The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting
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The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  405 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Never before has world-renowned psychoanalyst Alice Miller examined so persuasively the long-range consequences of childhood abuse on the body. Using the experiences of her patients along with the 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...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2004)
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Tabetha
The author spends a lot of time arguing that the commandment to "honor thy parents" causes a lot of harm, especially to children whose parents were abusive in one way or another.

I've known several abuse survivors, some of whom still question themselves as to whether it really happened, or if it could have been as bad as they remember, or have spent a lot of time finding excuses for their parents. In that sense, I think this book could be useful for affirming those experiences and allowing heali...more
Kathie Jackson
The belief that our repressed emotions can cause physical ailments is nothing new. What Miller offers that feels groundbreaking is this: children of abusers need not forgive their parent(s) in order to be free of the pain and damage. As a therapist Miller feels her profession too often preaches the typical morality of "honor thy parents" and finds that most counselors believe forgiveness is key to the patient being able to move on. Miller instead believes a therapist should become an "enlightene...more
jenna
Eh! Maybe my hopes were too high after being so enamored of The Drama of the Gifted Child. The thesis is one that I whole heartedly subscribe to; the mind-body connection is clearly illustrated in both my personal and professional life.

However, I found the initial part of the book weak and dull; that she beats the reader to the punch by pronouncing the impotence of the presented material (connecting physical ailments of historical figures to their emotional loose ends from childhood) does nothin...more
Michelle
Interesting and validating. Occaisionally she goes slightly over the top and draws conclusions I found a bit of a stretch. Also it can be repetetive, but I think that was on purpose, since the resistence to these ideas was part of the point. I'm glad this book was written, I think it's important.
Kai Schreiber
Ihr Revoluzzertum ist erfrischend und ihre Thesen vermutlich nah an der Wirklichkeit, aber die empirische Methode grenzt ans esoterisch Naive und ich musste stellenweise schnell drüberblättern. Jemand fühlte sich als Kind nicht geliebt und bekam später Krebs, Tuberkulose oder starb früh? - Klarer Beweis für die These, dass alles Übel der Welt aus Kinderherzen stammt. Das ganze noch überwiegend anhand der Biographien berühmter Autoren (Kafka! Nietzsche!), deren Details ohnehin schon durch eine De...more
Dazessin
Alice Miller, Psychoanalytikerin, Lehrende und Autorin, schreibt in Der Revolte des Körpers über den Zusammenhang von körperliche Krankheiten und als Kind erfahrenenen psychischen Verletzungen, die verdrängt wurden und die sich über den Körper bemerkbar machen. Sie verknüpft das mit der herrschenden moralischen Vorstellung, dass wir unsere Eltern lieben müssen und ihnen zugefügtes Leid irgendwann vergeben müssen, damit die Seele heilen kann. Sie positioniert sich ganz eindrücklich gegen diesen L...more
AA Palliser
This is a must read for therapists and people in any kind of realtional or attatchment based therapy.

I found this book fantastic as a help tool for people in my practice who are dealing with issues around abusive parents or trauma. It gives one the courage to look at the bonds of parenthood and question the realationships with parents who have been cruel or abusive.

I loved it.
Ebony
Miller’s The Body Never Lies was much more accessible than Prisoners of Childhood. It’s still instructive about what makes a good therapist, but this time the advice pertains to individuals looking for a therapist as well as practitioners. Instructive is a good word for the text in general. Miller offers really simple instructions for those who were abused and humiliated in childhood: “stop loving and forgiving those who hurt you.” Super simple. Widly radical. She argues that the 4th commandment...more
Veronica G
Excellent book! One of the bests I have read on poor parenting, its effect long term and short term! I cannot say enough good things about it. This was highly recommend to me by a friend in Book Club and she was right. Awesome book! Consider this book a self-therapy book from cover to cover.
Jmp
Interesting idea that the 4th commandment to honor thy father and mother do not apply when the parents are abusive. Many stories in the book, but this is the theme over and over.
Emna
Brilliant..Provides simple and powerful insights on what the body communicates in distress and internal conflict situations..
Olivia
A very interesting read about how child abuse of any form is stored within the body and either results in the child becoming an abusive adult or an adult suffering from various mental and health problems. Because society teaches us to love our parents (the 4th commandment) we are unable to express our hate, hurt or whatever negative emotion we have towards our parents and end up suffering or letting others suffer. Whilst I don't agree with everything she says I think it will show the reader a fe...more
Samantha Verdin
Desde que estoy en psicoanálisis y puedo pensar en los momentos que he enfermado y las circunstancias que han envuelto esos momentos en mi vida, encuentro que existe una gran relación entre el sufrimiento emocional/psíquico reprimido, y su válvula de escape: el cuerpo.

