The Drama of The Gifted Child

This is a thin and interesting read. Another psychoanalisis oriented book I read, but very different (I'm still recovering from Summer Hill, I said no more, but I found this title in an interesting article  called Taming the Tiger Mother. It doesn't have the sticky density of what I understand by psychoanalysis. 

This book does not let me with that feeling of despair and being a complete neurotic without hope, sexually repressed woman, and damaging my children type of mother. Actually I appreciate that the book does not center on sexual theories at all, but if anything of that nature is commented, it is to remark the effect some events in the past cause harm in the present, without "drama" or gore details but through real cases and her life time conclusions and observations that ring true to me.



I did not pick this book because I have survived a traumatic childhood as the author (that is what she had in mind with the word "gifted"), but there are episodes and parts of my childhood and adolescence that have hurt me and that I dealt with the way the author describes, by identifying the source of my feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and anger, and by confronting those who were the source of those feelings. That's the interesting side of this book, that it really talks to anyone, from the severely abused to the one with punctual moments or phases that were not especially remarkable but that can also become obstacles to a healthy adulthood, parenthood, and marriage.

I am only half way, but I can say already that you will like the author explanation of how unresolved problems in our childhood affect our present, and you will benefit from the many concrete cases she gives you of real people who suffered depression, grandiose feelings, and had problems related to their inability to see themselves and others for what they were, and who maintain those harmful defense mechanisms and walls such as creating a false self, destructive behaviors, substance abuse, etc.

Something else I find very remarkable it is that she believes those who become therapists do so because they are in need of therapy themselves. She says patients can be fuel and even pray for their own need to heal, and we have to be careful when we choose a therapist, if we need to. She, as a therapist, explains how she had to 'treat' herself very well before trying to help others. It is the patient job to make his connections, to go through this healing process, the therapist will hinder the patient recovery if she gives the patient those conclusions, or pushes him to make another false image of himself in order to be accepted by the therapist as a 'model patient' . Patients should never be trapped again in the illusion they are solving their problems if they do so through the therapist intellectual explanation and help of his situation. The patient HAS TO BE THE ONE saying what happened, what happens now, what he felt, how he feels (even if it is not what the therapist wants to hear). 

This reminds me (always seing Charlotte Mason everywhere kind of me) of the thought that the one making the questions, doing the talking, is the one learning. I jokingly say a good therapist will be a Charlotte Mason therapist, not a lecturer or master presenter. The patient needs to "narrate", the therapist can't give him a test and claim he is healed if he makes an A, and never complete his narration because his life is a book you have not read.


I also like the fact she says we not necessarily need any therapy to confront those childhood feelings, open the door to feeling them in the present and with that come to terms with the past ghosts in full consciousness, without delusions, walls, or lies, but with full acceptance of how we were treated (or mistreated), instead of ignoring our past and being at risk of repeating those behaviors so dangerous to the ones around that we love, and to ourselves.



6 opinion(s):

Marvan said...

very interesting. It seems a very interesting auther in general. I'll have to have a look at some of her books.
Thanks for sharing.

Silvia said...

Your welcome, Marvan... By the way, I order some of those little jewels, the Martina books, to my sister. I fell in love with the illustrations.
(I've just finished this book today and it was a good read for anyone really. Well, anyone interested in introspection and this topic.

Marvan said...

very interesting. It seems a very interesting auther in general. I'll have to have a look at some of her books.
Thanks for sharing.

SilviaBlogs said...

This is her website http://www.alice-miller.com/index_en.php, in case you are interested.

Willa said...

Great review! I hesitated about reading this book for a long time -- I was afraid it would be only for adults who had been abused (I am not one of those either) or else very angry at the parents. Or else that it would slam Christianity. She did make a couple of references to people using religion as a weapon, but that of course is something I don't like either, so I didn't have a problem with it. Anyway, your thoughts on the book are similar to ones I had. For such a small book it packs a real punch in terms of understanding and insight.

Silvia said...

What was interesting it's how you linked this to CM. You made me look at it also in a new and incredibly interesting light.
Yes, I thought the same, why am I reading this book? I'm just curious.
For a while I read lots on ADHD and I don't have a child, a spouse, or I'm not ADHD. But I had students with those traits, and some people close to me too... I thought the same as you in regards to christianity, I don't think she attacked it at all, she cautioned though to the use of it as a weapon as you said. I found it very packed with intelligent and practical thoughts, it's one of the books I like best in this category.
It even pointed to the fact that you can't know the brain, or a person's behavior in a clinic or scientific way, right? Like she understands poetic, somehow, but I don't think she had that in her reference, so it may be a bit of a stretch.
I was thrilled, because I read this alone!
I remember now I wanted to look for that public domain book you mentioned too.

 

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