The boy who was raised as a dog : and other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook : what traumatized children can teach us about loss, love, and healing / Bruce D. Perry, Maia Szalavitz.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog (Basic Books, 2006)

A non-fiction pick by Glenn

This book has opened my eyes to the hidden world of anxiety disorders.  We all have stress in our lives.  I suspect that the modern world has likely exacerbated the amount of it.  Most of us have adequate coping mechanisms that enable us to negotiate the challenges that come our way.  But with the explosion of anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications that are dispensed maybe even this can no longer be said.  What is most troubling is how early childhood trauma can inhibit normal development.  The stories told here are heart-wrenching…. children surviving violent environments – even murder, sexually abuse, neglect of all kind, and abandonment.  The incidence of this is staggering.  A large survey reported that aprx. 27% of women and 16 % of men reported being sexually victimized during childhood.  It is estimated that more than 8 million American children contend with severe trauma-related psychiatric problems and then there are many more with lesser difficulties.  Why is the world such a hostile place?  Is it any wonder why trust is in such short supply?  I walked out of Co-op the other day to read the back of a rather muscular man’s t-shirt.  It read “trust no one”  I wanted to tell him that he could trust me and I regret that I kept on walking instead.  Healing does not come easy and often the effects of this early trauma are lifelong.  Skilled therapists who understand the brokenness are invaluable.  “being harmed by the people who are supposed to love you, being abandoned by them, being robbed of the one-on-one relationships that allow you to feel safe and valued and to become humane– these are profoundly destructive experiences”.  Genuine altruistic love is the essential key to making things right.  Undeniably many of you have been affected or know someone who has been affected by trauma of some kind.  This book is a light to understanding the buried giant that lurks in many people.  At the very least read the final chapter ‘Healing communities’.  This points the way to hope and and brighter future whereby love might blossom once again in the hearts of those who have been crippled.  What can you do to help heal the life of someone you care about?

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