A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder
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A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  668 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The harrowing, insightful, and courageous account of a prominent man's struggle with multiple personalities

Robert Oxnam was a high-profile, successful man: A renowned scholar and president of the Asia Society, he appeared frequently on television and traveled the world as a sought-after expert. But what the millions of people who'd seen him didn't know--what even those clo...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Hyperion (first published 2005)
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Jessica
My Amazon review: Books on multiple personality disorder are not, as a rule, very well written and A Fractured Mind is no exception to this. It is unfortunate, however, that where those other books made up for literary lapses by being incredibly emotional, open, and intriguing, A Fractured Mind falls more than short.

Robert Oxnam's story is, indeed, a sad one. I do not wish to blame the victim - it is clear Mr. Oxnam has gone through quite a bit in his life that nobody should have to deal with. U...more
Elyse
I read most of this book yesterday while soaking in my warm-water pool...(or/and lying in the sun).
Being relaxed allowed for mental and physical harmony --all of which was necessary --for taking in the depths of this story.

This is a valuable book worth reading. 'This' author happens to be a highly educated man --(Yale University in Asian studies). Not all people with multiple personality disorder (MPD),are as highly functional in the world --(academic world, business, financial, travel, etc.) as...more
Paula
I couldn't enjoy this book. Its a boring story told by mostly unsympathetic characters. When a person is this ill its hard to NOT be sympathetic, but somehow he manages. I'm not surprised he had 11 individual personalities- because that's how many people it should take to carry around the weight of his extraordinary ego.
Desinta Laras
Actually I was mind-blowed at beginning for I never experience the same things as Mr. Oxnam had. This book is one of my favorite non-fiction books. You know what its best part is? It tells us even a person who suffers from a multiple personality disorder (today Oxnam lives with three personalities inside him) could be as succeed and as/more inspirational than us, normal people.

So :) dear readers. Here's the plot.

Robert Oxnam was a high-profile, successful man: A renowned scholar and president of...more
Amanda
If you ever wanted to get into the mind of someone with multiple personality disorder, this book is a great way to do it. The writing style is that of each of the personalities speaking through themselves to their psychiatrist trying to integrate to form a functional individual. The great thing about this story is how the author was so easily able to hide his disorder for 50 years while still working in close contact with past presidents, foreign diplomats, and the secret service.
Jess
This was a really great autobiography. It was interesting to read from his various alters point-of-view. It gave so much info about the disorder. Had to read it for a class...but would suggest it to anyone interested in MPD (DID).
Ania
This is by no means the best book ever written by an author who has/does suffer from a mental illness, but it's still worth reading in my opinion.

It may have been easier for me to read than others, as I was fortunate enough to meet the author years ago at a lecture put together by a professor I TA'd for in college, and his writing style made more sense having met him and having heard his story first hand.

I consider this book to be a very interesting look at the life of someone with DID, and if y...more
Leanne
In “A Fractured Mind”, Robert B. Oxnam chronicles his real-life experience with Multiple Personality Disorder. In stark contrast to many MPD sufferers, Oxnam has a very successful professional life, especially as an Asia specialist and speaker. Throughout his adult years Oxnam suffers greatly from blackouts and alcoholism causing him to seek professional help from Dr. Jeffrey Smith, a well-known psychiatrist. It’s during treatment that the discovery is made that Oxnam’s alcoholism and black-outs...more
Elketw
Category: Books
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Author: Robert B Oxnam

Kisah nyata seorang profesor yang memiliki 11 kepribadian.

Tommy, seorang anak laki-laki penakut dan pemarah, yang percaya bahwa ia tinggal di istana; Bobby, seorang rollerblader yang kelakarnya selalu menarik perhatian orang; Wanda, perempuan separo baya yang ketenangan dan kebijaksanaannya mendorong orang untuk berfokus ....

Tommy, Bobby, dan Wanda hanyalah tiga dari sebelas kepribadian Robert Oxnam, seorang sarjana terkenal...more
Christine
Wow, this book is an affirmation that no matter what personal or medical problems you may have in your life, your state of being is so much better than if you have a notable mental illness. Seriously this guy is fruit loops. I respect that he embraces his mental illness and can live with it. But wow, it is something!

He tells his story through the persona's of his different personalities. One is even a witch. He is essentially many different people, where as most of us just recognize the many rol...more
Heather
I am honesty shocked that Oxnam did not break his arm from patting himself on the back so much. The name-dropping and arrogant ego inflation is likely part of his pathology, but it is borderline unbearable. When he does, however, actually get into the MPD, there seems to be an amazing and compelling story about a child who used extraordinary creativity to survive severe abuse. But this book is far from compelling and left me feeling incredibly detached, if not contemptuous, towards the author.
Brian
Oct 30, 2011 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brian by: Shandra Pizzo
A friend of mine who is a nurse recommended this to me. At first I wasn't too sure, but at a bookstore, I found it and thumbed through it which did peaked my interest. So, I bought it. After a few months on my bookshelf, I decided to give it a try.

