Autonomy And Rigid Character by David Shapiro

By David Shapiro

Beginning with a dialogue of the matter of autonomy in dynamic psychiatry and a evaluate of its improvement from infancy to youth, the writer of Neurotic Styles explores, with quite a few medical examples, the distortion of the advance of autonomy in obsessive-compulsive stipulations, in sadism and masochism, and, eventually, in paranoia.

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It is at this point usually that they begin to exercise their influence or their authority, if only to indicate for the child the new aim of using the toilet or potty, giving it a name, and so on, to encourage volitional control. In this way, volitional control is gradually extended to an originally wholly reflexive and immediate muscular reaction, and this extension of autonomy occurs, significantly, to a greater or lesser extent under the auspices of conscious parental influence or authority.

She sees no gain in it, she doesn’t like it in herself, she knows it is “manipulative,” but to what purpose? The only result that she can see is that the men become pests. But as she talks further, it becomes apparent that her “number” is not limited to a few apparently impulsive, “unintended” remarks. She sets the stage for such encoun­ ters, plans the evening, dresses carefully. In fact, she then remembers with a laugh that whenever she meets a man, she sizes him up and takes note of whether he will be an “easy” or, more rarely, “a difficult case”; and these men, of course, she is more interested in.

At this point, the discomforting temptation, or at least his awareness of any enthusiasm for it, is diminished. Yet it is entirely possible that he will still take the trip, only he will take it worriedly. Such a person may say, “ I’m doing it [taking the trip, buying the car, perhaps even getting married], but I don’t really want to,” “It’s sure to be a failure,” “ I know it’s a mistake,” or the like. Listening to such gloomy forebodings, which are so con­ spicuously contradicted by behavior, one has the impression that the speaker himself does not actually believe, certainly does not fully believe, what he is saying, and that if he did, he would surely act differently.

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