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A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder | [Robert B. Oxnam]

A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder

At the peak of his professional career, after having led the Asia Society for nearly a decade, Oxnam was haunted by periodic blackouts and episodic rages. After his family and friends intervened, Oxnam received help from a psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffery Smith, and entered a rehab center. It wasn't until 1990, during a session with Dr. Smith, that the first of Oxnam's 11 alternate personalities, an angry young boy named Tommy, suddenly emerged.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1989, Robert B. Oxnam, the successful China scholar and president of the Asia Society, faced up to what he thought was his biggest personal challenge: alcoholism. But this dependency masked a problem far more serious: Multiple Personality Disorder.

At the peak of his professional career, after having led the Asia Society for nearly a decade, Oxnam was haunted by periodic blackouts and episodic rages. After his family and friends intervened, Oxnam received help from a psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffery Smith, and entered a rehab center. It wasn't until 1990, during a session with Dr. Smith, that the first of Oxnam's 11 alternate personalities, an angry young boy named Tommy, suddenly emerged. With Dr. Smith's help, Oxnam began the exhausting and fascinating process of uncovering his many personalities and the childhood trauma that caused his condition.

©2005 Robert B. Oxnam; (P)2005 Listen & Live Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This touching and powerful account of the 'inner world' of the disorder, the power struggles and dialogues among the fractured parts of a person's mind, provides valuable insight into a courageous man's struggle." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Omar Flemington, NJ, USA 11-23-07
    Omar Flemington, NJ, USA 11-23-07 Member Since 2006
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    "A solid look at a rare disorder"

    Several years ago, as a psychiatrist in training, I listened to this audiobook with some skepticism: Multiple Personality Disorder (now Dissociative Identity Disorder--or DID) is controversial, even among mental health professionals. Still, it was in my field, and I had a download to spare...

    Several months after listening to this book, I had a patient's family tell me (details changed) he had numerous "voices", and that he would "be like a little kid, sometimes". He entered therapy, with me, and it became clear he had severe DID, with at least 5 different personalities, and nearly impenetrable amnestic barriers, between them.
    Oxnam's audiobook helped me treat this patient (who, alas, dropped out of therapy) with a more human understanding of how someone can be so very divided, yet still be one cohesive being. It's a difficult thing to get your mind around, and seeing it in front of me made me realize that this book did a very good job describing DID.

    This audiobook is well written and narrated. To those who were put off by Oxnam's "ego", I invite you to ask yourselves this: "Doesn't a man who was terribly abused as a child, suffered a severe, crippling disintegration of his personality structure, battled long and hard to re-integrate his personalities and then had the wherewithal to write a lucid autobiography about it deserve to be a little "full of himself"?

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02-14-06
    02-14-06 Listener Since 2005
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    "Educational & Enlightening"

    Although difficult to keep track of the different personalities at times, I thought reading this book was a priceless experience. Unless you suffer from MPD yourself, I don't think you'll ever get a better insight to what it actually is like to live with this disorder.

    I disagree with reviewers who said that the author boasts his accomplishments - I felt that it was all necessary to show the incredible power of the mind to have such an organized 'outside' life, while dealing with such a troubled 'inside' life.

    Although the author discusses his own Christianity, I felt that he did it to express the personal choices he made, not as an attempt to convince his readers.

    If you know someone who suffers from MPD, or if you have a liking towards human psychology, I highly recommend this book.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Valley Springs, CA, USA 02-19-06
    Janet Valley Springs, CA, USA 02-19-06
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    "Excellent"

    This was a well read audio book complete with various voices. The author did a great job of bringing us into his world as a multiple. DID/MPD was really made clear and explains the conflict as well as the cooperation involved.I have read several books on the subject and found this biography well written and understandable.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Yoon Ashburn, VA 01-23-06
    J. Yoon Ashburn, VA 01-23-06 Listener Since 2000
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    "Causes rethinking of Self"

    There are many similarities with my normal mind and the multiple personalities portrayed by the fractured mind in this book. This book caused much rethinking of myself, who I am, which changes depending on circumstances. French writer Montagne is supposed to have said a person is wavelike and varying rather than having a constant personality. I subscribe to this belief. The many personalities are like me when I have acted in a very different manner than my usual self, except that I remember the instances when I have stepped outside of myself.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teninonian 11-23-05
    Teninonian 11-23-05 Member Since 2000
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    "Fascinating"

