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Changing Mindsets
by Donna Willams
Reprinted by written permission of the author
Visit Donna Williams' Website
Special Thanks to Serge Conein!

Children are people too, no matter what labels they have. They have chemistry, which can be imbalanced and hence can have mood disorders. They can have neurotransmittal imbalances making them more or less compulsive, impulsive, fixated, depressed, manic, fluctuating, miles away or full on and in your face. They are just people. Like people can develop mindsets that work for them or are self-defeating. We don't always need verbal language to get a sense of someone's possible mindsets. There is still the language of behaviour. Environments can unintentionally and unwittingly respond to their child's experiences/mindset in ways that just justify or compound the current self defeating mindset or chemistry issues, or that turn them around.

If one have mood disorder, such as depression/bipolar with or without OCD, underlying one's social, emotional, communication, behaviour stuff, combinations of diet/supplementation/natural medicine/medication can often address that stuff.

If what one's stuff is part of a personality mindset, these interventions are limited in their ability to do the trick because one would be simply driven to re-manifest the old mindset (with its old 'rewards'/ defenses/ excuses/ hiding places, etc.) So addressing this would take a change of that entire mindset, perhaps with plenty of help from hypotherapy (as you know counseling won't do it if one is driven to just re-manifest that old familiar, even chemically addictive pattern of the mindset) and if that's not possible, orchestrating the environment's responses to turn around self defeating patterns in an indirectly confrontational way can work in a similar, subtle, way. Sure, for some, dietary interventions/medication may help that process but unless the environment is altered dramatically to trigger that change of mindset and unless the person themselves wants to let go the old patterns, it can be a tough thing to change

So in case this is of your interest... here's a little blurb I wrote for someone else that may help some people.


There are lots of mindsets people can get stuck in and "non-verbal" people are not imune to these very human dynamics that can affect any person. Many mindsets can help us, others can be self defeating

Sometimes we get stuck in a perfectionist mindset and we judge ourselves so harshly we end up unable to dare try anything we can't be perfect at straight away.

Sometimes we get stuck in an obsessional mindset, going over and over the things that scare us till we build up our terror till it is much larger than ourselves till we shut down, certain that all is doomed.

There is the pessimist mindset, certain that we are somehow cursed, that no matter how hard we try only bad things will come our way and unable to see or care much about our successes because we choose to focus instead on our failure

Sometimes we get stuck in a dependant mindset, desperate to break free, but also feeling their desperation to save us, certain this is why they love us, afraid we will lose the intensely close merging relationship we have built up with our greatest supporters and caregivers, desiring independence, yet deeply insecure too that if we didn't need them, they'd abandon us.

We can get in a co-dependent mindset, fixating on "loved" others until they are crippled by being our own life's quest, entire sense of self, life purpose. Now we make them unable to easily dare to change because to do so will rob us, their savior, of our very identity and social worth. We may even simultaneously reinforce their certainty of their own incapability without us or cause them to cringe under the spotlight of our magnified attention and desperation all revolving around a "love" that can be suffocating or invite a crippling and inescapable dependency, leaving them unable to feel lovable as a person rather than a cause, and without feeling lovable self love is not existent and the "object" of such love is not existent and the "objects" of such "love" cannot save themselves

We can get stuck in a self-hatred / self-abusive mindset, dis-empowering those who might bring us down by bringing ourselves down first, defensively stopping ourselves from reaching out by compulsively reinforcing how dangerous or toxic we would be if we reached out.

Sometimes we get stuck in a bureaucratic/dogmatic mindset, insistent rigidly that everything must follow the rules as if we in some kind of superiority can somehow assume we always know best.

There are good constructive mindsets too.

We can choose the mindset of the eternal optimist, choosing to believe that all things are possible even if it takes hard step by step work, we will conquer the mountains.

We can choose the mindset of the realist, choosing to turn away from our blown up magnified fears and negativity and instead look at the mere unemotional facts and then make a plan, if necessary, a new plan, step by step, believing we have achievable goals.

We can all choose the Taoist mindset, believing that black and white are not all good or all bad, that bad can can work best in the right situation, that too much good can sometimes harm, that walking the middle path, without knee jerk reactions, without fierce fire that burns itself out, is the best way to achieve our goals with calm satisfaction and acceptance instead of resentment or fear, a mindset in which the only moment we have to worry about is the one we are in each second, each minute, right now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, and all steps are possible if we don't down and don't look so far ahead we become terrified and then assume we will fail when in fact living in each moment, we could well succeed.

We could choose the independent mindset, freeing ourselves of over-concern of the feelings of others and thereby freeing them too, where we all become fully responsible for exercising our own potential step by step at our own pace, for our own sake, without guilt, shame, burden or accumulated debt.

We have a choice at any time to change our mindset for one which will help instead of hinder us

A self-defeating mindset can be changed for one which will better work toward achieving the goals of empowerment, self forgiveness, independence, self expression and purposefulness.

By Donna Williams: www.donnawilliams.net

The above article was published by The MAAP
(More Advanced Individuals with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS)
for Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Volume 1/ 2004
PO Box 524,
Crown Point, IN 46308
219-662-1311 (ph)
219-662-0638 (fax)

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