Sheldor the Conqueror
#1
Here is a thread to discuss any and every aspect of Sheldon Cooper as an individual. How did he come to be the way he is? What makes him tick? Why does he act the way he does? Let's delve into his psyche. You could psychoanalyze, talk about his mental and physical tendencies, limitations, vulnerabilities and strengths, or about childhood influences, about his past, his future, his ambitions, his hobbies, the important and life-changing incidents in his life, his relationship with people and with science and about how all this has shaped and is shaping him into the person he is today or is going to be in future.

Just to get the ball rolling in this thread, I quote Dsnynutz's post from the other thread again as well as my reply to it. Hope that's OK.

(01-21-2014, 12:27 AM)Dsnynutz Wrote: Some food for thought. If this was a real show, and not the farce it's become, you could have some very serious psychological discussions on Sheldon's regressing to childish behaviors again and none of them would be good news for canon or TPTB.

Regression, according to psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, is a defense mechanism leading to the temporary or long-term reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of development rather than handling unacceptable impulses in a more adult way. The defense mechanism of regression, in psychoanalytic theory, occurs when an individual's personality reverts to an earlier stage of development, adopting more childish mannerisms. Psychiatrist Joel Gold suggests that careful use of "ARISE" (Adaptive Regression in the service of the Ego) can sometimes yield creative benefits. To the extent that one is handling thoughts and impulses less like an adult, ARISE involves play, appreciation and primitive pleasures, and imagination.

Not that this was the intention of TPTB, but I always felt the childish actions (putting trains in his mouth, etc) Sheldon was displaying was signs of regression. A lot of people with OCD will regress to a time in their life when things made sense to them (more structure/less chaos), and children of abuse if feeling threatened can regress back to a point in childhood where they felt safe. So I think it pretty safe to say that Amy between grooming him for sex and trying to change him has made the character regress to the point of childhood where he felt safe...

In other words, "One way of looking at the show is that we've been watching a slow mental disintegration of one man when the core of his identity is stripped away from him", as SpaceAnjl put it perfectly.

These are actually very good explanations as to what has indeed happened to Sheldon.

Anyway, I personally don't think Amy alone is the cause of the regression and the mental disintegration. I think it's been a chain of factors and events over the years that has put Sheldon where he is now: there is the Arctic incident; the peer pressure in general; the constant mocking and the invalidating of his feelings and his POV by the gang; his own mental and physical tendencies and vulnerabilities as an individual; and yes, of course Amy and her efforts to groom, manipulate and change him and to make him "grow up".
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#2
Being a genius is, or should be, the centre of Sheldon's existence, and his intellect, and recognition of the same, is absolutely key to his ego/sense of identity. In reality, having a nationally funded experiment of that magnitude screwed with could well have precipitated a psychotic break. Especially with the actual real life discoveries of Tennant and Morris to do with magnetic monopoles and Dirac strings. (Obviously the inspiration for the script, but the actual results came in after the show was aired, I believe.) Penny's first impression of him was a '"Beautiful Mind" genius guy', and considering John Forbes Nash Jr, that's possibly a closer description than she knew.

I rather think Sheldon has held onto outward elements of childhood because he was actually forced to grow up too fast in some ways. He certainly wouldn't have had normal socialisation, with accelerated schooling. He couldn't identify with his age peers, and he would be far too young to associate with his academic peers. He finds a sense of identification with Spock - rational, logical and a fish out of water, observing a culture of which he is not quite a part. This lack of social awareness gets overlooked - this is a guy who never went through most of the rituals and milestones of childhood and schooling. Hence the fact that he can't drive. Though, oddly, he can shoot. (The crossbow in the closet still amuses me.) I suspect that was a failed attempt at father-son bonding, like the football.

(Oh, and there is the fact that his father was an alcoholic. With the lack of appropriate socialisation, and a possible genetic propensity, giving Sheldon booze ranges from a bad idea to downright cruelty.)

In some ways, he has ended up with the worst possible set of people to observe for a sense of human behaviour. Having watched his parents marriage implode/explode/skeet shoot the Franklin plates, he's already got a skewed idea of relationship models. Now, he's got a handful of pathetic, desperate, socially inadequate individuals around him. And I think they use that, consciously or not. Hanging around with Sheldon means that there is always someone weirder, more freaky, than them. Although, initially, Sheldon was the dominant force, it was his schedule that determined events. Though over time this has become less of an Alpha Male thing, and more of a stick to beat him with, it was apparent to begin with, that he was the top dog.

So, yes, if you take a guy like that out of his comfort zone, and expose him to stress and anxiety, and then destroy the one area that he is supremely confident in, his intellectual ability, he's going to crack. I like to think that the Chancellor's medal was an indicator that the faculty still had confidence in him, but his academic career would be definitely be shaky. Because he's now going to be looking over every other bit of work he's done and wondering if it has been messed with, if he can trust himself, if he can't trust others.

