The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self

( 12 )

Overview

Why are many of the most successful people plagued by feelings of emptiness and alienation? This wise and profound book has provided thousands of readers with an answer - and has helped them to apply it to their own lives. Far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs, and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents' expectations and win their "love." Alice Miller writes, "When I used the word 'gifted' in the title, I had in mind neither children who receive high grades in ...
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The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Third Edition

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Overview

Why are many of the most successful people plagued by feelings of emptiness and alienation? This wise and profound book has provided thousands of readers with an answer - and has helped them to apply it to their own lives. Far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs, and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents' expectations and win their "love." Alice Miller writes, "When I used the word 'gifted' in the title, I had in mind neither children who receive high grades in school nor children talented in a special way. I simply meant all of us who have survived an abusive childhood thanks to an ability to adapt even to unspeakable cruelty by becoming numb...Without this 'gift' offered us by nature, we would not have survived." But merely surviving is not enough. The Drama of the Gifted Child helps us to reclaim our life by discovering our own crucial needs and our own truth.

Examines how narcissistic parents form and deform the lives of their talented children.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
A book that patients prescribe...the therapists are reading it because their patients are recommending it.
New York Magazine
Rare and compelling in its compassion and its unassuming eloquence...her examples are so vivid and so ordinary that they touch the hurt child in us all.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The revised edition of Miller's study of the psychology of successful people features a new introduction by the author; also available in hardcover, $20 *-01694-4 (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465016907
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Series: Art of Mentoring Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 68,762
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Miller has achieved worldwide recognition for her work on the causes and effects of childhood traumas. She is the author of many books, including The Truth Will Set You Free, Banished Knowledge, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, and For Your Own Good. She lives in Switzerland.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction to the Revised Edition (1994) 1
1 The Drama of the Gifted Child and How We Became Psychotherapists 27
The Poor Rich Child 30
The Lost World of Feelings 34
In Search of the True Self 38
The Therapist's History 44
The Golden Brain 50
2 Depression and Grandiosity: Two Related Forms of Denial 52
The Vicissitudes of the Child's Needs 52
The Illusion of Love 57
Depressive Phases During Therapy 74
The Inner Prison 77
A Social Aspect of Depression 82
The Legend of Narcissus 86
3 The Vicious Circle of Contempt 87
Humiliation for the Child, Disrespect for the Weak, and Where It Goes from There 87
Working with Contempt in Therapy 98
"Depravity" as "Evil" in Hermann Hesse's Childhood World 110
The Mother as Society's Agent During the First Years of Life 116
The Loneliness of the Contemptuous 119
Achieving Freedom from Contempt and Respecting Life 123
Afterword 129
Works Cited 137
Appendix 141
Index 145
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller

    This book spoke to me directly and compassionately. The various case studies cover a wide range of similar childhood deficits that have led to painful adult insecurities. The "gifted" child (in the title) has the gift of adaptation to his or her childhood environment, but that gift can ultimately deprive the child of his or her true self. Alice Miller shows us how talk therapy and revisiting the past with the clarity of an adult mind can totally liberate us from our childhood prison and how we can finally become the person we were always meant to be. The author tells us how and why this is possible in astonishingly simple terms. Through her words and wisdom, we can at last "get" our past and (hurray!) can finally get over it. Most likely, this book will speak to many people who don't yet realize that you have to first look back before you can look ahead.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    Potentially Life-Changing

    This book obviously isn't light reading, but it may be the most insightful book I have ever read regarding personal development. The author's theory is that the basis for all future development is the Parent (especially Mother)/Child relationship. Children need the love of their parents and they will do whatever it takes to get it, subverting their own desires, needs, and even personality. The child will then spend the rest of his or her adult life seeking this unconditional love and acceptance, impacting future relationships with other adults, as well as with his or her own children. This book is written for therapists, by a therapist, but it is not too technical for the layperson to understand. I found that although the book was very short, it took me a long time to read because the concepts are so enlightening that they require contemplation. I have found this material extrememly useful for understanding myself, and I believe reading it has allowed me to become a better parent to my daughter.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Alice Miller writing helps to understand that every individual has an ethical responsibility to look deep within himself (or herself) and become more conscious of how his past is affecting his relationship with himself and others. This inner journey, discovering the truths about our childhoods and not recreating the bad elements in our current relationships is a form of psychological growth through which we can protect the world from further violence.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Perspective

    Very informative from the self help perspective. This book is cited in later books about the Inner Child. At times confusing as it switches between relating to the self and to practitioners. I'm glad I read it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    enlightenment

    This book gave me the answers that I was searching for my entire life. It opened the door to my emotional block and allowed me to heal the pain from neglect, emotional and physical abuse. I've read all of Alice Miller's books, but this one was the key. She had the words I needed to hear and she expresses a passion for helping children past and future. Due to Alice Miller , I now know that I have the capacity to love my children and appreciate them as loving human beings that have so much to give us if we would open our eyes and see what is right in front of us. I encourage everyone who is going through childhood trauma to read this book, and I hope it helps them as much as it has helped me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2002

    This book put a label on the chaotic, self-destructive, desperate feelings of emptiness I've been suffering from all my life.

    Alice Miller's compassion for the 'inner child' helped me ease towards feeling compassion for myself, and the repressed child suffering inside me. This book prompted me to seek help and has undoubtedly aided in my search and recovery. I wish everyone had a copy of this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    The Death of the True Self

    It is rare to read about abuse and trauma and their life-long consequences in poetic prose. Alice Miller writes as though she has experienced the slow death of the True Self that comes with all forms of abuse - from beatings and berating to smothering and doting. Indispensable. Sam Vaknin, author of 'Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited'.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 26, 2013

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    Posted September 20, 2010

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    Posted July 20, 2010

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    Posted May 28, 2010

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