A guide to understanding, and liberating ourselves from, our past.
To an extraordinary and humbling extent, who we are as adults is determined by events that happened to us before our fifteenth birthday. The way we express affection, the sort of people we find appealing, our understanding of success and our approach to work are all shaped by events in childhood.
We don’t have to remain prisoners of the past, but in order to liberate ourselves from our histories we must first become fully aware of them. This is a book about such a liberation. We learn about how character is developed, the concept of ‘emotional inheritance’, the formation of our concepts of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and the impact of parental styles of love on the way we choose adult partners. We learn too about how we might evolve emotionally and, in particular, how we may sometimes need to have a breakdown in order to have a breakthrough.
We are left with a powerful sense that building up an emotionally successful adult life is possible so long as we reflect with sufficient imagination and compassion on what happened to us a long while back.
• Emotional Inheritance - How emotional problems are handed down from parent to child
• The Golden Child Syndrome -How too much love from our parents can be just as damaging as too little
• Over-Achievement - How we compensate for emotional neglect through worldly success
• Splitting - How we fail to reconcile between the good and bad aspects of our parents
• Soothing - How we still require the kinds of affection we received as children
• Becoming an Adult - How recognising our immaturity is the key to growth
Extracts from the Book:
On Snobbish Parents
"Given how pejorative the term is, we are understandably keen to locate snobs somewhere far from us. They are the people in the newspaper, or the ones who live in the other part of town or went to the school we didn't go to - but it's nice not to imagine them too near to home"
On People Pleasing
"Being someone who pleases people sounds, on the face of it, like a very good thing. It is, however a pattern of behaviour riddled with problems, as much for the perpetrator as for their audience; the people-pleaser is someone (who might at times be oneself) who feels they have no option but to mould themselves to the expectations of others and yet harbours all manner of secret and at points dangerous reservations and resentments"
On Responses to Criticism
"Criticism is never easy. To learn that others judge us to be foolish, perverse, ugly or unpleasant is one of the most challenging aspects of any life. However, the impact of criticism is hugely variable - and depends ultimately on an unexpected detail: what sort of childhood we have had. The clue to whether criticism will be experienced as merely unpleasant or wholly catastrophic lies in what happened to us many decades ago in the hands of our earliest caregivers."
Hardback book | 118 pages | 187 x 115 mm