So, he's already questioning himself, having seen his credibility trashed. And the hits keep coming, he's continually told that he needs to conform, that he needs to change. There's no-one on his side in this, because nobody has taken the time to understand him. His observations of the group around him lead him to believe that this is how things have to be.

So, we end up with a confused man, being shoved towards a place that he is deeply unsure of, without the emotional foundations to cope. I absolutely go with that idea that he's regressing, in the face of all of this.
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#3
(01-23-2014, 03:43 AM)SpaceAnJL Wrote: Being a genius is, or should be, the centre of Sheldon's existence, and his intellect, and recognition of the same, is absolutely key to his ego/sense of identity. In reality, having a nationally funded experiment of that magnitude screwed with could well have precipitated a psychotic break. Especially with the actual real life discoveries of Tennant and Morris to do with magnetic monopoles and Dirac strings. (Obviously the inspiration for the script, but the actual results came in after the show was aired, I believe.) Penny's first impression of him was a '"Beautiful Mind" genius guy', and considering John Forbes Nash Jr, that's possibly a closer description than she knew.

I rather think Sheldon has held onto outward elements of childhood because he was actually forced to grow up too fast in some ways. He certainly wouldn't have had normal socialisation, with accelerated schooling. He couldn't identify with his age peers, and he would be far too young to associate with his academic peers. He finds a sense of identification with Spock - rational, logical and a fish out of water, observing a culture of which he is not quite a part. This lack of social awareness gets overlooked - this is a guy who never went through most of the rituals and milestones of childhood and schooling. Hence the fact that he can't drive. Though, oddly, he can shoot. (The crossbow in the closet still amuses me.) I suspect that was a failed attempt at father-son bonding, like the football.

(Oh, and there is the fact that his father was an alcoholic. With the lack of appropriate socialisation, and a possible genetic propensity, giving Sheldon booze ranges from a bad idea to downright cruelty.)

In some ways, he has ended up with the worst possible set of people to observe for a sense of human behaviour. Having watched his parents marriage implode/explode/skeet shoot the Franklin plates, he's already got a skewed idea of relationship models. Now, he's got a handful of pathetic, desperate, socially inadequate individuals around him. And I think they use that, consciously or not. Hanging around with Sheldon means that there is always someone weirder, more freaky, than them. Although, initially, Sheldon was the dominant force, it was his schedule that determined events. Though over time this has become less of an Alpha Male thing, and more of a stick to beat him with, it was apparent to begin with, that he was the top dog.

So, yes, if you take a guy like that out of his comfort zone, and expose him to stress and anxiety, and then destroy the one area that he is supremely confident in, his intellectual ability, he's going to crack. I like to think that the Chancellor's medal was an indicator that the faculty still had confidence in him, but his academic career would be definitely be shaky. Because he's now going to be looking over every other bit of work he's done and wondering if it has been messed with, if he can trust himself, if he can't trust others.

So, he's already questioning himself, having seen his credibility trashed. And the hits keep coming, he's continually told that he needs to conform, that he needs to change. There's no-one on his side in this, because nobody has taken the time to understand him. His observations of the group around him lead him to believe that this is how things have to be.

So, we end up with a confused man, being shoved towards a place that he is deeply unsure of, without the emotional foundations to cope. I absolutely go with that idea that he's regressing, in the face of all of this.


Amen to that! He's been pushed into the corner and we're supposed to find him unsympathetic. He's become the butt of all the jokes. I used to think that the show was about the strength of those who don't fit in where they "should", but now it's apparent that the show, with particular focus on Sheldon, charts the gradual watering down of the most stubborn "oddball" of all. We wouldn't want a wierdo like that being right and logical now, would we? Better make him self-conscious! Only good can come of that... apparently. No. Some people do not have to "learn", and they do not have to conform. I strongly doubt any of the other characters have life figured out, and the way I see it, Sheldon had neatly avoided the soul-crushing inevitability of rejection, because it was not something that concerned him. The first time I watched TBBT I thought: "this is a guy who's got life sussed. His friends should take a leaf out of his book." (regarding human interaction anyway) What is wrong with having a popular character that has different emotional requirements to everyone else? Nothing. Other shows have proved that much more successfully.
HARRISON FORD IS IRRADIATING OUR TESTICLES WITH MICROWAVE SATELLITE TRANSMISSIONS

AND WHO THE FUCK STOLE MY BOILED EGGS?
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#4
I agree with everything on this thread. Sheldon has been trashed, they have broken him. He's now a lot more like a man heading for a breakdown, than someone experiencing self realization.

