1-Sentence-Summary: The Drama Of The Gifted Child is an international bestseller that will help you unearth your sad, suppressed memories from childhood that still haunt you today and teach you how to confront them so you can avoid passing them on to your children, release yourself from the pains of your past, and finally be free to live a life of fulfillment.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Throughout your life, you’ve been told that all you have to do to be happy is follow the right path. School, work, family, and you’ve got it made. Why, then, do you feel so miserable and even empty all the time even after accomplishing these things?
Most people have a hard time connecting with and understanding their own emotions once they become adults. This makes life really difficult because those ups and downs are what make life worth living.
The key to solving these problems lies in your childhood. And although you might see it nostalgically as a time of freedom and play, there are a lot of un-confronted demons there that explain why you feel empty.
Whether it was an overcontrolling mother or an emotionally inept father, the way you were raised affects how you think and feel now.
These ideas, and how to resolve them, are the topic that Alice Miller explores in her book The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self.
Here are 3 lessons Miller teaches to help you understand your childhood trauma:
- Depression is common in gifted kids because their expectations of themselves are so high.
- Not taking care of childhood trauma can have lasting effects on future generations as it gets passed down.
- You can change the world for the better by becoming your true self.
Have a troubled past that’s haunting you? Don’t fear, just read and start learning!
Lesson 1: Gifted kids expect a lot of themselves which can lead to depression later in life.
Do you ever wonder why so many of the greatest creative minds struggle with mental illness? You’d think that if they had all that success and intelligence they would be happy, right?
To find the answers to these questions, we have to look into why high-achievers also have a sense of grandiosity. These feelings can be their reason for creating. But they’re also a sign of repressed emotions from childhood, which can cause depression.
Many elite performers have really demanding parents. This makes them expect a lot of themselves, which is part of why they’re so great. But it also makes them sacrifice their feelings, which leads to mental illness.
At some point, these people, whose self-worth comes from their striving for greatness, reach their peak. When that happens, they can only go down, and they tend to do so rapidly.
Researchers studied this to discover that manic depression is correlated with intense pressure to perform and with parents who withhold love if their children fail. Because it’s impossible to avoid failure entirely, these kids never learned how to deal with the emotions that come with failure.
In other words, depression comes from repressing emotions. It happens when the child inside gets to a point when they can’t win acceptance with accomplishments any longer.
And when these kids grow up to have their own kids, these things can begin to affect them too.
Lesson 2: Childhood trauma can get passed down through generations if it isn’t addressed.
Parents want the best for their children. They even want their kids to have better lives than they did. This is especially true for parents who themselves had a troubled, emotionally-repressed childhood.
But in trying to give their kids better lives than they had, these adults can actually end up doing more harm than good. By working to help their kids feel the love they never did, they actually end up putting new kinds of stress on them without knowing it.
The problem with trying to give your kids everything is that they eventually start to notice that you want them to be happy all the time. That means they’ll try to not show “negative” emotions like pain just to please their parents.
And these patterns just put them right into the negative feeling-repression cycle that their parents went through.
This means that adults need to heal their own psychological troubles before raising their own kids. If they don’t, they’ll just give the same problems to their offspring.
Solving these issues involves accepting emotions as normal, even the “bad” ones. Then, parents must learn to accept their kids just as they are, weaknesses and all.
One woman contacted the author needing guidance with some struggles she was having trying to love her kids. Once the author helped her work through what she was dealing with, she understood the negative effect that her mom’s conditional love had had on her.
This epiphany led her to finally start loving and accepting her kids as she’d always wanted to but never could.
Lesson 3: Become your true self and you can change the world.
Enough with the negatives of being a gifted child. Now let’s look more at how to stop this cycle and the possibilities for not only the individual that does, but everyone else around them.
The first step is to understand that it is possible to get over a difficult, emotion-suppressed past. You just have to learn how to confront it head on instead of avoiding it like you’ve been trained to do.
This might require therapy and mourning your lost self, but the positive effects are worth the effort.
For one, you’ll be able to start living a fulfilling life instead of constantly having to deal with the struggle within that you’re so tired of. You’ll be able to be happy or sad and to cry or laugh without any limitations or mental struggles.
The other benefit is that the people around you will start to be able to live to the fullest too. Imagine a woman with shameful feelings toward her submissive mother. Overcoming her repressed past might help her stop trying to compensate for her mom’s timidity by dominating her husband.
Even political leaders might be able to be more accepting of minorities if they’d deal with their troubled pasts.
Most of all, remember that the key in all of this is to embrace who you are on the inside, flaws and all. Once you do, you’ll be on the path to becoming your true best self, and allowing those around you the freedom to do the same.
The Drama Of The Gifted Child Review
This is going to sound super conceited but after reading The Drama Of The Gifted Child I feel like I was a gifted child. I say that not because I was particularly smart but more because I’m dealing with a few of the effects. However, I don’t blame my parents or anyone for that and I’m just grateful to have this resource to help me deal with it!
Who would I recommend The Drama Of The Gifted Child summary to?
The 35-year-old who was abused by her father when she was a kid, the 49-year-old that struggles with depression, and anyone that is a parent or will be a parent in the future.