The Drama of the Gifted Child and the Perils of Perfectionism

Feb 28, 2023
The Drama of the Gifted Child and the Perils of Perfectionism

“In order to become whole we must try, in a long process, to discover our own personal truth, a truth that may cause pain before giving us a new sphere of freedom. If we choose instead to content ourselves with intellectual “wisdom,” we will remain in the sphere of illusion and self-deception.”
ā€• Alice Miller,  The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self


In her book, "The Drama of the Gifted Child," Alice Miller explores the impact of extremely high expectations on children. She argues that children who are put under intense pressure to succeed often end up suffering from a range of psychological problems. This book is required reading for any child who has experienced demanding parents or other pressures to succeed. It is a powerful story that highlights the importance of overcoming our childhood challenges and healing our trauma.


Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child is essential reading for anyone who has ever been told they were not good enough. In her book, Miller highlights the dangers of extreme perfectionism and the need for everyone to overcome their childhood trauma. The book had a massive impact on psychology and culture when it was first published in 1981, and its lessons are still relevant today.

Miller begins by describing the "gifted child." This is a child who is born into a family with high expectations and who is put under immense pressure to achieve. The gifted child is often praised for their accomplishments and told that they are special or unique. They are also given very little room to make mistakes. As a result, the gifted child grows up feeling like they have to be perfect. They live in constant fear of failure and judgment.

The gifted child often grows up to be a perfectionist. Perfectionists are never satisfied with their achievements and are always striving for more. They live in a state of constant stress and anxiety because they believe that they can never meet their own high standards. As a result, perfectionists are at risk for developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Fortunately, there is hope for perfectionists. In her book, Miller offers advice for overcoming the challenges of our childhood and healing our wounds. She urges readers to learn from their mistakes, embrace their imperfections, and live in the present moment. By following Miller's advice, we can all lead healthier, happier lives.


If you are struggling with perfectionism, I urge you to read Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child. This book will help you understand the origins of your perfectionism and provide helpful advice for overcoming your challenges. Remember, you are not alone in this struggle. We all have imperfections and we all make mistakes. Embrace your humanity and learn to love yourself just as you are.

Photo credit: @ Unsplash

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