong-willed," many parents insist.

"When he decides that he wants something, he just keeps at it until I cannot say no, or until I get very angry."

What is really being described here is not will but a rigid, obsessive clinging to this or that desire.

An obsession may resemble will in its persistence but has nothing in common with it.

It powers comes from the unconscious, and it rules the individual, whereas a person with true will is in command of his intentions.

The child's oppositionality is not an expression of will.

What it denotes is the absence of will, which--like Steven's abandonment of music--only allows a person to react but not to act from a free and conscious process of decision making.

Counterwill is an automatic resistance put up by a human being with an incompletely developed sense of self, a reflexive and unthinking opposition to the will of the other.

It is a natural but immature resistance arising from the fear of being controlled.

Counterwill arises in anyone who has not yet developed a mature and conscious will of her own.

Although it can remain active throughout life, normally it makes its most dramatic appearance during the toddler phase and again in adolescence.

In many people, and in the vast majority of children with AD(H)D, it becomes entrenched as an ever-present force and may remain powerfully active well into adulthood.

It immensely complicates personal relationships, school performance and job or career success.

-Gabor Mate, "Scattered". Chapter: "Oppositionality", p 185-186.

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