Background to my interest in teaching children with autism


Meanwhile, of course, like anyone else’s body, the bodies of introverted people are producing energy – which is not being used up while they temporize, hold back and think. Some of their energy is channelled into mental activity. And the unused energy, unable to find expression in activity, creates pressure to use that channel to increase thought even more. The inhibiting effect of thought is experienced as a kind of inability to act – enforced, for example, by the ‘rules’ and the ‘reason’ with which they govern their lives. As the self-inflicted inhibition becomes uncomfortable and even intolerable, they begin to feel the panic and the rage of anyone who feels restrained. They often have destructive or other (to them) ‘bad thoughts’ which they dare not act out or express (adding to their sense of restraint) and which make them feel guilty (which, yet again, adds to their sense of restraint). Inside, they may come to feel a raging inferno which, in the most obsessive, includes fantasies of absolute and total destruction of the universe, and themselves with it.

This is the experience of rage referred to earlier in speaking about the ‘energy intolerant’, only here it is magnified by their sense of being restrained far beyond the simple limits leading to depression. But why don’t these people suffer depression? Well, they do. But it is a different kind of depression from that of other energy intolerant people. It develops in a way which makes life seem flat, empty and useless. This magnifies their negative and joyless view of the world, which their exceptionally refined critical judgement has re-created in experiences which are coloured in unrelieved tones of grey.

As an aside, part of this rage is secondary to the joylessness of life and the world as these people perceive it. The problem is that introverted people are ‘in their heads’, and they believes that the thoughts to which they are paying attention must be very important. Why else would they be paying attention to them? This view magnifies the importance of words and ideas to the point that ideas are likely to become ideals – idealized images formed by abstracting the best from among the elements of a class of events and combining them into non-existing but ‘perfect’ examples of that class. Now the person makes a leap of faith, believing that the ‘ideal’ things are the way the world is ‘supposed to be’. Then, when he compares each external event with the ‘ideal’ in its class, of course, everything falls short of how it is ‘supposed to be’. Repeated experience with the short-falls of events from the ideal is the best way known to humankind to suck the joy out of life and to make the world around seem utterly ‘inadequate’ – inadequacy which is not created by or in the world, but only in the person’s own head. And the belief that the world is ‘supposed to be’ the imagined idealized world seems to justify rage at the world which is seen not to ‘live up to’ the fabricated (ideal) standard set by these people in their own minds.

But the main source of the rage experienced by them comes from the sense of frustration and confinement they have as a result of the self-imposed introversive and rational restraints with which they keep their actions ‘in control’ in the prisons of their own minds. These people assume that self-control is absolutely necessary and almost cannot conceive that control may be excessive, let alone that it may be unnecessary.

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