So, we had spoken many times here about GENOGRAMS and used them along timelines especially assessing for cognition in the generation who may or may not have developed Piaget’s “Depressive Position” (Object relations theory) — attainment of empathy, and we had spoken of Robert Sardello’s thesis on pre-scripted games and sociopathy which might emerge.
I have read half of the Elliot Rodger manifesto. You can find that here. http://www.scribd.com/doc/225960813/Elliot-Rodger-Santa-Barbara-mass-shooting-suspect-My-Twisted-World-manifesto
One of the things I was looking for were breaks in the Object Relations (as parental) and cognition up to age 10, and then after. I’ve seen many different news stories now, on his diagnosis of Asperger’s, some that said he had never been diagnosed, some that said he had been seen daily from age 8, some that said he had multiple therapists. Let’s get the straight story on all that — not from the news but from the parents, and let’s try to do this without blame.
I’m going to use a different lens to look at this. I’m seeing Axis II, Malignant Narcissism as a start, but others (Psychiatrists, Forensic Psychiatrists) are going to have a far higher scope of practice than I. What I am interested in is contributing an assessment tool I have been working out, that can be used in the web by clinicians across the spectrum.
Cultural surround. This is VERY IMPORTANT in Rodger’s generation. Let’s talk about what he did not talk about in his manifesto. And we are going to look at a lot of art as well. I am looking at suicidal ideation in a generation who reached “cognition” (development of rational concrete logos — age 10) at the precise moment of 9/11. So if we look at Rodger — let’s look at the surround. Let’s put aside the genderwars and gender terminology for the moment. It’s obvious that Rodger was and wanted to be heterosexual. Keep that in mind.
The manifesto is light and breezy and written in first person. This is a torrent, in my opinion of WORDS that he “held in.” Given the family system and stepmother, divorce, father and new wife, and so forth – we see “the oldest boy” among the children. But? In reading there is almost an infantilized version of himself. “Little Boy.” He refers to himself as small and bullied and crying over page after page. He moves a lot, between his father and mother’s houses. Tremendous recollections in those areas. What struck me in this first is his focus on “exterior things” WEALTH. He is not talking about interpersonal connections in this, first half — so much as “exteriority” and “trappings”
So we can see the breaks in Attachment, and also distrust of real mother (lies on divorce). This is shattering for the boy. Then insert stepmother. (cruel to boy, impingement — milk and soup, punishing) So the boy is “happy” with his real mother, “hurt” by stepmother. Now let’s insert 9/11 — and look at what flooded the media at that time — this is for all kids witnessing this along this genogram age bracket as well. Remember here: http://www.911memorial.org/
What is important is to think through the lens of a boy who is TEN YEARS OLD. What did he see on television for hours and hours and days and days. Notice in the manifesto there is a part about the TOWER and the cactus thorns at age four. After seeing 9/11 (as child) — insert core concept of “NO SAFETY.” That outside the SELF can come an attack/annihilation. Insert FEAR into the genogram as cultural surround at that precise moment. So let’s look at that, but move that beyond just this one boy. How does he cope? Like any boy, he is going to school, making friends, getting skateboards, trying to be “cool.” Like any boy he is having NORMAL male heterosexual development (sexual) awareness of “girl” and attraction to girl. Fantasy starts (masturbation) and so forth at a NORMAL TIME for this kid.
Let’s assess now for several things.
1. What sex education is being taught at school during NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND era. What did he receive as this and where? (Cis gender/transgender) too early? What is being taught to “male” boys at this time.
2. He is diagnosed as having Aspergers. Is this ANXIETY instead?
3. Was he put on meds. If so which ones, and who made these diagnoses?
4. He is high-functioning, we can see that by the manifesto. We are told he saw a therapist daily and a therapist alerts parents of youtubes.
Why we are doing this. It’s important to understand where and what the sex ed/ “gender” training plays in all this. As I came out of Pacifica in ’98 as an intern therapist, I had already heard many lectures by Aaron Kipnis on boys and overmedication of boys. Elliot is SEVEN at this time. A drug called Concerta is being target-marketed in this era as well — I recall the ads in Parade magazine of the times. My guess is he is taken to a therapist the following year as parents break up. But he never writes about this in his manifesto. What he writes about is WHERE he is being mirrored — in friends and by other boys. “Playdates” “Skateboards” and the video Cyber place he goes to. He is given computers and escapes into the GAME he calls WoW sometimes 14 hours a day. What does the game provide him with? He is very proud of his “levels” or “rank” — my sense is he is finding MIRRORING and SAFETY in the ESCAPE of this game — as well as feeling POWER in a “powerless” terrifying (post 9/11) atmosphere. He is carrying this right at the puberty years, forward. If meds, are they blunting normal affect, and or increasing depression?
One thing we can learn from the manifesto is his sense of “powerlessness” and smallness — he cries all the time. So who in the family system CAN SEE the tears? (mirroring)
Let’s look at a few pictures of the EMO HEART.
What are we looking at in this image? There are many many images of these hearts, and suicidal ideation. What I also see in the drawings are the colors. Black, red, grey and magenta for the most part. This will be DEPRESSION across the board. So regardless of the narcissism, regardless of the parenting, regardless of THIS ONE BOY — how can we help the group as a whole? For all the college kids who were only ten years old that day. These are initial thoughts about a very safe tx plan I have for these kids — that clinicians might use. We aren’t seeing a lot of text with the drawings, across the board. Tremendous pain, darkness, hearts patched and stitched, faces without eyes?
I will continue to read the manifesto. It’s so hard. So tragic. But I want to be on the team that can help.
All my best,
UCSB is my alma mater, and then Pacifica Graduate Institute for the MA in Counseling emphasis Depth Psychology.