Robert Oxman is a successful person who is an expert on Asia. What made him seek a psychiatrist was his problem with alcohol, (he's also bulimic). During one session Tommy made an appearance.

This memoir is about how Robert went from 11 distinguished pe...more
David
Fascinating book. My interest was heightened because I had a minor professional acquaintance with Oxnam during the 1980s, but I think most readers would be both interested and informed.
Kathy
Fascinating life story. Anyone interested in psychology and how the mind works will find this worth reading.
Dyah Woro Dwi Lestari
walaupun buat saya, gangguan kepribadian disosiasi merupakan topik yang "misterius" tetapi membaca kisah pak oxnam ini membuat saya bersimpati terhadapnya. Kehidupannya yang tidak "utuh" karena diselingi oleh fase lupa, yaitu ketika kepribadian alternya muncul membuatnya menjadi individu yang unik. Walaupun akhirnya beberapa dari mereka bisa melebur, menyatu menjadi satu, tetapi ada yang tetap berdiri menjadi kepribadian sendiri. Saya terbawa kisahnya dan merasa "creepy" ketika membaca alter yan...more
Gypsy
It's amazing what a human mind is capable of to protect itself to survive through severe trauma, and to cope with live's pressures. I find this book an interesting introduction to the world of someone living with MPD. Even though there are other books out there written by MPD patients, i was originaly fascinated by all the accomplishments of Oxnam the 'Asian Expert'. It's about the private battles of someone who enjoyed public successes. The end of the book includes notes by the psychiatrist so...more
BrieAnna
This book really opened me up to the life of someone who is dealing with MPD, now commonly known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. I really didn't know a lot about the disorder before this book, and it was very eye-opening, as I think it would be for anyone who read this. After reading a few pages of the book, sometimes I would literally say, "Wow." I didn't even realize that the human mind could be so powerful as to completely turn into another person without being able to remember it. It is t...more
Rhonda
This is a very interesting look into Multiple Personality Disorders. Robert Oxnam, the author, has had many sucessful dealings with the Asain Society and President Bush(Sr).
The author found out in therapy that he had eleven different personalities but he was able to get them under control and down to a managable three personalities who work well with one another after several years of hard work. For anyone that does not understand MPD this is a book for them to read. It sheds some insight into t...more
Jennifer
This is an amazing story. This is such a difficult disorder with which to live(dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder).I can not imagine going through this. Robert Oxnard narrates his struggle to discover what is happening to him and his subsequent therapy. He delves into conversations with his alters(alternative personalities) as he learns secrets about his past and finds ways to integrate every personality into his own self.
Leslie
Oxnam, a well-known Asia expert and author has the guts to write the story of his struggle with Multiple Personality Disorder--WOW!! I applaud that!
Different sections of the book are written in the voices of the different alters and that is very effective. The book covers several years of therapy and has an epilogue by his therapist. I couldn't put this book down--stayed up til 2am to read it.
An fascinating story by an honest, brave man.
Colleen Anderson
I recommend it. It's a firsthand account of what it's like to discover and attempt to integrate multiple personalities (with a good psychiatrist's help). I have found it fascinating, and appreciate the author's suggestion that "multiple personality" may be the extreme along a spectrum, and that many or all so-called "normal" humans contend with competing "personalities," depending upon their surroundings and companions.
Kay Iscah
I picked up this book when I realized one of my friends had multiple personality disorder. It was extremely helpful and encouraging.

