The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self / Edition 3

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.76
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 70%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $6.76   
  • New (8) from $12.95   
  • Used (9) from $6.76   


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.

Read More Show Less

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.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465012619
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Edition description: Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 295,171
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Miller has achieved worldwide recognition for her work on the causes and effects of childhood traumas. Her books include The Drama of the Gifted Child, Banished Knowledge, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, and For Your Own Good. She lives in Switzerland.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 13 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.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002


    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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'.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2015

    Opened My Eyes

    This book really opened my eyes to how as children, we are often forced to repress our anger, frustration, and rage, especially in response to childhood abuse (whether physical, mental, or sexual). This abuse usually comes from our parents and in idealizing them and believing that our abuse was "for our own good" (the title of another book by Dr. Miller), we push aside our emotions as children only to have the emotions resurface as adults.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)