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The Body Never Lies

The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting
Narrated by: Sara Clinton
Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (210 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An examination of childhood trauma and its surreptitious, debilitating effects by one of the world's leading psychoanalysts.

Never before has world-renowned psychoanalyst Alice Miller examined so persuasively the long-range consequences of childhood abuse on the body. Using the experiences of her patients along with the biographical stories of literary giants such as Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, and Marcel Proust, Miller shows how a child's humiliation, impotence, and bottled rage will manifest itself as adult illness - be it cancer, stroke, or other debilitating diseases. Never one to shy away from controversy, Miller urges society as a whole to jettison its belief in the Fourth Commandment and not to extend forgiveness to parents whose tyrannical childrearing methods have resulted in unhappy, and often ruined, adult lives. In this empowering work, writes Rutgers professor Philip Greven, "[listeners] will learn how to confront the overt and covert traumas of their own childhoods with the enlightened guidance of Alice Miller."

©2005 Alice Miller (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Remarkably Enlightened

This was the first time I have ever heard a self help book about abuse not ask me to forgive. It was such a relief. I feel clarity in my journey after hearing it's ok for me to be angry and not to forgive. I still have a relationship with my parents. I have no intention on stopping it. Today I have a new approach, be angry when you need to be, it's acceptable, there's no need to rush forgiveness.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A healing experience

What made the experience of listening to The Body Never Lies the most enjoyable?

It's great that 'honour thy mother and thy father' is questioned in this book. There are some parents who should not be honoured.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Body Never Lies?

Don't know about moments but the whole book questions the way abused children are told to 'forgive' and 'honour' those who abused them when our bodies are telling us that our truth is so important.

What does Sara Clinton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A caring genuine sounding approach I suppose.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Body Never Lies?

It gives you the freedom to accept how you feel, to be understanding of yourself instead of being understanding of the abuser.

Any additional comments?

Good work.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • GML
  • Sunny Delray Beach
  • 01-31-16

Why did I not get this sooner?

Sometime authors who write on the same theme are repetitive....this is NOT the case for this book or its famous predecessor (Drama of the Gifted Child).

I really liked the kind, conversational tone of the narrator, as well.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Every therapist should read

Great book. A little slow during the first quarter but definitely a must read for therapists.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I am not sure what to think?

I didn't get what I was hoping for out of this book. However, I am sure the content will stay on my mind for some time. I am in my 40s and it has only been a few years ago that I have been able to admit that I had terrible parents. It feels like this journey is so long. Figuring out how to process and what to do with this knowing is difficult for me. I like that the author pin points the idea that we are so often as adult children trying still to get love from our parents that has always been denied. I was hoping the author would say more about how to let go of that desire and how to get that love and nourishment ourselves.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I agree with the author, but I was looking.

I learned about this book from another psychologist that I respect very well. I was hoping to get ideas as to what signals the body is trying to tell you. This book was more of an overview and understanding that childhood trauma cause the issue.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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revealing

Very insightful book on the negative effects of religious moral code on victims of abuse.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Insight into the way parenting impacts children

The way Alice Miller uncompromisingly looks at abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of children from the child's point of view is truly an eye opener. She exposes the beliefs and emotions that adults experience as a result of harmful, even cruel parenting. She liberates the reader from having to retain a helpless dependency on their parents out of guilt, obligation, or an insistence on forgiving and honoring one's parents. She gives many examples of famous and ordinary people whose bodies never lied, although many remained unconscious of their own biography and suffered. Fascinating book, great storytelling, and such a beacon of hope for treating our children much much better.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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This book was amazing.

I highly recomend it this book. Her scope is a little narrow but it can be applied to a much broader scope. This is similar to The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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too much drama

I Think it is only pinpointing problems without offering any solution. It is just repetitive, no way out.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicola
  • 09-19-17

A good point ruined by misinformation

I have a strong connection with the idea that parents in our society are still allowed to treat children really badly, to the child's detriment. Certainly I have witnessed professionals who are supposed to be helping a child turn a blind eye to mistreatment of that child by its parent. However the potential of the book to make a difference is limited by sweeping generalisations and lack of understanding about contemporary psychological methods and trauma and attachment theory. Finally the link between developmental trauma and physical conditions needs to be demonstrated is frankly dangerous. The idea that one can recover from cancer by cutting off relationship with parents is astonishing and cruel.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-04-19

Read this is you have M.E/CFS/Fibromyalgia

This book is changing my life. I have been mostly housebound for nearly 20 years with M.E since becoming ill in my teens. There is no real help for M.E suffers in the UK. GPs and specialists will tell you they don't know what the cause is, give you some ineffective lifestyle advice and send you on your way. I've never stopped searching for an answer and have explored many paths.

