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The Drama of the Gifted Child

The Search for the True Self

By Alice Miller
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The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller
Synopsis

International bestseller and classic The Drama of the Gifted Child (1979) is about the ways in which our unhappy, repressed childhood memories come back to haunt us as adults. Everyone deals with negativity in their childhood, and if adults don’t confront these memories, they risk living unfulfilled lives or even passing their problems on to their children. Overcoming these suppressed emotions will set you free.

Key idea 1 of 6

Many adults are unknowingly burdened by suppressed childhood memories and emotions.

Have you ever felt like you were missing something, even though life was going well? We all feel this way sometimes. Why is that?

As adults, we often lose touch with our own emotions. That’s part of why so many therapy patients say they can’t feel anything, whether it’s shame, jealousy, happiness, sorrow or joy. Life is empty without emotion; emotion is what makes life worth living.

Sadly, these therapy patients struggle to feel anything real. They’ve lost their ability to connect with themselves – a problem often rooted in their childhoods.

A lot of people have rose-tinted memories of being a kid. They’re nostalgic for those easier days when their parents took care of them and all they had to do was play.

But childhood isn’t just fun and games – it’s also the time when most of us learn to suppress our emotions. As children grow up, they learn they have to quell their emotions so their parent will love and accept them.

Consider a child with an over-controlling father, for example. From an early age, that child would learn to obey their parent rather than following their own wishes. And if they were beaten, they’d learn to suppress their tears and pain so as not to provoke their father even further.

A child with an overbearing mother might have problems with their sexual development. Alice Miller, the author, knew of a case of one unhealthily attached mother who went so far as to massage her son’s genitals when he was almost in puberty. It had a terrible impact on his sexuality.

Children with parents like these often lose touch with their feelings as they get older. Repressing your emotions and memories can have serious, long-term consequences.

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