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The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self Hardcover – July 22, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Anniversary Edition edition (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465012612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465012619
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading the book and am still in the process of digesting it. Frequently, the book pin points my life with shocking accuracy. I won't be discussing the content because it's quite heavy. This books seems to be aiming at psychologists because each part has a chapter for therapists. It also has a European color, especially German. Outside of these parts, I felt that the book was talking directly to me.

I like the condensed quality of the book. Written in the 80s, when each sentence is to be digested. Books published today generally have larger volumes of repetitive concepts. I'd much prefer to read and digest one inspirational sentence at a time, and revisit frequently.

update:

Since Alice Miller has passed away, her website no longer gets updated with new emails from readers, I'll write down some of the awakenings I found reading the book. A lot of buried memories started to come back and a lot of my strange behaviors are starting to make sense. They all rooted in childhood.

- I have a life long yearning for freedom that I never could explain.
- I have impossibly high standards for myself in terms of achievements and strength. I can't stand to be anywhere near the weak or the stupid.
- I don't have non-productive hobbies. My activities are all "useful." e.g. I don't read fictions.
- I have an extraordinary high tolerance for pain starting from early childhood. I remember as a pre-teen I fell playing basketball and got a patch of bloody road rash on my knee. I vividly remember being terrified because I ripped my brand new jeans, not because of the blood and open wound. Also, I never understood why people are afraid of dentists.
- I don't express any emotions, and most of the time I don't experience any emotions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book while in therapy and it absolutely changed my life. No piece of media - book, movie, play, anything - has ever had such a profound impact on me. One can't help but to notice how generous this book is. With many books, you have a sense that the author is seeking respect, maybe even glory from writing. This book is truly a gift from Alice Miller's heart. Honest, warm, and so piercingly insightful that it brought tears to my eyes many times. This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime work for anyone that is capable of confronting their childhood pain, even if it very subtle emotional pain. I have read almost all of her other books, and none quite compares to this one.
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Format: Hardcover
About 15 years ago I picked up this book, expecting to gain insight about one of my high school students. Distressingly, I found it was really about me, and I cried most of the way through it. But I couldn't put it down and I am so thankful I discovered it by whatever means. This book was an essential element in a period of self-awareness and self-realization for me. I count it among the top three books that have had the biggest impact on my relationship with myself and others. It is most definitely not light reading, though. It's possible that people who can't relate to it personally or vicariously through a loved one won't have such a strong reaction, but be forewarned--I didn't think it had anything to do with me, either.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I have given away all my previous copies. This stands with only a handful of books I consider seminal and required reading. The Bible, The ABC's, Etiquette, and this book.

This book is translated, and so some of the key words sound at first as if they mean less, or other than first appears. Read through it. We are setting our children up from day one. It had better be a good set-up, or they will not know how to set up their own children for whole and successful lives.

Abuse comes not only in the form of black eyes or broken arms or incest. Abuse comes in forms that we thought were "love" but turn out to be traps.

Read it. Read it. Read it. Think!
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Format: Hardcover
In this day when depression is automatically treated with antidepressants, when it is a norm rather than an exception to experience symptoms of depression, and those symptoms are often considered physical rather than emotional in cause, this takes us back to a time when an alternate theory predominated.

Antidepressants work consistently 2-3% of the time. Big whoop. For those 2-3% who get their depression under control with antidepressants, the side effects really take their toll.

Want to really get your depression under control, get some therapy, because there's probably something going on rooted in childhood that caused this malfunction, so says the author. And after reading her book, I tend to agree.

This book won't cure you, but it will open your eyes to the possibility of experiencing joy in your life again via therapy. It will help you to see why a person gets depressed, or in the case of narcissism, feels grandiose - above others because he or she is especially talented or successful - and then heads for a fall into a deep depression when he fails to meet his expectations. The most extreme example of the combination of up and down being bi-polar disorder.

Gifted kids often are so because their own parents have created an environment where the only real validation they receive stems from their talent or academic performance, or their ability to help out with the house/family because they are so grown up for their age. Some times they are valued for their beauty.
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