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The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
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The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  408 ratings  ·  28 reviews
"When we say a friend was 'like a different person,' we may be more right than we know."
-The Boston Globe

Why does a gifted psychiatrist suddenly begin to torment his own beloved wife?

How can a ninety-pound woman carry a massive air conditioner to the second floor of her home, install it in a window unassisted, and then not remember how it got there?

Why would a brilliant
...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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Caroline
Sep 23, 2014 Caroline rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Shaun Bevins
Shelves: book-purchased
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun
It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corporeal frames...We all do things both awake and asleep which surprise us. Perhaps we have co-tenants in this house we live in. - Oliver Wendell Holmes


I really enjoyed Stout's well-written and engaging narrative describing her years treating dissociative disorders including DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The workings of the human brain are
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Nomy
a new friend got this book for me after we had a couple conversations where i mentioned dissociation and parts. i feel really grateful. this is a good read, well-written and compassionate, from the perspective of a therapist who works with trauma survivors. i really appreciate her approach, she's not trying make these clear definitions, she's showing ways that dissociation affects all of our lives, and lots of different ways it can show up ranging from spacing out in the middle of a conversation ...more
Anita
The book talks about the implications of trauma in childhood on the psychology of adults. The "myth" of sanity is that we all have moments where we "dissociate" based on childhood experiences that can be fear inducing to traumatic.

To the extreme... Dr. Stout, with as much as intellect and clarity as her explanation of sociopathology in the Sociopath Next Door, talks about Dissociative Identity Disorder (Mutliple Personality Disorder) and the symptoms, experiences, and approaches to healing.

The
...more
Theodora
Apr 05, 2009 Theodora rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Theodora by: Nomy
Shelves: books09, self-care
This book was incredible to read. It has been one of the most accessible books I've read on trauma. it also talks about how disassociation affects everyone -- and also the little traumas people go through that cause disassociation. I read this at the right time.
Dayne Myers
Martha Stout's writings read amazingly well, she structures the concepts such that anyone should grasp them with ease.
Jo Ann Hall
Dissociation is a common coping mechanism employed by all humans to evade the uncomfortable and the painful, even the boring. When the truth is too much to bear, the brain is able to offer sanctuary of some sort through a temporary disconnection from reality. Stout gives an example of dissociation that all can relate to when she describes a return home following a long day at work and the sudden realization by the driver that he or she can't remember anything from the route home. In severe traum ...more
Allison
3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because it really clarified the process/existence/functioning of Dissociative Identity Disorder for me. I was originally annoyed that all of her case studies were amalgamations (and thus her own creations). However, she used these patchwork case studies well to describe and explain an occurrence that is controversial even in the question of it's very validity or existence, and is very often exoticized and dramatized in the accounts of it that do exist. After readin ...more
Susan
We are all capable of disassociating and often do without knowing it ... from daydreaming to being on "autopilot" to being totally absorbed in a book or project. This is a mild form. The premise of this book is that Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a protective mechanism of the human ego that occurs when one is faced with terror and abuse literally too great to bear. DID does not equal "crazy". DID does equal traumatized. This is a fascin ...more
Chad
Do you dissociate? This book by a Harvard clinician explores the range of dissociative phenomena, from momentary spacing out to dissociated ego states to dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The bad news: you'll probably recognize somebody you know, if not yourself. The good news: with the right approach, they can all be treated.

Fascinating.
Darice
A well-narrated account of her experience with dissociation, from the extreme dissociative identity disorder to the common driving-trance, Stout explains dissociation as an adaptive skill for survival in the face of trauma. Despite the seemingly clinical context, many of her insights into childhood and personality are applicable to everybody on some level or another.
Zoe
I love the quote at the beginning of this book: "With our thoughts, we make the world."

11/27/11 - I really liked the first two thirds of this book because I found them so readable and informative. The last third, entitled "switchers," about people who switch back and forth between different personalities, didn't interest me as much, for some reason.
Topolub
I learned that we all play different roles in life, and depending on the growth of our psychological makeup those roles may come to struggle for power inside of us. It is a beautiful book and I would recommend it to everyone.
Lynne
I read this book for my book group, and I'm so glad I did. Very out of my reading comfort zone. The book was really fascinating, mostly about how trauma sometimes divides one's consciousness as a coping mechanism. The author, a therapist, writes with such a compassionate tone and explained a lot of things that I didn't at all understand before, like the therapeutic use of hypnotism, and dissociative reactions. I found her view of human beings in general to be very inspiring, as she described man ...more
Maria
This was great. Really easy to understand yet it didn't feel like it was dumbed-down. This lady really knows her stuff. This resonated a lot with what I knew and shed light on what I suspected.
Hawkin47
I have too many friends who really need to read this book. Anyone who's ever experienced a higher level of trauma really needs to read this book. It's amazing.
Muhamad Kurnia Rahmadian
surprising and enlightenin book indeed...
WillowAtSunset Bennehoff
Date I started this book: April 18, 2011
Sphinx Feathers
Well-written and easy to understand.
Geraldine
Interesting subject matter and dealt with in a very sensible and helpful way. Some of the case studies were difficult reading but necessary and inevitable in what is a difficult topic.
Carrie
Interesting read. Left me thinking for sure.
Cyre
Myth of Sanity makes you realize that everyone has likely been exposed to traumatic experiences growing up. It also allows you to identify behaviors that you or others may have that are a result of that trauma.

Highly reccomended and useful tool for self-study.
Ruth Aubrey
This is a good non clinical description of a topic that has been exploited, sensationalized, and misunderstood. I recommend it to those interested in psychology and counseling
Mads P.
This book provides an excellent explanation and examples of the broad range of types of dissociation. Read for health and human behavior social work class.
Pencilbox889
Anyone who suffers from PTSD and Dissociative symptoms needs to read this book.
Clivemichael Justice
Great writing, I felt included in her stories.
Noelle
Completely fascinating.
Karolina
Karolina marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
Abbey Cottam
Abbey Cottam marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
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Author and Ph.D. in psychology.
More about Martha Stout...
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“-If I somehow possessed a set of videotapes that contained all the most significant events of your childhood, in their entirety, would you want to see them?

-Absolutely. Right this very second.

-But why? Don't you think some of the tapes would be very sad?

-Most of them, yes. But if I could see them, then I could have them in my brain like regular memories-horrible memories, yes, but regular memories, not sinister little ghosts in my head that pop out of some part of me I don't even know, and take the rest of me away. Do you know what I mean?

-I think so, If you have to remeber, you'd rather do it in the front of your brain than in the back.”
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“We are all a little crazy.” 7 likes
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