Been Reading “the Myth of Normal”
I might be quoting this book forever. This book is not simply interesting; it is important. I believe every healthcare provider, teacher, psychotherapist, and even daycare worker should read its contents. So not going to happen. Like the Adverse Childhood Experiences study of the 1990s that should have revolutionized healthcare and didn’t even cause a blip on the radar, the impact of this book will likely be close to zero.
Mate’s premise is scientifically sound (even beyond dispute): early childhood experiences, including in utero, shape the very anatomy and functioning of our nervous systems permanently. But, of course, there is backlash. When people understand the implications of his views, they are horrified. He wrote an article in 2006 saying that babies should not have to cry themselves to sleep. One reader of the article was indignant:
“One of them was priceless: ‘The article is nothing more than prefrontal lobe BS. There is no way an infant’s brain patterns are permanently psychologically damaged at such a young age. There is no way your prefrontal cortex will permanently adopt patterns that will translate into adulthood. No way. If that would be the case, then the last 3 generations to rule this earth (boomers, pre-boomers, Generation X) would have all been emotionally unstable and plagued with psychological issues.’ ‘Well, then,’ I thought to myself, ‘I rest my case.'” (p. 171, the Myth of Normal)
This person wrongly thought they were contradicting Mate’s sound scientific opinion, while in reality they were actually proving it. Apparently, this person lived in a cave. I cannot imagine trying to defend the mentally unstable “leaders” of today.
When basic human needs are not met, and you multiply this over billions of people, what you get is what you see–utter social and political chaos. As my friends at school always liked to say, “Good luck with that.”