Then there's Amy, persistently pushing him towards what she wants, gaining more the more ground the weaker he becomes. This is somehow seen as progress and love, when it's nothing of the sort. I don't even want to say what I think THAT is.
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#5
Thank you, SpaceAnjl, for a perfect post. You basically analyzed and summed up Sheldon, especially in his current state.

I agree with everything you wrote. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that most people around Sheldon are quite desperate, socially inept and even morally dubious themselves. They are damaged people with damaged relationships, yet they keep trying to 'school' Sheldon at life. To be honest, I think when it comes to social situations and to relationships, Sheldon gives a bit too much credit to their advice, their interpretations and their POV. I believe as an intellectual, Sheldon should trust his own interpretation and his own understanding of life a bit more. Then again, as you pointed out, some life-altering incidents in his life have made him doubt himself, so...
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#6
(01-23-2014, 04:22 AM)FranEssi Wrote: Thank you, SpaceAnjl, for a perfect post. You basically analyzed and summed up Sheldon, especially in his current state. I actually had a lump in my throat reading it.

Anyway, I agree with everything your wrote. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that most people around Sheldon are quite pathetic, socially inept and even morally dubious themselves. They are damaged people with damaged relationships, yet they keep trying to 'school' Sheldon in life. To be honest, I think when it comes to social situations and to relationships, Sheldon gives a bit too much credit to their advice, their interpretations and their POV. I believe as an intellectual, Sheldon should trust his own interpretation and his own understanding of life a bit more. Then again, as you pointed out, some life-altering incidents in his life have made him doubt himself, so...

As Spaceanjl wrote:

if you take a guy like that out of his comfort zone, and expose him to stress and anxiety, and then destroy the one area that he is supremely confident in, his intellectual ability, he's going to crack.

The whole post strikes quite a chord. Sheldon is now looking to the others for guidance, they have successfully damaged his sense of self. And these characters all had less confidence in themselves than he did. Now it's the other way round.
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#7
(01-23-2014, 04:33 AM)Tuesday Pajamas Wrote:
(01-23-2014, 04:22 AM)FranEssi Wrote: Thank you, SpaceAnjl, for a perfect post. You basically analyzed and summed up Sheldon, especially in his current state. I actually had a lump in my throat reading it.

Anyway, I agree with everything your wrote. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that most people around Sheldon are quite pathetic, socially inept and even morally dubious themselves. They are damaged people with damaged relationships, yet they keep trying to 'school' Sheldon in life. To be honest, I think when it comes to social situations and to relationships, Sheldon gives a bit too much credit to their advice, their interpretations and their POV. I believe as an intellectual, Sheldon should trust his own interpretation and his own understanding of life a bit more. Then again, as you pointed out, some life-altering incidents in his life have made him doubt himself, so...

As Spaceanjl wrote:

if you take a guy like that out of his comfort zone, and expose him to stress and anxiety, and then destroy the one area that he is supremely confident in, his intellectual ability, he's going to crack.

The whole post strikes quite a chord. Sheldon is now looking to the others for guidance, they have successfully damaged his sense of self. And these characters all had less confidence in themselves than he did. Now it's the other way round.

That's what can happen if you let others' misery into your head.

I had never realised it until the show's decline, but Sheldon is a very delicate character; not in his (old) personality, that was very strong, but from a creative point of view. They had to be so careful how they made him react to others and how much his friend's mundane concerns about women (and their continuous hang-ups about bullies that were just as insecure as they were at school) influenced him, but they've totally buggered that up now. All the emotional barriers have dropped and the character is a mess now.
HARRISON FORD IS IRRADIATING OUR TESTICLES WITH MICROWAVE SATELLITE TRANSMISSIONS

AND WHO THE FUCK STOLE MY BOILED EGGS?
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#8
(01-23-2014, 04:33 AM)Tuesday Pajamas Wrote: ...The whole post strikes quite a chord. Sheldon is now looking to the others for guidance, they have successfully damaged his sense of self. And these characters all had less confidence in themselves than he did. Now it's the other way round.

And it seems that in TPTB's world view, breaking a person's spirit and damaging his sense of self "humanizes" him, right? *shakes head*
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#9
Sheldon used to be on a knife's edge between madness and brilliance and the arrogance just came with the mix. But they have taken that away. Instead of being brilliant - Leonard who he once called derivative, is disproving his work and instead of being mad - he's kind of flaky. The only reason to do any of this is to improve Leonard's profile. Now Leonard is super successful and Sheldon is a nutcase who thinks he's better than everyone else when he's not. It also makes Amy look righteous in her constant nudging for him to change.

I think Sheldon has been a victim of his own success in a way. He was too powerful for the show, he still is. Jim is still magnificent and so they have to keep propping up the other characters. They also do some of this to Penny.
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#10
All in the name of "growth" and "change".

To quote Dr. Cooper - "No, it’s not going to be fine. Change is never fine. They say it is, but it’s not."

How right he was.
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