That King John was a cruel and oppressive King is debatable since the events that have caused the negative overtone, can be explained by the presence of multiple mental health disorders, such as Asperger's Syndrome, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and epilepsy. What is more, through the use of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Bronfenbrenner’s theory, it could, further explain John’s limited cognitive development.
Though John is described as a violent and oppressive King, most of it can be explained through psychological disorders. It is through research that John has exhibited signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is the result of witnessing or experiencing a terrifying, life-threatening situation such a murder, abuse, rape or a natural disaster. (Jarrett, 2011, p.330). In the case of John, it is suspected that the loss of his siblings, abandonment as a child and suspected abuse. It is stated by Turner (1994, p.34) that Henry had a violent temper and “his sons often bore brunt of his impatience and anger”, this is further supported by Robson, who describes Henry as also exhibiting signs of aggression (1991, p.30). Sibling’s deaths can also contribute or result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since John was the youngest of eight, by the time he was 22 years old, his father, Henry II (1189) had died along with his siblings Henry (11 June 1183), Geoffrey (1186) and Matilda (1189). Furthermore, children of royalty or nobility were often sent away from their families to other noble’s households, there is no exception with John. Accredited author and historian, Ralph Turner, describes in detail the events of John’s childhood. As a young boy John lived in the Fontevrault Abbey where it was assumed that he would take the role of a priest, at the age of 15 John was moved to live in Ireland, so that he may attend a school for royal administrators. Later in his life, John lived with his brother, Henry, until he died in 1183. Moreover, with John’s nomadic lifestyle and absence of his mother (Cootes, 1989, p.145) John's PTSD would have increase, which is validated by psychologist, Elizabeth A.R. Brown who suggests that “John’s separation from his mother in early childhood had unhappy effects on his personality, that his ‘paranoia and unprincipled opportunism’ may have resulted from ‘the rejection and subsequent loneliness he must have suffered as a child’” (Turner, 1994, p.40). Thus, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an explanation to King John’s mental health problems.
John, like his father was prone to violent outbursts, seemingly at random, this can be explained by the diagnosis of epilepsy. It is posited that John, was having emotional seizures, which are “a type of simple partial seizure which manifests as exaggerated emotions without cause, most commonly fear, though joy, rage, anger or sadness may occur” (TEWF, 2014, p.1). This is demonstrated by the History Learning Site, when it states that, “like his father, John developed a reputation for violent rages which lead to him foaming at the mouth” (2006) this is further validated by a meeting in 1191 with Chancellor William Longchamp, where John had flew into a rage; Richard of Devizes describes that John became “unrecognizable in all his body. Wrath cut across his forehead; burning eyes shot sparks; rage darkened the ruddy color