Book reviews

The Drama of The Gifted Child

This is a thin and interesting read. Another psychoanalisis oriented book I read, but very different (I’m still recovering from Summer Hill, I said no more, but I found this title in an interesting article  called Taming the Tiger Mother. It doesn’t have the sticky density of what I understand by psychoanalysis. 

This book does not let me with that feeling of despair and being a complete neurotic without hope, sexually repressed woman, and damaging my children type of mother. Actually I appreciate that the book does not center on sexual theories at all, but if anything of that nature is commented, it is to remark the effect some events in the past cause harm in the present, without “drama” or gore details but through real cases and her life time conclusions and observations that ring true to me.

I did not pick this book because I have survived a traumatic childhood as the author (that is what she had in mind with the word “gifted”), but there are episodes and parts of my childhood and adolescence that have hurt me and that I dealt with the way the author describes, by identifying the source of my feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and anger, and by confronting those who were the source of those feelings. That’s the interesting side of this book, that it really talks to anyone, from the severely abused to the one with punctual moments or phases that were not especially remarkable but that can also become obstacles to a healthy adulthood, parenthood, and marriage.

I like the author explanation of how unresolved problems in our childhood affect our present, and you will benefit from the many concrete cases she gives you of real people who suffered depression, grandiose feelings, and had problems related to their inability to see themselves and others for what they were, and who maintain those harmful defense mechanisms and walls such as creating a false self, destructive behaviors, substance abuse, etc.

Something else I find very remarkable it is that she believes those who become therapists do so because they are in need of therapy themselves. She says patients can be fuel and even pray for their own need to heal, and we have to be careful when we choose a therapist, if we need to. She, as a therapist, explains how she had to ‘treat’ herself very well before trying to help others. It is the patient job to make his connections, to go through this healing process, the therapist will hinder the patient recovery if she gives the patient those conclusions, or pushes him to make another false image of himself in order to be accepted by the therapist as a ‘model patient’ . Patients should never be trapped again in the illusion they are solving their problems if they do so through the therapist intellectual explanation and help of his situation. The patient HAS TO BE THE ONE saying what happened, what happens now, what he felt, how he feels (even if it is not what the therapist wants to hear). 

This reminds me (always seing Charlotte Mason everywhere kind of me) of the thought that the one making the questions, doing the talking, is the one learning. I jokingly say a good therapist will be a Charlotte Mason therapist, not a lecturer or master presenter. The patient needs to “narrate”, the therapist can’t give him a test and claim he is healed if he makes an A, and never complete his narration because his life is a book you have not read.

I also like the fact she says we not necessarily need any therapy to confront those childhood feelings, open the door to feeling them in the present and with that come to terms with the past ghosts in full consciousness, without delusions, walls, or lies, but with full acceptance of how we were treated (or mistreated), instead of ignoring our past and being at risk of repeating those behaviors so dangerous to the ones around that we love, and to ourselves.


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