It was when I started to research Narcissism (NPD) after an incredibly stressful experience with a housemate that led me to discover the symptoms of narcissistic abuse match that of M.E. I started learning about trauma and delving into my own childhood - which I thought had been fine. Whilst reistant to the idea at first, I discovered that my mother very obviously fit the description of covert narcissistic personality disorder. I went no contact with her and my condition improved for the first time in 16 years, but didn't go away. It became very much worse again when I found out she was dying and mistakenly got back in contact with her. Less than 2 years after her death, I was able to process her impact upon me as a child and the trauma it left me with, but again my illness didn't go away.

I then started to notice that I was experiencing worsening symptoms after every interaction with my father, who had appeared to be the better parent, affectionate, generous, supportive, sympathetic etc. I then realised by recording interactions with him that in fact he was an even more covert form of narcissist. Contrary to the nice-guy Dad of the year persona he put forward, in actual fact he was constantly intensely gaslighting me. He influenced my perspectives, always reframing what I had to say whenever I expressed a need or a problem and made me believe (in the nicest, most reasonable and convincing way possible) that any fault on his part was "all in my head". He wasn't able to hear that his domineering behaviour, constantly interrputing me, putting me into double binds, always needing to be right, denying, minimising or dismissing my needs and experience (etc) was hurting me. I didn't realise just how much until an upcoming family he would be attending triggered a sudden development of gastroparesis in the weeks leading up to it. My stomach shut down, I was no longer able to eat solid food, couldn't have a bowel movement, couldn't sleep, had severe tension and anxiety and rapidly started losing a lot of weight. It was like my body was shutting down and I was literally starting to die. I have read about this happening to people with severe M.E, where sadly they have had to be fed through tubes and eventually starved to death (with doctors unable to find a physical cause). This was very alarming. When realising how toxic my father's behaviour actually was I tried to have an adult conversation with him about it, approaching him gently and compassionately, without blame, believing that he wasn't aware of what he was doing to me and wouldn't want to be unintentionally hurting me. His reaction was both astounding and revealing. He was completely unwilling to self-reflect, admit to any fault or take any responsibility for the situation. Suddenly the gaslighting became more extreme and obvious. He tried to convince me that there could be no connection between any of his behaviour and my illness and instead tried to persuade me I had cancer (I don''t and there was no reason to think so. I've been very thoroughly physically investigated for all sorts of things over the years trying to find an underlying cause and was in fact being seen as an outpatient for these latest developments at the time, cancer had already been eliminated as a possible cause, my symptoms didn't match) or that it was due to genetics - even though there was a clear correlation between interacting with him and my symptoms becoming worse AND in spite of the fact that he had been very happy to support the idea of my mother's behaviour causing my symptoms...I could go on.

Narcissism and childhood trauma and the consequential effects on health are something I've been studying informally for about 5 years, so to a degree there wasn't much new information in this book, however I have never found a single source of information that captures my experience so very perfectly and added depth and confidence to my understanding. It has helped me open up to seeing the full picture by removing the last barriers of "F.O.G" (fear obligation and guilt) that is the favourite manipulation technique of the narcissistic parent that keeps you trapped, unable to see them for what they really are and what they are still doing to you. To have the kind of clarity and support this book provides is absolutely invaluable. It has revealed so much and given me so many insights. Before reading it I was coming to terms with the idea of having to go no contact with my father, but this has absolutely confirmed that it is necessary for me to heal and the right decisions in my case, no matter what society thinks of it!

I am both astounded and ecstatic to report that I already experienced a release and the beginning of improvement in my symptoms within days of having this realisation. Alice Miller nails it in describing that all of my fatigue, all my chronic muscular tension and pain, all my disgestive dysfunction etc, comes from the denial of seeing my parents for what they really are, denying the truth of the impact of their behaviour upon me. That comes from the gaslighting and training of my parents to only see what they want me to see and believe their narrative that they love me and want the best for me. They don't. They had me to fix their lives and be the parent they never had and I should suppress myself and be the ever dutiful servant to their needs. I should tow the line, drink the coolaid and never ever dare to question their motives or think badly of them, because they are infallible, all-loving godly beings. Once you see through the lies they have told you, your body is no longer in tension between knowing the truth but not being able to reconcile that with what you are being told by your parents and having to keep it locked down tight, but then screaming out at you for attention with strange and debilitating symptoms. The truth was that I was still ill even after my mother's death, because I had an even more dangerous narcissitic still lurking in my life that I never ever suspected. One that was in fact slowly killing me. Though I am not cured overnight and I'm sure healing my complex post traumatic stress disorder will take time, I am shocked by how quickly improvement in my symptoms has occured after finally putting the last piece of the puzzle into place after two decades of severe illness. The truth really will set you free!


