One out of every two people will experience trauma, says psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, and one in ten will remain a prisoner of that suffering.
Why are some children permanently damaged by difficult childhoods, while others grow up into secure, creative, loving adults? This book, based on Dr. Cyrulnik’s broad experience with victims of childhood distress, offers a message of hope for everyone concerned about the impact of deprivation and such traumatic events as separation, emotional or sexual abuse, and violence in the environment.
The ghosts of the past keep on whispering to the child within the adult. Through dozens of moving, vivid examples, Dr. Cyrulnik describes the ingredients of resilience, the ability to heal the wounded self and move on, to make sense of what happened back then and form new emotional and social ties. Affection is such a vital need, he writes, that those who were deprived of it will attach themselves intensely to anything that rekindles a spark of life, whatever the cost. From the earliest parent-child bonding to the sexual turbulence of the teenage years, this book shows what makes for success or failure in the struggle to gain freedom from early pain.
Boris Cyrulnik is a neuropsychiatrist and ethologist. Director of Teaching at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Toulon, he is also the author of more than a dozen books, including The Dawn of Meaning (1992).