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Old 06-06-17, 08:32 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Re: Understanding Counterwill: "Oppositionality cannot arise on its own"


Counterwill has many manifestations.

The parent of a child with attention deficit disorder will be familiar with them.

Most obviously, it is expressed in verbal resistance--"I don't have to," "You can't make me," the constant arguing and countering whatever the parent proposes, the ubiquitous "You are not the boss of me."

Like a psychological immune system, counterwill functions to keep out anything that does not originate within the child herself.

It is present when the four-year-old puts both hands over his ears to keep out the parent's voice, or when the older child pins up angry Keep Out sign on her door.

It is visible in the body language of the adolescent and teenager: the sullen look and the shrugged shoulder.

Its signs drive some adults around the bend, as in the futile "I'll wipe that smirk off your face" of many a parent or teacher.

Counterwill is also expressed through passivity.

Every parent of an AD(H)D child has had the experience of feeling intense frustration when, being pressured for time, they have tried to hurry their son or daughter along.

The greater the parent's anxiety and the greater the pressure he puts on the child, the more slothfully slow the child seems to become.

Passivity begins to look like almost second nature to some of these children, although when she is highly motivated, the child will perform many tasks with alacrity.

This passivity, what people may call laziness, can signal a strong internal resistance.

-Gabor Mate, "Scattered". Chapter: "Oppositionality", 186-187

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"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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