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The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling Paperback – September 30, 2003
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Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Some key quotations from the text that I, personally, found poignant:
- (Healthy children) "grieve, they feel guilty, and they struggle to compensate by achieving for two."
- "Fixing the unfixable, or saving the irredeemable, is a frequent occurrence in sibling dreams... Dreams in which a sibling no longer has the disability ... gives a brief respite that is both painful and pleasing to recollect."
- (The 'normal' one's) "everyday trials and tribulations pale beside the catastrophe of their sibilings' predicaments, so it seems natural that they should never come first... As a result, many healthy siblings grow up with a hunger for attention that it never satisfied and that seems wrong to feel. Their needs, so consistently ignored, become invisible to themselves."
- "The fallout from being invisible is to become self-effacing; perverse preeminence breeds perfectionism, morbid self-criticism, and fear of failure... Excelling is not an ideal; it is an emotional life preserver."
- "... a nameless anxiety haunts them and makes everything they have seems (sic) tenuous or undeserved... compulsive self-sacfrifice driven by the belief that you do not deserve your advantages... At significant moments... it is excruciating to know how much better off you are and always will be.Read more ›
What I wish Safer had included more of was a discussion of the rage that abused normals feel. My violent brother terrorized and brutalized me; many years later, I still feel a great deal of hatred toward him. Yet Safer's focus on guilt (her own brother never hurt her, so she doesn't feel residual rage toward him) made me feel somehow dirty that my guilt is matched by equal -- no, MORE powerful -- feelings of rage. I wish too that Safer had acknowledged that sometimes parents, in an effort to blame their damaged child(ren)'s defects on something, anything, will overtly blame the good child for somehow robbing their damaged sibling(s) of health and wellbeing. This happened to me; thus I grew up knowing that I had to succeed to save the family name (a phrase my mother tossed around liberally), yet at the same time every success was held against me as an act of thievery against my brothers.
I agree with the other reviewer who said the book is a good start, but not enough. It could have been twice as long, with much more detail paid to the different varieties of the Caliban Syndrome.Read more ›
I had only two problems with this book. First, it's not always like that. It would have been nice to have some functional family portraits, so that parents with both normal and disabled children can learn what works as well as what doesn't. In my own family, I have two normal brothers and a normal sister, all highly intelligent and successful. I am normal and in college. My other brother is emotionally disturbed and struggles both in school and in personal relationships. For a long time, my other siblings and I resented "what he had done to the family" but the fact is, he can't help it. And we have come to terms with his disorder, and even found him to be enjoyable if you are patient enough to sift through the layers of fear and anger. Frankly we have banded together as siblings over his illness, but it took time, and most of it was due to our parents, who balanced his needs against our perfectly understandable resentment, anger, and misunderstanding. They never rebuked us for how we felt, only explained to us the truth of my brother's problems, and were always available to talk to us when we needed to vent. My brother HAS a problem, he's not a problem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As the sister of a "damaged" sibling, I hoped to find solace or at least some sort of behavioral advice from Dr. Safer's book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Papillon
I have four children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. I have a severely mentally ill sister whom I used to care for, so I know that sometimes this can pose stress to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Monkey Momma
Excellent book that put things of my present and childhood regarding my sibling relationship into perspective. Dr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Peter 3:4
This book has played a large part in saving my marriage. I grew up the "normal child" who was praised and punished me equally for every success because while it made my mom... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Exhausted Well-Sibling Spouse
Decent read if you've grown up with or know someone who has grown up with a difficult sibling or a sibling very different from them.Published 12 months ago by Bettlebee
This book gave me a different frame to put around my childhood and family, including my nearly deaf older sister. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Carol M. Collins
Fantastic. So many books on this subject seem to be written for the parents and from parents point if view.
So great to read siblings point if view as I am a normal sibling. Read more
a very interesting book on how our siblings either help to form us or detract in our formation as adultsPublished 19 months ago by sheila carroll
i applaud you for having the courage to write this, and wish i could give you a hug.for those who have had positive experiences with disabled family members and come out unscathed... Read morePublished 21 months ago by kara