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The myth of normal book review challenges societal perception surrounding trauma.

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture – by Dr. Gabor Maté and Daniel Maté

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A lot of popular beliefs (and books!) start with the assumption that everyone is, broadly speaking, “normal”. That major diversions from “normal” happen only to other people… And that minor diversions from “normal” are just something to suck up and get over—magically effecting a return to “normalcy”.

Dr. Maté, however, will have none of these unhelpful brush-offs, and observes that in fact most if not all of us have been battered by the fates one way or another. We just:

  • note that we have more similarities than differences, and
  • tend to hide our own differences (to be accepted) or overlook other people’s (to make them more acceptable).

How is this more helpful? Well, the above approach isn’t always, but Mate has an improvement to offer:

We must see flawed humans (including ourselves) as the product of our environments… and/but see this a reason to look at improving those environments!

Beyond that…

The final nine chapters of the books he devotes to “pathways to wholeness” and, in a nutshell, recovery. Recovery from whatever it was for you. And if you’ve had a life free from anything that needs recovering from, then congratulations! You doubtlessly have at least one loved one who wasn’t so lucky, though, so this book still makes for excellent reading.

Dr. Maté was awarded the Order of Canada for his medical work and writing. His work has mostly been about addiction, trauma, stress, and childhood development. He co-wrote this book with his son, Daniel.

Check out The Myth of Normal on Amazon today!

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