Check out Daniel Mackler on youtube for more on childhood trauma. His thinking is influenced by Alice Miller. I actually found him first, hence the ideas in her book not being entirely new to me. He has an excellent book called Breaking From Your Parents, which helps you deal with the taboo and the guilt around doing so when you have parents that are destroying your life, or in my case slowly killing you and you need to break away from the cult of the family you are living in, in order to heal. Also check out Richard Grannon on youtube if you suspect you are dealing with narcissistic parents or narcissistic relationships in your life because his material is also invaluable in helping you see and understand your situation for what it is (and advice of what to do about it). Lastly The Little Shaman on youtube is absolutely fantastic in helping you understand the mind of a narcissist and their behaviour.

Please read this book if you have M.E, it could save your life. But please read it even if you don't as you don't know how valuable being able to see your parents as flawed human beings and no longer idolising them really is. It will teach you a great deal about yourself and them. It is a gift that keeps on giving.

I am very disappointed that this is the only book by Alice Miller currently available on audible. Audiobook is certainly a much easier form for ill people to access and digest such powerful and vital information. I will add for anyone who is unwell that the writing style is very accessible and the book is quite short, so don't feel intimidated by it. If it helps you, please spread the word! No longer should seriously ill people be left to suffer without an answer!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Raymond
  • 10-22-17

Majestic

Here about Alice for a long time and this audiobook has been in my library a while so glad I listened to it. She really touched me in so many places and brought me further out of denial about my childhood, recommend for any adult child :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • s mccullough
  • 06-01-15

An incredible work

Eye opening and groundbreaking stuff. Revealing and insightful it has really given me an understanding of why there is so much dysfunction in our society

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mila
  • 03-21-19

Good but not great

Nice listening experience but I didnt like her overthinking and repeting of the topic.Nice examples and I gained some insite but was pulled off by her agressive tone in offering her ideas.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jane smyth
  • 01-14-17

Wonderful, inciteful....commonsense

Love it. More books on audible from Alice Miller please. Listen to your body, own and accept your own truths. Everyone should read this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AGGELOS IOAKIMIDES
  • 09-08-15

Valuable message, piece of a puzzle

As a part of a series of books about how we are wired to operate, it makes good sense and explains in an emotional way, how we are connected as minds to our body, if only by the end results of our lives. This book only lacks two things, in my opinion: better connection to the mechanisms and reactions of our body to our experiences, and what exactly is the term "cruel parenting" with a fair understanding of how "the perpetrators" are doing their wrong and when exactly. It is a complementary book to others such as "stumbling onto happiness" and "welcome to your child's brain", in order to get the idea. I liked a lot the fictional diary in the book which explains in an experiential way what the writer wanted to say but was "missing the nail". Overall worth the money and time. A piece of the puzzle for further self development or even for a professional to include in their sphere of view.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cheese time
  • 09-11-17

Avoid if you don't want to hear about the bibile

What would have made The Body Never Lies better?

Stop mentioning religious notes.

What was most disappointing about Alice Miller’s story?

There is a lot of bible bashing in here. Using the ten commandments and moses as examples of psychological healing. Christ!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Body Never Lies?

all of it

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Tatiana Guerrero
  • 12-16-18

A must to read book

Wonderful and liberating. It’s a must to read book for everyone. Thanks so much Alice Miller!

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  • beloved
  • 06-03-16

An Eye opener

I love this book. Alice Miller is a clear, profound and insightful woman and her book reflect that.
The only thing I would complaint about its that maybe the narrator was a bit to fast in his reading.

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  • Mr. John A. Calabro
  • 03-31-16

A interesting look into child abuse and the affects at can last

This book has some important insights into the world of the pain that most of us have been through in our early upbringing. Alice Miller does not hold back from what she would call child abuse. It can be at times hard to listen to, as the book brought back memories and feeling of the pain and shame suffered at the hands of my mother. I most enjoy listening to other people stories in the book and how some over come the shame work while it sad to others continue to down a path of suffering that outlasted their parents.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony Stanton
  • 09-01-18

Super insightfull. A must read by all!

This book allows the listener/reader to step into a new perspective of the self and parenting styles and break the mold of our problems that would usually hold us back.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anne Jost
  • 09-19-19

Life Changing

This book has changed my life for the better. If you have ever struggled with how to understand your parents and any guilt from them, you MUST read this book. Even the small insidious guilt trips or communication styles from parents are described by the book and will help you understand how they have impacted you. Sometimes it seems that the examples are very extreme and un-relatable but they are all a part of the massive picture of hurtful parenting. The book will give you strength to face your past and present relationship with your parents and how to handle them in a healthier way. You will feel immediately more happy and free.

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  • Ashley
  • 08-19-19

Controversial

A controversial book, putting forward a thought that opens the mind to other ideas, that could change your perspective