The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling
In the first book of its kind, renowned psychotherapist Jeanne Safer examines the hidden trauma of growing up with an emotionally troubled or physically disabled sibling, and helps adult "normal" siblings resolve their childhood pain.
For too long the therapeutic community has focused on the parent-child relationship as the primary relationship in a child's life. In The Normal One, Dr. Safer shows that sisters and brothers are just as important as parents, and she illuminates for the first time the experience of being "the normal one."
Drawing on more than sixty interviews with normal, or intact, siblings, Safer explores the daunting challenges they face, and probes the complex feelings that can strain families and damage lives. A “normal” sibling herself, Safer chronicles her own life-shaping experiences with her troubled brother. She examines the double-edged reality of normal ones: how they both compensate for their siblings’ abnormality and feel guilty for their own health and success. With both wisdom and empathy, she delineates the “Caliban Syndrome,” a set of personality traits characteristic of higher-functioning siblings: premature maturity, compulsion to achieve, survivor guilt, and fear of contagion.
Essential reading for normal ones and those who love them, this landmark work offers readers insight, compassion, and tools to help resolve childhood pain. It is a profound and eye-opening examination of a subject that has too long been shrouded in darkness.
What people are saying - Write a review
Its an excellent bookUser Review - calbigshopper - Overstock.com
Wellwritten in lay person language as opposed to professional psychology lingo. It is worth the read especially in helping to understand the true family dynamics of living in the family unit with a ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
abnormal sibling accept achieve acknowledge adult Amy Goodman anxiety attention autistic awful truth became become behavior borderline sister brother or sister brothers and sisters Caliban Syndrome caretaker child childhood Cindy compassion compulsion damaged siblings daugh daughter depressed disabled dread dream efforts emotional envy everything fail fantasy fate father fear of contagion feel felt forever friends guilt healthy intact sibling invisible Jack Morelli Jackie Hanson Jackie's Jane Jennifer Martin Joan lings lives Maggie Maggie Payne Manny Marc mental illness Miranda mother needs never normal children normal siblings older brother Oliver Sacks pain paranoid parents person physically play premature maturity problem child Prospero punishment Randy Lane realize Rebecca recognize repudiation responsibility retarded brother role Sandy Wilson says schizophrenic brother seems sense shame share sibling's Steven Survivor guilt therapy thing thought tion told troubled trying unconscious woman worry younger
Page x - Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes . . . Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!
Page x - ... followed, from then on, in my father's footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space— I traveled around a great deal. The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass— Perhaps I am walking along a street...