Book review

Ma bibliothèque 1

Every once in a while I would like to present one of the many fascinating books that I have in my library. I have collected over the years the reference books that I want to re-read often and I fell upon this one by a miracle, in a second hand store, after having listened to the YouTube video of the same title (Inserted at the end) that very same week.

Gabor Maté

”When the Body Says No” by Dr. Gabor Maté is a simple and groud breaking account of the hidden effects of stress and self-abuse causing addictions, illness and premature death. Dr. Gabor Maté is a canadian medical doctor from Vancouver, of Jewish descent, who immigrated as an infant from Yuguslavia. He has worked with the drug addicts and alcoholics in the downtown East side of Vancouver and also has a special interest in children with ADD.

When the Body Says No 1

This book really confirms all my research and experience, both professionnal and personnal, on the consequences of stress on the physical body. It came out in 2003, but is relevant to this day. Conditions that were characterised as ”All in the head” then are still not treated with the accurate care.

He describes the state of co-depency very well. Where people kill themselves being good, helpful persons, and let themselves be used and abused by their addicted, demanding, manipulative or abusing loved ones. The accent of this book is not on the abusive persons but on the hidden price that we pay from neglecting our own needs and responding to rules imposed from the outside rather than values that spring from who we really are inside.

Including himself in these examples, Dr Maté paints a vivid portrait of the effects of stress, pain and trauma, subjected at a very young age, on individuals or their parents. The natural attachement needs of a young person causes such a child to neglect it’s own needs in order to respond to what they are told to do in order to please their care providers and stay alive. In the first 5 years of life, the survival instinct adapts very fast to what is expected of a youngster to remain loved and connected, therefore fed and protected.

He writes that these outer-directed codes of conduct usually controll a person’s belief system long into adult life, albeit unconsciously and cause one to neglect their authentic inner promptings. The body and the instinctual protective mechanisms are well aware of that and rebel louder and louder until illness sets in. The modern plagues like cancer, Parkinson’s, addictions and auto-immune diseases like Scleroderma, MS or Lou Guerig’s (ALS) are particularily subject to these conditions.

The solution he tells us, though simple is difficult. Eventhough we can’t change our past history, we have the power to change our present beliefs and behaviour toward ourselves. We can learn to live an authentic life based on our own set of values, needs and emotionnal promptings.

I strongly suggest to every one to read this book, easily found in library or on-line. Here is a talk, containing exerts from this enlightening book, featuring Dr Maté himself.

Have a great day.

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