I disagree a little with Oxnam's psychologist at times, but this isn't a technical manual. This is about a man's experience for better or worse. I wrote the author a personal thank you after reading it, but again...thank you, Dr. Oxnam, for sharing your story.
Tamara
This book blew me away. It is the true story of Dr. Oxnam, his life, how he came to be diagnosed with MPD, his treatment of MPD--including resolution of his personalities, and life after. It takes a lot of concentration to keep up with the personalities as the book is told from their different viewpoints. But if you have any interest in psychology, you will truly appreciate this book.
Steve
This is an interesting account of one person's multiple personality disorder. I have worked with people with this disorder, and I found reading first hand experience from someone articulate like Oxnam interesting. I found his life interesting as well, even though he often glosses over conflict to be political, not step on anyone's toes. It's not a tell all. Even so it's interesting.
Lori
Nov 13, 2008 Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lori by: Quality Paperback Book Club
I did not really know what to expect with this book. I had read "Sybil" back in the 70's as a high school student and that is my only experience with Multiple PErsonality Disorder.
The read was very good, and very nearly started and finished it on the plane from California to Michigan. Interesting and captivating....recommended reading.
Carrie
I picked up this book to add to my ever growing collection of first account stories of mental illness. The book is not difficult to read, but comes off as somewhat juvenile in content. Obviously, the author had to overcome great odds to even tell his complicated story so I would not hold it against him. Good story to add to the collection.
itsumoAoi
dikutip dari Bibliophile :
"Tommy, seorang anak laki-laki penakut dan pemarah; Bobby, seorang rollerblade penuh canda; Wanda, seorang wanita paruh baya yang tenang & bijaksana. Mereka hanyalah 3 dari 11 kepribadian Robert Oxnam, seorang sarjana terkenal. Buku ini menggali kisah perjuangannya yang berani melawan gangguan kepribadian ganda"
Amy
Fantastic. For anyone who has watched the rollerskaters and rollerbladers in central park on saturday and sundays has seen this gentleman on sundays. He balances a bottle on his head. When I read this part of the book I had a moment of clarity, I said out loud "oh my god I have seen this guy".
Gin
Considering I accidentally ordered this book it was not half bad. I may look into other books on psychology. I thought I had a clear understanding of what MPD actually was but after reading this I see it can go much further beyond just having different names associated with moods and coping skills.
Beth
Apr 17, 2008 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in this area
Recommended to Beth by: heard about it on 20/20
Shelves: culture
This book helped me get a handle on some behaviors with which I was having difficulty. Didn't find accounts of the same behaviors in other books addressing this topic. Still having difficulty with the same behaviors, but it's good to know there are others out there having the same difficulties ;-)
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“I resolved to come right to the point. "Hello," I said as coldly as possible, "we've got to talk."

"Yes, Bob," he said quietly, "what's on your mind?" I shut my eyes for a moment, letting the raging frustration well up inside, then stared angrily at the psychiatrist.
"Look, I've been religious about this recovery business. I go to AA meetings daily and to your sessions twice a week. I know it's good that I've stopped drinking. But every other aspect of my life feels the same as it did before. No, it's worse. I hate my life. I hate myself."

Suddenly I felt a slight warmth in my face, blinked my eyes a bit, and then stared at him.

"Bob, I'm afraid our time's up," Smith said in a matter-of-fact style.

"Time's up?" I exclaimed. "I just got here."

"No." He shook his head, glancing at his clock. "It's been fifty minutes. You don't remember anything?"

"I remember everything. I was just telling you that these sessions don't seem to be working for me."

Smith paused to choose his words very carefully. "Do you know a very angry boy named 'Tommy'?"

"No," I said in bewilderment, "except for my cousin Tommy whom I haven't seen in twenty years..."

"No." He stopped me short. "This Tommy's not your cousin. I spent this last fifty minutes talking with another Tommy. He's full of anger. And he's inside of you."

"You're kidding?"

"No, I'm not. Look. I want to take a little time to think over what happened today. And don't worry about this. I'll set up an emergency session with you tomorrow. We'll deal with it then."

Robert

This is Robert speaking. Today I'm the only personality who is strongly visible inside and outside. My own term for such an MPD role is dominant personality. Fifteen years ago, I rarely appeared on the outside, though I had considerable influence on the inside; back then, I was what one might call a "recessive personality." My passage from "recessive" to "dominant" is a key part of our story; be patient, you'll learn lots more about me later on. Indeed, since you will meet all eleven personalities who once roamed about, it gets a bit complex in the first half of this book; but don't worry, you don't have to remember them all, and it gets sorted out in the last half of the book. You may be wondering -- if not "Robert," who, then, was the dominant MPD personality back in the 1980s and earlier? His name was "Bob," and his dominance amounted to a long reign, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Since "Robert B. Oxnam" was born in 1942, you can see that "Bob" was in command from early to middle adulthood.

Although he was the dominant MPD personality for thirty years, Bob did not have a clue that he was afflicted by multiple personality disorder until 1990, the very last year of his dominance. That was the fateful moment when Bob first heard that he had an "angry boy named Tommy" inside of him. How, you might ask, can someone have MPD for half a lifetime without knowing it? And even if he didn't know it, didn't others around him spot it?

To outsiders, this is one of the most perplexing aspects of MPD. Multiple personality is an extreme disorder, and yet it can go undetected for decades, by the patient, by family and close friends, even by trained therapists. Part of the explanation is the very nature of the disorder itself: MPD thrives on secrecy because the dissociative individual is repressing a terrible inner secret. The MPD individual becomes so skilled in hiding from himself that he becomes a specialist, often unknowingly, in hiding from others. Part of the explanation is rooted in outside observers: MPD often manifests itself in other behaviors, frequently addiction and emotional outbursts, which are wrongly seen as the "real problem."

The fact of the matter is that Bob did not see himself as the dominant personality inside Robert B. Oxnam. Instead, he saw himself as a whole person. In his mind, Bob was merely a nickname for Bob Oxnam, Robert Oxnam, Dr. Robert B. Oxnam, PhD.”
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