    I found this story to be fascinating. There is so much we don't know about the human mind. Unlike a previous reviewer,I thought the reader was perfect for this book, and I did not feel that Christianity was put down. The author found his spiritual support from other sources. I am not a "multiple" but was able to empathize with much of Mr. Oxnam's process of integration. Psychotherapy is hard work and he has stuck with it for many years. Kudos to Dr. Smith. I would definitely recommend this book to any who are interested in human nature and how we function.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 01-14-14
    Amazon Customer Chicago, IL 01-14-14
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    "An excellent first person account of DID"
    What made the experience of listening to A Fractured Mind the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was very professional for the most part, though it would have been nice if he had been coached in the proper pronunciation of typical professional words such as affect, which the narrator pronounced as "effect". I was able to overlook the incorrect pronunciations after awhile but it was quite annoying at first. I did greatly appreciate the narrator's ability to speak the Chinese language portions, as I would have found that impossible.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Fractured Mind?

    Mr. Oxnam was able to present the internal experience of having DID with considerable professionalism and sensitivity. I was so appreciative that his experiences were not overstated or made to seem like a carnival side show, but rather Mr Oxnam's internal and external experience of having DID.

    I particularly appreciated the internal viewpoint and description of the internal experience of having DID as presented by Mr, Oxnam. I especially enjoyed the description of the castle, the library and of the period after the various parts left the castle and settled on the meadow. I often hear my clients use similar language to explore their internal structure, and it was helpful to hear a fleshed out description of the internal structure experienced by Mr. Oxnam presented in a scholarly manner.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It's very hard too identify a definite favorite part but I did so appreciate the focus on Mr. Oxnam's resiliency and functional achievements, despite his DID.

    I was most appreciative that the details regarding the origins of Mr. Oxnam's DID were kept to a minimum, both for Mr. Oxnam and because I try to avoid graphic depictions when not engaged professionally.....it's a way to maintain my own health. I dislike those first hand accounts that provide too much detail, so I was so pleased that while I could marvel at the complexity of Mr. Oxnam's experiences and his overall resiliency, I did not feel traumatized by reading the account of his life, but rather tremendous appreciation for both Mr. Oxnam, his support network, particularly his wife and his therapist.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely! I started listening to this book when driving my son back to college, and I was actually a bit stymied that I was unable to finish it in one drive. I skipped my usual routine of NPR in the morning in favor of listening to the book until completed. I actually grieved a bit when I was finished. I wanted to hear more about Mr. Oxnam's experience.


    Any additional comments?

    After finishing this book, I find myself contemplating Mr. Oxnam's experience and healing from DID while I marvel at his strength, resiliency and courage, as well as the strength and courage of his wife and the courage and knowledge of his therapist. This is one of the best and most beautiful depictions of DID and the strength of the human spirit that I have ever read. I so appreciate Mr. Oxnam's sharing of his story with us, to help further our understanding of what it is like to experience a Dissociative Disorders and specifically DID.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim the Music Lover USA 10-03-13 Listener Since 2010

    Kim

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    "Fascinating Read - Shows What Our Minds Can Do"
    What did you love best about A Fractured Mind?

    The concept that our minds are able to do what is needed to take care of us. Even things that we would think are crazy, really aren't... they're just the mind adapting.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Fractured Mind?

    There's too much to say... I will let the reader determine that for themselves


    What about William Dufris’s performance did you like?

    Solid performance in the role of the author.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoffrey San Diego, CA, USA 01-15-06
    Geoffrey San Diego, CA, USA 01-15-06 Member Since 2004
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    "Too Much Ego"

    The subject matter was interesting but I eventually got tired of Oxnam's fascination with himself, his accomplishments, his intelligence, his sophistication. Afet the wedding in the park with the poetry reading and the Indian ceremony and the horse and carriage, I'd had enough. A little more about the subject matter and less about Oxnam himself would have helped. I do believe some people with a great interest in personality disorders might like this though.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Crownsville, MD, USA 11-17-05
    Donna Crownsville, MD, USA 11-17-05
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    "Interesting but disappointing"

    I can really relate in my own personal life experiences with the authors account of multiples. I struggle with many of my own.
    I was not impressed with the narrator. He did not have the right voice for the job. It was boring to me. Sorry. It was a most interesting story but I was totally let down when the author seemed to indicate that Christianity was dirt under his feet. And that had turned me off. In this I was offended at his ignorance. I do not think I would recommend this book. 2 stars is being generous.

    9 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Anthony 01-21-06 Listener Since 2005
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    "Boring"

    The narrator's voice was boring as was the content. The author was too high on himself throughout the book. I would have liked more history of what his childhood was like and who abused him. It was not very believable.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
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