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The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting [Paperback]

Alice Miller , Andrew Jenkins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2006
World-renowned psychoanalyst, Alice Miller has devoted a lifetime to studying how the cruelties inflicted on children cripple them as adults. In this new work, Miller goes further, investigating the long-range consequences of childhood abuse on the body - be it cancer, stroke or other debilitating illnesses. Using the experiences of her patients along with biographical stories of literary giants such as Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust, Miller shows how a child's humiliation, impotence and bottled rage will manifest itself as adult illness. Never one to shy away from controversy, Miller urges society as a whole to jettison its belief in the Fourth Commandment and not to extend forgiveness to parents whose tyrannical child-rearing methods have resulted in unhappy, and often ruined, adult lives. This empowering book will enable readers to come to terms with their repressed emotions and break the cycle of violence.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New edition edition (15 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393328635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393328639
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"In this book [Miller's] thesis is that childhood abuse, even when the parents don't know that they are being abusive, is held in the body and damages health and life expectancy as children grow up." Victoria Neumark, The Times Education Supplement"

About the Author

ALICE MILLER is the author of such classic works as The Drama of the Gifted Child and Prisoners of Childhood. She lives in Switzerland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I found this to be an excellent source of information and guidance helping me to make sense of and validate my feelings. Together with some of the other books I have read on this subject such as Toxic Parents, which I also highly recommend, these books have opened up a whole new perspective in my life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive Argument 3 Jan 2011
Alice Miller writes persuasively about the lasting effects of various kinds of child abuse on the body.
Perhaps counselling will prove to be more effective than medication for these disorders.Hopefully more research will be done into this.The book certainly proved to be an interesting and informative read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Listen to yourself 6 May 2012
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
An easily understood book but perhaps not a widely read book. This sums up the ideas that Reich, Gross, Adler, Stekel and Laing looked upon. The violence enacted within childhood becomes locked within the body and thereby festers.

This negative energy either becomes sublimated and later emerges as an illness or is expressed in anger and violence. In this way it repeats the revenge cycle.

Alice Miller reveals all with vignettes and case histories drawn from literature, newspaper articles along with a reflection upon herself and her previous work. Easily digestible but harder for many to take on board, as it entails returning to experiences that will have been shutdown, erased, forgotten or sublimated..

Alice Miller takes on the hoary old chestnut - why does everyone who has been sexually abused not turn into Ed Gein, Ted Bundy or Myra Hindley?

It is because someone rescues them upon a life path, the childhood is never determined but the choices become severely curtailed - unless someone is rescued by an emotional lifeguard. If not, the drift into making those choices to reenact the violence reoccur, for a number of rationales. This perspective gets up the nose of the neo-eugenicists who want to boil humans down to their genetic key. They are the new hip-priests, filled with religious fervor fueled by their desire to discover "original sin."

So the academic world just stares scratches its head and searches for the psychopath gene, it does not have anything else to offer apart from mechanical reductionism, because it fails to understand a life body. When all the time human behaviour is encoded within the daily interactions they seem incapable of reflecting upon.

Alice Miller provides the infrastructure to see the world from a different perspective; the correct one. Do not waste your time on the ersatz psychology courses which abound as Ponzi Schemes.
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