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Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults Paperback – March 15, 2018
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"Mothers of that time were ruthless and remorseless in their killing of children, equated giving birth to defecation, and had their babies in the outhouse. They killed their children themselves by smashing their heads or by sending them to “killing wetnurses” [sic] who did it for them."
The book goes on, in a tone of escalating outrage, morally decrying the bad things that adults do to children. This quote begins one chapter:
"It is wrong to bear children out of need, wrong to use a child to alleviate loneliness, wrong to provide purpose in life by reproducing another copy of oneself. It is wrong also to seek immortality by spewing one’s germ into the future as though sperm contains your consciousness!” — Irvin Yalom"
The author then states, "If you are a relatively observant and introspective person, you have probably noticed that the majority of people who have children are either completely or largely unprepared for parenthood."
To be honest, at this point, I stopped reading. I bought this book, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of longterm affects of childhood trauma across the lifespan, in order to promote healing. Instead, this book appears to be an attempt to commiserate with other outraged people on how terrible and prevalent child abuse is. And the author isn't wrong - childhood abuse is terrible and very prevalent. Maybe some readers are looking to be validated in their observation of this? I suspect far more will simply be triggered. Whatever your reason for considering this book, just know that it does not seem to be primarily a book on the psychology of trauma and development. More of a moral perspective on the sociology of abuse.
If you are an expecting parent, and want to ensure that you raise your children in the most supportive way, get this book.
This book has helped me tremendously in recognizing my own childhood abuse. As difficult as it is to recognize it and read about it, it is as difficult to write about it. I first realized that this book resonated with me through the author's Facebook group, and website "Self Archeology." Darius shared many quotes from the book about the trauma that children face, and I realized right away that these quotes spoke to me, because they are things that happened to me.
This book has helped me in the healing process to not only understand what happened to me, but that what happened to me was real. As is often with abusers, when the victims try to speak out against the abusers' bad behavior, the blame is often a to the victims, or told that such events didn't occur, a very strong attempt at gaslighting, to make the victim question their own sanity. As I read the book, the effect of trauma discussed very accurately describes how I was affected, and how this has shaped my development as an adult. This book is helping me in the healing process..
So many books about childhood trauma and raising children are taken from the point of view of the parents, and hardly, if ever, from the viewpoint of the child. And as a person who has suffered from the very trauma discussed in this book, I have found this book to be tremendously helpful.
Two philosophical questions that comes up while reading this book is:
1. What is the optimal way to raise a child
2. What is the optimal person in this present society/culture
Both are complex questions that the author never attempted to even try to answer. The author just want to convince the reader he/she has some issue with his/her childhood. Parenting is hard and complex, every parent who reads this probably feels like they are a horrible person.
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Missing from this book for me was a discussion of birth trauma - perhaps the form of trauma with the highest potential for harm.
In all, highly recommended for those new to the topic or for those with some knowledge but interested in the historical context for child abuse.