Gabor Maté

“So what you've actually got is traumatized children. When children are traumatized that affects how they feel about themselves, which is deeply ashamed because a child always believe that it is about himself. So if I am being hurt like this, I got to be a terrible person. Or.. if I was sexually abused, why didn't I fight back, I must be a very weak person. So there's a deep sense of shame.

Then there's tremendous emotional pain that accrues from abuse and neglect. Tremendous emotional pain that is hardly possible for people to bear. Now they have to soothe their pain with substances or other compulsive behaviors.

Then the trauma itself, given that the human brain develops in interaction with the environment, shapes the brain circuitry in such a way that the person will be more likely to find relief from the drugs. So the very phisiology of the brain is affected by early trauma.

So then you take these traumatized people and you make their habit illegal... It is not illegal to drink yourself to death. It is not illegal to make yourself sick with emphyzema or lung cancer by means of cigarettes. But it is illegal to use other substances. So now you take these abused, traumatized people you place them outside the law, you put them in jails and you hound them all their lives, treating them like criminals and bad people and failures and rejects and less-than-human. And then we wonder how come they don't get better.

So.. it is a self-perpetuating cycle of taking traumatized people and then re-traumatizing them. And then hoping at the same time: "why don't they listen? Why don't they get better? Why don't they give it up?". Well, they don't give it up because the more hurt they are, the more they need to escape.”


Gabor Maté
Read more quotes from Gabor Maté


Share this quote:
Twitter icon

Friends Who Liked This Quote


To see what your friends thought of this quote, please sign up!

1 like
All Members Who Liked This Quote




Browse By Tag