The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Third Edition

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, Third Edition


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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
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 29,943
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Alice Miller (1923-2010) achieved worldwide recognition for her work on the causes and effects of childhood traumas. She was also the author of many books, including The Truth Will Set You Free, Banished Knowledge, Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, and For Your Own Good.

Table of Contents

The Drama of the Gifted Child and How We Became Psychotherapists     1
The Poor Rich Child     4
The Lost World of Feelings     8
In Search of the True Self     14
The Therapist's History     19
The Golden Brain     24
Depression and Grandiosity: Two Related Forms of Denial     27
The Vicissitudes of the Child's Needs     27
Healthy Development     28
The Disturbance     30
The Illusion of Love     33
Grandiosity     34
Depression as the Reverse of Grandiosity     37
Depression as Denial of the Self     40
Depressive Phases During Therapy     52
Signal Function     53
Suppression of Essential Needs     53
The Accumulation of Strong, Hidden Feelings     54
Confronting the Parents     55
The Inner Prison     56
A Social Aspect of Depression     62
The Legend of Narcissus     66
The Vicious Circle of Contempt     69
Humiliation for the Child, Disrespect for the Weak, and Where It Goes from There     69
Working with Contempt in Therapy     82
Damaged Self-Articulation in the Compulsion to Repeat     83
Perpetuation of Contempt in Perversion and Obsessive Behavior     85
"Depravity" as "Evil" in Hermann Hesse's Childhood World     95
The Mother as Society's Agent During the First Years of Life     103
The Loneliness of the Contemptuous     106
Achieving Freedom from Contempt and Respecting Life     111
Afterword     117
Works Cited     121
Appendix     123
Index     127

What People are Saying About This

Anthony Storr

"Full of wisdom and perception."

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The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Annie48 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Dr-Payam_Ghassemlou More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
jettstream on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Alice Miller nails it. Children who are prevented from developing an authentic self by narcissistic or otherwise harmful and inadequate parenting will find validation, solace, and guidance through the resulting pain, anger, and confusion. I wish the author had used a less misleading title.
Fernandame on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Paperback - I found this book very interesting. I could relate to some of it but some of the ideas are just too out there for me to accept.
Rileysride on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Amazing dig into personal history in order to meet people where they are as a therapist as well as how I formulate relationships regularly. Icredibly insightful.
-Cee- on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Alice Miller wrote the original version of this book 30 years ago. This book is updated but the premise is the same. Adults with repressed or unconscious childhood memories are unable to find their ¿true¿ selves, feel they are loved only for what they accomplish or how they behave (not for themselves), and suffer lasting emotional impairment and depression. To heal the emotional pain requires facing the original cause (parents¿ needs and behaviors), recognizing childhood feelings and loneliness, and learning to deal with those repressed emotions. Adults who feel depressed, lonely or out of sorts with their emotional health may find this an interesting theory and want to do a ¿look back¿ to their own childhood. And because the future is in our hands, this little book would be a good read for young expectant (or new) parents to ponder. ¿For their development, children need the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world. When these vital needs are frustrated and children are, instead, abused for the sake of adults¿ needs by being exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated, neglected or deceived without the intervention of any witness, then their integrity will be lastingly impaired.¿Criminal violence may obviously be traced to childhood abuse ¿ but there is much deep and unrecognized pain which stems from the insidious pressures of our own childhoods. Miller offers us much food for thought about ourselves, our children, and the entire future of the world. Recommended to those interested in child development, parenting and psychotherapy.
rayski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a book for new parents as it would scare them to death. Miller says all feelings, psychological make up all happen at the very ages of childhood. That you can trace one¿s personality to events at the earliest ages. Furthermore you can¿t correct these personality traits until the patient can come back to the true root event that defines that trait today. Makes it all seem hopeless. There was lots of good thought provoking material that makes one see how his actions are consistent and define him. Why you are like this and do this, well you need to remember way back to when you were in diapers to truly understand yourself.
hdavenport More than 1 year ago
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.
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