TBBTh: Sheldon The physicist Dr. Dr. Sheldon Cooper is one of the main characters of the comedy series The Big Bang Theory. He lives with his colleague and friend Dr. Leonard Hoffstatter in a shared apartment in California. Other important reference persons are the astrophysicist Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali, the engineer Howard Wolowitz and Sheldon's neighbor Penny. Sheldon Cooper is not only intellectually gifted, he also meets the diagnostic criteria* for congenital Asperger's syndrome. This profound developmental disorder from the autism spectrum is described according to ICD-10 (F84.5) by the following criteria: * Qualitative deviations of mutual social interactions * Limited, stereotypical, repetitive repertoire of interests and activities * No general delay in development * No developmental lag of the language The qualitative differences in social interaction are evident in Sheldon's lack of empathy, his apparent disinterest in the opinions and feelings of his fellow human beings, and his difficulty in understanding humor and sarcasm. Sheldon's activities are subject to a compulsively organized process down to the last detail. Deviations from the routine put him under great strain, which is why he always tries to impose his procedures and rituals on his environment. Also characteristic of Asperger's syndrome are his special interests and his obsessive knowledge of science, science fiction and model railroads. The last two diagnostic criteria (lack of general and linguistic developmental delay) serve primarily to distinguish Asperger's syndrome from early childhood autism (so-called Kanner autism). The fact that Sheldon impresses with clearly above average intellectual (IQ of 187) and linguistic abilities supports the diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. Sheldon grew up, together with a twin sister, in a family of the American middle to lower class. Neither parent nor sister seem to have shared his intellectual gifts and scientific interests. There is much evidence to suggest that from the beginning he was considered an oddity both within and outside the family. Sheldon's father apparently could not relate to the son who did not share his interests (football and hunting) and retreated disappointed. It can be assumed that even his attractive and presumably peer group popular sister did not necessarily seek close contact with her strange and difficult brother. Thus, Sheldon's primary caregivers remained an unspecified granny and his mother, Mary. Mary pampered her son on an oral-regressive level, cooking his favorite food (pasta with sausages) and mothering him when he was sick. In return, however, she demanded that he submit to her conservative-religious system of norms and values without contradiction and punished deviations and contradictions with harsh criticism. Thus, Sheldon, with his interests and intellectual achievements, could not feel accepted by her either and felt loved because of his true self. In the omnipresent awareness of being different from everyone else, of not really being accepted by them and not belonging, Sheldon withdraws his constantly disappointed relationship desires from his fellow human beings and seeks fulfillment in his own intellectual inner space, where he achieves scientific excellence and fantasizes about playing the role of the (precisely because of their otherness) universally admired superheroes of his comics and computer games. He repeatedly uses his intellectual superiority to suppress suppress suppressed self-doubts, often at the expense of others whom he offends by his narcissistic self-exaltation. A secret unconscious attempt to secure the longed-for loving attention of his caregivers after all is, for Sheldon (according to early experiences with his mother) the sick role. Thus the repressed desire for care expresses itself as manifest hypochondria (ICD-10: F45.2): * Persistent concern with the possibility of suffering from one or more serious and progressive physical illnesses * Persistent physical complaints or persistent preoccupation with their physical phenomena * Interpretation of normal or general body perceptions and symptoms as abnormal and stressful In the event of an actual illness (e.g. a cold), Sheldon overreacts and demands maximum care and attention from his caregivers. Here, too, he demands the observance of a procedure that is defined in detail (preparation of chicken soup, rubbing of the breast, singing the cat dance song), which meets the needs of the Asperger's autistic person.