Alice Miller continúa con lo leído en 'El drama del niño dotado...' (que creo que es la base de sus otros libros), y ejemplifica cuáles son las consecuencias físicas de las emociones reprimidas en la infancia, que arrastramos dent...more
E.d.
This book mainly questions the validity of the Fourth Commandment. I loved it.
Lale Akat
most precious of her books-answer to a lot of questions we all have.
Peter
Lots of good psychology, excellent deconstruction ( mostly by illustration) of the "honor thy parents no matter what" commandment /idea. Explores the hideous effects that might result due to this frame, eg most of the religions seem to slavishly follow this and also some therapists aim for "forgiveness" as an endpoint etc.
Loses a star for the over emphasis on "don't forgive bad parents therefore cancer" type ideas. Sure, forgiving nasty vile parents might result in ulcers /headaches perhaps, an...more
Maja Z
Worth reading.
Max
IT CHANGED MY LIFE. Unlike every motivational book out there on the shelves which has reviews on the back cover who say that, this is a psychology book. You will not feel motivated by reading it, though it may help facing hidden ghosts from your childhood. THIS BOOK ISN'T FOR ANYONE: It may result slightly painful to shocking-painful to read even for people like me who had a can't complain-happy childhood.
Cherilynn Veland
Powerful subject that is handled well by the author. I believe many of her assertions to be true, especially the culpability that society has on minimizing the extent and importance of this type of trauma. It is rare to feel so much of an author's passion and anger come through while presenting evidence and reinforcing their points. Loved the insights into past subjects: Virginia Woolf, Dostyevski, etc.
Bethany
This is sheer codswallop. It's a shame, because the starting hypothesis is well known to be accurate. However, Miller extrapolates information from what is definitely known and turns her conjecture into fact - extremely poor scholarship at best. I was unable to read most of what she wrote with any kind of credibility because of this glaring failure.
Crystal
qué impresión qué manera de decir las cosas que tanto daño hacen, parecen muy obvias pero pocos se atreven a mencionarlas en voz alta, ciertamente es increíble como hacen ver al perdón como el medio para la felicidad y la salud, cuando en algunas ocasiones está de más...
Georgiana
It's a real relief to discover that you can't stand a book within the first twenty pages! I found the tone preachy and the content simplistic. Going to try some of her earlier works, as I'm wondering whether she's coasting on previous (hopefully meatier) successes.
Natasa Tovornik
Our body is a our great compass. It tells us, what relationships and people are good for us, and which we should let go. The book also explores the dangerous of the 4th commandment. Also anorexia can be caused by unmeaningful communication in families.
Cyndi
I love Alice Miller. Drama Of The Gifted Child is one of the best books I've read on the effects of childhood abuse. I was somewhat disappointed by this book. It seemed to be lacking in substance a bit, although I did agree with her perspective.
Mary Ronan Drew
I think Alice Miller has some brilliant insights. The idea that all (ALL) adult ill health is caused by cruelty in childhood is not one of them. I quit on page 85 of a 214-page book so I really did give it a chance.
Diana
Strong, compassionate and outspoken advocate for children and inner children as well. If you can only read one Alice Miller, read Drama of the Gifted Child. If you want more, this is a good follow-up.
Chris
This book was quite a rollercoaster to go through. Miller is uncompromising and unflinching in her style, and there's an intuitive truth to much of what she says about child abuse.
Roy
Jun 23, 2008 Roy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All childhood-'battered' adults
Recommended to Roy by: John Bradshaw
Alice Mller's latest. A profound examination of "The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting." Where they come from. How they work. The price paid. Essential. As is all of A.M.'s workd.
Joy
Food for thought; she has an different perspective on forgiveness than the prevailing standards of therapy that I am familiar with, for certain.
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Psychologist and world renowned author, who is noted for her books on child abuse, translated in several languages. In her books she departed from psychoanalysis charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies, which she described in For Your Own Good .

Miller was born in Poland and as young woman lived in Warshaw where she survived World War II. In 1953 she gained her doctorate in phil...more
More about Alice Miller...
The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence Thou Shalt Not Be Aware : Society's Betrayal of the Child The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness

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“Thus he spent his whole life searching for his own truth, but it remained hidden to him because he had learned at a very young age to hate himself for what his mother had done to him. (...) But not once did he allow himself to direct his endless, justified rage at the true culprit, the woman who had kept him locked up in her prison for as long as she could. All his life he attempted to free himself of that prison, with the help of drugs, travel, illusions, and above all poetry. But in all these desperate efforts to open the doors that would have led to liberation, one of them remained obstinently shut, the most important one: the door to the emotional reality of his childhood, to the feelings of the little child who was forced to grow up with a severely disturbed, malevolent woman, with no father to protect him from her.” 14 likes
“Genuine feelings are never the product of conscious effort. They are quite simply there, and they are there for a very good reason, even if that reason is not always apparent.” 0 likes
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