an open letter to dr. robert t. muller

I just had an annoying encounter with police and encountered your recent Psychology Today article the next morning:

i got a parking ticket and a court date for doing tai chi in the park after 6:17 pm on a friday

I reached the end of the article, noticed comments were disabled, and noticed you were the author of Trauma and the Avoidant Client. That book played a big part in my psychotherapy process early on, so I’m going to tell you about it in case you care or think that’s interesting.

I’ve done 3 years of therapy, about a year each with 3 different people. I saw 2 psychiatrists before that, altogether over about 9 years. Only the third therapist correctly diagnosed me with autism after all that time, last February. I’m 34 years old.

I started therapy after separating from my ex-wife, who had borderline personality disorder. I was primed to think about personality disorders when I started therapy myself, and I went out of my way to find a psychodynamic person. Hence, my early understanding of my problems was that I had “avoidant/schizoid” issues, and the connection between trauma and dissociation was a revelation to me at the time.

That was the context in which I encountered your book.

Everything blew up with my first therapist and I had to quit going because I’m black and she was saying racist stuff about affirmative action and how I’m “too angry” that my dad grew up sharecropping in the South. I’d picked a Lacanian, intrigued by the idea that the process doesn’t depend on empathy the way they see it (!):

autistic themes in lacanian psychoanalysis

Maybe Lacan wasn’t the way to go. I heard about narrative therapy, influenced by Foucault, and maybe that would be better. It was, and I started blogging at that time. That’s when I wrote this review of your book:

difficult, help-rejecting people and the resistance of the analyst

Basically, the fact that you’re a hater bleeds through into your writing. The hyperlexia helps me see it in your writing instead of your body language.

You write:

“The Post explains that, for the majority of these crimes, the police were not called for reports of criminal activity. As in LaFleur’s case, police were contacted by “relatives, neighbors or other bystanders worried that a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically.”

If that’s true, then why does your article use “offenders” throughout? Because normal people hate us and and find us offensive. I highly recommend the book Madness in Civilization, which explains how we never got rid of madhouses that torture crazy people and we just call it the criminal justice system now:

Am I an “offender” because it makes people scared that I wear all black, a hoodie and a beanie, and avoid eye contact with them? Because my clothes are a bit torn up from skateboarding? Because subtle things about the way I move give away that I’m weird? Because normal people are impaired at reading MY body language? Because they can’t interpret my facial expressions?

Yes, because the public is trained to feel “safe” if the police do something violent to me.

I swear, it’s like half the content on Psychology Today is to further stigmatize me and make my life worse. The vast majority of the autism literature is stigmatizing nonsense I don’t recognize myself in, written by normal people who lack self-awareness.

You aren’t helping me, except as an example of the mentalities I have no choice but to deal with in my life.

You’re a white guy and what does the artwork accompanying your article look like? Cops beating up someone who looks like me.

I have a job and pay taxes and stuff like a real human. I’ve realized that the reason I’m so “high-functioning” is that I’m black and read a ton of critical theory about all the implicit stuff in society that the white people won’t admit even to themselves. How would an autistic kid figure out what’s really going on, if they only heard the explanations of life adults gave to make themselves feel better? They’d be fucking socially retarded and incapable of life.

When I got my autism diagnosis, I just sort of shrugged because I’m already used to being a mulatto so it’s just more of the same stigma in a new flavor.

Fuck you, pretty much. It’s bullshit that you get to make a living presenting yourself as helping me. If you wanted to help me, you’d use your platform to advocate dissolving the “criminal justice system” because it’s working as intended, sadistic as that is. You wouldn’t tell lies about how cops just need to try a little harder.

This is not a joke. I’m ACTUALLY more likely to DIE as a result of attitudes promoted by YOU.

So fuck you. Crazy people can speak for ourselves. Normal people have their heads up their asses, but that’s our struggle.

Even in the specifics, your advice fucks up my therapy process by poisoning the therapist. It turns out that I MUST use the hyperlexia to understand everything explicitly and intellectually OR I CAN’T GET BETTER. Your stupid ass is telling therapists that I’m “intellectualizing and avoidant” when I’m actually directly facing things that normal people around me refuse to talk about. You’re the one priming people to think negative shit about me instead of considering autism.

The more I think about it, the more you suck. Ugh.

I hate you from the bottom of my heart and I want you to know that, for the record. The hate is definitely mutual.